Andrew Booker Interview
At the Tim Bowness gig at the Band On The Wall on 8/9/15 Anthony Firmin took time to talk with Tim’s drummer, Andrew Booker, about his side project Improvizone who were also playing at the gig (he also plays drums with Sanguine Hum but we will do another interview with him about that sometime in the future).
I asked him first about how it all started with Improvizone…
Improvizone, hmmm, I am based and live in London and I wanted something to do. I was very bored about seven or eight years ago, I wasn't really doing much and I wanted to play without having to do a load of rehearsal. I was also sick of hanging around in rehearsal rooms as I wanted to play my electronic drums and play music with whoever I liked and there are all sorts of things about being in a band which didn't agree with what I wanted to do.
Improvizone came about through the idea of 'let's go to a bar or somewhere set up in the corner and play ambient music’ and what's very nice about that kind of music, the best way to compose it is to make it up as you go along. That sounds funny, kind of rotten as a lot of the music I enjoy listening to has been very carefully written, very carefully composed. The thing about ambient music I most liked was when you just plug yourself in, prepare your sound, make sure you know what you're doing but then just let it happen. Let it happen very slowly, don't expect anyone to play particularly fast, the slower you play the more time and space people have to think about what they're going to do next, change their sounds and create something really nice.
We did that for a few years in London and then we kind of stopped because I joined Sanguine Hum, a band where had to spend my whole time practising. So, I didn't have any time left to go and play monthly gigs.
Where is Improvizone going?
It's not really. I will be completely honest, I resurrected it for these gigs as a really cheap support act. I was here, Michael Bearpark (guitar) was here who is a regular in the band and played at almost every gig, so we resurrected the spirit of it to warmup for 20 minutes. Take two people who are fearless improvisers, Colin Edwin who can play almost anything he likes and warm up the core band. It gives us a chance to check levels and understand the size of the room. It has worked quite well. Strangely, a normal Improvizone gig would be a whole evening and not a short set so it's not the usual thing that people would come to expect or be used to. It has been rather nice to do it again and it's been nice to have that little warm up on stage first before doing the main set. This is really what no sound check can do, it's odd really when you do a sound check and then get on the stage the sound check could have been fantastic and no one could have touched a thing, you put an audience in the room and everything is different, so it's nice to go out and have a second sound check in front of people.
You also got Tony Harn from Nerve Toy Trio on stage…
We did, as a sort of ‘why the hell not?’, Tim has known him for years, Mike has known him for years, we know what kind of player he is, so all you have to do and all I ever did for recruiting people for Improvizone is ask them ‘do you fancy it?’ There isn't really any other question to ask apart from that, and we say ‘here is what we're planning making up 20 minutes of something other, are you up for it?’, and people know instantly whether they are up for that kind of thing and so Tony joined us and it was great.
Check out Andrew Bookers work…
Improvizone – loads of downloads here too: