Interview: Jon Hopkins

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Jon Hopkins
has got a lot going on these days in regards to his latest studio album, ‘Immunity, released by British Independent record label Domino. The record is complete with euphoric electronic tracks that  play with repetition and abstract ideas, and has also been accompanied by a masterfully produced music video for ‘Open Eye Signal‘, which takes you on a journey of color, light, and movement that starts nowhere and ends nowhere.

Yet it’s not just his solo work that has us coming back for more, but the impressive list of projects and collaborations that Hopkins has been a part of that gives a real sense of the London based producers ability to go beyond simply spinning in clubs.

Our new editor Amanda Grey caught up with Hopkins before his set at at Platoon Kunsthalle in Berlin last weekend. We pulled a couple of chairs out into the sun to talk about collaborations, meditation and, of course, what it was like to work with David Lynch.

LSD: So, I have to ask, what was it like to work with David Lynch? I am personally a big fan.

Oh yeah, me too. I played his album launch at his venue Club Silencio in Paris and it was…amazing.  I wanted to go back in time and tell my young self about it. Mulholland Drive is my favorite film and I was watching Twin Peaks when I was teenager. Although he [Lynch] hasn’t really made a feature in a long time now, he doesn’t really need to, because his body of work has been so incredible.

LSD: Definitely. I heard a rumor that Lynch was interested in buying Teufelsberg, the former NSA listening towers, here in Berlin and possibly turning it into a meditation center.

Oh, well he is definitely very much into meditation and it’s actually something that I have been into before as well. I think that in many ways it definitely rubbed off on my early music quite a lot.

LSD: In what ways could you identify the influences that meditation has had on your sound?

Well that state of mind is like clearing a pathway. I also like the idea of trying to cause a meditative state through music and for the people who are listening to it.

LSD: Do you feel that you yourself enter a meditative state while you are playing a set?

Actually no, for myself it’s more like a union with the people. You are trying to present a journey to people and to bring them along with you… it feels a lot more active.

LSD: You’ve worked with some amazing people. Do you have collaborators in mind that you are going to approach for future projects? Or do you typically let them come to you?

I really like it to be organic. In my head I’ve always wanted to work with Sigur Rós, but I am not going to just go up to him and just say it, because these things have a way of happening on their own.

LSD: Is that how you ended up working with Coldplay?

Yeah, Brian Eno invited me to join and that was also a great experience. I started working with them on the production and also opened for them on tour.

LSD: When you are working with other people or on a soundtrack, like the one you did for Monsters for example, do you feel that it sometimes takes away from your solo work?

Yeah, the experience can be great and incredibly interesting, like my collaboration with Brian Eno on the Lovely Bones soundtrack. Yet, those projects absolutely do take you away from your path of what you are trying to do for yourself, because it is someone else’s story, so you are serving this other narrative.

LSD: Do you think you’ll do more soundtracks?

Yeah, it’s something that I still like doing and I don’t want to leave that part of my life. I have done enough soundtracks now that I can confirm that I really do love it, but I don’t want to do more than one per year. I turn quite a few of them down, because it takes a lot of your time and it’s really intense work.  I like being out and talking to people. I like being there.

LSD: Is it difficult to navigate a preset theme when entering a project?

Well, luckily the directors I have worked with already like what I am doing, so they want my sound. Because of that we can really develop our joint work together.

LSD: Before you get ready for your set at Kunsthalle, are there any particular clubs where you really love to play in Berlin?

I have actually only played here about two or three times before, and the obvious one would be at Berghain. That was the last show that I played in Berlin, and that was amazing. I have the one here tonight and then another one at Berghain coming up in August.

But aside from clubs what I really love is a variety of venues, especially those where I have a piano, which I did a lot for Insides. I have also had some amazing opportunities, such as being able to play at the Opera House at Sydney, for example. At the moment I am going with the clubby sound, but next year I am looking forward to branching out and do some work with my piano as well.

Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal (Official Video) von domino

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