In mixes, words on May 31, 2010 at 12:00

“…and those Bank Holiday Mondays, those sleep ins / Where the sun touches our skin through an open window”

Musical cast in order of appearance:

Bloc Party – The Prayer
Futureheads – Hounds of Love
Akira – Tickertape
Nine Inch Nails – Echoplex
Akira – Rap Song
Major Lazer – Hold The Line
Mastodon – Oblivion
Akira – Hard Feelings
Niyi – I Love You All
Zomby – Spliff Dub (Rustie Remix)
Akira – Patriot
Akira – 81 Minutes
Mew – Louise Louisa
Akira – Winning A Nuclear War

I used to be in a band called Akira with my friends Sarah and Joel. We made music together in one form or another for about eight years. Which is a long time to do anything. When we met, we were kids who thought we were much more grown up than we actually were. When things ended late last year we were adults all too aware that we weren’t kids anymore.

There are a number of different ways to construct a band. The prevalent paradigm within rock music remains that of a group of friends who conspire to take over the world. We twisted our music into a whole bunch of different shapes during our time together, but Akira were friends in a rock band, first and foremost. And we did fully intend to take over the world. It’s like Corey Taylor from Slipknot once quipped… any band who says this isn’t what they’re after are lying. And if they’re not, well that’s just a staggering lack of ambition. Ha.

For reasons I won’t go into here, Akira is/are no more. Towards the very end of our time, my lovely girlfriend bought me a laptop with Ableton Live on it as a birthday present. If you’ve ever come out to see me DJ, that’s Bethan’s machine you’re looking at. I decided that I’d learn how to use Ableton and I’d been thinking about doing a mixtape for a while anyway. As well as people I’ve mentioned on this blog before – Girl Talk and Niyi – I was also thinking about the mixes 65daysofstatic play while they’re setting up.

Joel, Sarah and I had always liked the idea that a song is never limited to its one recorded version, always been attracted to the prospect of finding ways to recontextualise our songs. So the idea of a mixtape had obvious appeal, and I made one placing our music alongside lots of other people we were into either individually or as a band. As I’m the one who made it, though, I’ll freely admit that there’s a bit more of the stuff I’m into.

Sarah was the one who suggested the Bloc Party / Futureheads / Tickertape thing. Me trying to pull that off is what eventually turned into Austerity Olympics 001. And that’s her singing one of Joel’s heartbreaking melodies at the end. I really like that.

The mixtape was going to be the first of a series, but it ended up being a kind of retrospective – there are elements of the very first and last songs we wrote. The mix is a little rough round the edges, but I decided to leave it as it is.

However sad I am that the band is over, I listen to this mixtape and can at least say that we wrote some cool music.

So here’s something for you to enjoy while you make a leisurely brunch after a Bank Holiday lie-in. Or, if you don’t have the dubious honour of living in the United Kingdom… I guess it’s just something for you to enjoy.

And remember: there’s only one way to win a nuclear war.

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