Fremantle-based Dr Simon Order, otherwise known as Liminal Drifter, returns with a stunning new album titled The Dreams, following his acclaimed debut album Troubled Mystic, and its remix companion, Night Train Vacancies.
This new album filled with subliminal details and hypnotic feels will flow in your ears like the current of water.
There are tracks titled such as ‘Beach Fair’, ‘Angels of the Sea’ and ‘Fish Don’t Have arms or Legs’, referring a lot to Fremantle’s culture by the sea. It allows you to submerge into unknown places; whether it is by the bassline of the track ‘Stranger Things’, the guitars and piano of ‘Man is part of Nature’, or the thick synth arpeggiation of the closing track ‘Time lapse’.
You were a producer and instrumentalist in the UK; then, in 2005, you moved to Australia. What was behind the move?
Well I was thinking of moving to Australia for a while, I have a really close friend here so I was back and forth a few times in the 2000s, and I really liked the people, the land, the upbeat nature and of course the weather. It was such a sea-change for me from London where the weather is awful, and we run our lives at 200 percent, and I’ve come to end of my tether with that lifestyle. An opportunity came up here to do some research around community radio, which is where most of my academic background is based. At the same time as that happened, I got offered some work, somewhere to live and my residency documentation all happened in about a two week period, so it was all fate.
You have an alter ego that teaches and researches radio and music technologies, how does this alter ego influence your music and why did you chose this as your second career?
I am really passionate about democratisation of the airwaves and radio being a medium to give voice to all sort of artists, local artists and those who wouldn’t normally make it to the commercial sector or the ABC. Without community radio stations so many artists wouldn’t get heard. It’s vital for our society and our democracy, that minority voices, diverse voices, niche voices, ethnic voices, LGBT voices, EQ voices, the voices that don’t get heard have somewhere to voice their issues and concerns, I think it is very important for the society we live in.
Your album has a lot of references to the sea, from the titles to the art cover. Even the tracks have a hypnotic and aquatic vibe. Why did you give your album this focus and what was your inspiration to produce The Dreams?
I never set out to make the album about the sea; it seemed to happen because I was spending a lot of time on the beach and around the sea, in complete comparison to the album before, which was made while I was travelling around the world.
So this one has a real Fremantle focus, and Fremantle is all about the beach. As the first track or two came out, it just seemed to start being around very aquatic themes and I think that’s something you have to be very aware of, especially for someone who does mainly instrumental music. So if I find something that is a theme, something that can communicate a bit more to the listener, then often I will hold onto that because I know that I need something to keep me going off on some mentation and losing the listener completely. I am very aware that a lot of electronic music is very disposable, especially music that you hear in the clubs, there are not a lot of themes going on, is more about hands in the air and having a good time, which is absolutely wonderful … but I am trying to give my music a bit more longevity and a bit more character, so using really obvious themes hopefully helps me do that.
After mentioning the importance of character in your music, can you tell me more about the track ‘Stranger Things’ which is one of my favourite TV series at the moment. Are you a fan as well, or how did you come up with this track?
I knew I was going to get asked a lot about this. I started watching Stranger Things a while back, and after I finished it, I wandered into my studio and laid down a musical sketch and I suddenly realised … that’s why it sounds like that. It was a direct translation of me watching Stranger Things and it wasn’t conscious, it just happened. At the end, I told myself I could try and convince myself that it was about something else, but it wasn’t. It’s got a lot of 80’s references and darkness, so I decided to go with it. This is very much the way I tend to write. I try not to plan things too much. If these things happen I go with it, because somehow they came to me and I am not going to deny them or pretend that is about something else.
Now let’s move into the cover art of your album The Dreams. My personal interpretation behind the cover was perhaps a way of you saying follow your dream. What is the message that you wanted to convey behind this cover art?
It is really interesting that you made that interpretation and I am really glad, because that is slightly different to the way I saw it. Before this album started, before I even got to the aquatics, one of the things that I’ve been noticing about the way I write, is that I have a lot of imagery and a lot of audio from my dreams, and my dreams over the years have been pretty traumatic, so I think writing the album was almost cathartic and therapeutic in the process. So I decided to draw on this information that I am getting from my dreams and put it in sonic and musical forms. Then I gave the name The Dreams and the tracks to graphic designer, Stuart Medley, so it’s his interpretation of the tracks that he heard at the early stages, when the album had just finished. He put all the elements of the title, the aquatic tracks together and came back with the cover art. My interpretation of his cover is an aquatic dream and the sandals turn into surrealistic loads.
It’s about this notion of not planning too much and letting life and music follow, rather than trying to stamp your brand on it. It’s best rolling with the waves.
The chilled and dreamtonica vibes of Liminal Drifter’s third album is now available. Go listen and let The Dreams of the album take you somewhere calm and blissful.