Phil Western is an electronic musician whose work seems to transcend genres. Perhaps best known as one half of Download with Skinny Puppy’s Cevin Key, he has founded and contributed to various other projects working alongside some of the leading musicians in the genre. With his latest release, the compilation Laborandum a collection of materials from his various project and his solo project as Phil Western, he continues to forge ahead with his own career.
photographer : Adam Campbell
interview by : Hangedman
Auxiliary Magazine’s Hangedman managed to catch Phil Western for a conversation remotely while Western was working at a venue in Vancouver. As one of the founding fathers of Subconscious Communications and one half of Skinny Puppy related projects Download and Plateau, Phil Western talks about his history, his approach to music, and his obvious passion as an audiophile himself. Having worked in electronic music all of his life, Western has also ventured into solo work, transcending the work he does with his partner Cevin Key and the various other musicians and artists he has worked with. His latest compilation Laborandum due for release soon by Rustblade in Europe, is a carefully crafted selection of related work from across the Phil Western spectrum. Western shares with us his creative method, his foundation as a musician, and even hints that there’s more of Phil Western the solo artist to come on the horizon.
It goes without saying you have a number of projects that you have founded, collaborated on, touched, etc., then there’s your solo career. Can we get a debriefing of all things Phil Western?
Phil Western : That has changed a little bit over the years, just because my motivation to do solo work was kind of born out of frustration initially. (I don’t know how to put this without offending someone), I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Floatpoint and Off and Gone records? They came out before I ever worked with Cevin Key, so I had got it in my head that I was going to do electronic music either as a collaborative situation with Dan [Handrabur] who I was working with at the time, or by myself. Then Dwayne [Goettel] and I created this label, Subconscious Records, to release a 12 inch single and then Download was created and I was brought into that fold and I was doing that for a couple of years. We were making music [as Download] and we started to get a little bit of a following, but to me it seemed like that following was entirely the result of the fact that Skinny Puppy were such a huge band.
read the full interview in the June/July 2012 Issue