The following is an email interview with the musical maven Loose Link. Enjoy!
For those who might not know much about you, describe yourself.
My name is Craig, I go under the name Loose Link for my musical trips. I’m a partly sample based electronic artist that explores ambient, hip-hop, trip-hop, collage, hypnagogic, tribal and more. I’ve been going at it since 2007. I’m also an animator that explores video DJ’ing mostly as Zoo92, and I’m also responsible for creating Terminal Radio in 2012, which is still going to this day.
What are your inspirations behind Loose Link?
I basically wanted to be like DJ Shadow right from the get go! I’ve taken in alot of inspiration since, from FSOL, to 90’s Drum ‘n’ Bass, to heavy metal and 2d animation. Every Loose Link effort should be different to the last.
Do you find yourself pouring these influences and inspirations into your work in other collaborations?
They are definitely a base for me to build on yeah.
How do you feel your newest album differs from your previous releases?
Neo Tropico has a proper narrative and structure compared to what I’ve done before. That ended up being a bit of an achievement for me because the album pulled from 4 different projects I had going around the time, and I thought combining the best of all into one would make a fuller and more interesting journey, and it certainly did! It has more character and more space to it too.
What was the driving force behind Neo Tropico?
Neo Tropico started off as a concept album called “World Building”. It’s proven to be a bit ambitious for me for now, but I will certainly give it another try someday. Basically it was to be a concept album made entirely out of samples. All the samples were related to the subject of the album. Though that proved a bit too much of a task for me for now (too many samples to collect and keep track of for too long). I decided to change the title to better reflect it, and gave the previous title track away to an environmental compilation on the internet.
The album reflects my travels I had to the UK and Australia between 2012 to 2014. It features some sound captured from both places, collaborations with people I’ve met and befriended, including a poet from London who appears on a couple of tracks. Its also my first dive into Vaporwave and its subgenres that I recently got into. So it’s a bit of a road-trip along a soundscape. An aural location called Neo Tropico.
Were there any creative challenges during the recording process?
Well, the album took me five years to make! Ever since the last one, I struggled to come up with material that compared to what I previously done. There were a lot of on and off sessions that resulted in alot of music in various stages, yet they ultimately weren’t satisfying to me. It was only until Terminal Radio got going that I felt the spark to continue, and I ended up with 4 different projects and ideas that I was working on at the same time! One project was the follow up to my last album. The second one was a collaboration album between me and alot of the Terminal regulars and other friends I made. The third was a special spoken word/ambient effort between me and a poet I met in London who called himself “The Alternative Sapien”. The fourth project was to be my first Vaporwave album, which explored that genre that I then recently got into. I knew having these four going would just pre-long the process even further, so I picked the best of the bunch.
You used a lot of samples in the construction of the album. Do you have a set method for sample hunting or does inspiration sort of strike while you just might be happening to be listening to something?
It starts off either with me messing around with a few samples or a few original notes that start sounding great together then I go from there, or I’ll have a theme that I want to tackle and I’ll collect samples and create sounds around it, writing down notes and watching videos related to the idea. Usually it isn’t done in a day as I want to approach it when my head is in different states, when it sounds great from these different perspectives I keep going. I would like to try. There has been a couple of occasions of completing something very quickly when I was really in the mood though.
What are your plans for the future as Loose Link?
There will be a couple of new compilation tracks in September, then later in the year there will be Hyperbird, which is a collaboration between myself and Off Land. Its built off the same track off of Neo Tropico, but the idea surprisingly grew and now there will be a near album’s worth of new interpretations coming! It’s sounding really great so far.
Beyond that, I don’t have any firm plans or inspirations for another album yet. That of course could change at any time, so I think I’ll just let that happen this time instead of having some great big plan dictating it. I do want to explore these new genres that I’m currently into, so I’m pretty sure my next effort will at least be a decent dive into that!
I will also be getting into VJing alot more, keep an eye here and follow along if you’re interested:
What got you started in animation and drawing?
I’ve been drawing since I was young. I was one of those many kids who filled their schoolbooks with sketches and cartoons. I grew up with alot of animation growing up. I lived on the edge of the Australian outback in a mining town for most of my early life. It was hours away from the nearest city, so it did get boring. I developed abit of an imagination to keep me from getting bored, and animation helped that alot. There was a little video deli in the town that had all the Manga Entertainment VHS tapes that first came out in the early-mid 90’s, and I was right into those! Akira, Dominion, Street Fighter etc. I drew comics for fun and started developing stories that meant alot to me. I only just got into animation in the past few years when I got my Cintiq. I never really tried to animate before but now its mostly my only form of work!
Might we see a Loose Link track set to an animation in the future?
There was one that’s meant to be coming soon. It’s an audio/visual collaboration with Illuminated Paths. I’ve done my part and now just waiting on him. Not too sure where it’s at for now as I haven’t heard from him for a long time. But if it does come out, its going to be quite crazy! I might do my own in the future. I wouldn’t mind doing a collaborative project with alot of other animators on such a video, we’ll see!
Tell us a bit about Terminal Radio, especially regarding your involvement with it.
I was the original creator of Terminal Radio. I came up with the idea in 2012 as a radio show companion to Terminal Window, a compilation series started by Ross Baker. By the time of Terminal Window 2 in early 2012 we became a very creative and talented crew. This showed its face twice with the Terminal Windows. There was a space of a year between releases, including the third volume. I felt that in this day and age you need to be much more active and constantly showing your work to get and keep people’s attention. So Terminal Radio gave people a portion of air time to show their stuff among other mixers, some of them big time and been doing it since the 80’s. I figured this would bring the fans and their heroes closer together so they felt a boost in confidence in their own work. Definitely in its first year it worked for most of us! The show is monthly and has had over 50 different musicians contributing. Ross Baker handles the show nowadays, and a few others have had a hand in curating an episode.
If you could unveil a mascot to best represent your work under this project, what would it be and why?
I guess a cybernetic-chameleon? Or a surfing skeleton? (I have drawn one and use it as an avatar!)
A huge thanks to Loose Link for the interview! Be sure to check out the Loose Link Bandcamp and the Terminal Radio Mixcloud! Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/loose-link Facebook! : https://www.facebook.com/LooseLink?fref=ts