Subtempo Guest Mix 016
Over the last decade, Seahawks have oscillated along their own frequency, developing cult acclaim for their particular take on new age and ambient music. Since forming in 2009, the UK-based duo consisting of Jon Tye and Pete Fowler has steadily accrued a catalogue that spans multiple albums, 12”s and cassettes. Notable collaborators and remixers of the project have included Laraaji, Peaking Lights, Laurel Halo, Jonny Nash and Sapphire Slows, among others. Inspired equally by the wonders of Earth and the cosmos beyond it, Seahawks create parallel sonic worlds for deep listening.
Surrounding the release of this mix, we got a chance to catch up with Jon Tye and Pete Fowler, aka Seahawks, exploring their latest album on Cascine Records, producing music in the mystical landscapes of Cornwall and creating toys for a living amongst other things.
Hi Jon and Pete. First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this mix and interview for us. I wanted to start by asking you about the mix. How, where and when did you record it?
Jon: This was a solo voyage as Pete was busy as the Hot Chip tour DJ at the time. It was made in Cornwall... a collage of cassette tape, telepathic vibrations from Pete and digital files assembled using Ableton. Pete: I sent vibrations from the UK and Europe and Jon caught them and added them to the blend.
Is there a theme to this mix?
Jon: It's a celestial journey...an exploration of sounds and textures that inspired us when making the EOTM album
Well I loved it, so thank you for doing it! You have recently released an album titled ‘Eyes Of The Moon’. Tell me a bit about the album.
Jon: It's deep and trippy but light and fluffy in places too.
Pete: We wanted to create a piece of work that was an antidote to the horror show that 2019 has been. Perhaps not an escape as such, more of a cosmic remedy.
Where and when did you record it?
Jon: It was all recorded at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall with final mixes with Guido Zen at studio 34 in London
Cornwall? I heard it’s landscapes are spectacular. One of our artists, Cameron Brooks recorded his album around there and spoke to the inspiration of that countryside. Did this play a big part on the sound of the release?
Jon: Absolutely. The studio is on a hill overlooking the sea and we can get really lost in sound and sometimes we're literally inside a cloud…
Pete: I travel down to Jon’s studio from London and it’s the perfect place for us to create. The pace of life is slower and maybe more thoughtful plus, as you said, the scenery is a real beam for the soul. I used to live in Cornwall as I studied fine art in Falmouth. There’s definitely something special about the county.
But you are both from London? Or is that where you met?
Jon: I'm originally from Kent but Kent became way too busy and we moved to Devon, I moved to London to seek fame and fortune but ended up making lots of weird music and running a record label. I escaped to Cornwall around 15 years ago...the best move I made but having said that I met so many great people in London and Pete was one of them. We both worked out of the same building in East London and when we found we shared the same musical tastes we started Djing together every month and that led to the creation of the Seahawks project.
Pete: I was born and raised in Cardiff, Wales though have been living in London for over 20 years and although the city can be a tough place, I can be very inspirational. The diversity is something I love very much.
As Seahawks you’ve worked with some fantastic artists, such as the Laraaji or Lauren Halo. Were those remixes or did you co-write with them?
Jon: The recordings with Laraaji were very much a co-write but with Laurel she made a super creative remix. We've been extremely lucky in terms of the people we've been able to work with over the years.
You both had prolific careers before this collaborative project, John, you’ve released on Ninja Tune and R&S amongst others - 2 of our favourite labels here at Subtempo. Did your solo music have the same ambient tone as the Seahawks material or was it more dancefloor oriented?
Jon: Some of it was very ambient like the MLO album 'iO' other releases were more beat orientated but there's always been a fascination with 'space music' and exploration.
And Pete, you were a prolific visual artist too, and have collaborated with XL Records and had your own line of products called Monsterism. Tell me about that a bit. Are you still doing visual art?
Pete: I’m still making artwork and never stop. It’s my day job, so to speak and my work ranges from illustration to painting, woodcarving, printmaking toy design and more. I grew up reading comics and watching cartoons and think that, and music has been a huge influence on me and my work.
Did you always do music as well, or is that a relatively new thing?
Pete: Prior to our Seahawks music, Jon and I were making lo fi ambient for a short while before and I’ve been DJing for quite a long time so music has always been a big thing for me. I see it as a vitamin I couldn’t live without.The classic Space Echo spotted at the Seahawks studio, alongside a healthy amount of outboard gear.
You also have a record label, Lo Recodings. Do you run it together?
Jon: Pete and I run the Ocean Moon label together but the Lo label is me and Gavin O'Shea.
If you had to highlight 5 ‘must listen’ releases from your label for those unfamiliar, which would they be?
Aphex Twin vs Mike Flowers Pops - Debase
Grimes - Halfaxa
Jean Jacques Perrey and Luke Vibert - Moog Acid
Thurston Moore - Root
Susumu Yokota - Symbol
You decided not to self-release the EOTM album via your label. Was that something intentional? Tell me about your relationship with Cascine.
Jon: Like so many things it just came out of the blue. Cascine reached out to us and we're really glad they did. It's been a real pleasure and so nice not have to do everything ourselves.
What’s next for Seahawks or any of your personal projects?
Jon: We've just finished a library album for KPM and we have a new album called 'Celestial Railroads' out this autumn. It's a collaboration with WOO...I think it's our most cosmic and tripped out album since Vision Quest One - Spaceships Over Topanga Canyon.
Thank you so much for taking the time and for sharing your beautiful mix, and congrats on the release!
Jon: Thanks for the kind words 🙏
- Laraaji – Ocean Flow (Seahawks Deep Drift Mix) [All Saints]
- Fumio Miyashita – Ama [BIWA]
- Ryokyu Endo – Celebrate [MIDI, Inc.]
- Michael Stearns – Sleeping Conches [Continuum Montage]
- Heartsong – Unicorn Song [Unknown]
- Pauline Anna Strom – Morning Splendor [RVNGIntl.]
- David Casper – Green Anthem [Hummingbird]
- Hatchback – Euphoria Signal [Dream Chimney]
- Heartsong – Global Thread (Seahawks Earth Light Mix) [Unknown]
- Jessica Marcus – Sweet Beats & Busy Signals [Self-released]
- Alice Damon – Waterfall Winds [Light In The Attic]
- Richard Norris – I Know What You Mean [Self-released]
- Ryokyu Endo – Dance Of Angels [MIDI, Inc.]
- David Naegele – Temple In The Forest [New World Company]
- Seahawks – New Dawn [Cascine]
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