A fresh-faced producer from the chilly wilds of Northern Ireland, The Cyclist recently released a full length album called Bones in Motion on Stones Throw/Leaving Records. Good title, because the music readily gives the sense of bones moving in service of bodies, here through a twisted and beguiling array of beats and samples. The songs veer between underwater AM bubbles and crisply blinding blue sky, creating the kind of enlivened clout you’d expect from an Irishman.
I’m guessing you need a good overcoat in Ireland. What do you look for in such a thing?
Yeah, of course. It’s so cold in Ireland, I’ve got almost as many coats as I do t-shirts. For most of the year, I think the duffle coat is essential to survival and still quite sleek.
Do your experiments with music come from a place that feels connected to your homeland, or are we all smeared-up creatures of globalization by now?
I’d have to say that more of my favourite musicians and bands, past and present, are generally from around the world. From German krautrock to American early house/ techno and English post-punky electronic music. My latest favorite band, Tame Impala, is from Australia, so, as you can see, my musical interests mainly come from abroad.
Your moniker invites the question of spandex: is it good for anything besides reducing drag on a bike?
Wow there, curve ball question! Hahaha! I think it takes a certain kind of person to pull of something in spandex, say, your more glam performers like David Bowie. Other than that, there’s too much of that awkward moment, when a performers crotch bulge seems to be the dominating factor in their costume. Let’s just say you’re not going to see me playing out in spandex any time soon.
Is there a difference between what you prefer to wear composing versus playing out?
In terms of cleanliness, I can go from just a t-shirt and boxers to a full-on duffle coat and jeans when I’m composing stuff. It’s a big variation depending the weather and my own laziness. Usually when I’m playing live, I’ll don on a nice dark shirt and probably and have the sleeves rolled up by the end of the gig.
I imagine that picking up samples and creating beats is a little like picking out clothes and creating outfits to wear. Do you go looking for samples like you might go looking for a specific pair of pants, or do they present themselves to you the way something might on a thrift store rack?
I’d have to say the latter, to be honest—mainly because I find that technique more fun and more surprising (in a good way) in both the instances of choosing different sounds and clothes.
Joyce said something to the effect that “a man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” Is that true of your evolution as a musician and a well-dressed fellow?
I guess being perceived as something odd and interesting in music is more important than being seen as just fashionable. I mean in the sense that if I get a weird look for something I’m wearing I can guess its not working for me, but if something I create gets a unique response, that’s evidence that I’m doing something different and interesting.