A Chat With Stuart David

On the 18th November 1999, Stuart David sent answers to some questions from Mike Jones via email. Mike wanted to share them with Sinister. Here's the responses.

From: "stuart david"
To: "Mike Jones"
Date: Thursday, November 18, 1999 3:02 PM
Subject: Re: questions for stuart

1. how exactly did the looper project come about? was it something you had always had in mind before belle and sebastian, or did the work come afterwards?

It all fell together by accident in a way. Me and Karnn had been looking for a way to work together for years. I'd been writing songs and in bands from I was about fifteen, and she'd been at art school doing sculpture. Then I started recording the Looper stuff and my sister asked me to do a show at the art school. So to save it being too boring Karn made som films and a stage set and stuff, and it all just fell into place and grew from there.

2. when you started looper, was it your intention from the beginning to do a project of any sort with karn?

Not right at the beginning of doing the music. We didn't think of it till the idea of the show came up.

3. how exactly does the writing process work with looper and belle and sebastian? obviously, you write nearly all of the music and words in looper, but how do songs come into fruition with b&s? does someone come in with an idea, a melody, or lyric of some sort, and the band works with that, or does the band work in more of a "jam session" style? does each member of b&s write their own part, or are the different parts written already?

Mostly with B&S someone writes a song and brings it in finished, and if whoever wrote it has any ideas for what the other instruments should play then the other instruments play that part. Otherwise everyone just plays whatever they want to. I think they've been doing things a bit different recently, but I haven't been there for a while.

4. it's quite evident from your songs & stories that you have quite an imagination, though some of your songs (impossible things, for example) are based on real life events. are any other songs you've written based on experiences you've had, or of people you've met?

All of the Looper songs are pretty much taken straight from life. Columbo's Car I developed a bit, after seeing the car around, but all the rest are just straight.

5. are you a columbo fan? :)

Oh yes. Karn got me the pilot episode on video recently, and I'm looking forward to having the time too watch it.

6. when did you start work on nalda said...what inspired you to write a novel? was the book concieved pre- or post-belle and sebastian?

The book was written and finished before I'd even met anyone from Belle and Sebastian. I wrote it about five years ago.

7. who are some of your influences, both musically and in writing?

Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Tom Waits, David Holmes, Fatboy Slim, Ronnie Size, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, J D Salinger, Martin Amis, Baudelaire. Stuff like that.

8. what current artists are you a fan of? current authors?

Badly Drawn Boy, Fonda 500, IQU, I haven't read manny current authors lately.

9. in a recent interview, you said that with nalda said in print, you want to put writing words aside for awhile, and that the next looper LP will be more instrumental based. will there be any vocal or story based songs at all? (i ask because i can already imagine the wonderful story possibilities of "my robot")

That was a bad misquote on that dotmusic website. I told the guy, that because I was writing story's on the page again I was getting more into writing songs again than spoken word pieces. Most of the pieces on the new album will have woords. I think there's only one instrumental at the moment. More sung songs, but still a few stories. (Including MY Robot. :) )

10. in the same interview, you mentioned possible upcoming remixes from cornelius, badly drawn boy, and beck. will you be doing any remixes for them, or for anyone else in the near future?

Well, Cornelius wanted too much money to do a remix. Two and a half times as much as Pulp. We haven't asked Badly Drawn Boy or Beck yet. But I'm doing a remix for Scotts single just now, Scottt who plays keyboards in Looper. And I did one of the Longpigs single that comes out in two weeks, but I'm not sure if it's on there or not. Luke from Salako has done a great remix of our next single, and we did one for IQU a few months ago.

11. the release of "up a tree" showed not only your prowess as a singer, storyteller, and songwriter, but also seemingly as a multi-instrumentalist. do a lot of the sounds on your records come from things you play, or are they pretty much all sampled from other sources?

I played a lot of it. But I count the sampler itself as a musical instrument, I don't sample things straight and just use them, apart from occaisionally drums. I cut everything up and replay it on the sampler the way I want it to be. But I can play most instruments, except drums.

12. what sorts of equipment and/or programs do you use to sample and sequence?

I made the first album just on my PC, with a program called Magix Music Maker, which was 35 pounds. I've done quite a bit of the new album on that too, but recently I got an Akai MPC2000 sampler, and I'll mostly work on that from now on.

13. you've mentioned a film version of "nalda said" is in the works. would you ever consider doing an audio book of nalda said, looper-style?

Not Looper style, no. I'd maybe read it - but not with music.

14. another one of the great things about "up a tree" was that one melody which floated in and out of different songs, yet this one melody evoked many different moods and all of the songs retained a sound of their own. was this coincidental, intentional, or sheer laziness? :)

Laziness? :) It was just something I'd wanted to do for a long time, from listening to film soundtracks, and Classical Music. It happens all the time in there. And I thought the album was a bit like a film soundtrack cause most of the songs were written for live shows where there were films and visuals.

15. do you have something of this nature in mind for geometrid? (i must say, that is a wonderful title.)

No. We've gone for a kind of cohesive sound overall, and a certain theme lyrically. But I wanted it to be as different as possible, and I thought if I tried that again I might fall into some kind of formula or habit.

16. you flirt with a few different musical styles on "up a tree"... jazz, electronica, hip hop...will you experiment with any other styles on the new LP?

Hopefully Dance, Pop, and a bit of Retro-Futurism. :)

17. could you spill any details on the next b&s LP? what will it sound like...will it be a wintery LP much like sinister was, or a spring/summery affair like tigermilk and bwtas? how many songs are expected to be on the album, and about how many will each member contribute? (note: if you really cant say much, that's cool. we figured it's worth a shot to ask.) :)

I don't know too much about it. I recorded some stuff with them in December last year, and I'm just surprised it's not finished. :)

18. you have said that you're a fan of the internet and of computers. do you think the internet has been a great way to spread word of mouth about both looper and belle and sebastian, and also to try to spread the word on the things that you like? take the b&s sinister list... the list has thousands of subscribers from dozens of nations. do you think such widespread fandom would be attainable without the internet, considering belle and sebastian don't really do much press promotion or touring?

I think the internet has made a big difference to a lot of things. And it is a great way for things too spread word of mouth, yes. I love it - but most of Belle and Sebastian aren't really fans of it. It's kind of strange. I think it's been their biggest help.

19. lastly, stuart, if you and the rest of the band aren't too busy in about 4 or 5 years...would you play at our wedding? :)

Oh, of course. :)



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