M: We’re really good thanks! We played a couple of great shows this week, one being in Manchester with Japanese Math Rock legends LITE so we’re pretty happy.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Best Wishes”?
M: “Best Wishes” is the opening track from our forthcoming record, Apex Emotion. We meet our main character of the record, a world champion racing driver and international playboy named “Red Snake” for the first time as he lies in a hospital bed after he suffers a near fatal accident on the track and last rites are given as he is being prepared to be put into cryogenic stasis.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
M: Not so much an event but more a wanting to create a piece that straddles the line between an angular and somewhat aggressive piece and a dreamlike state, something that would serve to set the scene as the opening for the record.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
M: Keep an eye on our social media!
The single comes off your new album Apex Emotion – what’s the story behind the title?
M: “Apex Emotion” is record centered around a racing driver who finds himself awoken from cryogenic sleep three hundred and thirty-three years in the future, where he vows to return to the track, experiencing a new high-speed rivalry and a return to the playboy lifestyle inside a cyberpunk megacity. “Apex Emotion” doesn’t just describe the character’s feeling or his feeling at the moment of taking a corner just right but also the range of emotions we explore sonically on the record too.
How was the recording and writing process?
M: We started work on this record just after we put out our last release in 2016, finishing up the main bulk of the creative writing process around early summer of 2018. We went into Lower Lane Studios with our longtime friend and producer Sam Bloor around that same time. We broke a lot of ground that we hadn’t previously done on past records with this one, using a lot of synthesisers and instrumentation like trumpets, string sections and microtonal guitars as well. We also dove into the world of digital guitar amplifier modelling equipment for the first time after being staunch “analog and valve” traditionalists since we cut our first record in 2011 and it sounds incredible, the technology available to guitarists and bassists now is utterly unbelievable. As for Sam, he honestly is the best producer we could have worked with as he has such dedication and he’s such a positive force for experimentation in the studio. If we had an idea that we wanted to implement or a patch of sonic territory we wanted to explore or push further into then we were always working together to make that happen. For me it was the freest I’ve felt in the studio, I don’t think we could have made this record with anybody else.
What role does Stoke play in your music?
M: It’s gritty. It’s still very much a traditional, working-class town and that’s created some great bands and musicians. Look at Discharge, Spy vs Spy, Krupskaya, Andy Gower and even Robbie Williams as great examples of the last few decades. Now we’ve got some pretty hot bands coming up like Psyence, Clay Lake, Average Joe and Black Coast so it must be doing something right. Maybe It’s that creative spark that only really comes to life in somewhere as grey and smothering but also as comfortable as this?
How much did you draw for real life on this album?
M: As a cyberpunk, science fiction type affair I’m afraid not much but I did take to watching a lot of 70’s and 80’s motorsport on YouTube and playing a lot of Ridge Racer whilst I was writing and conceptualising the pieces where Red Snake is racing for inspiration.
What emotions did you get to explore on this record?
M: We wanted to encapsulate as many raw feelings into the music as possible to accompany the story. From the mystery of the opening, moving into to awe, elation, derangement, depersonalization and triumph, I wrote to convey this using no lyrics and just purely by creating scenes with either soundscapes or instrumentation. As for personally, I’d say us all having more life experiences both positive and negative no doubt subconsciously influenced a majority of the work on the album.
Any plans to hit the road?
M: You can catch us at Acid Hat’s Weird & Wonderful Fest at Leeds Wharf Chambers Oct. 28th, and with Last Hyena in early November at Glasgow Bar Bloc 7th, Sheffield West Street Live 8th, Bristol Crofters Rights 9th, London The Victoria 10th and Brighton Green Door Store 11th.
What else is happening next in All The Best Tapes’ world?
M: We’re all just putting our heads together and making sure we’ve got everything right going into the new year, I’m slowly piecing together ideas and approaches for the next record too but really all of our focus is on this release. See you in 2019 and beyond.