Features Jon Hopkins: For The Love Of Songs

Ambient electro wizard Jon Hopkins tells Gareth O’Malley about his new album.

Gareth O'Malley has a chat with London based ambient electro wizard Jon Hopkins about his new album 'Diamond Mine', a collaboration with Scottish singer-songwriter legend King Creosote.

First of all, I must say this is an unusual collaboration. What inspired it?
The idea grew organically - I'd been a massive King Creosote fan since I first heard his stuff in 2004. I met him, asked him for a vocal, and made a remix for him, which came out as a b-side. We liked the results so we decided to do some more.

This has been a busy few months for you. First the 'Monsters' score and now this! Was making 'Diamond Mine' different to what you'd done before?
This was actually started many years ago, and worked on in short bursts. It just happened to be finished recently. It was different in that I always felt it had no pressure on it. When I make a solo album or a film score, I know it has to serve a certain purpose, and a huge amount hinges on whether it succeeds or not. With this record I felt so relaxed making it - it had no deadline, it wasn't tied into any particular current 'scene', it was just something done purely for the love of the songs.

Have the sessions for 'Diamond Mine' influenced your creative process in any way?
It was great to work with a vocalist again, it had been quite a while. I find it made things more relaxed from my perspective as the main part of the track is covered, all I have to do is provide the setting for it.

Which song on the record are you most proud of?
The first ['First Watch'] and second ['John Taylor's Month Away'], which are to be heard as one. I love the story behind the lyrics and I love the utter lack of urgency. There is a kind of statement in there about the intention of the record - it is not in any rush to grab you with riffs, hooks, choruses etc... it's more like a place you visit or a dream you have.

Do you think there's a wider audience for your music now than there was, say, before 'Insides' came out?
Yes. 'Insides' has been a slow-burner for sure but I'm really pleased with how it's gone and how many people have heard it. Nothing was really going on for me before that record came out, and since then I have toured the world and had some incredible experiences.

Can you see yourself working with Kenny again in future, or is this a one-off thing?
I see this as an ongoing thing, but there are no immediate plans to start anything new. We're both very busy at the moment.

What other projects have you got in the pipeline, if any? You strike me as a man who doesn't rest on his laurels for too long.
I'm supposed to be writing my next record now but am currently on tour so a bit behind. I have a few remixes I've been working on too, plus am in discussions about some other collaborations. I'm going to be working on a track with Nosaj Thing when I get to LA next week which I'm looking forwarded to.

Finally, I've wanted to know this for a while: just what was it like supporting Coldplay in 2008?
Very surreal - playing unknown, instrumental electronic music to a vast crowd who are there to see a rock band isn't something you expect to find yourself doing. And to have my first show in America be at Madison Square Garden was also a surprise. It was a great experience but ultimately I enjoy playing to 500 people in a club who know my stuff and have chosen to hear it more than I enjoyed playing to 20,000 people in an arena who were there to see something else.

Jon Hopkins' new album 'Diamond Mine' is out now via Double Six.


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