To say he was obsessive about music would be a vast understatement. I would say he’s on a spectrum in his enthusiasm for music, but Josh would argue that he’s actually on a scale, a musical scale.
He creates fantastic electronic sounds that are as intricately designed, planned and executed as the most scholarly musicians that have recorded for generations before him.
If you train your ear and know a thing or two about music you can listen to how he’s crafted his various motifs and ideas through sound, this is a man that’s wants to communicate with you through what he hears in his head, through your speakers or earphones and doesn’t care whether you like what he has to say or not. I can respect that.
Even better is that Confetti Tsunami isn’t some out of reach, unattainable Aphex Twin-like enigma; he’s based in Manchester and in my opinion one of Manchester’s most talented musicians, and I was honoured to have a sit-down and a little chat with him.
So Confetti Tsunami, tell me a bit about yourself.
Well, I’m a musician but I’d prefer to call myself a composer who makes music using mostly electronics. I play a little bit of guitar but most of it is based around the more experimental side of dance music. I do that under the name of Confetti Tsunami and do other things, play with bands, mix music and do other bits for TV and documentaries.
Would you consider yourself to be a Manchester based musician?
I mean yeah well I live in Manchester, and I’m a musician. I’ve been doing music for a really long time, but after University is when I really started to kick it up a notch. I mean Manchester has such a strong history with music and especially music that’s kind of experimental and has always pushed the edge. I feel like I’ve been influenced by that and there’s a long line of bands and musicians who are doing things differently and I think I’m part of that.
Confetti Tsunami came out of being in bands and stuff like that. I can be quite controlling so with this outfit, I can do it all by myself. I’ll take input however and let other trusted musicians and producers get involved at certain points. If you do everything yourself though you’re more likely to a wrong turn, there’s a certain point where you don’t really know whether what you’re doing anymore is any good, so a separate pair of ears is always helpful.
Is being from Manchester or from the North something you like to champion?
Yes, absolutely especially Manchester, and Salford too. Obviously, there’s Oasis and things like that, but you realise that the more you look into it just how much Manchester has had a pivotal role in developing genres, especially with electronic music of which Manchester is a key leading force.
So how would you describe the current electronic scene in Manchester?
The thing is I don’t actually spend a lot of time in the live Manchester music scene. First and foremost I’m really passionate about music of any kind; jazz, rock whatever, and Manchester has an absolute wealth of places to be, so as a punter it’s awesome. On the electronic side of things, maybe I just don’t know where it’s happening as a live performer, currently.
I’m always finding new places to listen to music in Manchester, you just won’t find me in there performing, yet. I’d love there to be a lot more experimental nights in Manchester, of course, there are obvious things like the warehouse project and when Manchester International Festival is on which do introduce Manchester to local and internationally renowned, forward-thinking acts. But it would be nice to find evenings that do encourage upcoming local acts, perhaps there is but I don’t know of them.
I am working on something at the minute that when I’m proud enough to play, that’s probably when I’m going to know a bit more about that side. I don’t even know if there’s an audience for the kind of music I play.
Well, it is safe to say I’m definitely a fan.
Good, thanks. Look Manchester has so much going on music-wise, you can find that whatever your taste in music is, it’s catered for in Manchester.
Would you say that Manchester with its industrial ties and stuff has helped define your sound?
So the things I’ve been doing these past few years have been taking sounds that I’ve prerecorded out in the environment and bringing them into a studio which I use as the basis of my tracks. The great thing about this area is that you’re not that far from being out in the middle of nowhere so long as you have a car and half a day, far enough away from traffic, which is what I’m interested in at the minute. Now looking at the city from an audio perspective the industrial element is interesting, lots of overlapping sounds etc. Acoustically it’s very good.
Well take the canal system in Manchester, I have a history of living on boats, so the engine sounds, the repetitive nature has always interested me.
Does it float your boat?
Yes very good. I don’t know I just love Manchester’s attitude of ‘Let’s do this’ ‘We’re gonna do this’.
Do you think that attitude colours your music?
It has to yes, there’s a passion there. Mancs can be arrogant about what they believe in, I mean I’m quite highly strung, opinionated whatever and you need people like that to drive the vision and Manchester has had that in spades for years.
Do you think being from Manchester has limited you at all?
No. I’d make music wherever I was and it hasn’t stopped other people in Manchester either. Manchester is really on the up and up; TV companies, editing companies etc, it’s more central England, closely connected.
Is there any advice you would give to a Manchester-based musician?
Well, I’m not in any position of power, I can’t give any advice because I’m not established.
Rubbish question then?
No, it’s just I can’t say this is what you have to do to become a successful musician in Manchester because I’m not a successful musician in Manchester.
We’ll see. Success to me it isn’t how much money I make. It’s how much I feel like I’ve made something that I have wanted to make. If you’re into music now it isn’t what it used to be. If you’re really into music in the same way I am, I’d feel hampered by making what’s in the mainstream. It sounds pretentious I know but that’s how I think about pop music, it’s like fast food in that you don’t have to sit down with it and take your time with it. I just don’t think people are really into that anymore, but then vinyl is on the up so I think what it shows us is that it’s just more fragmented isn’t it?
Do you think Mancs are more or less open to experimental forms of music such as yours?
I think you can always find a base of people who will be interested in whatever is out there yes, but does it translate to making money? Not sure. What really annoys me is people who do it to make money, not people who do it and make money. I make music because that’s my vision and that’s what I want to put out there. The people I respect as musicians are people who just did what they wanted and Manchester has had hundreds of people who’ve gone “This is what I wanna do, I don’t care what you want me to do, take it or leave it, I’m going to do this because I’m passionate about it.” And that’s what I love about Manchester.
You can check out Confetti Tsunami’s music here, not only does he make his own sounds but he runs a weekly blog where he talks about music new and old and what he’s been listening too. It’s a fantastic blog and a brilliant way to stay on the pulse of music.