Interview with Delay Grounds
Photo by Genoveva Arteaga (@vivasirie)
Fresh off the release of his brand new EP ‘Upcycling’, we sat down for a chat with Delay Grounds (aka Patrick Tipler) to discuss inspiration, taste, equipment, and more.
‘Upcycling’ is out now on all major streaming platforms. Head over to our Bandcamp to purchase the EP on digital and pre-order on vinyl at: tropopauserecords.bandcamp.com
Where does the name Delay Grounds come from?
Patrick: I was really struggling for a name, I would have just gone with my actual name but it doesn’t quite have a good enough ring to it. I tried to think about what I was trying to achieve with the project and what would relate to that. Playful in process and electronic in material, Delay Grounds is kind of just a rubbish pun that combines the words Playground and Delay.
What setup are you using at the moment?
Patrick: I have a few bits and bobs floating about including a modular system that is forever changing. My favourite and most useful piece of kit though (apart from Ableton and my ears) I think is my Analog Rytm Mk1. I use it on most of my tracks and find it really helpful to have a tactile machine to write drums on alongside sound design sessions. All my music gear is a total luxury though, it’s loads of fun and cool af but ridiculously easy to lose sight of the actual point of it all i.e to make actual music with it.
In your dream studio, what equipment would you have at your disposal?
Patrick: I suffer from a condition in which my eardrums are ruptured meaning they are warped and not tight in my ear. In their relaxed position my hearing becomes muffled which means that I am constantly having to pop them out to be able to hear high frequencies, it can become unbearable sometimes. I would trade all the music equipment I have ever owned not to have to deal with this haha, so yeah perfect studio = a solid pair of ears.
You performed a live show with your modular synth last year – how did you approach it and what would you do differently next time?
Patrick: Big question that I would be here all day if I answered it in full. There were a number of limitations I faced with that show, the first of which is that I don’t think I’m actually very good at using my modular. I had it set up in a totally ridiculous way I think, a super idiosyncratic and flabby patch that had loads of faults and was really hard to control. I had to make so many compromises to be able to make it do vaguely what I wanted but I think I just about pulled it off.
I think generally though it was important for me to first create an atmosphere I was happy with. I often make atmospheric sounds at the start of a production session when producing a track as I find it helpful to write other sounds over the top of a bed of sound or imaginary place. I bought a really cheap cassette recorder from Ebay and recorded a load of glitchy/washy piano into it, I then fed this into Clouds by Mutable Instruments and used a gate to trigger the record buffer within the module which created a lovely bed of sound for me to play over. I then layered over some melodies from synth voices within the modular and used an Analog Rytm on stage for drums!
I have totally gutted my modular now, sold a load of stuff, and am currently waiting for a new larger case in the post. This is kind of my next project, I am planning on building a live case with more scope for variation and progression. But yeah, no idea really what that’s going to look like so check back in a couple of years and I’ll let you know.
Photo by Lucy Werret
How would you describe the sound on your brand new EP, Upcycling?
Patrick: I mean I would hope the music can speak for itself, there’s that great video of Aphex Twin when he’s basically saying electronic music is too abstract to talk about and there’s no point – you should just listen to it haha. I guess Upcycling falls under the bracket of Leftfield Dance Music which is fine by me because the term is so broad, but at the end of the day it’s just a load of noises put together so give it a go and you can make up your own mind.
Where did the concept for this EP come from? Can you talk a little about the creative process behind it?
Patrick: Big influence from artists like SOPHIE (RIP), I love the idea of creating a hyper-realistic product or object that can only really exist in the fictional sonic realm that you create. Kinda like how a cube is the shadow of a 4-dimensional tesseract or whatever if anyone understands what I’m on about haha (see Carl Sagan on the 4th dimension on Youtube). These tracks are kinda like the sonic shadow of an imaginary, hyperrealistic, self-assembling, dance object. I thought it would be fun to take this idea and combine it with the concept of reusing/repurposing waste materials which forms the idea of the EP.
