Polypores is the moniker under which Stephen James Buckley ‘makes music with synthesizers’. Having released music for notable labels such as Concrète Tapes and Polytechnic Youth, and with influences ranging from sc-fi films and Carl Sagan to Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, Polypores is ready to drive us into “endless oblivion” with his genious ambient/drone electronica at The Ferret, April 21, supporting Horse Lords and Cloud Becomes Your Hand.
Please introduce Polypores project to our readers…
Polypores is the name under which I make music with synthesizers.
On April 21st you will be supporting Cloud Becomes Your Hand & Horse Lords at The Ferret. How do you feel about this then?
I am indeed. Really looking forward to it. I’ve checked out both bands on Bandcamp, and both are great in different ways. I love doing gigs with non-electronic acts. Too many gigs are genre specific and that doesn’t take into account that people actually like more than one kind of music. I welcome the challenge of playing to people that aren’t necessarily “my” crowd.
Your latest self-released ‘Timeholes’ album got physically released in only 20 numbered copies, which were gone within a few hours!. A true gem of ambient, drone and synth-wave! Why so limited? In addition, would you like to share some information about the concept of this album?
‘Timeholes’ was the first album I self-released physically. Previous to that all my physical releases were through labels, and my self-released stuff was digital only. I’m far too busy to spend a lot of time making covers and packaging. I hate doing that stuff, I just want to write and perform music. The other stuff bores me. So I kept it very limited so I didn’t have to spend ages making the covers! I also didn’t expect it to sell so quickly…
I could have released it through a label but I just wanted to put it out quickly so I could get to work on something else.
The idea behind it comes from the fact that I like working quickly. Each piece was written and recorded to cassette tape in about 3 hours. I love working that way, it’s much more immediate. If you missed out on the first ‘Timeholes’ CD then don’t worry, a second volume, imaginatively titled ‘Timeholes 2’ will be out on vinyl via Polytechnic Youth at some point in the next few months.
Kraut-rock, sci-fi, early Brian Eno and modern synth-wave acts should be within your influences, right? Please discuss…
Yes, all of that and more. I have a lot of influences, I listen to a lot of different stuff and it all gets in there to some degree. I get easily bored by musicians who churn out the same stuff over and over again, and I can’t be someone who does that. I’m constantly picking up different things and being influenced by them. Some artists I’m listening to a lot at the moment are Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, Not Waving, Portland Vows, Smackos, and Gnar Hest.
Share with our readers a few words about your collaboration with the eclectic labels Concrète Tapes & Polytechnic Youth for the releases of your two first albums. How did these ones emerge?
I’ve known Joe who runs Concrète Tapes for years, through the vaguely incestuous Preston music scene. When he heard some of the early Polypores stuff he got in touch and told me he was starting a label to go along with the live electronic night he put on. He asked me if I’d like to be involved. I was well up for doing an album, although I didn’t think I’d be able to play live. But the seed was planted and within a couple of months I had a live set ready as well. It’s a great label, they’ve put out some of my favourite releases of the last year or so. Joe is also constantly recommending new music for me to listen to, which sometimes sends me in completely unexpected directions. I like that.
As for Polytechnic Youth, I’m not sure exactly how they found me but I’m glad they did. They have a really loyal following and put out some lovely records, both in terms of the music and the artwork. They are a label that realise the importance of the artwork and packaging as well as the music, and they have a very definite vibe/aesthetic that really works for them. As well as ‘Timeholes 2’ I have another album almost ready to release with them later this year.
Your music has a strong cinematic feel with references to sci-fi movies. Which sci-fi movies are your favorite ones then?
Where to start? Off the top of my head I’d say “Blade Runner” (obviously), “Fantastic Planet”, “Beyond The Black Rainbow”, “Primer”, “Under The Skin”, “Interstellar”, “Stalker”….
Are you a fan of Carl Sagan?
Absolutely. And I believe the world would be a far better place if more people were.
Any interesting bands/artists form Preston we should check out?
Not strictly from Preston but check out the Field Lines Cartographer album on Concrète Tapes. He’s actually from Lancaster but it’s only 20 minutes up the road:
Plans and hopes for Polypores’ project?
Lots and lots of things! As mentioned, there are 2 records out this year on Polytechnic Youth. I have a techno side project called Tulketh, which had a tape out this year via Still Heat Recordings. I’ll be doing another one of those for Concrète Tapes.
I have almost completed soundtracks to a short film, and a feature length film, and am starting work on another full length film later this year.
I have a number of other little side projects which aren’t released under my name, I do it anonymously and pretend to be someone else. The one I did a couple of years back was really succesful so I’m doing a few more of those. I have albums on the way for at least 2 different pseudonyms, which will have physical releases on 2 different labels (not Poly Youth or Concrète Tapes, different labels entirely). It’s a lot of fun doing that, it means I can release ridiculous amounts of music without people getting overwhelmed by it.
As well as the Horse Lords gig I have a few more lined up, notably 26th May at The Continental in Preston, supporting Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab. I’ll also be doing a live radio show at some point soon, just waiting for confirmation on that.
And finally, just few nights ago, I appear to have joined a band doing droney psychedelic prog. Not sure exactly how that happened but taking a couple of synths along and jamming with them was a lot of fun.
Finishing with a tricky one… What does “space” mean for you?
Wonder. Terror. Perspective.
Photo credits: Robin Hill