Tim Hecker / Daniel Lopatin

There’s an air of intimidation surrounding outre electronic artists Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never ) and Tim Hecker’s solo work. It’s accessible enough to get booked at summer festivals, yet awesomely inaccessible from a musicianship standpoint; you don’t hear Lopatin’s Replica or Hecker’s Rave Death, 1972 and think, “Yeah, I can do that.” Their elusive sounds are less composed than conjured out of super-obscure television programs, unearthly drones, and Norwegian church reverb. Yet, when I speak to the two of them about their recent collaborative LP InstrumentalTourist, these masters of electronic manipulation are as flustered by rudimentary technology as the rest of us: Lopatin is having the hardest time trying to patch in Hecker on his iPhone.

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I’m not trying to put these guys on blast so much as making it clear that they are disarmingly down-to-earth people, even if their creative process is a thing of mystery. The two interact in a way that reminds me of a typical buddy-cop dynamic, where one’s comic relief plays off the other’s calm, wise-guy demeanor. Talking about his plans for this winter, Lopatin says, “I’m just gonna have one fucking fantasy basketball window open and Ableton in the other monitor, going apeshit.” He calls me “bro.” Meanwhile, Hecker is quick to name French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari as ideal collaborators.

With Lopatin taking a quick break from touring and working on the next Oneohtrix Point Never record and Hecker in his native Canada, we talked about giving up their preferred creative hermeticism, the underlying humor of synth presets, and the “happy hour” vibe that permeated the making of Instrumental Tourist. Full interview here