Richard Norris is one half of Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, one half of the Grid and all of the Time & Space Machine. In his youth, he worked at Bam Caruso Records, before making one of the first British acid house albums with Genesis P. Orridge and other collaborators. Since then he has been a prolific producer, scoring crossover hits with the Grid and underground anthems with The Sleeve. He recently recorded his first solo album, under the name Time & Space Machine. We caught up with him as he prepared to promote the album.
What thing are you most proud of? The thing that I’m most proud of is generally just the ability to keep making records really. Looking at it as a long haul rather than instant gratification is the thing that I’m proud of and I think the way I make records now has definitely got that in mind. I’m aware of current trends but I’m thinking a little bit like what they’ll sound like in twenty years’ time as much as two weeks’ time. In terms of music, probably ‘Floatation’, The Grid’s first single, I would’ve thought would be up there just because it was quite a timely record in that it was sort of the peak of Balearic Ibiza period but just managing to kind of marry John Barry with Café Del Mar was quite an achievement. More recently, I think one of my favourite things has been the mix of ‘Roscoe’ by Midlake which, in terms of the Wizard’s Sleeve is probably the one that, if we were going to do it again, we wouldn’t change at all [laughs].
How do you make sure the machines that you use don’t force you to make music their way? I think there’s two parts to that. When people come round to my studio they’re quite surprised because I haven’t got racks and racks of gear. I only use very very minimal bits of equipment so my first thing is therefore melody and ideas rather than, “How does this computer’s internal logic work or how do I turn the reverb off?” Also, I’ve been working on making a record and I’m writing the whole thing on just the one sound, which is just a quite, cheap Fender Rhodes copy, which is quite neutral. With modern technology you’ve got unlimited sources of sounds that you know that every time you do put up a sound it can lead you in different areas so I’m trying to pare it down to this one noise at the moment.