20 Years on from An Un World: John Wisniewski interviews Andrew Liles

Posted: 20 June 2021 in Interviews
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Andrew Liles – a prolific solo artist in his own right, but renowned for his work as a sometime member of both Nurse With Wound and Current 93 – is a busy man. With a discography running into triple figures (his Bandcamp offers no fewer than 111 titles), it takes more than a global pandemic to slow his output, with half a dozen solo releases in 2020, and three already this year. 2021 also finds him working on a ‘rolling’ album project, 1221, whereby the album’s twelve tracks – played predominantly on twelve-strong guitar – are released on a basis of one per month. It’s remarkable that the man has time to eat, so we were particularly thrilled when Andrew was able to make the time to respond to some questions from John Wisniewski.

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JW: When did you begin playing music, Andrew?

AL: When I was about 12 or 13. I wanted to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen. I’m still trying. I’m still failing. I’m still learning.

What attracts you to dark ambient music?

I’m not attracted to it at all. The phrase, in my mind, conjures up a guy who collects Batman figurines and has found two notes on his keyboard that he puts through lots and lots of reverb. Not that I have a problem with that. It also has connotations of the occult and post apocalypse desolation. I’m not that person at all.

I guess the earlier recordings would fit into that realm. I was learning my craft and, in some respects, that type of music is fairly simple to make. But now I’d like to think my compositions have a far wider scope and complexity.
Of course, I can’t deny that there are elements of that genre in some recordings, but my output is so vast, it touches on many styles, from dub reggae and rock, through to novelty songs and highbrow theorised modern composition.
But I guess it’s still fairly dark, I’m pretty pessimistic and that comes through my creations. I’m not about to write an anthemic love song any time soon.

What was it like collaborating with members of Nurse with Wound and Current 93?

I’d been in contact with and a fan of both bands since the mid 80s. So at first it was a little intimidating. But the advantage of being a fan and knowing their back catalogue enabled me to work with them quite easily, it seems quite natural to work with them.

I’ve worked with both artists for over 15 years now and I’ve enjoyed every day of it… almost. My affiliation has opened a lot of doors, doors that would have remained closed, and for that I am eternally thankful.

Could you tell us about recording "An Un world"?

I’d been self releasing music since 1987. But this was the first proper pressed CD through a ‘real’ label so it was pretty significant for me. Jason at Infraction Records had the bravery to release it, so I am forever in his debt for taking that leap of faith.

It was also the first album where I used digital technology and a computer.

In a lot of ways it was the release that laid the foundations artistically and commercially for where I am now.

I think musically, 20 years on, it has stood the test of time. There is nothing gimmicky or technologically that locks it to a specific era.

So I have a fond affection for the record although I haven’t heard it in years or would create anything like it now. 
To celebrate its 20th anniversary you can download An Un World for £2.20 until the end of the year here:

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Any current and future projects you could tell us about?

There is a mountain of stuff already completed and coming out over the next 18 months. Covid has afforded me to make more material than ever.

Just out is –
THE ORACLES by NEKPΩN IAXEΣ which is an  experimental spoken word project formed by myself and Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ.

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Then over the coming months there are some Nurse With Wound reissues and at least two new albums, a new Current 93 album and at least 10 new solo projects and a few reissues.

Do you still speak with David Tibet?

Yes, of course. We have yet to work out a way of communicating telepathically. So talking is still an inconvenient necessity.

Any favorite music artists?

I become very fixated with a single artist. For instance, some years ago I listened to nothing but the Beatles… for a whole year.
I also listen to music from my childhood which is a lot of classic rock and heavy metal.

Listening at the moment for me is Buckethead. This has been going on for about 3 or 4 years. I’m obsessed with him. I buy his paintings and have every download, and there are a lot, 346 releases. I’d love to sit down and talk with him about why we feel the necessity to make SO MUCH music.
I feel an affinity with Buckethead. We are the same age, overly and ceaselessly productive, and he will always be that guy from Guns N’ Roses and I will always be that guy from Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, yet our own work is far broader and more extensive than the artists we are associated with and overshadowed by.
He has so many releases it’s daunting to know where to begin. Some of it’s amazing, some not so good, some I will never listen to again and some I listen to all the time. I’m sure people feel that about my catalogue.

So, everyday I listen to a little bit of Buckethead, an artist who has released even more albums than me! I’m amazed by his virtuosity, it’s totally supernatural to be that good at playing the guitar. I’d love to work with him, I’ve made some attempts but all my correspondence has gone unanswered, but as a friend eloquently said to me recently "Sometimes the stars should be left in the sky, to be admired from afar".
This is my favourite tune by him this week –

How do you combine many different sounds, to create your music?

Patience, accident, fluke, time and 40 years of practice.

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