I began my Deep Folk Mixtape series about three years ago. I had recently pressed the pause button on my DJ life. After EBTG went on hiatus in 2000 I spent the next twelve years immersed in underground electronic music, which had had hit me as a new way of hearing and playing music to me after years writing in a similar way – like a long-term painter being introduced to collage. The urge to return to my songwriting roots then bubbled again up a few years ago. I began writing songs again – and it has led to my two recent solo albums Hendra and Fever Dream – but the urge to DJ never fully subsided, so I began to wonder what would happen if I applied the same principles I had applied to mixing deep house to folk and folk-rock and American Primitive and ambient electronic music; thinking about segues, matching keys and tempo, space echo, overlays of spoken word. And so the Deep Folk Mixtape series was born.
I don’t really plan them. As the weeks pass I keep a notebook of music I stumble across that I think might fit, then an evening comes around when I go down into my studio and plug up a few FX, and start tinkering around until I get the first couple of mixes and crossovers planned; then it just flows. I do some mixes live through an old Rane mixer, some using software – both have their uses. I’m not a purist. I use Freesound.org for a lot of the field recordings to add texture; there are some beautiful recordings up there; there is a guy I follow who specializes in long slow recordings of the creaking of trees in the wind.
I found the photograph I used for the artwork in a box of my grandmother’s old souvenirs. It is my grandfather William Watt in full deep folk mixtape mode.