Interview with Roof Light

Today, we're lucky enough to get a few words from one of my favourite producers, Roof Light. Read on and check out some of his thoughts and opinions and check out some of his music too. Win win.

NT: Hey, can you give us an introduction for those that might not have heard of you yet?
RL: I'm a musician, Sound Sculptor, Producer, Songwriter, Painter, Father, Husband, Son, Brother, anything else is unimportant.

NT: You’ve released on some pretty big labels in your time, including MJ Cole’s label, Prolific. When did you first start producing, and when did you start to send your tracks out to other people?
I have been 'dabbling' for 30 years on and off, from drumming on chairs and buckets with unknown bands, to messing about with broken tape and other machines. Professionally started 4 years ago. I never sent any demos, People were nice enough to contact me..

Roof Light - When You Sleep, I Turn To Rust

NT: I always feel like your releases have a really cohesive vibe running through each one. It’s hard to explain, but when I’m listening, I can instantly tell which release it came from, especially the In Your Hands EP which, in my opinion, flows perfectly. Is this something you consider when producing or is it just a coincidence?
It's just a coincidence, I never plan things. The 'creative' part is something unexplainable. I'd love to say that everything is ordered and I know what I'm doing. The truth is, I just sit down and work. Sometimes
I have a few weeks away from the studio, a kind of enforced break. This is good for me, I 'enjoy the silence'. Reading is something I do a lot.

NT: There’s always a lot going on in your tracks in terms of instruments used. Do you play any instruments, and if so, how much are they involved in your productions?
I play a wide range of different instruments, some of them much better than others. They can be exclusively or minimally used in the music at any one time.

NT: This is a bit of a standard interview question now, but I’m really interested in knowing who your influences are. I’m guessing there’s a pretty wide range?
I have a huge interest in musical mavericks, there are many. Thomas Tallis (16th century composer) is one example, because of what he did to change choral composition in the face of a rigid religious framework within that time in Tudor England which was hugely reactionary to anything out of the norm, it was possible to lose your life because to persecution over something we now see as trivial. At the time though, with religion causing massive social upheaval, Tallis was truly brave in what
choices he made with his art. But then I could bang on about David Sylvian or Juan Atkins just as easily, I'm as likely to be listening to Lee Perry, Arvo Part, Bobbie Gentry or Scritti Politti. To be honest, I feel totally irrelevant talking about myself.

GhostLight - Known All The Days

NT: One of the tracks on the Harlem Power EP was ‘Two Cities (Dub)’. Does that mean there is a vocal version that is yet to surface?
RL: No.
NT: .... :(

NT: It seems the majority of people involved with music reject genre boundaries, and I think your work might frustrate those who want to put a name to it so I think it’s strange when people refer to your music as dubstep. What’s your take on it?
Doesn't matter to me really. People can call it what they want, I don't have a name for any of it, it's just music. If it frustrates business models and sales targets, suits and lawyers then good. The issue is now, even the electronic music scene is becoming conservative, it all seems to be about money, which is tragic. And of course I want no part of that.
For instance, let's take a subject like mainstream radio, there's no one like John Peel (another maverick) to expose interesting new independent music, who have we got now, Rob Da Bank and Benji B?. I think that speaks volumes. Pirate radio is another thing altogether though. There are some amazing stations out there. Cinema and Art are suffering in the same way. Life's not all about Tracy Emin, Banksy, Anne Hatthaway and Jason Statham.
Certain sections of media cater to their own audience and don't take risks, you see the same names all the time, there's lots of new stuff out there no one writes about, you have to search for new music and look hard in the strangest places. 
Fashions and fads will fade over time.  Musically I want to be able to create a song that can be listened to in 30 years time and you couldn't tell when it was made, unlike a lot of electronic music being made right now. I've seen people say "yeah, I'm eclectic" what does that mean? Does it mean someone's eclectic if they change the tempo of their tracks from 140 to 78 BPM? No. In my mind that's not eclectic.
I don't make music to fit in any genre or to be cool and fit in with some kind of scene. maybe I've been too wilful and conversely alienate others. That's not something intentional but I will do things on my terms, no one else's.
I don't think I'm 'eclectic' per se. Just different from others.
Also I believe that interviews are the written equivalent of the native American Indian belief that in having their photographs taken they lost a part of their soul. Thus, I take no pleasure in interviews really, For me, it detracts from music.

NT: You also collaborate with Ghostek in Ghost Light on tracks with a darker vibe. How did that collaboration come about, and why do you think you work so well together?
He is a nice guy, and we have similar ideas. That's all really.

NT: Is there any intention to ever release any of the Ghost Light stuff? Can we expect any new Roof Light stuff in the near future?
Maybe, we made about 12 tracks I think, enough for an LP, no one wants to take the risk and put it out though.
I have thousands of tracks built up over the years. Most are rubbish. There will be an LP next year, spring time with Alicia Merz/Birds Of Passage. It'll be Acoustic Guitar/Folk music, exploring that avenue is more enjoyable for me right now.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon - All You Need

NT: Can you recommend any producers that we should keep an eye on?
There are lots of good interesting producers out there. There are an awful lot of overhyped and ego inflated ones as well. I'd rather people find good or bad music for themselves than me acting as some kind of 'taste barometer'.

NT: A final question, if you had to pick your three favourite “Night Tracks”, what would they be?
'Two Weeks Last Summer' Sandy Denny
'Love Song' Lesley Duncan
'Eclogue for Piano And Strings' Gerald Finzi

NT: Thanks very much for your time, and apologies for taking a part of your soul via the medium of a written interview, I guess. Be sure to check out Roof Light and keep an eye on all his projects!