While there hasn’t been many new reviews or interviews posted on /amodelofcontrol.com recently, that’s partly because I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes on a number of projects – as well as listening to the glut of new music that has been reaching my inbox of late, too.
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Some of that work will become available at Stay-In-Fest this weekend, as a number of video interviews I’ve conducted will be broadcast there (and should be added to this site in due course, following that). As well as that, there are a few reviews pending, and before all that, I had the chance to catch up with an old friend, Tony Young.
Tony has been performing and releasing music under the Autoclav1.1 name for fifteen years or so, and his intelligent, mostly instrumental electronic music has a depth of emotion that’s perhaps unusual within the wider industrial scene, and I thought it high time that I caught up with him to talk about his music and the new album.
A note about the interviews on amodelofcontrol.com. This is now a long-running, occasional series, occasional because of the fact that I only interview artists when I have something to ask, and when artists have something to say. I don’t use question templates, so each is unique, too. Finally, I only edit for grammar and adding in links, so what you’re reading is the response of the artist directly. Thanks, as always, to the artist and indeed those that help to arrange such interviews.
Nothing Outside is – if I'm counting correctly – your twelfth full-length album under the Autoclav1.1 name, in less than fifteen years, never mind the various collaborations you've been involved in. Do you ever stop making music?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: Well, I see it as 14 albums if I include the remix album and the collab album I did with Displacer, but if you’re being picky, yeah I guess that’s the right amount for singular studio albums. I always say fourteen though as it helps me keep track. After each of the last few albums, I have always said, “This will be my last”. Then I find I can’t let go and find something else to write. I already have another album written called Gone Long Before the Death of the Sun. This was written just before Makeshift Splint, but I need to find the right time to release that. It is a solid ambient album. Along with doing mixes for others and of course Natura Est with Andy from Xotox (who by the way is an awesome friend and brilliant to work with), I guess I will never ever quit, or indeed stop (laughs).
Often your use of piano helps to lighten the mood of many of your tracks, but this album feels relentlessly gloomy. Obviously your music is emotional, but how closely does it reflect your frame of mind at the time of composition?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: Oh you really think it’s gloomy? It’s interesting to hear that. I always use the piano as a voice, because I simply cannot sing. Jesus, I must sound like a right miserable bugger, if that’s the impression it’s given (laughs). Given the context of the album, it was supposed to convey a multitude of fragile emotions that I have seen vocalised from others, or felt myself during lockdown; or indeed the fact my heart sings every time I look at William (my cat). I would say they do reflect my emotions a lot, really.
The opening track C17H19N3 is a reference to Antazoline (an antihistamine), right? Is this a particular type that you have to take to deal with allergies?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: I knew I would end up having to talk about this. Another friend of ours picked up on it straight away, and I am not afraid to say what it means. It is also known as ‘Mirtazapine’, which is an anti-depressant. It’s not a statement glorifying anything such as that or a whole ‘look at me’ thing, but when I started writing the album this was indeed the first track.
I kinda saw this album as a personal journey through lockdown; and what better statement to say than to be honest with myself on a document that will be out there forever, as long as music lasts. After all, I write music for me really. I never actually knew or indeed admitted I have a form of depression. It’s a not a self-deprecating thing, or self-harm or anything like that. It just manifests itself in different ways and this stuff seems to do the trick. I felt pretty low one-day last year and after speaking to a Doctor; they prescribed it and all is well. I think the course of it will end this year. It has done its job.
You've evolved a very specific style over the years as Autoclav1.1. Was there a lightbulb moment when you realised what kind of music you wanted to make, and were there particular artists or sounds that inspired it?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: Well, when I started I was bloody terrible at writing; and some will say I still am (laughs). Let’s be honest here; after hearing Gridlock and Boards of Canada they pretty much changed my modus operandi (or at least triggered an idea I was trying to do but couldn’t articulate). Although, you know full well I like Post-Punk, Metal and all sorts of other things that have influenced my music; and ultimately my own interpretations have filtered through on a number of releases. It’s all evolution. I can only get better with time. If I can’t, then I must stop.
You've had a long history in alternative music. What have been your personal highlights as an artist?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: That is far too big a question. I have worked with and met some wonderful people, who I proudly call friends. I have also met some truly despicable people. They’re all highlights really. It shapes you.
You've also had quite a number of collaborations with other like-minded artists in the wider scene. Are there any artists that you'd leap at the chance to work with, if given the opportunity?
I am actually trying to make some music now that’s a bit Coil inspired. I mentioned to Aaron from My Dying Bride that I would love him to do vocals. He seems interested; but it’s this poxy lockdown thing, work and other personal stuff, which has halted that for me time-wise. Maybe eh? We will see.
On a related note, who were your musical heroes when you were younger, and are they the same artists now?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: Wow! Again that is a really difficult one to answer. Some were, some still are. Joy Division and New Order, Swans, Slayer, Killing Joke; the list could go on and on.
Our scene is a small one, that seems threatened in some respects by the changes in the wider world right now. Has it impacted your music creation at all, or is that the one part that has remained unaffected?
/Tony Young/Autoclav1.1: Not really mate. I have always had quiet and busy times, lockdown or no lockdown. It took five weeks (and that’s just Mondays and the odd occasional Sunday) to write the new album. When I am ‘on it’ with the bit between my teeth, I go into machine mode and just can’t stop. It’s also the first album I have written where the tracks were completed in the order they are presented, apart from just one. Also, just me I guess; but I also think it is my best. I like all the tracks on this new one, whereas I always felt there was a filler or two on the others, just to get them done.