I first came across Noise Disco at my all electronic music open mic night in Edinburgh. Noise Disco is Ryan John who specialises in the art of field recording, and more recently mixing such recordings with background sounds. Ryan provided the night with some highly original work which included a wonderful piece recorded at a bus stop with segments of conversation and traffic noise. The art of field recording has always interested me and one I have also been involved in so I thought I’d catch up with Ryan and find out more.
First of all tell me a little bit about yourself Ryan please?
I’m based in Edinburgh but also lived in Glasgow for a spell, both cities have had a big influence on me. I first got into music making through my mate who had a tascam four track tape recorder. We would go round to his house after a night out and make some lo-fi improvised drunken ramblings. He also had a dictaphone which he used to take on night outs and we’d listen back to it the following day. I then bought an electribe and at some point a zoom handy recorder. Post rock, Arab strap and a bit of techno were the biggest musical influences at that point. Seeing Mogwai in the king tuts tent at t in the park in 1999 (I think) opened my eyes to a whole other world of music outside the mainstream.
Great. So if you were to define ‘field recording’ how would you describe it from your own point of view?
For me it’s capturing interesting moments, drunken conversations on trains, loud pompous people talking on their phones in buses, funny tannoy messages, people chatting in pubs about days gone by and how things have changed etc. I love the sound of some old pub hand driers too! Went through a spell of recording them. The key for is being able to record quickly, being able to just use a phone now means I record a lot more and I don’t have to wait 10 seconds for my zoom to start up. Content over sound quality is the key for me.
Have you had any funny or difficult moments with field recording?
There was a guy once in the upstairs bar in Stereo Glasgow who we were chatting to and half way through the conversation I remembered that I was recording and mentioned it. I sometimes hit record to capture something, sit my phone down and then forget all about it. Anyway after this the guy thought I was an undercover cop and there was no convincing him I wasn’t!
Ha priceless! How do you go about combining your field recordings with backing music Ryan?
I’ve only recently really began to combine the two. Previously I kept the two things separate and used the Djay app solely with my field recordings to mix and loop them together. This started when I was creating shows of this nature (under the name Ryan Frame) for the Glasgow arts radio station Radiophrenia.
I’ve now also started to incorporate drone and noise type sounds by using the Animoog app or with a new synth I’ve got called the Lyra 8. It’s a wild sounding beast! I’ve also included snippets of samples to sequence alongside other sounds with the Volca sample. The combination of voice recordings with music is the path I’m planning to continue on now.
Thanks Ryan, that takes me nicely on to what future releases and gigs you have planned? And where can people find your sounds?
I’m currently working on a radio samples piece based on 31 recordings I made in March. I recorded the first minute of radio I listened to every morning during March which I’m currently compiling together in Pro-tools. Recordings all made with my iPhone again and include other background noise such as alarms going off etc. I’ll upload this to my Noise Disco Soundcloud page once it’s ready. I’m also planning to release a four track ep influenced by the current political climate (e.g. Brexit, Iran, Catalonia, Nigel Farage etc) in July. Finally I’d like to record something a bit different at Green Door studios in Glasgow called dead clubs – basically about the demise of clubs and venues in Scotland and the proliferation of new student housing, and release it towards the end of the summer. No gigs planned at the moment, but I’m going book out the basement (safari lounge) of my local pub to put something on in the summer and also do a gorilla style outdoor gig in the meadows during the festival in August.
That’s great Ryan thanks and I very much look forward to those releases.