Electronic Beats have just posted an interview conduced with John over the phone some days ago and, while it's not as in-depth as the one for Groove magazine; it contains many interesting bits of information.
Amongst other things, John shares how he didn't like rave at first, how he left a rave club because they were making hip-hop and how he eventually had a phase where he made three hip-hop albums. He lists works from Johnny Jungle, Komakino and Pure White/Orca/DJ Crystal as his favourite rave records from the 1990s. He also states that nobody other than him has heard the music he's been making for the past year and a half, which Alternative Nation, and many others after them, reported in their own piece, calling it "no longer releasing music". Such a statement does not appear in the actual interview.
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Maybe we underestimate imagination.
What the imagination gives to the experience of listening is a big thing. Punk and rave and the original pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll: those periods of music are really important because they were pure energy. The atmosphere around the music was apparent. For me, a lot of the electronic music that’s made today doesn’t seem to be made for people’s imaginations. I don’t hear a lot of atmosphere; I hear a lot of compression. It’s an unfortunate direction. I like when music has mystery around it. There are still individuals making music around the world that has atmosphere and imagination, and who are obscure and unknown. I hope that one day our industry figures out a way to promote this kind of thing, instead of music that drills itself into our heads and is promoted to death. It was really nice for me as a kid to listen to punk rock and have very little idea who the singer of Black Flag was, or who the singer of the Germs was. I just knew I lived in the same city as them, and I knew I breathed the same air as them, and that was enough to set my imagination aflame.
Yeah, I was going to ask if you’d ever tried to make jungle.
There are jungle drums on my albums Enclosure and PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone. Both those records have a lot of breakbeats, but there are also guitars and synthesizers. I was trying to do my version of what Black Sabbath or Depeche Mode would sound like with jungle drums. Going faster was a big challenge. Around when I was making acid house stuff, I programmed a jungle-type beat into my Machinedrum that played really nicely at 168 bpm. I was really proud of myself—it didn’t sound tense, the way drum machines have a tendency to sound when you speed them up.
As far as making acid house, I don’t have any desire to. Recently I’ve been making really abstract music out of samples. I don’t have any preconceived idea of what I’m going to do going into it, I just let the samples guide me, and gradually add in synthesizers and drum machines to it to round it out. At this point I have no audience. I make tracks and I don’t finish them or send them to anybody, and consequently I get to live with the music. The music becomes the atmosphere that I’m living in. I either make really beautiful music that comes from classical, or I make music where the tempo is moving the whole time, and there’s no melodic or rhythmic center. It’s just disorienting music that’s falling apart.
You can read the whole interview here.