Interview: The Intricate Specifics of Antoni Maiovvi.

While the bigger names on any festival billing may be the ones to pique any initial intrigue, neglect to wade through any deeper recesses there may be at your own ignorance. Indeed All Tomorrow's Parties is, needless to say, an organisation rightfully revered for its dedication to carving out intricate niches within its every endeavour: from flinging the proverbial fingers at the intrinsic disappoints of every New Year's Eve with a Sonic Youth blowout to attracting an arsenal of saxophones originating from the world's every corner to Butlins, Minehead on an annual basis, as far as ATP are concerned the spectacular is seemingly never further removed from actuality than the length of a seagull's bill.

Via the instruction of the above GIF or otherwise, you may well not only be aware of the likes of Death Grips & Dirty Three & Demdike Stare, but also of their respective appearances at this month's I'll Be Your Mirror (May 25th-27th). However delve a single line beyond show-stumping headliners Slayer, Mogwai and The Afghan Whigs and you'll encounter Antoni Maiovvi. Playing alongside the likes of Mudhoney, Codeine and Chavez come Saturday – provided the fine architectural structures of Alexandra Palace withstand the brutalisation that is Reign In Blood in its entirety the previous evening – and selected by co-curators Mogwai ("It's not a very interesting story; they're fans") Antoni Maiovvi is both the latest project and current pseudonym of Bristol-based disco/ noise rock nut Anton Maiof. Here's some inquisitive stuff fired off in his general direction...
Dots: The ATP brand certainly seems to hold not only an impactive but also quite influential sway on much independent music. Do you feel as though you've acquired much advantage through your now-inherent affiliation with the festival?

Antoni Maiovvi: So far, not really: I've had some contact from some people in the 'higher up' echelons of the industry but I'm never sure quite what to do with that sort of praise. I have many friends in the industry so it's probably a personal issue that I don't trust so easily. That said, my music has now spread a little further and for that I'm obviously hugely grateful.

Dashes: Would you therefore say it's perhaps difficult not to be sceptical when the cogs within the industry's inner workings start to turn in your favour? Indeed, what's your own personal interpretation of the role of the record label these days?

Antoni Maiovvi: Well I have fans, of course, even if I do still find it surprising when people come to shows to meet me. That's really heart-warming. But it's still pretty tough sometimes to get people even to listen to my work: I finished an album – a really pop album that I spent months producing to the best of my ability – and had friends pass it on to some bigger labels only to hear nothing back. It's a shame in a way, but in the end I write music for my own personal enjoyment thus if someone doesn't like what I do it's not as if I'll quit..!

But I understand that things are tough for labels at the moment; it's a huge risk to push an indie artist, especially as I don't think I sell that many records. As for their role, I see it as the curation of a certain sound: Planet Mu get it right; Tectonic are good, as are Cyber Dance. They've vision and do what they're doing very well.

As for me, I'm continuing to move forward, keeping myself writing constantly and I feel really lucky to be working within genres which I not only love but also have a wonderful, ever-growing connection with. But, then again, I've been releasing noise/ noise rock records since 2001 and I'm still out in relative obscurity...

Dots: Following on from last month's relatively successful Record Store Day it's of course evident that vinyl's experiencing something of a renaissance but it seems to be tinted with a little falsity. The inner pedant would point to 180 gram vinyls not being what they used to and whatnot... What purpose do you see within the format at this point in time?

Antoni Maiovvi: It's funny you ask as myself and Greek horror disco artist Vercetti Technicolor have just started our own label called Giallo Disco Records, specialising exclusively in 12” releases and digital. I love vinyl for several reasons: firstly a release seems more 'real' and secondly, provided they're not all wiped out in some nuclear disaster, we'll always be able to listen to music. Even without electricity. Maybe that's a slightly paranoid concern... However purpose is a funny thing: they don't really serve any purpose; they're just nice to have and to collect.

Dashes: To pose the age-old inquisition, were you afforded the luxury of curation (and innumerable funds) who might you pick out of history for a weekend down beside the seaside and why? Apologies if such a question may seem somewhat hackneyed – I honestly believe it serves as a quite pertinent indicator of both inspiration and influence, as well as personal preference...

Antoni Maiovvi: Goblin & Tangerine Dream (that'd have to be with the Froese/ Franke/ Schmoelling line up though) & Whitehouse & Zombi & Bronnt Industries Kapital & Light Asylum & Mugstar & The Jesus Lizard & Årabrot & cementimental & The Cure & Rush & SPK (again, line up specific: Auto Da Fé only) & Fabio Frizzi & Ennio Morricone & Umberto & Vercetti Technicolor & Gravenhurst & Aphex Twin & Den Haan & Cyber Dance Records crew & oOoOO & King Crimson & Christoph De Babalon & Thought Forms & Public Enemy & Kool Keith. Oh and the ghosts of Casco, Arthur Russell, Patrick Cowley, Coil, (Electric) Miles Davis and Sun Ra.

This is really tricky. The reasoning as to why is because I like all their records. There are a ton I missed.

Dots: I've found it quite baffling that, despite the resurgence of, say, Black Devil Disco Club Italo-disco is yet to experience the full (again) renaissance it so blatantly merits. It seems to be a genre that's immediately universally accessible whilst it simultaneously retains a substantial degree of obscurity. What attracted you to disco initially and what is it that keeps you hooked? Provided you'd say you were...

