|07.06.2009, 04:14 AM||#2|
Violent Onsen Geisha
If Japan seems, at times, on the verge of unrepentant nerdiness, then Masaya Nakahara, instigator of the noise act Violent Onsen Geisha, is a contender for King of the Nerds. Ubiquitous in Tokyo are the school boys in their heavy wool black uniforms with white clerical collars, the otaku-zoku (computer nerds) furtively stuffing mangas (comic books) into their oversized down parkas as they shuffle home to jack in and log on, and the bespectacled salary-men who have elevated nerdiness and high-test-score geekiness to new international heights. Westerners don't like to write it or say it, resisting the cultural stereotyping that smacks of political incorrectness, but loads of Japanese men and boys are crippled by congenital geekiness and unremitting momma's boy-ness. Few societies in the world lavish as much praise on stellar test takers and data memorizers while disregarding the corollary awkward physical manifestation, bestowing relentless promotions, perks and favors upon the exemplary uncool while the occasional iconoclast who embodies a James Deanish rugged individualism is relegated to unmarriable pariah.
As a Japanese woman, I can dare write it: many Japanese men don't know how to be cool. All this makes it even more admirable that Masaya Nakahara has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon by embodying that nerdiness but somehow making it seem cool.
Now, as he sits in Aoyama's Spiral Cafe, amidst wirey, cagey sculptures that are part of whatever avant-gardish show is up at this museum cafe, Nakahara comes across as a bad little boy, his hair shorn in a Japanese school boy haircut - black bristles and too-white scalp - wearing a black parka and T shirt with a portrait of Vanessa Paradis. But he makes a smirking, judging, appraising, sneering, condescending, snide little boy, the kind of bad litle boy, maybe, who I wouldn't mind slapping around, undressing and suiting up in a good Italian two-piece, because Nakahara, 25, is handsome in a cleft, sullen sort of way, the rugged loner, defiant in the face of mono-culturalism.
Nakahara is organically individualistic, often writing film crit praises for B-movies, authoring a collection of essays about such flicks, and directing promotional videos. He is a renaissance geek, art directing his album covers, penning obtuse lyrics, performing Nancy Sinatra covers. And he records alone, plinking away on toy pianos and rattle-trap drum sets over samples of his parents having an argument or his sister practicing karaoke.
"I record alone because I don't have any friends," explains Nakahara as he looks at a menu. He announces how delighted he is that this cafe serves creme brulee. I ask him if that's his favorite food. "It's very good, you should have some." Nakahara orders and watches the big-hipped waitress as she walks away.
I ask him who he makes his music for, if his constituency is perhaps primarily the otaku-zoku and related sub-cultures. "I make music for intellectuals with masters degrees and super models. I'm not an otaku kind of musician. I'm not a representative of that pathetic subculture. Those people aren't creative; they are compilers and disseminators of already existing information. I take some existing data, reconfigure it, remix it, through samples, whatever, and then put it out and it is something new, rejuvenated if not totally original."
Nakahara's first three albums, Que Sera, Sera, OTIS and Nation of Rhythm Slaves have established his niche in the Japanese music scene, a cultural cocktail blending sampled animated films, cartoons and computer games with the somnambulistic mania of a more mellow Beck that already makes him the arbiter and definition of Japanese noise music. Natahara is musically obtuse, plinking and winding his way through atonal, sometimes dreary cul-de-sacs before anything emerges that could be called a song, or even a form. Primarily, he seems interested in creating unease, and is as likely to lull the listener into despairing disinterest as any other emotion.
"I don't set out to confuse people. I feel that this generation processes music differently, is more willing to accept odd varieties as 'pop."' says Nakahara. Explaining how he developed his peculiar aesthetic, he says, "I used to listen to the radios lot when I was in elementary school. NHK had some contemporary music programs, so I had a chance to listen to a Greek composer like Xenskis. Also, I watched movies, paying attention to the music - I especially liked Kenneth Anger films. I learned the sense of electronic sounds far the sake of sounds, sort of a musique concrete. Then I started dabbling, using just a tape recorder and electric piano, since I didn't have a synthesizer. I am the last of the analog warriors."
The waitress drops off his creme brulee. He scoops some custard with a spoon and keeps talking. Eager to dispel the notion that he is an otaku-musician, and to distance himself from Japan's other preeminent noise act the Boredoms, Nakahara points out that his "music is pop music, I think. Experimental or free music is not generally considered to be pop music, but to me it is. Noise music is playing with music, which is a pop thing to do, therefore it's pop music. But most people don't think so, so they try to label me." Nakahara presents himself as an enigma - "I don't use samplers, yes I do, no I don't, well, write that I use a dozen open reel-to-reels" - but the mystery is somewhat undermined by the curious fact that he still lives at home with his parents in the Aoyama section of Tokyo. How cool is it for a cutting edge noise musician to live with his mom? Nakahara won't talk about that, saying only that when he is a rock star he will move out of the house. He changes the subject and reveals that he records in his pajamas, "for maximum musical comfort."
Violent Onsen Geisha's live performances have posed special problems for Nakahara, necessitating that he hire or cajole musicians to play Black Sabbath and Nancy Sinatra covers over which he projects his warbling voice, the resulting music being nothing like his albums. "Lately, I've started to think I should do it properly. I take recording seriously, though. And my future is as a pop musician. I am not one of those types who wants to die on the fringes. I want mainstream success, but a success that allows me to record the kind of music I like to record." And what's that? "l am always changing. I don't know if I would ever be a musician, because I just create things that happen to be music."
I ask Nakahara, it you could be anything else other than a super cool noise musician, what would you be? "I would run a bar or be a baseball player," he laughs. "And I would not live at home." Interview by Michiko Toyama
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|07.06.2009, 04:22 AM||#3|
Interview by Takuzo Nakashima; translated by Alan Cummings.1
Like a lot of people, my first exposure to Kan Mikami's guttural, soaring heart-rending vocals was through his appearance on the early PSF classic "Live in the First Year of Heisei", a super-group that also featured Keiji Haino and venerable free-bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa. A bit of poking around in his back catalogue soon revealed that Kan had been a huge folk star at the height of the Japanese folk boom in the seventies, but that his dark, nightmarish lyrics and screaming intensity put him way ahead of the field of jangling acoustic losers with their pretty harmonies. Kan fell from grace with his major label backers in the eighties and entered into a period of oblivion, playing infrequent shows to miniscule audiences. During this period, his lyrics had become oblique and surreal compared to the early fear and loathing, he had a new uniquely jagged and rhythmic guitar-style, but the magnificent vocals still remained to soar and tumble, carress and lambast.
