I thought you might begin by telling us a bit about your process.
People really would like to know. I understand it's a big question, one that you've probably been asked plenty of times.
This is my first interview. I'm not sure I follow.
Not one to follow?
In relation to what, exactly?
Whatever it is you're working on. Right now. I mean, right this moment. What's in the pipeline?
People aren't usually interested in that sort of thing.
Since the release - the emergence, one might say - of your early tapes, audiences are starting to take more notice.
Which tapes are those?
People want you to cast your memory back a bit. Give us a sense of who you were, what it felt like to be shaping sounds like that.
I can't remember the tapes. I haven't made music for decades.
Those are the ones.
And they've resurfaced?
Plenty of air-time in the proper circles.
Niche audiences at this stage, but who knows what might happen next?
Not warped?
Things can spread, get out of hand very quickly. Next thing you know -
You're everywhere at once.
I was hoping you might give us a sense of who you were back then, at that age.
I'm amazed they're still audible. I can remember the drawer I put them in, but not how I made them, or what they were called.
Do you think a clear line can be drawn between those tapes and your later work / the war?
I think one had a name like 'Panshaker', or 'Panscraper'.
Do you think a clear line can be drawn between those tapes and who you once were?
I don't do music any more, you see. I tried to become an architect instead.
How are you finding the attention?
Twilight is something I've never quite figured out.
Different paths, I suppose. Which way did you want to go, in the end?
I've always wondered if any of it was worth pursuing, if anything was likely to come next.
But can you really, with any confidence, say that you've avoided cliché?
Of course there are pitfalls, of course. But overall... no...
And what about your website? Your mailing list? The crowded room? Word out there is it's all looking a bit malnourished.
I never got my head around what it was people actually wanted to see. Sometimes, as you get older, you realise you don't want to be yourself.
So does it matter, then, what other people think?
I'm not following.
Did you ever have dreams of the stage? Did you ever dream about waking up onstage?
I pretended those tapes really meant something, but didn't believe it. Shame they surfaced so late.
They say it's easier than ever to release sound.
I'm an architect now, you see. Well, retired architect. When I worked it was to make sure that -
What is the noblest profession, in your opinion?
I really do think it's alright. I can't complain. I shouldn't complain.
You once described failure as being a 'large, barborous word'.
People have killed for less, I'd say.
Are you sure this isn't too late for you? We're not keeping you up?
I have more time.
You must have more to say about that. You were so young. The young always have something to say.
I'm not sure at what point I put it away, out of sight.
How did you make those sounds? A reviewer at the time called it subversive, like unfamiliar tundra.
Play it, if you like. I'll try to keep up.
There's an animal in there somewhere, don't you think?
I can't remember which speed it was originally meant to be played at.
Does a different tempo make a difference?
I've been told a different tempo can make all the difference.
It really is a great shame.
The sense that whatever comes out of your mouth next, no matter how strange the shape, it's been said before, many times.
Identical. Identical. Identical.
I don't understand quantum things.
Is that why you gave it up in the end?
I suppose that's why I gave it up in the end. Kicked my attention down other avenues. I gave myself up. People always need buildings. Started doing the kind of drawing that matters. Started doing things that get away with pretending to matter, without mattering at all.
Have you ever saved a life?
It's been said that, when people listen closely, they often find themselves thinking about unfinished projects of their own.
People are coming forward to say that there's a sadness there, something about putting stuff down before it's had a chance to take off. Like a new bird.
I should have taken more walks. It's always possible to go further afield. I think we should always be looking towards the afield.
You should never have allowed yourself to get like this.
How are you supposed to start a project?
What can you tell us about the blank page?
It was always the blank page. That always mattered more than anything that came next. Once you have that, you have it all.
Shooting blanks.
The moment a line is drawn you lose the original conception, the impossible stuff that drives the whole show, gone just as the show starts.
And you find it easy enough to carry on?
Everything I've made has been sheer pain. Nothing ever went up easy. Every project means sharpening teeth and stretching limbs, not in a way that's comfortable.
The effort?
I've tried to design structures that lift people.
What about late success?
Yes, I think in some small way -
Any unexpected side-effects?
They say I've ballooned these past few years. Can't stand the sight of myself. Can't stand the sight of them, either.
You never told us about your routine.
I run further and slower. It feels regressive, the sort of thing children should be doing.
How has it affected your family life?
I never had children. Thought they'd probably end up getting in the way. Not that I think it made much difference in the end, might as well have had one or two.
They say it really does change you.
Irreparably, or so I once read.
Do you think it's about leaving behind a legacy, or is it more than that? Is there something in the act itself?
