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Jon Hopkins

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Jon Hopkins might have dropped his fourth album almost six months ago now, but the applause still hasn’t died down. ALEX GRIFFIN talks to the in-demand UK composer, producer and remixer ahead of his first visit to Perth next month for Slanted And Enchanted on Saturday, December 7 at The Bakery. 

Having previously made a name for his collaborations with the likes of Brian Eno and King Creosote, Jon Hopkins’ fourth album, Immunity is a great leap forward and a treasure for anyone who thinks that brains and the dancefloor go perfectly well together, thank you. 

For Hopkins, the success of Immunity came down to being able to spend time locked away and obsessing over the billions of details that combine in moments like the solar surges of Sun Harmonics.

“This time I did nothing but this for nine months and it feels much more coherent, like it comes from one time,” he explains. “In the past I’d been working on so many different things that it sounded like a heap of different times and styles thrown together. I’m proud of other things I’ve done, but I reckon this stood a better chance of sounding like it made sense!”

He’s not the only one who thinks so, if rabid acclaim from Pitchfork and a nomination for the UK’s prestigious annual Mercury Prize is anything to go by. Though he acknowledges the recognition from the industry as a boon – “it’s only a bonus; you don’t go into music to win white goods. I don’t think about these things until they happen, but when they do you get all this extra exposure, so it’s a great help. The second you start focusing on it you’re gone, but having had three albums under the radar I’ve never craved that attention.”

Yet for someone who has now been put firmly at the head of the vanguard, Hopkins spends as little time as possible keeping his finger on the pulse. “I don’t keep track of the most current stuff on purpose, because I wanted to make something that didn’t sound like it had been made exactly right now,” he says. “The stuff I grew up with like The Chemical Brothers and other stuff from the early ‘90s when I was just getting into dance music is important to me, because they all feel like albums, not just collections of bangers. Besides, I have my own ideas which I wanna push a bit more and that’s what I focus on; I’m not a DJ, so I’m not keeping up on what the kids are making.”

The thing that really sets Hopkins apart from the pack is the amount of work he puts into making every sound as personal and real as possible; basically, if it’s a preset, he doesn’t want to know about it. “My goal is to basically make something that sounds like a living thing. On (lead single), One Eye Signal especially, I tried to focus on making it never sound the same, like it was changing, growing, almost breathing the whole way through.”

If changing things up means finding saltshakers or shaking the cat, it’s what it takes. “It’s all about making little handcrafted worlds for people; if you just grab whatever’s sitting near you instead of pressing a button, it’s more interesting.”

Translating such a private and meticulously put together piece of work into a live setting was a challenge, especially with the timeframe Hopkins was stuck with before heading on tour again, but he’s confident about taking Immunity on the road.

“The problem was that I was still in love with it; after I finished it, it was sent off for mastering, and then I had three days off before I had to start getting ready to play live. Having to rebuild it and break down the components was hard, but the great thing is that it takes on another life when you start playing.”

Jon Hopkins plays Slanted And Enchanted on Saturday, December 7 at The Bakery. 

Get Your Tickets Here.

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