QA: DALE CORNISH

QA_DALE CORNISH

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Photo credit: David Keen

1. Who are you?

Dale Cornish.

2. What do you do?

I work full time, and try and make music in my spare time.

3. Where do you often create/produce?

I tend to record acoustic and digital instruments at home or elsewhere. I then edit, edit, edit, edit on my laptop, so I can do this anywhere.

4. When?

Whenever I can. However even if you have the time sometimes it’s not the right time. Always worth trying, though, because sometimes you can come up with something brilliant after flailing around for a while.

5. Why do you play music?

I enjoy it, and find it really satisfying working on tracks, even if no one ever hears them. I have hours and hours of music that has never been released, some of which I have made just for me to enjoy and have on at my place.

6. When did you start making music?

Banging the metal handrails and hearing their resonant frequencies in the first year of my secondary school and going walking in the nearby forest on my own as a kid singing and working out the dimensions of my voice and what I could do with it.

7. Which track defines you the most?

I’m not sure I could define myself with a singular piece of music. If anyone has any suggestions I’m happy to consider them!

8. How would you describe your own music?

Generally electronic, with acoustic and vocal touches. I seem to be between the serious techno/electronic and the avant-whatever scenes, but don’t sit in either. It can be rather lonely at times, but it’s also satisfying to be your own island.

9. Any track of the moment?

Marjaz Mozetich “Affairs of the Heart” and Boy Harsher “Tears”.

10.What influences your work?

Things that happen, or simply the direction of some sound I’m working with. One benefit of not having formal music training is being able to just explore, without feeling the need to copy a “winning formula”. If you don’t have these formal skills you aren’t hemmed in with unconscious influence or music convention, so you come up with your own aesthetic and approach. When music inspires me it is often the energy or feeling or (without wanting to sounding like some kind of Edwardian fop) the simple beauty of it as it is.

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?

I have a degree, but not in anything creative.

12.Favorite designer?

A number to choose from… but I think Rei Kawakubo pips the others to second place however

13.Favorite book?

‘The Successor’ by Ismail Kadare. A truly singular work, the most beautiful shades of grey I’ve ever read.

14.Favorite classic movie?

Not classic yet, perhaps, but either ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ or ‘Catch Me If You Can’. Classic productions with modern techniques.  If these don’t count as they’re too recent: a firm favorite would be ‘Chinese Roulette’.

15.Favorite music label?

Too many to choose.

16.Your dream collaboration?

I always thought Autechre doing something with full vocals would be really interesting. I’m game if they are. If they’re not then John Tilbury, Jun Togawa, Kim Gordon, David Sylvian and Brigitte Fontaine: together or separate.

17. Are you analog or digital?

Both.

18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?

I edit things in Ableton. Nothing better than using state of the art software like a $200 sampler. 

I don’t tend to mention hardware because the modular synth arms race has installed this idea you have to invest thousands before you create a note of music. You can use whatever you want, however you want it. Some of the greatest music ever has been made by using things incorrectly or doing the “wring” thing – hello, the TR303.

19.Describe your creative process?

I know when something is finished, even if it takes a few years, or just a few hours.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

First thing in the morning, last thing at night. Sometimes in between.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)

Rough Trade in London, Resident Records in Brighton, Piccadilly Records in Manchester, and Bleep, Boomkat, Norman Records online.

22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)

Optimistic realist.

23. Do you have a healthy lifestyle?

Trying to. A low level ear infection meant I had to go on antibiotics for almost three years a few years so piled a lot of weight on very quickly and still got that to lose. Other than that I eat quite well. Steamed mushrooms with red kidney beans is a cheap, healthy and tasty meal that is a current favorite. It’s now samphire season here in the UK and whilst it is rather pricey I’m hoping to get some next pay day as a healthy treat. 

24. How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)

It’s a constant struggle to fit anything around full time work, life admin, commuting, having a long term relationship and family. I don’t see my friends much. Making music is a really lonely pursuit. You spend hours on your own working on things, and I see a lot of people burn out because they receive minimal or no interest. Thankfully, as mentioned earlier, I do it because I would anyway, and I have such low expectation I’m constantly surprised anyone is ever interested. However I do see how many people without wealth (or at least wealthy parents) can only do it as a hobby, because they’re not part of the 1% who have a booking agent, release on a big indie label or are just plain lucky enough to push above the noise and “get traction” and do music even semi-professionally.

25. Any secret skills?

Generally I don’t cook very well but I make a brilliant cherry clafoutis.

26. Any future plans?

Survive Brexit and find suitable homes for the three albums I’ve almost finished.

27.What’s your life motto?

Tough crowd.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?

“L’enfer c’est les autres”.

 

 

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