My firm presented me with an award last year. It means my name goes in the company brochure. I might even get a plaque, something for future employees to remember me by, though they'll never have met me, so I'm not sure 'remember' is the right word. But it could be there for years. Just my name. Etched on a metal plate.
I'm going to quote you something, and I want you to tell me what comes next -
Who said this?
"Living defensively is the central theme of our age..."
"... how else can we live?"
Do you remember it?
"Sometimes I write in the dark. At first it would come as a shock to turn on the light and see how big all the writing looked on top of each other or falling off the page."
You can stop now, you don't need to quote any more.
I can stop now, I don't need to say any more than that.
What are your hopes after death?
A reasonable pension.
And your friends?
Not much really, can't say I've given it too much thought. I don't like detritus.
But what about your friends?
A few of them phone me when I least expect it. Some of them have sort of dropped off.
Blossom-end rot. I've read about it in gardening magazines.
Any new year resolutions?
Less rice.
And what about the others?
Looking back, I really am far less than I've projected myself to be. In fact, it's pretty much all projection.
So you don't consider yourself to be a musician? Everyone else sees you that way. Does that seem strange to you?
I struggle to understand how the recordings still exist. I thought I saw them buried. Earth on top of earth, before my very eyes.
What made you do such a thing?
My parents discouraged me from pursuing a career in anything that didn't speak for itself.
Can you describe your childhood for me?
I grew up around kind people who gave everything and asked for nothing.
And what do they think of you today?
I try to call home four times a year, once a season, let them know I'm still going. We never have that much to talk about. I end up talking about myself.
They must be very proud.
I never really understood pride, what it was all about. Another reason I should have had children. They teach you that sort of thing.
Where are your children now?
You can see what it really means to them, somewhere deep within the eyes.
You mean, you don't think this is what they wanted for you, after all?
They would never have allowed it. That's why it's so strange hearing those tapes now - it's a reminder of a part of me that wasn't allowed to carry on.
What did they think?
You know how a fast-moving train, whilst travelling through a tunnel, is surrounded and preceded by its own roar? Its noise becomes a separate kind of animal, fiercer than the object it was made by. It sort of overshadows everything it once depended on. I think that's the sort of thing I was trying to capture in those tapes. How am I supposed to explain that to them?
Some listeners have said it made them want to lie down and hide away under dim light.
The way the noise of everything becomes too much, too fast. Yes, I can understand that.
And what about endings? You've hardly mentioned endings at all.
You see, that all came about as a result of something to do with my skin. I get these small bumps, kind of, like spots, but not spots, perhaps blocked pores, swollen hair follicles, who knows, you don't really notice them unless you look close, they don't itch or hurt or anything, but I can't leave them alone, drives anyone who knows me mad, they tell me off for picking at them whenever I get a chance, pinching the skin until it bruises, but I keep thinking about what's beneath the bumps, there must be something there otherwise the skin would be flat, but even if there is something there, underneath the surface, it's not worth picking at, not worth leaving a mark for, it's still just cosmetic.
You don't think the music's aged that well?
Difficult to say. We live in different times. I suppose this is probably where I should say something about technology, how it's changed everything.
How many listeners, do you think?
Do you have the numbers to hand?
I want you to guess.
Please, tell me.
Make it up.
I let a few friends listen at the time. Everything that made noise was exciting back then. I don't think anyone was that impressed.
I've lost the numbers. Shame, because I think you would have been pleasantly surprised.
I imagine so.
And what's next? What can we expect?
I'm going to lie down for a while. Been struggling with my balance quite a bit recently. Metaphorically speaking, you understand. I can still walk around without falling over.
I'm very sorry to hear that.
I don't think I really know how to answer your question.
In what sense?
In the sense of 'Was it all worth it?'
That's not a question anyone has asked.
I saw a funeral being conducted remotely the other day, via video-link. There were fractals of grief. The connection was weak. It was more moving because of all that, I think. Not being able to hear or see everyone properly.
Who do you think will be there in the end?
I never thought I'd make it as far as I have. I won't be leaving much behind. Buildings, unless they're cathedrals, don't tend to last more than a few generations. Songs die even younger.
You never answered my question.
Thing that struck me was how no one mentioned what the deceased did for a living. It wasn't mentioned once. People just talked about other things.
That's all we've got time for, I'm afraid.
Where did you say you found them? How did they resurface?
They really have caused quite a stir.
I don't know how I feel about all of that.
People have talked about feeling lifted.
I feel lifted.
The path you didn't take?
The one that -
I'm afraid that's all we've got time for.
Feels strange having something break the surface.
We're going to have to leave it there.
I'm sorry. Thank you for your time.