Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Interview: Dayse & Aver

Following the release of their debut vinyl EP and in the run up to a live show at Chorlton's Dulcimer bar for Mind On Fire and Now Then Manchester this Thursday, Dayse and Aver of The Natural Curriculum met with MOF’s Spurious Scholars to discuss their inspirations for the EP, social issues and what’s next for TNC.

MOF: The EP’s really vivid in describing a totalitarian dystopia. Could you give us a bit of insight into your inspirations?

Dayse: How long have you got?

Aver: Manchester & its rain…. George & Aldous... Edward & Sigmund... Curtis & Morris...

MOF: Was it your intention to make a 'sci-fi' record or is it just something that evolved naturally?

D: That really does depend on whether you put Star Trek on the same shelf as Blade Runner...

A: Sorry about him. We meant to make a record that sounded advanced and industrial in order to differentiate ourselves from the guitar pickers, the endgame of which is to spit roast a cyborg, if you get my meaning?

MOF: Musically, it switches a lot, futuristic synths one minute, deep spiritual jazz the next. What’s your typical song writing / production process?

A: I’ll make a beat from the weird noises with big drums, Dayse will write a verse or two based on some old book he just read, then blam!!! 6 months later Omas will murder the cuts and we got ourselves a B-side...

MOF: Speaking of books, you reference a lot of philosophers on the EP – particularly those who deal with ideas of the state and control. In these dark times how relevant do you think these issues are?

D: It’s relevant to us at least, because our consciousness was born into it. The whole world got paranoid after 9/11. That paranoia got real in the United Kingdom during the events that surrounded the 7/7 bombings. Both events happened at a time when our generation was beginning to sow the seeds of its own political and philosophical consciousness. So things such as the illegal murder of Jean Charles de Menezes on the Northern Line by London Metropolitan Police in 2005, for a crime that he never committed, naturally stained our outlook.

It showed a weakness in the technology and dangers of human error when using it. And there’s a substantial list of fuck-ups like this. We put the whole mass surveillance operation under scrutiny and began to rebel against it. For panopticism to work in society at large, the state can’t afford to reveal itself as it did. You have to stand back and keep people paranoid without them knowing why they feel the way they do. The state held it up for a while with their right-wing, anti-Islamist propaganda and some groups in society are still struggling to see through it today. But eventually I think we smartened up on a whole issue and the state failed. Thankfully, we never became a police state, but we nearly did. That paranoid fear turned into something else. You’re seeing the results on the news everyday now.

MOF: So in effect you’re questioning the right of the state to watch over and control us. You mention it on the EP so I’d like to hear your thoughts on Hobbes’ Leviathan...

D: Bollocks to the serpent! My take on social contract theory is simple: I didn’t sign shit! I don’t believe in absolute chaos, but if you’re going to grant the state a monopoly on physical violence, which is what law enforcement and social governance really boils down to, then it should be there in black and white. This country has no constitution so to speak, we just have a long history of conflicts and fuck-ups that we’ve never learned from, partly because they’re not included in the traditional agenda of our education system.

I also think that we should be deriving certain rights from the State of Nature. In the modern world, the right to bear arms is an extension of the human animals’ natural right to defend itself. That includes defending itself against the state. The state could justify another Peterloo by hiding behind a social contract that doesn’t exist. This is relevant until we get together as a nation and make it irrelevant.

MOF: Anyone who has been to a rave in Manchester has seen the GMP misuse of this ‘monopoly on violence’, but it extends (perhaps less visibly) to every aspect of the rest of society. To quote a wise man: “What is to Be Done”?

D: We should all buy a mocha and a blueberry muffin from Starbucks. And cherish them...

A: Honestly though, I could mash off a double-choc-frappacino with extra cream right now... Then it’s off to a march about capitalist oppression in the 3rd world.

MOF: Indeed the idea of The Protestor as an Identity (or, even worse, as a way of relieving middle class guilt) is as much a part of the system as the police - but what about the source material, Marx and the ideals of a 'real' revolution?

D: The global economy is upside down. I’m broke and looking for answers. Naive as it may be (and it definitely is, but let’s not get into a debate about the PRC or the Soviet Union or Cuba... the list goes on) where do you think I stand on this issue? Accept it or not, this is still a class society, it just lacks a clear divide.

MOF: And in what ways is this reflected in your lives and music?

D: That’s life I guess. Music is my life...

A: Very

MOF: Back to music then, it’s clear you dig deep; any tips for find the wax Holy Grail in Manchester?

A: Not a chance son. I dug so deep once I woke up in a record store in Japan!

MOF: The bass sounds really stuck out for me, are they all samples or is there an element of live instrumentation as well?

A: Brother Tom played bass for tracks 3 [Dark Matter] & 5 [Dear George].

MOF: A lot of people know you from TNC, how different have you found working as a duo?

A: Not that different.

MOF: Hip Hop has always been about consuming different influences, but in some quarters it seems like the digestion process is getting a bit clogged up. As Flow Inspectors what’s your diagnosis… does UK Hip-hop need an enema?

D: Old-timers cashing their Hip Hop pensions + Untalented senseless urban youth that can’t relate = Yes.

A: What’s an enema?

MOF: And finally, which producers and MCs are doing it for you at the moment, locally and from further afield?

A: [Old Bill] Sykes' EP is nearly finished and that is gonna be nuts. It’s mostly Chalky-p on the beats, with a few tracks by myself and Poynton’s one & only DJ Omas, so that’s something to look forward to. As for further afield Odd Future are sick, check the Earl album if you get a minute.

This interview first appeared on The Now Then Mind On Fire showcase, also featuring Danny Drive Thru, Vieka and Zoir, takes place on Thursday 11th August at Dulcimer in Chorlton. Danny Drive Thru, Dayse & Aver and Vieka will all have new vinyl records available to buy for the first time on the night.

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