Boards of Canada
Boards of Canada is a Scottish electronic music group consisting of brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin.
On their early development
- We began writing and playing music in a more serious way at some point around 1987 [...] At first, we experimented without setting ourselves any questions, with whatever means were available to us; then we worked a lot with other musicians and with real instruments, which brought more complexity into our music. Five years ago (1993), we sounded a lot more gothic, much closer to experimental rock, with the occasional vocal, though it was heading for electronic music; already we were sampling our own instruments. Then we went back to something closer to our original spirit, simple and instinctive, the only difference being that from then on, we could use all the wonders of digital technology, and so it was a lot easier to experiment and to get what we wanted.
On their influences
- Of course we are massive fans of My Bloody Valentine. Loveless is probably one of my top five favorite albums of all time. I think that, even if we don't sound like them, there's a connection in terms of the approach to the music.
- We love artists like Joni Mitchell and The Incredible String Band. There's a sort of purity of sound that they have, and I guess we are striving for that ourselves. [...] In fact, [String Band] come from the same place where we live now. We see them from time to time. So I guess our rural sensibilities are similar. Personally, I think they are one of the most important and underrated bands in the past forty years of music. They influenced so many other artists yet they never get due credit.
On their creative process
- A lot of the synthetic-sounding things you hear are actually recordings of us playing other instruments – pianos, flutes or twanging guitar strings – or field sounds we get from walking around with portable tape recorders, like electronic beeps in shops, or vehicles; then they are mangled beyond recognition. We have an arsenal of old hi-fi tricks up our sleeves and we basically destroy the sounds until they're really lovely and fucked up. So we're using sounds that are totally our own thing.
- It's important to leave a certain space there for the listener's imagination.
- The voices [in the music] are sometimes from old TV shows or tapes we've made. We have a lot of stuff we've collected, going back to the early '80s. But half of the time, it's things we've had friends record specially for us. We create tapes all the time. Practically everyone we know has been roped into recording something for us at some point. [...] We often get friends to sing things for us with the intention of building a melody around it.
- Every time we make a record we see it as an individual project, separate from what went before and what will happen afterwards.
- The idea of the perfect album is this amorphous thing that we're always aiming at. For us, it can mean something that's full of imperfection, because part of our aim has always been to destroy the sound in a beautiful way. It doesn't mean that we expect everyone would like it. I'm not sure that we will ever get there, to make the perfect record. But the whole point of making music is at least to aim at your own idea of perfection.
On themes in their music
- I've always been fascinated by the connection between music and numbers. Psychedelic experiences lead in this direction; they help us to see things in terms of numbers and their forms, of structures, as if the music was made out of crystals.
- We've touched upon the theme of lost childhood a few times because it's something personal to me that gives me real inspiration through its sadness. I think sometimes the best way to get inspiration is to face up to the things that make you very sad in your life, and use them.
- [On the 2005 album, The Campfire Headphase] We usually imagine our music to have a visual element while we're writing it, so we were picturing this character losing his mind at the campfire and compressing weeks of events into a few hours, in that time-stretching way that acid fucks with your perception.
- We're not Satanists, or Christians, or Pagans. We're not religious at all. We just put symbols into our music sometimes, depending on what we're interested in at the time. We do care about people and the state of the world, and if we're spiritual at all it's purely in the sense of caring about art and inspiring people with ideas.
- I do actually believe that there are powers in music that are almost supernatural. I think you actually manipulate people with music, and that is definitely what we are trying to do. People go on about hypnotizing people with music, or subliminal messages, and we have dabbled in that intentionally. Sometimes that's just a bit of a private joke, just to see what we can sneak into the tracks.
- Kyrou, Ariel & Leloup, Jean-Yves. "Two Aesthetes of Electronic Music" (Jun 1998), Virgin Megaweb magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.
- Hoffmann, Heiko. "The Downtempo Duo" (Sep 2005), Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.
- Poolman, Koen. "Play Twice Before Listening" (Mar 2002), OOR magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.
- Pytlik, Mark. "The Colour & The Fire" (Feb 2002), HMV magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.
- Micallef, Ken. "Northern Exposure" (Jul 2002), Remix magazine. Retrieved on 2007-02-20.
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- Nicholls, Steve. "Big Country" (Mar 2001), XLR8R Issue 47. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.