Antoni Maiovvi: It's funny you say that: I think the renaissance has come and gone. There were people like myself working on things without even knowing there was a scene, and there were people in London who were a little more plugged into it (not to devalue their work in any way). I was just a little surprised when it turned out there was a scene at all. But what I think happened was, like all artists who come together at any one point in time, we took the influence, did some pastiche work, kept the parts that were personally interesting and then moved on. At least I hope that's what an artist is supposed to do! Ali Renault now makes this hypermodern electro; Bill Ambrose is making synthpop; Den Haan are making hits. The things that attracted me to Italo are the things that attract me to any kind of music: weirdness (and especially pop weirdness), raw production that never gets in the way of the song, hypnotic grooves, trashy things, futurist things, emotion and a sense of otherworldliness.

Dashes: Do you think that disco has a contemporary relevance? It seems to be becoming increasingly problematic to retain any form of relevance whatsoever given the speed at which we're now opting to intake our daily music... Moreover I'd envisage that may become trickier still for those entangled in a genre that's viewed primarily as perhaps an exercise in nostalgia..?

Antoni Maiovvi: For me it was never about nostalgia and it was certainly never an '80s revival thing although I suppose it could easily have been mistaken for one. I'd never heard these records before and personally, initially I was just obsessed with 'the sound'. I've moved past that now, but I've no problem in playing these records when I do end up DJing. I'm not worried about the contemporary relevance: this and all the music I like is always looking toward the future.

Dots: Given its quite ecstatic tendencies, if all that was needed in '67 was 'Love' then could disco represent valid alternative for these stereotypically troubled times?

Antoni Maiovvi: I've recently been wondering about that: all music seems to be about escape. An escape from poverty; an escape off the planet and into another world. Times are getting stranger, people don't know what to fight and so they consequently opt to live in fantasy. Unless I'm mistaken re: the Pan-Dimensional Lizard People and they do in fact exist...

Dashes: From your answers there's a perceptible humility running throughout. It's refreshing, particularly given the amount of inflated egos kicking about in musical pools both great and small. Do you sometimes feel as though it's necessary to hike out of your comfort zone to achieve certain aims? You say you've experienced uncertainty when confronted by praise...

Antoni Maiovvi: Oh please don't misunderstand me: I have a huge, delicate ego. It's just that I understand what it's like to be a fan, primarily as that's what I am. But in terms of my comfort zone, well, I try and stay humble. I like people; I'm not as afraid of them as I was back in my 20's and as for my creative output, my experimental music background keeps me occupied as I set to work on music; a chosen sound; a title. I record every idea no matter how stupid, uncool or emotionally naked it may make me appear. Then again I still write from home so I guess that's me not moving outside my comfort zone... I was reading an interview with Skrillex about how he writes in his hotel room and I'm not sure I could do that. It made me envious...

Dots: I suppose most decades are glorified from a distant point in the future once we've been afforded time to gaze back retrospectively. This era that we inhabit however feels a little lacking in definition. What would you hope to be picked out of this age in twenty or thirty years time?

Antoni Maiovvi: I'm not sure you can define something when you are so close to it as even in a physical sense you need to step back and see the whole picture. But if people were to look back, well, soft synths got really good; touch screen technology is pretty rad (though both of those things will inevitably be improved). Maybe people will one day develop a fetish for the EXS24 sampler in Logic 5.5? Dubstep, Bounce and Footwurk are perhaps too obvious...

Dashes: You say that you've advanced past a stage of obsessing over 'the sound'. What is it that motivates your artistry first and foremost nowadays?

Antoni Maiovvi: Old records I've never heard before and the emotion any song can carry. Just normal things really: I basically just like music and I'm inspired by it daily. With regard to the Antoni Maiovvi project, it's about making good music that I like. Therefore if I don't like it, it may be deemed worthless.

Dots: You specify the 'Antoni Maiovvi project' in a way to suggest a differentiation between Maiovvi and yourself. Is it a case of the adoption of a certain persona for these particular endeavours? And if so, how come? Is it perhaps a question of distancing individual from artist to engender a greater sense of creative freedom?

Antoni Maiovvi: Well, it started out as a fun side project to my more serious electro-acoustic/ noise stuff. I then went to university and was striving to set myself up as a serious modern composer. Fate had other plans, or so it would seem. I've never considered myself very cool but Maiovvi... He's cool; he's like all my movie heroes in one man. But he's lonely; he's seen things. However he doesn't write the music; I do. He only performs it. I thought having lots of pseudonyms was part of the language of dance music in any case?

Dashes: Essentially, as previously alluded to, I truly believe escapism to be one of, if not the fundamental reason we all appreciate and indulge in music of one form or another. Can one therefore escape reality through music and can music become reality? The trials and tribulations facing touring artists are of course well-documented these days...

Antoni Maiovvi: It's a strange one: two years ago I decided that I didn't want to tour in a traditional way any more; as in every day a new city. I very much enjoy going somewhere for the weekend and I feel as though I don't lose my mind as much if I do so. It wasn't just the grind of the road; I was losing touch with myself and when you play a character for 30 minutes to an hour you sometimes lose the real person that's in there somewhere. I love losing myself in music, but man: I've been totally fucked up for the night and Detective Maiovvowitz has just stuck around, trying to fuck anything that moves; consuming beyond his own body weight in whiskey. It's embarrassing... but fun.

I'm in a lucky position I guess; or for the moment at least: I'm not married, I have no children, I only need to worry about food and rent, I can wake up in the afternoon if I want and make whatever music I want. I dream up new characters, follow odd obsessions; all of which I do for my own amusement.

Dots: How much whisky would it take to floor this enigmatic 'Detective Maiovvowitz'?

Antoni Maiovvi: I'm not sure it can be done. He's a menace. But at least he's on our side... Unless you're a rapist and/ or murderer, in which case he's gonna kick the living shit out of you.

Braithwaite et al. are fans and you may well be too after this show.

Antoni Maiovvi plays All Tomorrow's Parties' I'll Be Your Mirror Saturday, May 26th. More info may be located here, whilst limited tickets can be acquired here.