For me it's always contingent on getting a sound-the sound always suggests what kind of melody it should be. So it's always sound first and then the line afterwards.
You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits, it keeps becoming something else.
In the 1960s, people were trying to get away from the pop song format. Tracks were getting longer, or much, much shorter.
We are increasingly likely to find ourselves in places with background music. No composers have thought to write for these modern spaces, which represent 30% of our musical experience.
In England and Europe, we have this huge music called ambient - ambient techno, ambient house, ambient hip-hop, ambient this, ambient that.
I'd been making music that was intended to be like painting, in the sense that it's environmental, without the customary narrative and episodic quality that music normally has. I called this 'ambient music.' But at the same time I was trying to make visual art become more like music, in that it changed the way that music changes.
When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness because a capella singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That's one of the great feelings - to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue.
My kind of composing is more like the work of a gardener. The gardener takes his seeds and scatters them, knowing what he is planting but not quite what will grow where and when - and he won't necessarily be able to reproduce it again afterwards either.
I wanted to get rid of the element that had been considered essential in pop music: the voice.
When our governments want to sell us a course of action, they do it by making sure it's the only thing on the agenda, the only thing everyone's talking about. And they pre-load the ensuing discussion with highly selected images, devious and prejudicial language, dubious linkages, weak or false 'intelligence' and selected 'leaks.'
The earliest paintings I loved were always the most non-referential paintings you can imagine, by painters such as Mondrian. I was thrilled by them because they didn't refer to anything else. They stood alone, and they were just charged magic objects that did not get their strength from being connected to anything else.
Singing aloud leaves you with a sense of levity and contentedness.
Lyrics are always misleading because they make people think that that's what the music is about.
The prospect of music being detachable from time and place meant that one could start to think of music as a part of one's furniture.
Well, there are some things that I just can't get out of my head, and they start to annoy me after a while. Sometimes they're of my own creation, as well - and they're just as annoying. It's not only other people's ear worms that bug me, it's my own, as well.
What I believe is that people have many modes in which they can be. When we live in cities, the one we are in most of the time is the alert mode. The 'take control of things' mode, the 'be careful, watch out' mode, the 'speed' mode - the 'Red Bull' mode, actually. There's nothing wrong with it. It's all part of what we are.
When I was young, an eccentric uncle decided to teach me how to lie. Not, he explained, because he wanted me to lie, but because he thought I should know how it's done so I would recognise when I was being lied to.
Set up a situation that presents you with something slightly beyond your reach.
I think we're about ready for a new feeling to enter music. I think that will come from the Arabic world.
I've got a feeling that music might not be the most interesting place to be in the world of things.
People like Frank Zappa and Bryan Ferry knew we could pick and choose from the history of music, stick things together looking for friction and energy. They were more like playwrights; they invented characters and wrote a life around them.
I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness, and a better sense of humor.
Once music ceases to be ephemeral - always disappearing - and becomes instead material... it leaves the condition of traditional music and enters the condition of painting. It becomes a painting, existing as material in space, not immaterial in time.
I think that technology is always invented for historical reasons, to solve a historical problem. But they very soon reveal themselves to be capable of doing things that aren't historical that nobody had ever thought of doing before.
Editing is now the easiest thing on earth to do, and all the things that evolved out of word processing - 'Oh, let's put that sentence there, let's get rid of this' - have become commonplace in films and music too.
All cultures have these feelings about non-functional areas of activity. And the more time people have on their hands, the more they commit it to those areas.
I'm an atheist, and the concept of god for me is all part of what I call 'the last illusion.' The last illusion is someone knows what is going on. Nearly everyone has that illusion somewhere, and it manifests not only in the terms of the idea that there is a god but that it knows what's going on but that the planets know what's going on.
Democracy is a daring concept - a hope that we'll be best governed if all of us participate in the act of government. It is meant to be a conversation, a place where the intelligence and local knowledge of the electorate sums together to arrive at actions that reflect the participation of the largest possible number of people.
I have lived in countries that were coming out of conflict: Ireland, South Africa, the Czech republic. People there are overflowing with energy.
Most people have no idea what something would sound like if it wasn't an MP3.
For instance, I'm always fascinated to see whether, given the kind of fairly known and established form called popular music, whether there is some magic combination that nobody has hit upon before.
Some people are very good at being 'stars' and it suits them. I'm grudging about it and I find it annoying.
The smart thing in the art world is to have one good idea and never have another.
I suppose I am reluctant about being any sort of 'star' and I didn't particularly want to be portrayed as one.
A way to make new music is to imagine looking back at the past from a future and imagine music that could have existed but didn't. Like East African free jazz, which as far as I know does not exist.
I wouldn't call myself a synaesthete in the sense that Nabokov was. But I'll talk about a sound as being cold blue or dark brown. For descriptive purposes, yes, I often see colors when I'm listening to music and think, 'Oh, there's not enough sort of yellowy stuff in here, or not enough white.'
When I started working on ambient music, my idea was to make music that was more like painting.
The biggest crime in England is to rise above your station. It's fine to be a pop star. 'Oh, it's great, lots of fun, aren't they sweet, these pop stars! But to think you have anything to say about how the world should work? What arrogance!'
I see TV as a picture medium rather than a narrative medium.
I think it's a myth that American public or any other public is so stupid that they need to be constantly pricked.
Feelings are more dangerous than ideas, because they aren't susceptible to rational evaluation. They grow quietly, spreading underground, and erupt suddenly, all over the place.