Since unveiling his debut ‘Butter’ in 2009, Glasgow-based producer Hudson Mohawke has grown infamous for his genre-bending turntable talents, becoming one of Kanye West’s go-to guys. It may have been a while since he offered up his last full-length, but no one can accuse him of resting on his laurels.
“‘Lantern’ is the first solo record that I’ve done for almost six years,” begins Ross Birchard, the man behind the name. “I’m intrigued to see what people’s reactions will be. I feel like a lot of people have become more aware of me in the last couple of years; they probably don’t know that there was a first album.”
Since ‘Butter’ landed, Birchard has turned his hand to many a project. From signing up with Kanye’s label GOOD Music to joining forces with Lunice for their festival-dominating TNGHT project, he’s been a busy man.
“I’d like to have put it out sooner but at the same time,” he explains, “I wasn’t consciously thinking, ‘Oh shit, it’s been six years.’ I pretty much haven’t really stopped since the first record came out, what with being involved in other projects and doing the TNGHT thing, and working on other people’s records. It hasn’t felt like that long, but obviously it kinda is.”
"I put ['Lantern'] together like an actual album, rather than just a collection of songs."
— Hudson Mohawke
Unsurprisingly, without those experiences ‘Lantern’ just wouldn’t have come to pass. “A lot of the collaborative work that I’ve done over the past couple of years has made an impact on how I’ve arranged this album, and the aesthetic,” he continues. “Because that was my first record, it was a bit like, ‘Here’s loads of stuff that I’ve done, I’m just going to shove it all in together’, whereas this record is more considered and I tried to refine it a bit more. I put it together like an actual album, rather than just a collection of songs. That’s something I’ve learned through collaborating.”
The result, then, isn’t so much a departure from ‘Butter’ as a honing of his talents. While his last effort was a sprawling mass of different genres and sounds, ‘Lantern’ feels to have much more of an ebb and flow. “Personally, I don’t feel that it’s that different, but my approach to music-making at that point was very much like a solo pursuit; in the middle of the night in my mum’s house.
“Some of the stuff that was on that record happened around a time when I was really into turntables. That was very much about who can be the most technical, so a lot of the approach to that record was me being like, ‘How can I make this sound even more crazy, and more fucked up?’ Whereas with this record I would take it down to the core elements rather than being extra crazy and technical just for the sake of it.”
Taken from the June 2015 issue of DIY, out now. Hudson Mohawke's 'Lantern' album is out now on Warp.