Guy Fixsen On Laika’s ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ Re-issue

Guy-Fixsen

Medical Records have unveiled their first batch of 2015 releases, among them is the (long out of print) debut from Laika, ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ (order here)! The album was originally released in 1994 on the much loved London label Too Pure (former home to Stereolab, PJ Harvey, Seefeel, Electrelane and more). Laika (named after the soviet space dog) was founded by Margaret Fiedler, John Frenett and Guy Fixsen. This week Guy responded to a brief Q&A about the re-issue. For the uninitiated, his production work includes… *deep breath* The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Rollerskate Skinny, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, The Boo Radleys and Moose (among many more)!

What creative head space were you in going into Laika’s debut given your previous work with Moonshake?

I think in retrospect we were both out to prove a lot. Margaret as her first outing after a very competitive partnership that came unstuck in a fairly acrimonious fashion and myself as my first project as artist – after having done a lot of production I was kind of straining at the leash to try out all these ideas in my head.

How did you fall upon the combination of live percussion, dreamy vocals and far out electronics? Was it the result of endless jam sessions?

We never jammed as a band, the music was always clearly marked out before it was taken to the band. There was a kind of jamming in the writing process in the sense that we played with our sounds a lot. The percussion and electronics were just two of many elements we liked in music we listened to and we were lucky to find in lou ciccotelli someone who could realise the multi-layered polyrhythmic percussion we wanted. The “far-out electronics” was just a natural result of us playing with our two main toys which were a sampler and a moog. The dreamy vocals bit was just the lovely thing that happened when margaret opened her mouth on some tracks and anyway it’s hardly the rule on the record. Certainly on the second half of the record it’s hard to call the vocals “dreamy”.

‘Sugar Daddy’ is absolute classic! But, was there a moment when you thought “Y’ know, people just aren’t going to get this…”?

There were tracks on the album I thought people might find hard to get but that wasn’t one of them. It has plenty of clear pop hooks, it’s in 4/4 with a strong dance sensibility – what’s not to get?

‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ was an ambitious, (and somewhat) unclassifiable record. Do you think new listeners twenty years later will find it easier to digest?

Maybe a bit. Some of what we were doing was ahead of its time I guess, but what has not changed is how conservative people are about mixtures. The vast majority of people seem to feel uncomfortable listening to things they can’t clearly define – then as now.

Looking back, how influential do you think the Too Pure artists of the time were (Seefeel, Stereolab etc)?

I often hear little bits of a lot of Too Pure bands filtering through, by circuitous routes, to bands all over the world and musical spectrum who never even heard of the label. Polly has obviously cast a big shadow, there was a time when it seemed that no self-respecting left field female rock artist could cough without it having a little of her dark twang. I think stereolab maybe were more influential in a spiritual way than a direct musical way. A bunch of great artists have told us that they drew inspiration from us. i’m proud, for example, that in radiohead’s most creative period they ran with a few laika-esque threads and did some lovely things with them. But Seefeel? Meh.

**ORDER LAIKA’S “SILVER APPLES OF THE MOON’ COLORED VINYL RE-ISSUE VIA MEDICAL RECORDS**

Visit Laika online @ Medical Records – Web / Facebook / Bandcamp.