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Alex Smoke Interview


A new breed of electronic music producer, blurring the boundaries between Electronica, Techno, Classical and Hip Hop. Alex Smoke’s music evolves in new directions with every project he undertakes regardless of genre, and on March 12th you can witness for yourself when he plays at OUTLIER – a new international events series curated by Bonobo, launching at Tobacco Dock.

We asked Alex a few questions, ahead of the date. Get to know him a little more here…

Hi Alex. Thanks for taking the time to speak to LWE. Can you let us in on five tracks you’ve loved this year?

Jahiliyya Fields – Chance Life Moon Dance ( L.I.E.S)
Golden Teacher – Sauchiehall Enthrall (Golden Teacher)
Arca – Else (Mute)
Björk – Lionsong (Mica Levi Kareokieijd Remix) (One Little Indian)
Alice Coltrane – Yamuna Tira Vihari (Avatar Book Institute)

Any New Year’s resolutions?
Naw. Not really a bothered with such things, and I am already perfect! I am going to try to maintain a healthy detach from what other people think and any semblance of a “scene”.

If we were to walk into your studio, what would we see?
I recently tidied the bastard so it’s actually looking quite respectable now. On the electronic side I have only one keyboard (an old Yamaha SY85), the wee modular synth, the Mac, the Kyma. There’s also my cello and a lot of books… and speakers obviously.
I really operate in quite a bedroom fashion so it ain’t very flash, but fits my needs perfectly.

With the fairly recent closure of The Arches, is the electronic music scene in Glasgow still as strong there, or would you say more people are leaving?
The Arches was a big part of the Glasgow clubbing scene for sure, but it is just one big venue and there are so many small interesting nights that make up the city’s nightlife. I am not involved in Glasgow’s scene that much really but it seems to me it is positively thriving, with so many great producers and new labels. We shall see what happens with the Arches but it made no sense to close it.

What are the favourite things about the music scene in Glasgow?
As I say, I’m now twice the age of other people doing nights in Glasgow so my view is slightly myopic but I still love Rubadub, the Sub Club, Optimo, the enthusiasm on the dancefloor, and the new studios opening such as Green Door. It’s the shite weather that keeps us all inside working on music or raving.


Name three albums that have changed the way you think.

Throbbing Gristle – 20 Jazz Funk Greats:

Can’t overstate it. A relatively recent discovery but everything about Throbbing Gristle strikes a chord with me and the way that I think these days.

AFX – All the Soundcloud stuff:
Like a never-ending gift. Starting with the Syrobonkers interview and the related tracks, and continuing through endless old music, new experiments and psychoacoustic fuckery. It’s pure inspiration. Also makes me want to self-release.

Colin Stetson – New History of Warfare Vol II:
More than any other album, this made me think about my creation process, my production values and my use of real instruments. Much of that work hasn’t yet seen the light of day, except in installations, but it will be more obvious as time goes on.

What are you most looking forward to about playing with us at Bonobo’s Outlier event at Tobacco Dock next March?
I’m really looking forward to seeing Kiasmos live. I’m always interested to see how people bring their music into a live context.

Have you got any forthcoming releases or any other projects that you can tell us about.
Yes… Self-promo time! I’ve got the 2nd of my BBC scores, ‘Robots’ being released on Ricardo Donoso’s Kathexis imprint (under my real name) which I am really delighted about actually.  I’m also planning a Wraetlic mini LP on Huntley & Palmers to finally get all the singing stuff out my system, and an as-yet-untitled LP of composition stuff that I might self-release…or launch into the lower atmosphere, depending on my cash flow.

Tell us something people might not know about you
I like kedgeree.