You only get one chance to make a first impression, a fact that Brooklyn via San Francisco producer Hound Scales (Hyp 119) was no doubt fully aware of when putting out the debut release on his Fifth Wall imprint back in February. As an opening statement of intent you’d be hard pressed to find a better record in recent times than Case (Nabis), a skewed piece of warehouse techno with more than enough personality and groove to distinguish itself in a market that is becoming rapidly saturated.
Soon after the label’s second release followed, with co-owner Divvorce taking the reigns this time. Equally assured as Fifth Walls’ debut yet with a distinct personality and flair of its own, the two releases represented an impressive start from the fledgling label which as of August has already notched up five releases. With the label’s sixth release, the debut from enigmatic Leeds based producer Unklone (three originals and a remix from Clouds, all “subtly, masterfully crafted warehouse fare”), set to drop this month, we thought it would be the perfect time to let Hound Scales and Divvorce grill each other. Read below to hear the Fifth Wall Records bosses thoughts on everything from classical music, the US Government and donating money to Hyenas…
Stream Unklone – ‘Designated #41’ exclusively via Hyponik below…
Hound Scales interviews Divvorce
What are you looking at right now?
D: I have two Firefox tabs open. One is a New York Times article about the rating of mortgage-backed securities by Standard and Poor’s; the other is the Wikipedia Entry for Smartsville, California.
You often trap me in long conversations about classical music. Can you tell me who your favourite classical musician is and why?
D: As far classical musicians go, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy is a favorite. He is technically perfect, but more importantly, he plays very expressively. One might even say he takes liberties in “interpreting” some pieces, which is generally a no-no in classical music (this isn’t jazz, no interpretation allowed!), but I find those liberties to be very compelling. His renditions of Chopin are some of the most beautiful ever recorded.
As far as classical composers go, I’ve always loved both Bartok and Stravinsky. The former’s ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ and the latter’s ‘Rite of Spring’ are perhaps my two favourite musical works of all time (although Goldie’s ‘Timeless’ is also a contender). Both works are simultaneously haunting, playful, and beautiful… there is such bold expression of a wide range of feelings, and it’s done in a way that’s not at all trite or cliché. Incidentally, Goldie’s ‘Timeless’ has these same qualities.
Yesterday I heard you singing ‘Motherless Child’. Which artist did your favourite rendition of that timeless piece of music?
D: You heard that? Allow me to apologize for the assault on your ears, as I am not a very good singer.
To answer your question, Francois Clemmons, who is best-known as the singing police officer on ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighboorhood’, did a “medley” of sorts with ‘Motherless Child’ and ‘Go Down, Moses’ that I rather like. The Paul Robeson version is also a classic. Hard to choose between the two.
You’re by yourself, it’s 3 am at a small cafe in Paris. What are you eating and what music are they playing?
D: I don’t think cafes are open that late in Paris, so maybe this is an alternate dimension, in which case I would be eating a croissant (bien sûr) while the ghost of Vera Hall sings lost blues ballads, accompanied by Sun Ra’s Arkestra and a Frenchman playing the accordian.
At what moment in your life did you feel most frustrated by the American government?
D: December 12, 2000. The entire day.
When you meet a young lady at a bar/club, how long is it usually before you mention you own a record label?
D: 27.3 seconds.
Divvorce interviews Hound Scales
Where are you?
HS: In line at Russ & Daughters waiting on my herring sandwich and chocolate babka. Maximum respect to herring. What’s good jaz.
You’ve said to me that you like music that sounds organic. Could you expand on that?
HS: In nature, everything happens as a reaction to something else. Things don’t just come out of nowhere, or just stop and start for no reason, there has to be something that sets these elements into motion. I like my music to reflect that fact.
Speaking of organic, what is your favourite place to shop for groceries in Brooklyn?
HS: I buy my groceries at Mr. Kiwis cause they got that made in BK multi grain bread and tabouli salad. Still looking for a good spot for wild caught fish and marinated octopus salad.
If we could put out a record by an artist that doesn’t yet exist, what would his/her/its name be, and what would the record sound like?
HS: I like to think that Bjork, Kate bush, and Nina Hagen are aliens sent here each generation to restore my breeds faith in female vocalists. So I want the next one they send to have a daughter with Werner Herzog and have her album recorded in her native language with werner narrating over the top.
A little birdie told me you rather like art and fashion. Who are some of your favourite artists and designers?
HS: Divvorce always pillow talking to those birdies. Some artists I like are Jeremy Deller, Jim Goldberg, Monica Bonvicini, Marissa Merz, Jenny Saville, Goya, Omar Fast, Mike Kelley and some designers are Takahiro Miyashita, Dries van Noten, Keizo Shimizu, Margiela, Iris van Herpen, Vivienne/Malcolm, Rei Kawakubo, and the god Alexander McQueen.
Speaking of art, how did you come up with the Fifth Wall logo that forms the foundation for all the album art?
HS: If I remember correctly we passed some sketches back and forth and agreed on the idea that the Fifth Wall might not be visible but is omnipresent. The album art always has it as a base but each piece of art reflects the concept of the ep or artist. For example, for my next ep ‘Femen’, it is the eyes of man judging a statue of the virgin Mary.
What are your thoughts on animal rights?
HS: I love animals and I respect them just as much as humans, sometimes more so, because they never have made me feel like I wanna kick the shit out of them, which humans often do. I currently give a bit each month to save my favourite animal the Hyena and have become a grocery vegetarian, trying to get down to 2/3 meat meals a week at restaurants with good standards and practices. Honestly cats need to stop eating fast food, fuck is wrong with people? Don’t trust motherfuckers who baby talk to animals, just like you shouldn’t trust people who are disrespectful to the homeless.
‘Designated #41’will be released on August 20th via Fifth Wall