Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Music Questionnaire No 8 -Kev Hopper

Kev Hopper has been one of my best friends for the last 12 years or so, although he already had a quite successful music career behind him before I met him. As bass player with Stump he'd already experienced a level of popularity in one of the more original bands to emerge from the "C86" scene.

A restless musician who tends to seeks out new musical areas to obsess about, after leaving Stump he made a groundbreaking LP of Sampler music, "Stolen Jewels" when the technology was still in its infancy. He took up the musical saw which became the lead instrument on the albums "Whispering Foils" and "Saurus", whilst also immersing himself in the fiendishly complex mathematical world of the electronic music program Reaktor. Recently he has become enormously attached to the sound of the acoustic guitar. His most recent album is a most effective synthesis of all of these elements. It also provides "Little Atoms" with its theme tune.

Kev was the founder of the South London electronic group Ticklish (with Phil Durrant and Rob Flint, and until 2003, me).

LiveJournal readers may know Kev as .

Who are you ?

Kev Hopper. I'm 45 years old. I make a CD about every 4 years or so. I do occasional gigs and play with a group called Ticklish.

Where are you based?

Deptford, South London.

What instruments do you play?

Bass guitar, acoustic guitar, musical saw and computer. Acoustic guitar mainly.

What is your current or most recent project?

I made an album last year called I SAW SPOOMBUNG'S DAUGHTER CONSUMED BY KIRBY DOTS that was released exclusively in Japan. I've been quite inactive for the past year or so due to circumstances beyond my control and have been less interested in making another album even though my love of music remains strong. i just can't drum up the enthusiasm to make another record only for it to trickle away selling 300 copies.

Name a record that had a big effect on you in your youth-

'Close to the Edge' by Yes. Wow, Chris Squire - what a bass player.

What was the last record/CD you played-

'Never the Same' a British folk revival compilation

List three records or CDs by artists other than yourself we should all hear-

They're probably records you've already heard: Laura Viers -'Carbon Glacier '. This record is extraordinary,inspired, and totally cringe-free. Steve Reich 'Music for 18 Musicians'- a classic. Keane - 'Crystal Ball' dead catchy y'know... but, as you might expect, NOT cringe-free.

Describe a live performance that had a big effect on you -

Brand X at The Venue 1979. It was like a pilgrimage.

Your favourite live venue-

They're all overseas but I supose I like the Albany Empire in Deptford.. although they sell rubbish beer there.

What's the strangest place you've performed in/at?

I can't think of any right now - you may have to remind me, Richard...

(I would suggest playing avant electronica to a load of pissed up stockbrokers in a barge, for starters -RS)

Tell me about your worst experience as a performer-

Ah, it was at the Royal College around '98 or so with a guitarist I'd rather not mention. He prepared a backing track that I hadn't actualy heard before the gig so it was kind of sprung on me... and it was the worst bit of industrial, doomy nonsense I've ever come across and was quite impossible to contribute anything to. He also insisted on playing at deafening volume which made the poor innocent punters retreat to the back of the hall. Really embarrassing.

Tell me about a great experience as a performer-

They've been so many! Ireland with Ticklish. Brixton Academy with Stump in front of hostile audience that we won over somehow. A good solo performance in Japan with a pick-up band.

Is improvisation important to you?

Only if it's a mutual agreement between consenting adults.

Name three heros or heroines-

They're all heroines: Emma Carter (my wife and best friend who died early this year) and two ultra-helpful friends, Hazel Jones and Sam Graham.

What is your favourite city?

I suppose it's London - because I don't have enough experience of living anywhere else.

A couple of favourite books-

Anything by Iain M Banks ...

A couple of favourite films-

Solaris - (the remake) and ' My own Private Idaho'

What makes you laugh?

I read a story in the press recently were police were called to a barn following a disturbance and lots of noise from horses. They found a stark- naked man who had covered himself in olive oil and hay being licked clean by horses. 'It was a life's ambition' he told the police.

A favourite website?

3 blogs: Bagrec , Timewasting and imomus .

Is there a pop song you feel sentimental about, and can you name it?

There are loads but probably my favourite is 'Easy to Love' by Cole Porter - the singer imagines being with someone they can't have in a such a lovely, warm, innocent way. It's beautiful. I've never understood why sentimentality is such a dirty word among avant garde wannabees.

Thanks Kev

the music questionnaires are an ongoing series

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