Ali Wells is just about to release his new EP A New Brutality, which follows one of the finest LPs of 2011: Wicker & Steel. Once again under his Perc umbrella, it’s all about industrial, noise and techno – a mixture which recently also attracted someone over at The Guardian. Check it out for yourself in a preview released on Soundcloud below, and get into Perc while reading his 10×4 he did with us.
1. Is any aspect of fame important and if yes, why’s that?
Recognition for what I do is important to me, as it pushes to work harder and keep raising my standards, but whether that is different to fame is another question. I am not ashamed to admit that I like people coming up to me and asking if I am Perc or that they saw me play at a club recently and enjoyed it. These are people that like me purely for my music or djing rather than people that just approach someone because they saw them in a magazine or on TV, so of course it is flattering.
2. If you were still in high school, which clique would you belong to?
I would like to believe I would be part of the clique that was a bit nerdy and techy but still pretty cool, making music, putting on events etc. More likely I would probably be that weird tall guy listening to moody music who would be getting his head flushed down the bog daily if he wasn’t 7-foot tall.
3. An album that changed the way you thought?
Run DMC – Raising Hell. I owned about 4 or 5 pop/rock albums (on cassette) before I stumbled upon this thanks to ‘Walk This Way’. The beats, attitude and design style were something new to me. I must have got it a few years after release but looking back it certainly opened my mind to the kind of aggressive, sampled sounds that returned when hardcore blew up in the UK.
4. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
These terms are pretty meaningless to me. There are so many people on Facebook talking up their own brand of ‘underground techno’, ‘real techno’, ‘true techno’ etc and most of it is shit. Purposely aiming to be underground and under promoting the music you release under a veil of anonymity is actually more contrived and false than being open about the fact that you are making accessible music aimed squarely at the mainstream.
5. Should music be free?
Not by definition, it should be up to the creator/copyright owner to decide how to package it and how much to charge or whether they want to give it away. That is the thing that bugs me the most about piracy. Whether you like it or not we live in a capitalist society and if I want to give my music away for free that is my choice and if I want to charge two pounds or even two hundred pounds for an mp3 download then that is also my choice. Piracy removes that choice for the creator and forces a whole new set of circumstances on a label.
On the flip side of this are labels reacting to piracy and the ‘music should be free’ mindset by adding needless products to their musical releases to add ‘worth’ which most of the time I see as pure profiteering. When I pay for music, I want the music and of course I am happy to pay for the physical format that holds it, the cd, the 12” vinyl etc. I don’t want to be forced into buying a boxset handstitched by Amazonian pygmies containing 8 hand drawn, individually numbered postcards for £80 just to get an album that should sold for £12. By all means make ornate box sets but when there is no cheaper option and that is the only way to own the music then I get the rage.
6. What defines your music-making process?
Long hours of ‘this is shit, everything is shit’ – before a eureka moment occurs and then it is a gallop to the finish line before the magic dissipates into the air once again.
7. Name three essential artists.
Barbara Hepworth, William Blake, Albert Steptoe.
8. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
The Wicker Man, I go on about it a lot but even after searching for similar British films from that period there is still something about it that seems unique to me and it looms over my production work almost too heavily at times.
9. Your current favourite song?
If we are talking songs rather than tracks then this Plaid remix of Mara Carlyle is something I listen to when I need a break. I was not mad on the recent Plaid album and it is rare for me to like this kind of thing but this hits the mark for me:
10. One thing you can’t live without?
Bourbon biscuits, coupled with a pint of milk they form a cheap, scummy, super-unhealthy snack that makes any day a million times better.
Published June 29, 2012.