5 Reasons Aphex Twin is the Ultimate Troll
Between dropping music via various anonymous Soundcloud and YouTube usernames to releasing records via the most playful of promotional techniques, the enigmatic experimental techno producer known as Aphex Twin has a reputation for being a prankster. It was weird when he announced 2014’s Syro by flying a blimp over London and spray painting graffiti all over New York. However, that hardly scratches the surface when it comes to Richard D. James’ oddball antics. Here are 5 reasons Aphex Twin is the ultimate troll.
01. He Has Dozens of Aliases
For years, the enigmatic producer has been sharing tons of new material on Soundcloud and Youtube under various generic-sounding usernames featuring random strings of numbers. These pages tend to be anonymous, lacking anything in the artist bio that explicitly connects the music to Aphex Twin. However, one listen to any of the material shared confirms the producer’s involvement.
A few months prior to releasing 2016’s Cheetah, James shared a track titled “T17 Phase Out” via Soundcloud as user18081971. The cut was accompanied by the caption “i prolly i shntnde downoied thi coz im drunki m ena uploaded….” Whether or not he was truly inebriated is besides the point: the poorly-typed post gave fans something to talk about while awaiting his next release.
02. He’s Been Banned From His Own Message Boards
When mailing lists were replaced by online message boards in the early 2000s, the DJ was immediately online alongside his fans. However, he wasn’t exactly running AMAs.
In a 2003 interview with The Wire, he admitted to trolling fans on these forums: “My message boards, I don’t even understand what they’re on about—they have their own private language and acronyms,” he said. “I’ve been banned from message boards [about me], kicked off straight away for winding up other people—which is ironic.”
03. He Claims His Kids Produced a Few of His Tracks
Following the release of 2014’s Syro, James successfully trolled listeners (including journalists) into believing that his six-year-old son was responsible for a handful of tracks he uploaded to his Soundcloud. As DIY Magazine reported at the time, the producer had asserted “I never showed him a thing, he worked it all out himself, mind boggling.” He continues his stance of a proud parent across a series of interviews from that time that are still floating around the internet, but the jury’s still out regarding the truth behind these claims.
Admittedly, the tracks he attributed to his son could have been the work of a child prodigy. The tracks in question were cacophonous and chaotically-organized enough to not completely rule out the possibility that the story is true. Unfortunately, the tracks in question are pretty difficult to find streaming anywhere, but the tale lives on.
04. The Great Sandpaper and Food Processor Caper
In January 1995, the DJ headlined a two-night run at New York City’s Knitting Factory. As the story goes, he concluded the brief residency by dropping the turntable needle on some sandpaper and tossing the microphone in a food professor.
In James’ own words: “I just mixed some sandpaper together for a bit and then played a food mixer and threw it at someone. I hit the bloke on the head, and I thought I would get sued for that, but he wanted me to sign it afterward. He said, ‘I will keep this food mixer forever,’” Fact Magazine reports. This event bizarre moment in music history inspired someone to create a limited edition pressing of Aphex Twin sandpaper.
05. He’s an Oddball IRL, Too
Shortly after the sandpaper and food processor incident, the oddball producer opened for Bjork and spent the entire performance hiding behind a plastic tree, Thump reports. Being a weirdo onstage as an experimental techno artist is one thing, but apparently he’s even stranger in real life. Exhibit A: He drives a second-hand military tank (a Daimler Ferret Mark 3 Armoured Scout Car to be exact). Exhibit B: He lives in an old bank. ‘Nuff said.