As Faux Pas Melburnian Tim Shiel released four albums and a flotilla of EPs, remixes, re-edits and assortment oddments. Electronic music with a faintly (though not intimidatingly) experimental vein. He has recently retired the Faux Pas name and is looking at a future of new creative vistas. He’s also somehow found time to travel the world being the MIDI maven and Ableton wrangler for the Gotye touring band, playing to crowds like this. His own music is kind of stuff that you want to call sui generis because you can’t think of a pithy way to describe it and you just bought a book of common Latin phrases. Synths are abundant but what’s striking about the music is how live instrumentation and organic flourish emerge throughout. As if life itself was trying to grow up and merge with the digital. Which, if we wanted to get philosophical, is kind of what the modern world promises, right? We’ll post a few of his tracks, you’ll see what we mean. He’s also made us an upcoming mixtape and took the time to answer our customarily dumb questions.
What is the best film with Alan Arkin in it?
Gattaca. Its a great movie and he wears an incredible hat.
James Brown, the Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash. For some science fictiony reason the discography of only one can survive.
Sorry I am not familiar with any of these artists.
In a post-apocalyptic world only Keith Urban will survive. Not his discography, but he himself—for he is made entirely of invulnerable materials. Not many people know that. He will need to become capable of asexual reproduction if humanity is to survive as a species post-apocalypse.
Favourite artist; worst album. To make it difficult: the artist must have subsequently released a great album.
The Moody Bluesm Octave (1978). I inherited a love of The Moody Blues from my parents. Their early records are charming and endearing, ‘Nights in White Satin’ is one of my favourite songs of all time. But they lost their way in the ’70s and made some terrible records including Octave, where they ditched their signature sound and tried to update for the kids. The ’80s were coming so they threw out their Mellotrons and replaced them with the cheesiest synth presets they could find. They didn’t find their feet with that until the record after Octave, 1981’s Long Distance Voyager, which is a great album full of awesome synth-driven English prog pop.
What was the thinking behind retiring the Faux Pas name?
Change is good. I like the idea of drawing a line under that project and saying “That’s the past” and starting from a clean slate. It’s as much about my own perceptions of myself and my music as anything else—I needed to let go of that material and start again. I feel freer. Music projects often have a start but rarely have a definitive end. Bands tend to die slow deaths.
Money is no object, neither is reality. What’s your ultimate fictional festival to play?
Somewhere cold because I like the cold. Let’s say Hoth, the ice planet. You could have Wookiee security guards. On a big outdoor stage Can play their early discography in its entirety, while directly underfoot in a bunker Jamie xx is getting the feed from upstairs and remixing it live for a packed house. Of sexy vampires. Radiohead perform a set of Soundgarden covers followed by Soundgarden performing a set of Radiohead covers. Beethoven is there too. The dog from the movie, not the composer.