Mikami still plays very frequently around the live-house circuit in Japan, supported by a small band of intensely loyal hardline fans / drinking buddies known has the Mikami Komuten. His one-take solo recordings have become one of the mainstays of the PSF label, who rediscovered him. The PSF connection also gave him the chance to meet up with Japan's other long-time underground legend, Keiji Haino. The two often play together in shows of startling empathy and raw musical alchemy, most recently in the amazing Vajra trio.
Kan is also a published poet and novelist, a regular TV presenter (especially on late-night shows), and an occasional film-star. You may have seen him in Nagisa Oshima's POW drama "Merry Christmas, Mr.Lawrence" with David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto. You won't have seen him in numerous Japanese films of very dubious reputation. As an introduction to Kan's music, I would recommend "Jazz, and other things", the second Vajra album "Ring", or the afore-mentioned "Live in the First Year of Heisei". But all of his appearances on PSF are worthy of your investigation. And if you're ever in Japan, make sure to see him play live and have a drink with the man afterwards. Tell him I sent you.
When did you first pick up a guitar?
Mikami Must have been in 1965, but I didn't know how to play then. I'd just look at it and polish it.
Did you learn to play from a book?
Mikami I had this book by Koga Masao and I practiced with that.
Back then a lot of people would practice with steel strings on a gut guitar. Did you do that too?
Mikami Everyone did back then. I used to change the strings about once a year.
Did you have to go all the way to Aomori2 to buy new strings?
Mikami No, there was even a music shop Goshogahara3. There wasn't one in Kodomari4 though.
Did you start writing lyrics at the same time?
Mikami No. First I spent a year or so learning some chords, and then I started writing.
What kind of themes did you write about at the start?
Mikami Anti-war stuff. The Vietnam war had just started, and everyone thought that folk equals anti-Vietnam War songs. So I wrote a few of those, though not that many.
Did you perform in public at all?
Mikami I played at my school festival5. Back then there weren't too many people who played guitar so it went down unexpectedly well.
Did you sing any anti-school songs?
Mikami No. I was the head of the students' representative body, and I was pretty aggressive in getting them to lend us somewhere to perform. But I wasn't really a model student. Our school was co-ed and they used to segregate the kids who couldn't study into a separate class. We kicked up a fuss about that. But there was a pretty free atmosphere.
Did you really get into the guitar about two or three years after you first started?
Mikami Yeah. I'd practice until six in the morning. There were a lot of times when I'd look outside and it'd be morning already.
Did you write a lot of your own original tunes back then?
Mikami I've forgotten them all. They were mostly imitations, or versions of stuff that was popular at the time.
Did you have any feeling that you would go so far with your guitar?
Mikami Not at that time. It was just a hobby—I'd pick up the guitar when I was tired of studying.
Between graduating from high school and coming up to Tokyo you went to a police training school. Did you really want to become a policeman?
Mikami I had a really immature attitude, and just wanted to fire guns and stuff. (laughs) I didn't associate the police with authority for some reason. Anyway, I did that for two years and then I quit.
So you left the police training school and came up to Tokyo. Had you always yearned to come to the capital?
Mikami Yeah, I really did. All the sixties pop-art stuff, and Shuji Terayama6 and Tadanori Yoko7. It seemed like there was a lot of crazy stuff going on in Shinjuku8 , and I didn't just want to watch it from the provinces, I wanted to come and get involved myself.
When did you come up to Tokyo?
Mikami The fourteenth of September 1968. The autumn.
Did you come up trembling on the night-train?
Mikami Yeah. There was hardly any information back then, and I wondered what was going to happen to me. I was a little worried—make that very worried.
What did you think when you first arrived in Tokyo?
Mikami I thought of the word "violence". It was as if the city was controlled by violence. The countryside is really pastoral, and I understood the relationship between man and nature. And then you come to a city, and suddenly violence is the real power. Like when the traffic light changes and everyone sets off at once in the same direction—when I saw that I felt like I was being chased by someone. Like there was someone following me and someone controlling it all. Like Tokyo itself was moving.
Where did you live when you first came up?
Mikami At the start I wasn't in Tokyo itself, but in Fujisawa9. I was there for about four months and then I moved up to Numabukuro in Tokyo itself.
Were you working and playing the guitar as well?
Mikami Yeah. Around that time Kansai-folk10 —Nobuyasu Okabayashi11 and that crowd had just started up. I felt that I wanted to sing and perform again myself.
So did you first start playing seriously in live houses around that time?
Mikami There were hardly any live houses or places where I could sing back then. There were small theatres, so I got to know some theatre people.
After that you played at Station70 in Shibuya, and gradually got involved in that world. Did someone talent-spot you for that gig?
Mikami No, it wasn't like that. I heard that a new place had opened, and I went along to sound them about me singing. I remember them giving me an audition up on the roof, and then I played there for real. Station70 was where Marui12 is now, underground. There isn't anything left now though. It's become a coffee shop now. It was really up-to-date back then—they had TVs on the wall—it wouldn't look out-of-place today. The PA was good too.
the rest is on here: http://noise.as/mikami
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|07.06.2009, 04:34 AM||#4|
This interview originally appeared in Japanese in the second issue of G-Modern, PSF's in-house "Psychedelic, Avant-garde, Underground" magazine. It has since been reprinted in English in the third issue of the New Zealand magazine Opprobrium. The interview was translated by Alan Cummings. Thanks to Alan and Nick Cain, the editor of Opprobrium, for allowing the interview to be presented here.
Yasushi Ozawa1 - Bass
Jun Kosugi - Drums
Maki Miura2 - Guitar
Interview text by: Koichiro Sakamoto & Masakazu Nakajima
As this is the first interview you've done as a band, first I'd like to ask you a bit about yourselves. Starting from Miura, is Fushitsusha the first band you've been in?
