Pleasure Palaces: Mother Ganga

In the third installment of Errors' 'Pleasure Palaces' series on creative spaces, Mother Ganga's Lewis Cook tells how he gets the joss sticks out round his girlfriends flat

Feature by Steev Livingstone | 15 Feb 2012

To begin with, can you describe the space you play music in and tell us how long you've been using it?
At the moment I make most of my music at my girlfriend's flat, in her bedroom. I've been 'between flats' the last few months and she's been kind enough to let me stay here since I graduated.

How do you feel the environment affects the outcome of the music you make?
Not having a permanent place to stay for the last few months has affected the way I make music in a lot of ways. [My girlfriend] Suzi and her flatmate have made me feel really comfortable here but there will always be a sense of transience about a place that's not your own home. I think that sense of transience has contributed to an ongoing flux of my methods of writing and recording music. A lot of my gear is in storage back down at my parents' house in Moffat and so I've only really got the bare necessities with me to do what I want to do. It can definitely be a pain in the arse sometimes not having everything to hand but, in some ways at least, there's a liberation in that restriction. For me, lighting and smells are important – sometimes more important than the immediate physicality of a space – so I like to light incense and sometimes use coloured lightbulbs and projections when I'm writing and recording music.

What is the surrounding outdoor environment like? Does the space feel very separate from that?
It's a west end tenement flat so there's people living below, above and both sides. The walls aren't too thick either so the volume is something I have to keep an eye on. In the past I used to write a lot of music late at night, but now I can only do that with headphones on, which is never as enjoyable. I like to record loops and leave them on for a few hours to let the sounds soak in before I decide what to do with them. I sometimes worry that the neighbours are getting a bit pissed off with this, but I've only ever had one complaint from the guy below. As most readers of this article are surely aware, the weather in Glasgow can be pretty depressing, I think this inevitably affects a lot of the sounds as well. That said, the first track on my new record is called Tenement Sunset, which I think is testament to the amount of appreciation I have for the sun when I do see it.

Have any bands used the space before, to your knowledge? If so, who? Any records been made there?
Probably not, but there's a strange plaque on the building across the road which claims to be the former home of a famous fiddler. Can't remember his name but he has a plaque, so he must be good!

Where else have you rehearsed/made music?
For the three years before this summer, I lived in a top floor flat on Hillhead Street with a massive bedroom where I set up all my gear. It was brilliant for making music as there was loads of space to set up anything I wanted and the walls were pretty thick so I could make a lot of noise. At the time, I had a PA system and drum kit set up, so I used to have band practices in there a lot. One time on a sunny night, we played with the windows open and loads of the students from across the road came out onto the scaffolding which was outside their windows to listen to us. That was nice.

In a sense, I'm having to make do until I can get my own place. I don't think making music is about getting the perfect setup though or having the greatest studio, but what you do with what you have available to you. In a way I'm pleased to have a change as it's forced me to look at different methods of making music.

Do you use any other spaces?
Sometimes I'll go back to Moffat to make music. I think Glasgow can sometimes clog your mind a bit when there's so much going on all the time. Out in the country, you don't need soundproofed booths to hear silence and I think that helps a lot, to appreciate sounds when you do hear them.

Mother Ganga plays the old Hairdresser's, glasgow on 18 Feb. The self-released cassette Pineal Soup is available now as a limited run (with download).