Few artists of any genre can say they've had the level of longevity, innovation and influence as London duo Ed Handley and Andy Turner, known better as Plaid. Having been at the forefront of ever-inventive electronic music is no easy feat. Yet with frequent collaborations with the likes of Björk, Rahayu Supanggah and Bob Jaroc, and with the infamous Warp Records as a loyal partner, Plaid have managed to do just that for over 25 years. Always pushing boundaries of technology and genre, Plaid's lengthy career has seen the release of 10 albums, two original scores (for Michael Arias' anime films Tekkonkinkreet and Heaven's Door), and countless one-off live performances.

This weekend the duo play Semibreve Festival situated in a magnificent early 20th century Theatre in Braga, Portugal. A fitting festival for the duo, Semibreve prides itself in forward-thinking curation, an undeniably majestic, unusual backdrop and a tantalising lineup. Plaid play alongside Demdike Stare, fellow Warp compadre patten, Roll the Dice, Karen Gwyer + Maria Mónica, Sheffield-based experimental artist Mark Fell (also performing as Sensate Focus), Thomas Ankersmit, Polish based Anna Zaradny and Berlin's Pierce Warnecke.

Plaid took time out with us ahead of Semibreve to discuss making music for over 25 years, their relationship with Warp and their passion for collaboration.

You recently released Reachy Prints, your 10th album in 25 years, an impressive feat for an artist in any genre. How do you keep ideas fresh after that time?

There is always something to inspire and motivate us, could be anything, new technology, people, places. After 25 years there is a desire to be more concise and articulate so it tends to lake longer to finish tracks. We'll try and filter out the ones that sound overly generic or self parodying. If it ever gets difficult we introduce rules and limitations to restrict the creative possibilities so we're not drifting around with option paralysis.

You've had a long involvement with Warp Records for over a decade now, how important is their relationship with you and how actively involved are they in your music?

We've been involved with Warp since our late teens so there is a strong bond and trust between us. They have managed to keep the label buoyant and relevant during some difficult times. They have the right to veto album tracks if they wish. If we've become overexposed to album tracks, it's a valuable stage of quality control before release.

It would be fair to say that you have both long been at the forefront of cutting-edge electronic music, how do you feel about the current state of electronic music and which new artists are you fans of?

We're at a point where we have a long, diverse history of electronic music to investigate and propel us forward. The tools to make it are cheaper, more available and more sophisticated than ever. It is still hard to be heard in the hundreds of daily releases but no longer necessary to be signed to a label for that to happen.

We currently have a soft spot for Arca, Rival Consoles, Flintkids among others.


Over the past few years there have been various niche electronic music festivals springing up around Europe, of which Semibreve is a prime example, how important are festivals like these? And how important is it for you to play for audiences outside the typical touring circuit?

We're lucky to have festivals like Semibreve, they support the alternative music scene and provide a chance to hear artists that couldn't or wouldn't play at larger commercial festivals or venues. We tend to play in the same venues around Europe that will program music like ours so it's great to have a chance to play to a wider audience. It will be our only Portuguese date this year.

Semibreve Festival is fortunate enough to be set in the majestic 'Theatro Circo', which having witnessed last year, I can say provides a unique backdrop to electronic music. Is it context in which you perform live important and how do you feel about playing in an early 20th century theatre?

We'll try and find out about a venue before we play, if people are seated it makes sense to alter the set and place less emphasis on beats. The history and use of a venue does imbue it with a particular atmosphere so, yes, we look forward to play in the Theatro Circo!

You've had the chance to create several scores for film, which for most artists seems to be a big aspiration, do you enjoy creating scores and are there plans for more in the future soundtracks?

We'd love to do more film work. It's a way for us to write music that is thematic and connected but outside of the album format. The restrictions of writing for a movie can be liberating in that you are trying to enhance existing material for a specific purpose and that allows for a concentration that can be lost with less boundaries. There are some possibilities for more film work but nothing fixed yet.

Your career has involved various collaborations over the years from more conventional collaborations with vocalists, to the brilliant audio visual collaboration with Bob Jaroc, is it important for you to try new things with your music? And are there any plans for future collaborations?

Working with other people can be revitalising, it can stop us becoming complacent or bored. We have an ongoing collaboration with Bruno Zamborlin and his contact mic Mogees instruments. We also have a long term writing collaboration with Benet Walsh who plays live guitar with us. There are plans to work with some percussionists and on some more technology based projects in the near future.

You can find out more about Plaid on their official website, and more about Semibreve Festival here.