Miura Before joining Fushitsusha I was in a band called MTK with Akui3 and another bassist and a pianist for five or six years. Then I also played guitar on that Okami no Jikan track on Tokyo Flashback 2.4
Then you were in Katsurei, and now you play guitar for Shizuka, right? I think there must be a lot of difference between Katsurei and Fushitsusha. Fushitsusha don't really seem to suit heavily structured tunes-it sounds like you just make up the arrangements as you go along.
Miura I wouldn't really say that we don't suit structured stuff .
In that respect, was it difficult for you?
Miura There are inevitably going to be difficulties-it would be boring if there weren't. With Katsurei, we would take hours in the studio to decide where every last drum roll was going to fit in. With Fushitsusha, we put a lot more into the arrangements than everyone probably thinks. But when we play live, we hardly ever duplicate what we do in the studio. I mean, when you play somewhere the acoustics are different and we have different ways to make the most of a particular venue. So the arrangements change minute by minute when we play. Sure, it's difficult but once you become able to enjoy it, then things enter a whole new level. (laughs)
When did you first start to play with Fushitsusha? Around '88?
Miura No, I'd been playing in the studio for a lot before that, but it was probably around then that I first played live with the band. I was originally an improvisation specialist, but with Fushitsusha, the difference was too great for me. If you take it that what Fushitsusha does is improvisation, then there isn't another rock band like it anywhere. That's how different it is. I more or less understood on a sensory level, but it felt like my body and mind were being taught how to think. I became able to sympathize with what Haino-san is trying to do, and there is a lot of common-ground in our pre-music sensibility. It felt like Haino-san had already discovered mystical, unknown things that I too was interested in. So I practiced for an unbelievably long time, but it was fun at the same time. I reckon I must have just practiced for about a year. (laughs) And the next thing I knew I was playing on-stage with the band. Now I come to think about it, the A and C sides of that Fushitsusha double LP are taken from the first show I played with them.
Ozawa There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that no one ever sees. That all takes a long time. There've been times when the drummer has changed several times in those intervals. (laughs)
How did you come to join Fushitsusha in the first place?
Miura The first time I saw Fushitsusha play live, I had this feeling that one day I would come to know Haino-san better. Simply because we look alike. (laughs) Only joking. It's something I can't really put into words, but the songs seemed to soak into my body-it was too cool. Then I thought that I had to video a gig, so I asked and got permission. Haino-san saw the video and said that there our aesthetic sensibility had some points in common, or something along those lines, I don't remember exactly. So he asked me if I would come along on the next tour to video the shows, and there was no way I could turn him down. I was really interested in what he was doing, and wanted to get to know him. And that was that.
Next is Kosugi-san. You were in a band called Dendo Purin5, weren't you?
Kosugi The band is still on-going.
Is that a totally different type of music to what you do with Fushitsusha?
Kosugi When people see it they probably think it's totally different, but to me it's not that much different. Umm, in terms of theory it's different but the way the music is put together is the same. Our aim in Dendo Purin is to fuck things up, not really to give out energy though. There are hardly any bands around now who have real impact, are there? Before I joined Fushitsusha I had always wanted to make something interesting, and that's why I joined, or rather they let me join. I had just started playing the drums and hardly had any technique at all, I thought it was enough if I could just make noise.
How did you come to join Fushitsusha?
Kosugi The first time I saw Haino-san was at a show he did with Kan Mikami6 at Kataashi Kutsuya. That was the first time I had seen him, and I had been completely unaware of him up till then. But when I saw him play, I thought that he was doing something way above my fucking up. . . .
Ozawa Really fucking it up. (laughs)
Kosugi Mikami-san is amazing too though-like I can feel it on my skin. I thought I would invite him to my college festival but things didn't work out and we postponed it till the next year. I also got him to play at the Komabasai festival7. Round about then there was a time when Fushitsusha didn't play for six months or so, but I went to see Haino-san every time he played solo, two or three times a month. And gradually we started talking to each other. Then sometime around the Komabasai festival, I forget when exactly, and we were on a train and Haino-san said "It's really sudden and you're probably going to be surprised, but would you drum with Fushitsusha?"
Was it totally unexpected or had you had some premonition?
Kosugi None at all. I mean Haino-san had never seen me play, though I think he had heard of the band. That was in November two years ago (1990). Then at the start of the next year, Haino-san and Ozawa-san came to see me play. Just the two of them enshrined at the back, (laughs) I was really scared.
Ozawa Haino-san had said to me that there was someone who he wanted to play drums with us, and wouldn't I go and have a look. So that was the first time I heard you too.
Kosugi I was really tense so things got even more fucked up than usual. And afterwards we talked and then I went along to the rehearsal studio with them and jammed a bit.
the rest on here: http://noise.as/fushitsusha
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|07.06.2009, 04:51 AM||#5|
THE MONKS PART 1: WE ALL WANNA DIE IN A HAIL OF BULLETS
shea M gauer
The Monks were one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands ever. They came from nowhere—five G.I.s stationed in Germany about to muster out of the U.S. Army when Vietnam and the Beatles were both heating up—and they sounded like nobody else on their single album Black Monk Time and they faded away after only a few years, so shell-shocked that they had to struggle to remember how to be Americans again. Light In The Attic has just reissued Black Monk Time (with vital outtakes like “Pretty Suzanne”) and the pre-Monk Time demos. Founders Eddie Shaw and Gary Burger (who reveals the location of the lost last Monks session!) speak now about the Monk times. These interviews by Chris Ziegler. Read Part Two of the interview (with Monks singer Gary Burger) here.
Eddie Shaw (bass): I was a musician when I was 15 years old and I played in a casino in Carson City, Nevada, and Wayne Newton was 12 years old—he was on the front stage, and I was 15 and I was on the back stage. So, you know, I come from a musical family. My aunt Sue almost married Will Wills, who’s Bob Wills’ brother. I was a musician all my life and actually I was assigned to the 6th Army band when I went in the Army. They were gonna station me in San Francisco. I had a plush job and I went and screwed it up and said, ‘Well, I’m gonna be so close to home—can I see some place else?’ and they said sure and sent me to Germany. When I got to Germany all of a sudden I was in an artillery outfit.
