Next in our Memories of the Future series on DIY projects, we chat to Richard ‘Biff’ Birkin from Time Travel Opps , a Derby-based collective of musicians, writers & filmmakers. Richard makes music under the name Emphemetry, some of his vinyl & CDs will be available for sale at #MotF.
What is Time Travel Opps?
It’s a small imprint that I set up about ten years ago to publish small runs of things I wanted to share with other people. From there it became a collective as I met other writers and talented artisans like Emma Blue who had brilliant stories and publishing ideas that I was proud to be associated with.
What gave this collective the idea to work together & publish different mediums?
Emma is a very talented writer, and at that point we both just wanted to put as much stuff out there as we could. From Cds to story books, to story books with Cds inside!
You’re very much about traditional, often handmade formats. What attracts you to them?
They’re tangible and unique. Also, Emma and I share a fascination with how things are made while at the same time not being so fussed about how much time they take to make.
How do you feel about the changes in creative industries as we move into ‘the digital age’?
Well, Time Travel Opps is sort of an antidote to a career in digital production. I like the way that craft folk are getting more confident and loud on the net. I like how the net is interfacing with old technologies (e.g. Newspaper Club) and keeping them alive, as well as creating new physical technologies (e.g. Goodnight Lamp & Ugle) that have a special quality as objects as well as digitally integrated things.
Tell us a bit about the music side of things, how would you describe it & what are the influences?
It’s sometimes folky, sometimes ambient. It can use pianos, string quartets, haunted choirs, acoustic guitars, quiet vocals, booming drums or weird synths. Usually the pieces are a soundtrack to something. The album you’ll be selling is a soundtrack to Derby at night, with a title taken from Nottingham author Jon McGregor’s debut novel ‘If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things’.
I’m influenced by places. Musically I’m influenced by lots of things. Top of my head: Stars of the Lid, John Martyn, Jon Hopkins, Eno, and Countryfile.
At Memories of the Future we’re also selling/exhibiting work by Emma Blue & Aaron Bradbury, can you tell us a little about what they do?
Emma is a great writer who can hypnotise you with a whisper that describes single moments in a highly sensual way. Aaron is an incredible animator and imaginator who is always on the brink of what he can do/can be done.
You’re based in Derby, how do you feel about the creative scene both in the city and the Midlands in general?
I like it. It hardly ever goes to hype level, and people are more or less very supportive (even celebratory) of the work and ideas of others.
We’re currently experiencing something of a ‘vinyl revival’, how do you see the future of vinyl panning out? Will it still be produced in twenty years time?
I don’t know about the future of vinyl. As a consumer I feel increasingly priced out of the market on some releases. Not all though, which leads me to believe there’s a lot of price hiking going on somewhere in the chain to take advantage of a surge in popularity.
Yes it will still be produced in twenty year’s time, but I hope that the manufacturing stays affordable for the smaller labels who kept the torch alight in the wilderness years.
Many thanks to Richard for taking time to answer our questions & create such lovely things.