The imminent EP on Ramber Records, Shadows, is a snapshot of Akranes’ touchstones to date and plays out as a cassette of two sides. While Side A’s slow-burning echo chambers – including recently streaming single ‘U Tke’ – caress and lull you into a gentle sense of security, the flip side switches to static fuzz, alien clamours and sub-bass pulses in moody electronic wastelands.
Ooni Staerk’s vocals supplement and direct the postmodernist flux; comforting in the malevolence and an anchor in the subtler waves of emptiness. A year on from the opening gambit of a still-nascent producer, Shadows deals a hand filled with aces but with more left up the sleeve.
We spoke to Liam Gaunt, the producer behind the Akranes laptop, about vocalists, Ramber Records and Hebden Bridge.
Why Shadows? Is there anything in the name?
There isn’t really a specific meaning behind it. It was a working title for ages and ages and I guess it just stuck.
Is there a particular appeal to releasing it on cassette with Ramber Records?
I used to love unwinding my mom’s tapes as a kid and when Rob came to me with the idea of doing a tape I thought it’d be a fun way to release something, instead of just putting a few tunes on a Soundcloud page and pushing that.
Rob and Amber were really patient and supportive as well, which was great.
Are your production methods equally old school?
I pretty much use Ableton Live for everything. Most of the songs started out as sound collages and then I whittle bits down, add in some drums and structure them into songs. I’d love loads of synthesisers and crazy comp units, but it’s expensive and I live with my parents at the moment, so there’s no space whatsoever for it. Plus, I think what I use works for me. It’s simple and fun, so why change it?
How did you team up with Ooni on vocals?
Ooni lives really close by and has done for a few years. She kept quiet about being able to sing for a while until two long-time friends, Jack and Harry (Pola and Bryson of Hospital & Soulvent Records), got her to work on a track they’d made. I don’t think it ever got finished or released, but I remember Jack talking about how amazing her voice was. I worked with a few other vocalists, but none of them really had any interesting ideas and it got really boring really quickly. When me and Ooni sat down to write, it was really natural and fun. I’m constantly working with other vocalists, but she’s my go-to.
Are you planning a launch show or tour on the back of the EP?
I wanted to do something with Inkfolk around Hebden Bridge, but due to the timing of the release we couldn’t. I love playing there. The sound is great and people are generally a bit more up for it. There are shows booked for Leeds and Manchester, there’s something in the works for London and I’m hoping to get out in Europe before the end of the year.
The Shadows EP cassette is due for release via Ramber Records on Friday 22 April, 2016.