Do you feel like you’ve always chosen the path of most resistance?
Well, yeah—I did. My new book is about birds hitting windows and this trumpet player keeps hitting windows and I’ve spent my life hitting windows but that’s the thing. I don’t like playing or doing the conventional sort of stuff. Usually its about discovery for me, and that’s what the Monks was. It was about discovery.
What did you discover through the Monks?
The minimalist thing. The idea of tension.
Do you still feel what you wrote in your book Black Monk Time—that all Monks songs are love songs?
They are in a sense. If you listen to ‘I Hate You, But Call Me,’ how many of us hate the person that we love at any given minute because we’re so frustrated and so in love? The very heart of love in some ways, right?
Did you ever feel that you were turning into your own songs?
We got tired at the end. I don’t know if you saw that Monks documentary Transatlantic Feedback—the documentary was about a list and really there was no list. In the documentary it sounded like we broke up or we didn’t make it because we didn’t follow the list. It’s a myth—just like the Lunachicks in New York City were the first to play Monk music in the states. They had an interview in People magazine and they said, ‘Where’d you get those songs?’ and they said, ‘Well, we discovered this old obscure recording.’ They said it was a bunch of GIs in Germany who went AWOL and the police were looking for them and they showed up on German TV singing ‘I Hate You, But Call Me’ and the police closed in on them and they disappeared and nobody’s seen them since. I’ve always liked that story the best—I wish that one was true. But getting back to whether we were that thing—when you wear that image everyday, people treat you differently and you get used to it and you get the feeling of how it must feel to be a monk. Or a figure of religious authority, so to speak. Until you say, ‘fuck you’ and you have a shot of whiskey and ogle the girls standing over there and they figure it out—‘Wait a minute!’
In the book, you say everybody’s personality was defined by the instrument they play. So who were the Monks?
Gary was a country-western player. I think his roots were probably in folk music. [Banjo player] Dave [Day] played three chords. [Organist] Larry [Clark] took piano lessons and he played Chopin and he also got a $90 organ and could play ‘Green Onions.’ [Drummer] Roger [Johnston] was from Texas and he played Texas swing. He might have been influenced by the Bob Wills swing group. I never discussed my musical past with them. We were all from different environments—for the most part, that’s what made the Monks. The music is a hybrid of sort of a conversation between all of us to get rid of what all of us had that the other ones couldn’t work with. I come from Miles Davis and Chet Baker and all that. My music culture has nothing to do with the Monk music culture and I know that Gary’s music culture has nothing to do with the Monk music culture. Neither do any of them. Basically what the Monk music culture became was what we could do that would work together that nobody else had ever done.
You guys said in the book how you wanted to be truthful as a band and just communicate the simple truth. Is that why people thought Monk music was so ugly?
I don’t think people like to be hit in the head with the straight-on idea that everybody lies. I tell everybody that I lie three times a day and I try to do them as early in the morning as possible so I get them out of the way. So you know—‘Shut up, be a liar.’ We still have that today. Just look at politicians. I’m not a political person. I didn’t really like the political content that we were doing because I don’t really like that. To me it dates the songs. ‘Monk Time’ is dated because of the reference to Vietnam. If it wouldn’t have been the reference to Vietnam, it could have been like ‘Shut up, don’t cry!’—it could be good now. But there is a way to talk about politics in a song that doesn’t date it and we had a big argument about that one. I was against it. But I compromised. If it’s our kid then I’ll do it. But when you use a song to attack the headlines, you are basically dating yourself. It’s not that you shouldn’t have the honor or the courage to say, ‘I’ll speak my mind.’ Because I will. But if you’re going to make a piece of art you want the message to last. I don’t want it to die as soon as the problem died.
I read about someone who’d seen you play in Germany and said, ‘What the hell were you guys doing? I didn’t understand what it was but I got pissed off as soon as I heard it.’ Does that count as success?
Yes, it does. I was in a bar five years ago and I was sitting there drinking a beer and this guy about my age was sitting there we were talking and he said, ‘I was in Vietnam.’ I told him I was in Germany and he said, ‘Yeah, I went to Germany from Vietnam and I had a girlfriend and went to Hamburg and saw this group playing and I hated them—I wanted to kill ‘em.’ I drank my beer and I didn’t say anything but after a while I said, ‘I was in that group.’ He says, ‘I absolutely hate you.’ He said it, but we were drinking a beer real friendly and I say, ‘What did you hate about it?’ He said, ‘That whole bullshit about Vietnam and crap—I just got back from Vietnam.’ I said, ‘Yeah I didn’t like that myself. But as you turn around and look at it thirty years later when Robert McNamara came on TV and apologized about it—I felt then at least maybe we weren’t wrong. Not that that’s the important thing—the sad thing is that 58,000 American kids died along with all the Vietnamese kids.’ And he says, ‘I know that and I thought about it and you’re absolutely right.’ ‘After all these years,’ he says, ‘you’re right. But I still hate you.’ So I said, ‘OK.’
You seemed so shell-shocked coming out of the Monks experience. What did the Monks do to you?
You get conditioned to knowing that you’re going to piss people off. When I went home—my mother is a hell of a piano player, and when I played the Monks stuff for her, she didn’t say anything against it but she just ignored it and went on to something else. But normally before, when I played drums and trumpet, all the jazz stuff—she’d say, ‘Great! Do that again!’ My uncle who also played just turned it off—‘God, you used to be a better musician than that! Why are you doing that?’ So you just lock it away and say, ‘Well, that didn’t work.’ After I wrote the book, these two guys showed up at my house and asked if I was Eddie the Monk and I about fell over. I called Gary Burger in Minnesota just because he would like to know that and I said, ‘You wouldn’t believe this but two guys showed up at my door and wanted to do an article because they’d read the book and they loved our music—the Monks have people who like them.’ And Gary said, ‘fuck you,’ and he hung up.
the rest on here: http://larecord.com/interviews/2009/...il-of-bullets/
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|07.06.2009, 04:56 AM||#6|
CAVE: SPACE, OF COURSE, IS TIMELESS
It’s nice, easy, and recommended for all folks to zone out with Cave’s 30-minute jams. If only the band’s MySpace page background could follow them around, spiraling neon colors out of sounds and frequencies, and so could we engage the ideal psychedelic lifestyle, in which a blink of an eye might transport us to an outer-space beach blanket with Sun Ra. This interview by Daiana Feuer.
