Interview: Surgeon and Lady Starlight

Headlining The Playground event at The Steelyard, we touch base with the duo about the collaboration turned lifestyle they’ve created, insight into their panic induced amount of caffeine in the studios and the mantras they say before stage.

Is the collaboration between Lady Starlight and Surgeon an ongoing project or is the direction short sighted?

S: Yeah, it’s an ongoing live project. I don’t really think that far ahead. More of whatever is creatively turning me on at the moment.

LS: The collaboration isn’t just a project, it’s a lifestyle.

How essential is emerging technology in your setup to create new music? What machines are on your radar to give you that authentic sound?

S: Not especially. You can create exciting new music using old technology! ‘That authentic sound’ is an elusive thing, but one thing’s for sure. It has nothing to do with what tools you use to make your music.

LS: I like samplers that make things sound wrong and far away.

You both have individual directions and relationships with your audiences. How do you balance the energy of a duo on stage?

S: There have been many similar examples throughout showbiz history-  Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, Sonny and Cher etc.

LS: The differences between the artists in any duo is always what makes it interesting. We are having a sonic conversation.

Techno is often categorised as repetitive, altering the pace to provoke the composition of the track. How does your collaboration aid or add to the original formula?

S: Our live performances are always improvised, raw and on the edge. If the audience enjoys it even half as much as we do performing it then we’re all onto a winner.

LS: Personally, I think techno isn’t repetitive enough at the moment. But regarding our collaboration, we couldn’t be truly repetitive if we tried, we are both using modular synths and they literally sound different each time you turn them on.

Tell us about the experience in opening up for Lady Gaga. What was the crowd’s response like? Did it differ to that of your booked shows?

LS: Just being in an arena, on a stage that’s designed for a traditional artist/audience relationship, where the artist presents their material in a one sided direction. Proper techno shows are more of a collaboration between the audience and performer. We make the party together.

Give us insight into the recording process of your collaborations. The mood. The snacks. The productivity.

S: In private we’ve made some of the most disturbing and upsetting music that has ever been heard by human ears, so for the sake of the future of mankind, it’s best that it stays private. We like to drink coffee, a lot of coffee. A panic attack inducing amount of coffee.

LS: This would be the press release if we ever put it out.

Any mantras you share before taking the stage?

S: Play it fucking loud!

You are headlining The Playground event in September. Tell us what you’re looking forward to.

S: Every gig we play together is so much fun and always very different, surprising and unexpected. I always learn a lot each time we play. As I said before, if the audience enjoys it even half as much as we do performing it, then we’re all onto a winner.

LS: The mood and the snacks.

You can catch their set at The Playground event at The Steelyard on 30 September 2017. Get your tickets here.