Give us an intelligent, emotional overdose of electronica, and we’re kittens in your lap. Give us wooziness with a pulse, though. We’ve enough Brian Eno apps if we just want aural mindmelts. Welcome, then, to mitternacht – Jonny Davis’ self-assured and seductive excursions into that sweet spot where guitars, beats, samples and beeps reside. We’ve moved there too. Come say hi.
How do you go about the writing process? Is it textures and moods first, or are you interested in melody at all?
As most of my favourite albums have a self contained feel, I would say that textures and moods are certainly something that has been ingrained in the writing process but tend to happen outside of my control. I completely welcome it but never directly plan for it. Everything I write stems from a melody or hook of some kind, however slow or obtuse it may be.
Talk us through your kit
The source material is usually a guitar (through a Kaoss pad) or a virtual piano which I layer up with various scrappy phone recordings taken over the last few years (Cathedral bells, rain, trains, vacuum cleaners etc). I also sample minute sections of other peoples work quite a lot but hopefully to the point where it isn’t noticeable. Some of the pieces derive from samples of my own rock songs from years ago. I run it all through Cubase and when my computer grinds to a halt I know I need to shut off the reverb.
What do you think about the electronic/drone scene in Liverpool at the moment?
There’s certainly a lot of electronic stuff going on in the city at the moment which is simultaneously exciting and boring. I think it’s great what the likes of Deep Hedonia and Everisland are doing. To have that purity of vision to stick to your guns and have an identity is important for a promoter, I think.
Electronic music in a live setting is a really tricky thing to pull off. If it’s a dude with a Macbook and a sampler I just switch off. Visual stimulus is really important for me in a live setting and I find that music that is incredibly engaging on record can become tedious when one is asked to stand and focus on somebody who is in turn just staring at a screen. It’s all personal preference I guess.
If I am to perform my songs live it will either be as a DJ at the back of the room while the crowd mingle or in a full band setup.
Who are you listening to?
Music in Liverpool is glorious at the moment. I picked up the new Ex-Easter Island Head record which is stunning. I think we are really privileged to be able to go to Mugstar shows with such frequency and seeing Outfit just get more and more professional without losing their quirk is a fine thing.
Who’d be your dream collaborator?
Aphex Twin would be my ultimate collaborator. That guy could sell me a slap in the face. More realistically but no more likely would be someone more improvisational like Starving Weirdos or Sunburned Hand Of The Man.
What are your thoughts about Liverpool’s venues – good, bad and ugly?
Venue-wise Liverpool is thriving. There was that weird few weeks where a bunch of venues went under which was of course horrible for the staff and subsequently the debate on venues / recession was sparked. In truth, I don’t think the spaces that disappeared were anybody’s favourite places but just good venues in a busy market. Obviously the Kazimier is the king and long may it reign. Camp & Furnace is an exciting prospect with big ideas. I love the Shipping Forecast for dirty little rock shows too. At the end of the day a venue is a lifeless space, it’s the owners & promoters that set the tone.
The dream is to get something on vinyl but for now I’ll be putting out a CD that combines my first three EPs. The downloads will always be free but if anybody is willing to pay for the physical product then it’s my job to make it as worth the money as possible so look out for some interesting packaging.
I’m also curating a series of free EPs called In Response To… where musicians write a piece in response to a famous work of art. The first instalment should be out by the end of September. This will be ongoing so if anybody wants to get involved they can via bandcamp or facebook.
Describe yourself in seven words
Trying and failing to understand the world.