You move furniture for a living?
Cooper Crain (guitar): Everyone in the band does, actually. It’s us and the band Mahjongg. We’re all originally from Missouri and have moved up here at different times. There’s a company that our friend owns. It’s not really ‘real’ but it is real. We own some box trucks and move all throughout the year. It’s called Starving Artists, and there’s a bunch of people in bands. And there’s some people who make visual art and some who write. It just makes it so everybody can leave and do what they want to do but always have a job.
You don’t necessarily think of musicians as handy movers.
Oh no—it’s great because it makes it easy to move amps or anything since for your job you move a bunch of people’s apartments and stuff up stairs all the time.
Do you ever compete to lift things?
Well, there’s certain people who are taller and their arms are longer so they’re able to carry box springs. And every now and then a move is made by somebody who figures out how to get a certain type of couch through a certain doorway. It’s a lot of fun. You work with friends and it pays cash at the end of every job so it’s nice work.
What’s the most current thing in Cave land?
We recorded a bunch of songs last winter and made a record and a single out of it and that’s coming out on May 26 called Psychic Psummer on Important Records. That’s the newest thing. But a 7-inch of ours just came out in England. This new record is the ‘new band.’
How is that reflected musically?
Big, big deal! Before it was just kind of a thing where certain people were involved and every show there would be various amounts of people. It would go from four to ten people in the band at one show. That was in Missouri and they were kind of freeform jams for the most part. Then me and a few other guys kept doing it on our own and moved to Chicago. Some people have left but for the last year there’s been an actual band. Only me and Rex who plays drums are the ones who have been in it the whole time. But this live band that’s on the album—we’ve been doing it for a year and it’s totally a great change. Before only a handful of people would be overdubbing or doing it live. And then editing jams and now it’s advanced a lot more. There’s Adam playing electric organ, I play guitar and keys, Dan on bass, Rotten Milk plays the mono synthesizer and sings and Rex on drums. It’s a five-piece now.
Are you playing full songs at shows now or just jamming?
The album that’s coming out—half of it is songs we actually worked out and half of it is jams we recorded or edited that we kind of learned in order to play live from the recording. Now all the songs that have been recorded—as far as the structure goes, we do a lot of editing in the studio but a lot of new stuff is actually just start and then end. That’s the vibe of how everything starts.
Do you have communication tricks when you play?
A few of us have been playing together in various things for a long time. All of us live for the most part near each other if not in the same household, and we work together then play together. I feel like over the last year being around eah other makes it easier. Since it’s a band now, it’s advanced the sound. It’s tighter and things can happen smoother. As far as location for when things happen—not always but every now and then, there’s a nod or two. It goes half and half.
What’s the longest continuous session you’ve played together?
The very first thing we ever did, we hooked up a tape machine and threw out a bunch of mics and that was like a 36-minute song. That’s probably the longest. Maybe we’ve played literally longer back in the basement in Missouri. Our goal was to try and not go over a half hour for a continuous jam, but it may have slipped here and there. That’s more than a side of a record. That’s why we’re releasing a single with the record. There’s one song that is actually three and a half minutes, and it was kind of written as a song rather than a jam. And we were like, ‘Wow, that’s our first actual song. There’s a lead vocal part on it! We should make it an album single—like an old 45.’ That just shocked us all. But that’s the direction it’s more going into. We’re starting to get into songs, while still maintaning the spirit of the old songs. We’re evolving, as always. It kind of started as a part someone had and we worked it out and we felt it shouldn’t go too long, not that it lacked interest, but it sounded like a song—short and sweet.
What’s the greatest guitar riff you’ve ever heard?
Aerosmith, ‘Sweet Emotion.’ I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that one.
If you could time travel to spend an afternoon at the beach with three historical figures, who would you choose? What moment in time would you like to visit them in?
It’d be cool to go back a little further when things weren’t kept so close-eyed. Mid-1900s. And hang out with some Ethiopian dudes. Maybe Terry Riley or jazz dudes? We’ve all been really into the Doors lately, but not so teenage-girl way—not so Jim Morrison, so I don’t think I would want to hang out with him on the beach. Perhaps one wild card, one TBA. No, wait, actually—though I don’t think I will ever be in this situation, I think if I could have a telephone booth like in Bill & Ted, I want to hang out with Terry Riley, David Tortuga and Sun Ra. Location: a beach in the outer-space zone. Maybe we’ll depart from the mid-1900s. But space, of course, is timeless.
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|07.06.2009, 05:08 AM||#7|
Good evening, Nico.
Welcome to Melbourne. Er ...
I've not quite arrived yet.
Yeah, but you will tonight, I'm sure. And er, well, let's start off. Where do you come from in terms of your Australian tour, where do you call 'home' these days ? You've lived in America, England, Europe ?
On my passport I don't, I don't have a home. It says 'ohne festen Wohnsitz' which means-a 'without a fixed address'.
And I prefer that, because it's like being married when you have a home. God, it's terrible.
Have you ever found a place that you sort of were tempted to sort of start to call home and really put down some roots in ? Any particular country ? I think I read an interview recently where you were living in a part of England ...
I lived on a ship, but I don't live there anymore now. I live in Brixton now.
Yes.That must be fairly intense.
Not as much as people make out, I mean like hell's kitchen on the Lower East Side in New York is much more dangerous.
Right. Now you've begun your career, er, in Europe, and er, moved across via England to America. What attracted you, what actually moved you into music when you first started playing, I think a lot of people feel that the first recorded Nico was with the Velvet Underground. As a matter of fact it was a single with Jimmy Page, prior to that. How did Nico, the model and actress find an attraction to music, what was the connection ?
Well, first of all I grew up on Opera with my mother taking me to Opera when I was a child and it sort of got branded in my brain. And er ...[Sighs]
What about Rock & Roll, I mean, which is what you did first with Jimmy Page ?
