Come To Daddy James
As far back as 1991, Irish-born Richard David James has made IDM, acid techno and ambient-influenced music under a number of alias, including AFX, Polygon Window and Power-Pill. However, it wasn't until 1992, when he released "Selected Ambient Works 85–92," under the moniker Aphex Twin, that world stood up and took notice. Luckily, you can hear and witness the method behind his madness when the electronic maestro plays the 2016 Day For Festival this Saturday night (December 18), his first appearance on American soil in nearly eight years.
10 Essential Facts Shared By Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) During The Past Two Decades.
1. Although Richard James loves DJing as Aphex Twin, he pretty much declared that phase of his career was over in 2014. But, it's 2016, and Aphex Twin is headlining the Day for Night Festival. What happened? Well, he alluded to Rolling Stone Magazine that it would take him a certain amount of something to lure him back to the stage to DJ as Aphex Twin...possibly." I love it (DJing), but doing it under Aphex, when everyone knows you, it's always really good fun, but at the same time, it's not really DJing. It's better if you do it anonymously. If they know who you are, they give you the benefit of the doubt. They'll just cheer even if you're shit. Whereas if people don't know you, you can't get away with those little mistakes, and it's much more enjoyable. I'm not going to do any more gigs as Aphex – not for DJing, anyway. I've just done it too many times. I mean, I might get weak if someone offers me a stupid money gig, maybe?"
2. You can call Richard James a musician all you want, but truly considers himself a sound artist. "It is all about sound, but people forget that," he said to Pitchfork "They think, 'Oh, I want to hear a nice tune.' But what you're actually saying is you want to hear the combination of frequencies that make you feel a certain way. And more excitingly, it's about finding out the new ones. A lot of composers before me have been on this mission to change the world by getting off equal temperament, and I'm definitely one of those. You're brainwashed in the West with equal temperament, so it's quite hard for people who like following rules to get outside of that and see what you can do. But for me it's easy because I don't work like that. I work intuitively. I actually prefer it if I don't know what I'm supposed to do. If you've got an equal temperament piano keyboard, then you know what you're going to get if you play certain chords. But I actually like it if you don't know where the notes are, because then you do it intuitively. You're working out a new language, basically. New rules. And, when you get new rules that work, you're changing the physiology of your brain. And then your brain has to reconfigure itself in order to deal with it."
3. Part of the reason Aphex Twin is so elusive, press-weary and downright when it comes to disclosing anything personal is because of Richard's deep disdain with the concept of stardom and says most celebrities are really just mentally ill. “I have hung around with enough famous people to realize they’ve got a serious insecurity problem,” he once told Q magazine. “I think you have to be mentally ill to be really famous … If you’re like Madonna, then you’re properly mentally ill, basically. Because you have to be …I’m only partially mentally ill, because I’m semi-famous!”
4. You can always expect the unexpected from Aphex Twin. A good example would be his enlisting the help of 12-year-old boy, who suffers from autism, to direct the video for his latest song "Cirklon3," his first music video in a number of years, from the new Aphex Twin "Cheetah" EP.
5. There is a very sound reason why he believes in aliens, the Illuminati, and magic. He told The Guardian, "Even if none of it is true, it’s just a thousand times better than any science fiction film that’s ever been written. You can’t only believe things which can be proven. It’s boring.”
6. Most artists, whether they are musicians, painters, ballet dancers, fillmmakers and writers, hit creative brick walls from time to time. Most give themselves a little more time for inspiration to finally arrive, maybe just an hour, so that "aha" moment finally happens for them. That line of thinking is just not for Mr. Aphex Twin . "If I ever did that would be a disaster," he confessed to Index Magazine. "I've forced myself to work on things when I wasn't in the mood, and I've just ended up hating them. I want to associate making music with good things, not nasty things. " So, he freely admits that of his music has been pretty rank? "Yeah, but it doesn't feel that way to me," he added." I was smiling away while I was making it. I've never thought about doing something to make myself feel bad, actually. Never until now. That might be an interesting angle. "
7. Seemingly, against all odds, Aphex Twin took home the 2015 Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the September 2014 release "Syro. " Aphex Twin was competing against other artists such as Deadmau5’s "While (1<2)," Robyn & Royksopp’s "Do It Again," Little Dragon’s "Nabuma Rubberband" and Mat Zo’s "Damage Control." Sadly, but not surprisingly, James was a no-show to accept his Grammy. When his publicist was asked how James felt about winning it, a cursory "No comment" was issued. (His absence must have had to do with the fear of fame, he has often declared he suffers from.)
8. When his record company, Warped Records (who has signed him to multi-album deal) suggested he might use another moniker than Aphex Twin, Richard refused to, and got really ticked off at them. "The name is really (important to me)," he told journalist Heiko Hoffmann. I mean, I could just use other names butI wanted to do Aphex Twin and then just do like very experimental stuff. There are lots of people who are going to buy my (Aphex Twin) album who are not really into my stuff at all, I reckon. And I’m quite into the idea of them buying something very experimental. The difference between them (Warp Records and any other record company is getting smaller and smaller, which is why I’m not going to release any more records on Warp. One single maybe but I doubt it. I have to stop them all the time. I did a promo for an album and they wanted to release it as a single. I've got to constantly make sure that they don’t push me too far."
9: Both Aphex Twin Day For Night co-festival headliner Björk and superstar Madonna have expressed the desire to work with James. He's actually considering collaborating with the Icelandic chanteuse rather than the Material Girl. "Björk's a lot more interesting...million times more interesting – personality wise." he explained to Hoffman. " Madonna is pretty normal, she is like a very famous 'Sharon.' I can’t guarantee it because I don’t know her so well, but knowing Björk, athough, I think she does it out of (pauses)... Björk is like a little girl in a sweets shop. She’s like, 'Oh, I love this, I love this! I want this, I want this!' Madonna is more like brutal. Like, 'These are trendy, I can keep myself young and modern if I use them! 'You know?' Björk got that as well obviously but her motivation is that she just loves the musicians and would love to work with them. She picks people that aren’t really that famous."
10. Want to know much more about the music and history of Aphex Twin's fearless leader? I suggest you watch the surprisingly, informative and quickly moving "A Guide To Aphex Twin" video below: