"Odd Listening Material"
Surgeon and Blawan On TRADE

One collaboration of recent times that has perfectly bridged the generations of UK born techno is TRADE - the union of Anthony Child and Jamie Roberts aka Surgeon and Blawan. When the announcement of their first EP together on Roberts and Pariah's joint own imprint Sheworks came in early2 2013 there was one of those 'YES' moments in the online sphere which was felt by pretty much everyone who is invested in the techno community. It delivered on a dynamic range of qualities going between hallmarks of typical Downwards homed Surgeon as well as the defining textures of Blawan's work which is precisely what we were all in hope of. And most of all it kicked pretty hard.

We then had to wait a year for the pair to take the step towards live performances debuting at James Ruskin's Blueprint night in London at the beginning of the summer, playing to a visceral packed out sweat box of enthusiasm that heralded in (what was the pair both admit in our interview below) a pretty epic summer of performances and a fast-paced evolution of their sound. With their set in Room Two arriving this coming Saturday we jumped on the line with the pair to find out where the project is at now and why we simply cannot predict what exactly will go down at any TRADE performance...


On the day of the Autumn equinox I guess the first questions should be about the season just passed, how were both your summers?
Surgeon: I've been working so much that I've actually seen very little of it. I kind of looked out the window and saw the sun was shining outside, but that was about it.
Having said that I've played some great festivals outdoors in Holland and Japan this year.
Blawan: Like Tony its felt like i’ve not seen any of it really. I’ve played some great festivals and club this year, most of them for the first time and found some favourite new spots along the way. I’ve been playing quite a lot with Arthur as Karenn this year as well as Trade shows so it’s been a bit of a whirl wind summer.

You of course do share a lot of line ups and naturally would have met at some point on your paths but how and why did it develop into a studio and live project?
Surgeon: From my point of view it's that we connected really well personally. That's where it all starts. It's just about following what feels right and having fun doing it.
Blawan: Yes that’s key really, everything developed quite naturally because we had formed a good friendship before any thought of performance live of writing music together


"No one knows what to expect, we don't know what will happen. It will be 100% pure modular synthesis. We'll be pushing the boat out for sure."



Jamie, Obviously Surgeon is one of the UK's leading techno figures of our times, has Tony always been a significant figure for you? In what ways would you say he has influenced you as an artist?
Blawan: Hugely! Tony’s Productions have been key in influencing me over the years, His discography spans a wide range of sounds but for me it was the focus of energy in his and his peers sound that inspired me. It’s really lovely that now we get to share our ideas and work together.

Tony when did you first become aware of Jamie's production? What struck you about it?
Surgeon: I think it was Bola EP on R&S. It immediately struck me as very distinct and original. A fully formed sound. It had an exciting energy.

As I understand it you've both been experimenting and performing on modular synths primarily this year Jamie you took part in a Modular Review for a live set with other artists as well while Tony I saw your live set from Dekmantel on boiler room - what is it about that platform in particular you think is conducive to a live set?
Surgeon: I find it really versatile and a great way to really improvise using the real bare bones of electronic sound generation.
Blawan It has a great sound, it’s a portable format, customisable… the list is endless. It lets us take every possible idea and sound, put it into a case and plug directly into a sound system, then from nothing we can make music that sounds pretty mad. It’s the best way.

What can we expect from the live set as Trade on Saturday? And what equipment are you employing as part of it?
Surgeon: No one knows what to expect, we don't know what will happen. It will be 100% pure modular synthesis. We'll be pushing the boat out for sure.



You’ve also been performing a lot over the summer how has the set been evolving over this time?
Surgeon: TRADE performances went through a stage of very rapid evolution. Our technological approach changed drastically each gig, but we seem to have settled on us both using purely modular gear.
Blawan: Very rapid, it was all part of finding a sound and way of playing live that worked for the both of us, Bringing together two cases that complimented each other happened quite quickly

And your live set itself how much is pre-planned or created live?
Surgeon: Performing with modular and using no computers or samplers meant that nothing whatsoever is pre-planned or prepared. It's totally improvised live at the moment it happens.

With just one TRADE release to date how far are you in any further releases? Can you tell us anything about what you've been recording how close is it in sound to Sheworks 005?
Surgeon: We've been recording all of our gigs and plan to release some parts of those recordings. It won’t sound like Sheworks 005, though it is quite ugly.
Blawan: Really excited to release some live material, it’s all very odd listening material.

What other projects and releases have you both got happening at the moment you'd like to talk about?
Surgeon: I've just released the first edition of re mastered early and unreleased tracks in a series called SRX.
Blawan: Shework006 from Karenn will be out in a 2/3 weeks.

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