Yeah, but I always preferred Jazz already, as a young adolescent I preferred Jazz, Free-Jazz. And...
Well, yes. I met Bob Dylan and he sort of changed er, the idea that I had that I should only sing torrid, torrid songs, you know, love songs. I started singing Dylan songs, when I was on three 'Ready, Steady, Go!' shows, in England, with two Dylan songs and one Gordon Lightfoot song.
Well, you recorded the Gordon Lightfoot song with Jimmy Page.
Yes, the same.
And then what prompted you to move from England to America then after that particular record ? What was the attraction about America ?
Oh, it's er, Dylan's managmer, manager, Albert, who bought me a ticket, and said I should come over there, that-a, he can only do something for me over there.
It seems ...
That's how I met Andy again.
Right. In New York City ?
Whom I'd met just previously in, in Paris.
It seems that New York City at that stage was a place where if you moved amongst certain circles all the circles of people seemed to interlock, that there was a chance of meeting a large community of people, more so probably than today where it's a very crowded town. It seems there was a certain creative group of people who were working in areas with Warhol in media, and you had Dylan in music, and then you had the Velvet start out of that. That there was a lot of overlap.Mm.
An overlap ?
Well, you said you could move between different groups of people.
Oh, you mean myself ?
Oh, er ... no, I only wanted to be with, with the, the underground people, I wasn't interested in Fashion anymore, and I also had studied acting with Lee Strasberg, which helped me a lot to sort of discover myself like all young people always have to discover themselves, right ?
the rest on here: http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~seven/artis...ew19Feb86.html
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|07.06.2009, 05:19 AM||#8|
from Touch & Go 'zine
The Crucifucks were interviewed on May 5th in Lansing.
TV: So your last couple of gigs have ended on a violent note I hear... tell me how much you like Flint.
Scott: It's OK... It's the bouncers.
Doc: We didn't see much of the town - just the disco...
Scott: It has a really strict dress code... (talking about the Micotam)
TV: How many of you got beat up?
Scott: 4 or 5...
Doc: Scott got shoved around a lot and my back is really starting to bother me.
TV: You gonna sue 'em?
Doc: I'm gonna try... probably find out it's the mafia and you'll find me in a ditch somewhere.
TV: What about your gig in London, Ontario?
Doc: There were people who came to that bar just to cause trouble... Yeah, long-haired leather jacketed guys with gloves with knuckles exposed... The guy that booked us in there got suckerpunched twice before we even played... and it just got worse. It was chaos... people were throwing glasses...
Scott: It ended up we didn't get paid.
TV: Had any problems here in town because of your name?
Scott: We can't play...
Doc: Some people find our name offensive.
TV: I say bring back Club DOO BEE.
Doc: That place was perfect almost...
TV: So, what do the Crucifucks stand for ideologically, socially, politically, morally, sexually... blah blah...
Doc: I can't speak for the other guys, we're all really different... We like to think that compared to most bands we've got a better idea of the different ways the government is fucking people over... and how religion plays a part in that.
TV: Hence the name...
Doc: We have to play around here as the SCRIBBLES... It's always been an asset of mine to offend people. Basically... I hate police. We've got a couple of songs about them... Most of the songs are directed to people like that who have little or no intelligence whatsoever.
TV: That was great when we did (we being the MEATMEN) "Fuck the Cops" and you started screaming and the whole crowd went apeshit...
Doc: Yeah, the same thing happened in Flint - we started the song "Who Are Those Fools in Uniforms" and I just screamed KILL THE PIGS... There's a lot of good sentiment out there it's just that people are subdued cuz they are afraid of the consequences.
TV: What's "Positive in a Negative Town" about?
Doc: Ask Steve...
Steve: It speaks for itelf...
Scott: Well, he doesn't know.
TV: When you guys do "Go Bankrupt and Die" I always think lovingly about my boss.
Doc: That's good that you thought about that... it can be applied to anything or anyone establishment. Just look at all the man-hours logged throughout history and now it's all stockpiled in gold for the rich... and there's all these people with no jobs and no future... It's like in "Democracy Spawns Bad Taste" I say "Put a gun in my back and I'll do what you say, but if you let me get away you'll get yours"... and I'm not a revenge-seeking person, but if someone does something it comes back to haunt them...
TV: So how did the incident with the EL cops come about...
Doc: There's this bar in East Lansing called the America's Cup that's really preppy and all the assholes go down there and drink. It was right before our gig with L-Seven and we were passing out flyers and as we went in, there was a cop so I yelled "asshole"... The guy didn't hear me so Scott said a couple of things.. what did you say...
Scott: Shithead... Fuckface... (That ought to do it -ed)
Doc: A bouncer grabbed and put me out the door and then I elbowed him really hard and there were the cops... When they had me in the cell they were hassling me saying "We have some tinker toys for ya" and then I said I wanted a phone call, so they made the phone ring in the outer room and they said "Go get the phone,go get the phone" and they were laughing at me...
TV: So what else would you like the world to know about your band?
Doc: We've been accused by our parents - Joe has and I have - that it's just a totally negative message.
TV: Have your folks heard your music?
Scott: My mom has a tape of us and she gets up in the morning and listens to it... She played it for her fourth-grade class... You can't understand the bad words so she played it for 'em. She's seen us twice...
Doc: People around town accuse us of being troublemakers but we don't actively try to cause trouble, it finds us... People are intimidated by what we say and we're saying things that are true... Everything we do is borne out of concern as to why things are still this way.
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|07.06.2009, 05:29 AM||#9|
An Interview With John Coltrane
If you know of any links to information about the people mentioned in this interview (Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Rashied Ali, Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry, John Gilmore, Archie Shepp), please tell me about them! Send an email to
email@example.comClick here to go to Amber Habib's home page, or hereto go to his Jazz page.
The following is a transcription made by Brad Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org) of a cassette recording of an interview with John Coltrane. Everything is the result of his work, except for the few links that I've put in. "The copy of the tape used here was several generations old, complete with tape dropouts, etc. There are sounds of children at play and automobile sounds in the background."