I spent the first half of the project with Liz (whom I collaborated with for this project) going around looking in skips and charity shops for old bits of tat to record. We hired a shared studio space so we had an environment in which to work together, discuss ideas and keep the ever-growing mountain of crap. In this studio is where we recorded a lot of the sounds from the objects we collected and where the initial ideas were conceived, often working at the same time shaping the sound alongside the physical. Once we had a feel for the project we retreated to our own processes more or less. I moved back into my home studio to work on sound design and Liz moved into a smaller studio space in the building to finish the sculptures. Working with Liz was great fun and super easy, we both trust each other’s taste and judgment so it was just all-around a sweet vibe and I think this comes through in the work.
I’m aware you were into a lot of alternative rock/psychedelic music a few years back. Were there any artists or experiences that had a big influence on you gravitating towards more electronic music?
Patrick: Yeah there is a load of stuff I used to listen to, some stuff still holds up and continues to influence me. Bands like Animal Collective, Broadcast, Stereolab, etc. but mostly my taste has moved on. Having said this, I think the whole psychedelic thing has really influenced my sound. I think I came to a realisation that all music (and everything else in reality) is pretty psychedelic and naming an entire genre after something as massive as the psychedelic experience is a bit reductionist in my opinion.
My first synth was a Micro Korg and I bought it because I used to be well into Tame Impala and saw them using one in a video, Radiohead were also a really big influence on me in my teens. I didn’t really know anything about dance music though until I was about 21, I went to a tiny little festival in The Netherlands and there were a couple of DJs there playing quite heavy four to the floor big boy slamming techno. I was absolutely transfixed like, you could not get me away from those speakers, I think it was then that I realised my addiction to dance music. I’m not hugely into techno like that anymore as I get a bit bored after half an hour of airstrike intensity kick drums. These days I love me a good breakdown in a tune and DJs who give you a bit of relief here and there and I think generally I just wanna hear weird noises.
How has living in Bristol inspired your music-making?
Patrick: Where do I start!? Bristol is an absolutely beautiful place, I have met so many amazing friends here and I feel so privileged to be around this much talent. I think there is a lot of respect and acceptance in the Bristol music scene, everyone is just super chill and there is a real purity here I think. Everyone just wants everyone else to do well and is so supportive of each other. There is a genuine interest in fresh music too which makes me feel as though I am in a space in which I can really experiment and push myself from release to release. Basically, everyone is just a total mash head and likes listening to weird sounds which is pretty much the ideal situation for me.
Has the pandemic given you any new perspectives on how you experience and create music?
Patrick: Oh man I’ve never learned so much about myself! The pandemic has been a slap in the face from multiple angles at once, kinda confusing but ultimately put me in my place. It’s really hard to knuckle down and get on with stuff because when you have all the time in the world to do something it is like having absolutely no time. It’s because of this I have had to really start treating music as a job in some respects, get up at the same time every morning, etc have a bit of routine in my life and start organising my time better, not least for the sake of my mental health. I think this organisational attitude has split over into my production style too, I have learned to be more methodical and organised in the studio which has been really helpful for my creative output.
What are your top five all-time favourite records?
Patrick: Oh god I don’t know, changes all the time:
Broadcast – Haha Sound
Clark – Self Titled
Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Not Feel
Animal Collective – * My favourite changes with the weather*
CAN – Future Days *also kinda interchangeable*
And finally, who are you listening to a lot of at the moment?
Patrick: Again, too big a question but here is a short list…
Wordcolor, AYA, rRoxymore, Happa, A Made Up Sound, Dj Khalab, Actress, Clark, Metrist
‘Upcycling’ is out now on all major streaming platforms. Head over to our Bandcamp to purchase the EP on digital and pre-order on vinyl at: https://tropopauserecords.bandcamp.com/
Follow @delaygrounds and @tropopauserecords on social media to keep up to date with new releases coming soon!
The Tropopause Team