This week we hear from Daniel Lopatin - the synthesizer wizard behind Oneohtrix Point Never and Ford & Lopatin (formerly known as Games). He's a good dude. Here, he talks about the one record he would save if his New York flat ever got firebombed, God forbid. So, let's begin...
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Creation Records, 1991)
"Wake up, don't fear. I want to love you. Yeah, doll of pain. I let you get to me." - My Bloody Valentine
What’s funny is that my answer is really, really obvious. And there is a probably a reason that this is a really obvious answer - because this is a really good record. I don’t think that there is a record that I’ve listened to more often, and come back to at so many junctures in my life than ‘Loveless’. It actually has like a really big effect on me musically in a way more so than other things that people might think, or references that come up with Oneohtrix Point Never. For example, Boards of Canada was something I never really listened to a lot, yet people always compare my music to that. ‘Loveless’ is a much bigger influence – it’s my favorite record ever. Period. And every time I start recording a new record, I listen to ‘Loveless’.
It’s basically an electronic record at its heart.
Like most American kids, I got into this record in college. I must have bought it used, because I was really into buying used CDs at the time from this record store in Northampton, Massachusetts called Turn It Up. And they just had a shitty old copy of it, and I gerked it. It’s really funny, because I was in Antwerp last year, and I was going through my friends CD collection, and I came across that Rafael Toral record whose cover is like homage to ‘Loveless’. And I’d known Rafael Toral, but I’d never listened to that particular record, and when I popped it in, I though, “man, this dude probably felt that exact feeling so many people have felt when they heard ‘Loveless’.”
It’s basically an electronic record at its heart. It’s basically a really gentle, lush, electronic noise record. It’s just the best thing ever really… I’m really happy with my answer actually. I haven’t read the 33 1/3 book on ‘Loveless’. I’m really bad at reading. Recreationally, I’ve just completely lost my rhythm of being into books. But there is so much about that record that is super weird, just circumstantially. It basically broke the bank at Creation Records, and put them under. It took forever to make. And Kevin Shields went crazy, all of them seemingly went crazy, the drummer was super strung out – that’s why they ended up using samplers and drum machines. You kind of hate to hear that because it’s like that classic “rock and roll” disaster record. That kind of adds to the myth.
Reading the lyrics for that record is just like a huge deflation.
The other thing I remember about that record, on a sort of negative side, is that I think I discovered it right around the time I became an internet power user. There was Napster happening, and all that shit. It was around 2000 or 1999 or something. Anyways, I searched for the lyrics, which is perhaps probably the dumbest thing you could do. Reading the lyrics for that record is just like a huge deflation. It de-mythologizes the record, because what’s so special about that record is that the vocals sound like a synthesizer or something.
It’s like Stevie Wonder. It’s like Stevie Wonder but without any soulfulness or funkiness. But it’s depressing because they are not very good lyrics. They are kind of super narcissistic and heroin-ed, out, at least in my perspective. Don’t go to that dark place. It’s like seeing your parents put out Christmas presents or something – not cool. But also I’m Jewish, so I guess I can’t relate to that feeling anyways. I have to end it on a Jewish note.