The interview is by Frank Kofsky, and has been published in his book " Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Music". Excerpts from his update of this book are also available online. Note Frank Kofsky was a professor in the Department of History, California State University, Sacramento. He passed away in November 1997.
FK: "The people I was staying with have a friend, a young lady, and she was at, downtown at one of Malcolm X's addresses, speeches, and lo and behold who should plop down in the seat next to her but John Coltrane..." < laughs>
JC: < chuckles> "Yeah".
FK: "...so right away that whetted my curiosity and I wanted to know how many times you had seen him and what you thought of him when you saw him and so forth."
JC: "That was the only time..."
FK: "Were you impressed with him?"
JC: "Definitely... definitely."
< both try to talk>
FK: "Oh, go on..."
JC: "Well, that was the only time. I had to..., I felt I had to see the man... you know... and, I was livin' downtown, I was in a hotel, an I..., I saw the posters, that he was gonna be over there..., so I..., I just said 'well I'm goin' over there' you know, and see this cat, because I'd never seen him, and..., I was quite impressed."
FK: "That was one of his last speeches wasn't it"
JC: "Towards the end of his... career."
FK: "...Some musicians have said that there's a relationship between, some of Malcolm's ideas and the music, especially the new music. Do you think there's any thing in that?"
JC: "... Well, I think that, music, ...ah being expression, ...of the human heart, of the... human, of being itself, does express just what is happening..."
FK: "So then if..." < John starts> "...oh."
JC: "...ah, I feel that it express... it expresses the whole thing. ...The whole of the human experience at the particular time that it is being expressed."
FK: "What do you thing of the phrase 'the new black music' as a description of some of the newer styles... in jazz?"
JC: "Well, ...... I don't know. Phrases ah, it, I don't know it ... They don't mean much to me. ..., in a sense because usually I don't make the phrases, so I mean..."
FK: "That's right."
JC: "...I don't, < laugh> I don't react so much to 'em I mean it makes no difference to me one way or another what its called."
FK: "If you did make the phrases, could you think of one..."
JC: "I don't know what the hell I, ...I don't think I have a phrase, I don't have the... I don't think there's a phrase for it. See what I'm sayin'?"
FK: "The people..."
JC: "...that I could make."
FK: "The people who use that phrase argue that jazz's particularly related to the black unity, and it's an expression of what's happening there, that's why I asked you about your reaction to Malcolm".
JC: "Well I think it, ...I think its up to the individual where you can... call it what you may, for any reason you may. My self I, ...I recognize the artist, ...and I, ...and I recognize an individual, I see his contribution and, when I know a man's sound, well to me, that's him. ...You know, that's just man, and that's what I recognize, and all that... labels I don't bother with."
FK: "But it does seem to be a fact that most of the, changes in the music, the innovations have come from black musicians."
JC: "Yeah well this is... how this is..."
FK: "Have you ever noticed, since you've played all over the United States and in all kind of circstances, have you ever noticed that the reaction of an audience varies, changes if its a black audience, a white audience or a mixed audience? Have you ever, seen that the racial composition of the audience seems to determine how the people respond?"
JC: "Well, sometimes 'yes' and sometimes 'no'."
FK: "Any examples?"
JC: "Well, no I mean sometimes it might... it might appear to be... one, you might say well... It's hard to say, man, you know sometimes people like it or don't like it no matter what color they are."
FK: "It... you don't have any preferences yourself about what kind of an audience you play for..."
JC: "Well to me, ...it doesn't matter..."
FK: "What kind of.."
JC: "...I just, I only hope that whoever's out there listening, I hope they're enjoying it. That's the, you know if they're not enjoying it... you have an idea..."
FK: "If people do enjoy the music, how would you like them to demonstrate this? Do you like an audience that's perfectly still and unresponsive or do you like an audience that, reacts more visibly to the music?"
JC: "Well, I guess I like an audience that, that does show its ah, you know, what they feel. ...that responds."
FK: "I remember sometimes when you played the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco you really got, that kind of an audience that you didn't get when you played in Shelley's Mann Hole in Los Angeles and it seemed to me that that had some effect on the music..."
JC: "...It seems to me that the, that the audience, the parti..the audience by... in listening there is an active participation goin' on there you know and... and when you know that somebody is, maybe moved or... the same way that you are to such degree or approaching degree, ...its just like having another member in the group."
FK: "Is that what happened at the Ascension date? The people who were there... did they get that involved, for example?"
JC: "I...I don't know ah... I was so doggone busy, till, I mean... I was worried to death. That was my, you know that was the way I felt... I couldn't really enjoy the date as if it hadn't of been a date. If it hadn't of been a date then I would have really enjoyed it. The date I'm.. trying to get.. you know, time and everything set and I was just too busy myself. But I don't know.. I hope they... felt something... to hear the record, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all of the individual contributions..."
FK: "Well its a beautiful record. ...and its probably the one record that I've had to listen to the most number of times to get at everything that's happening."
JC: "We got another take out on it now. Did you know that?"
FK: "That's what Bob Thiele told me he said he'd mail me the other one."
FK: "What you think then about playing concerts. Does that seem to inhibit the interaction between yourself, your group and the audience?"
JC: "Well, on concerts, I... the only thing that bugs me on concerts is... might be a hall with poor acoustics or acoustics which we can't quite get the unit sound see... but as far as the audience, its about the same."
FK: "I wasn't too impressed with the acoustics in Friday night's concert..."
JC: "Mmm, no, I wasn't either."
FK: "...I was sitting right down front so I could hear most of what was going on but even then it didn't sound..."
JC: "Nah, I couldn't feel - I couldn't feel it."
FK: "You can tell when the musicians - they can't hear each other and therefore they can't get themselves.."
JC: "No its - its just like the wind, you're blowin' through the wind."
FK: "Yeah < laughs> . ...Another reason I asked you about Malcolm was because -, you know, I've interviewed about a dozen and a half musicians by this time and the consensus seems to be that, especially the younger musicians talk about those kind of political and social issues that Malcolm talked about, when they're with each other, and, some of them say that they try and express this in the music. Do you find that in your own groups or in the musicians you're friendly with that ... these issues are important and you do talk about them?"
JC: "Oh well they're definitely important. And as I said they are - the issues are part... of what IS... you know at this time."
the rest on here: http://www.geocities.com/a_habib/Jazz/coltrane.html
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|07.06.2009, 05:45 AM||#10|
Scissor Shock’s Adam Cooley is unlikely to ever garner the sort of underground legend status allotted to Merzbow or The Haters, although his unusual assemblages of sound have led to a dedicated following amongst lovers of unconventional music. With releases out on several noteworthy microlabels, as well as a whole bevy of compilation appearances, Cooley has proven himself an enormously productive and continuously innovative sound sculptor. As his Scissor Shock outfit nears its end (at least for the time being), Cooley reflects on his past musical meanderings and answers our incisive, insightful, and occasionally grotesque 20 Questions. Read on...
1. Scissor Shock's sound has changed considerably over the years, and awhile back you cut ties with the egrind scene. What sorts of genres and sounds have you been experimenting with as of late, and what would you like to try in the future?
First of all, thanks for the interview. I get interviewed about once a year, and this interview has the most interesting questions I've been asked yet! Anyway, I never felt a part of the egrind scene; when I was first making this music, I was the only one making it that I knew of. I mean, I was doing what is now called egrind back in my band Stagedive Suicide when I was 12 (approximately a decade ago), before I knew Libido Airbag or SMES or whoever ended up becoming the egrind "originators". It just seemed like a natural fit. Somewhere along the way, a thousand dumb kids started screaming over Fruity Loops and people suddenly started appreciating the music I was making. By that point, I REALLY wasn't interested in making it. I never called my music grindcore, to the best of my knowledge, though I did scream, and there was a drum machine. I was more interested in no wave music and stuff and the idea of a drum machine being arrhythmic, a style I still explore a bit. Also, don't get me wrong, there are some egrind bands I love (Kindergarten Hazing Ritual, Gigantic Brain, It's Okay We're Chainsaws, Bubblegum Octopus though he's a bit too poppy to be labeled "egrind".... and a few others), but I feel like there is just too much crap out there nowadays, and I always felt a bit "outside" of that, even though I've obviously done splits with some of those bands and some people in that scene have helped me get to, uh, where I am today, I guess. The point is, when I started making this stuff, I was just trying to do something different... making music no one else was making because I wanted to hear it. And I've pretty much changed my sound dramatically with every album, because there's no point in repeating myself. In the process, it has alienated potential fans and record labels and such who want me to release something that sounds like something else I'd done. Which always makes me curious, because I have no idea what albums of mine people have actually heard and what sound I'm associated with... for all I know, people could be basing my entire project from the songs on myspace. Basically, the stuff I'm writing at the moment sounds like Jandek, with actual riffs, doing a prog rock western, in collaboration with Captain Beefheart. I guess.
2. What is there to do in Columbus, Indiana? What's the music scene like?
I live in a town of 50,000 people, and for whatever reason, there has been an active and interesting musical scene here; lots of creative and even like-minded musicians and LOTS of bands, usually started by some combination of the same handful of people. I mean, garage surf bands, psychedelic bands, lots of experimental punk and electronic bands, even a band that sounds like Goblin (frequent Dario Argento collaborators). Lots of intelligent, open-minded, talented people have come and gone here. The problem is, there are no places to play... we played a few shows here but got kicked out because even though there are some open-minded people, the MAJORITY of people are ignorant fuckheads. We pretty much have to drive 30 miles away to play a show nowadays. But that's okay. I don't really connect with most people around here, though the few I do connect with... I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, and I often collaborate with them.
3. What's on your stereo as of late?
I mainly listen to drone, actually. Drone... and the old stand-bys: I always tell people they need to get the entire discographies of John Fahey, Thinking Fellers Union Local # 282, Sun City Girls, Slowdive, Jandek, Captain Beefheart, Cerberus Shoal, and a few releases by Boredoms, Jim O'Rourke, and Merzbow. That's all you really NEED in life, though obviously my musical tastes reach a little further beyond that.
4. How much attention do you pay to reviews of your releases?
I think they're interesting, because I'm basically sending albums to people who probably have no idea what to make of what I'm doing. I don't even know if my music is that GOOD, I don't ever listen to it, but I know what I'm doing is at least INTERESTING. And certainly most reviewers say things along those lines, "Unique! Innovative! I never want to listen to it again though!" I'm fine by that. I pretty much agree! Sometimes, it's more important to influence a lot of people than to actually be consistent all the time. When you're doing something that is clearly "experimental", you're going to REALLY divide people. But I know I have a few fans who aren't reviewers who love everything I've done. So... whatever. The music is out there, people can do what they want with it, you know?
5. Your lyrics and song titles are bizarre and often quite shocking. What inspires themes such as apocalypse and misogynism?
6. Digital music versus tangible, physical product. Discuss.
Doesn't matter. There won't be much physical product much longer. One year, I sold a whopping 155 physical CD's.. that was YEARS ago, maybe 4 or 5? Nowadays, I sell maybe 20 in a year (myself; I have no idea what the labels sell off of me, probably not much). Why is that? The interest in my music has definitely only gotten bigger, I've made way better music, and I've released stuff on some respected underground labels. I get new fans all the time. So... I just think people are starting to lose interest in physical product in general. Which is fine by me to an extent, I never made money off of the physical CD's I sold, anyway; I sold them for the price of shipping and handling. The only problem is, I LOVE physical products, and I love all these little labels, which feature plenty of smart, open-minded people working impossibly hard for releases that'll only be heard by maybe 50 people. So, I hope it doesn't die, and I think it won't die out COMPLETELY, but it's certainly getting to that point. I just want people to hear my music, in whatever form. I'd be doing this stuff anyway, even if I had no audience whatsoever. I just wish some labels would get more appreciation for their hard work and effort.
7. Would you rather drink a pint of diarrhea straight from the source, or a pint of garbage juice fresh-squeezed from the truck?
I guess it depends on what the garbage and the diarrhea are made of. Generally, I'd like to think diarrhea is a little healthier than garbage... garbage is a broad term, right? I mean, that could include oils and other weird chemicals... yeah, diarrhea, definitely.
8. Your "influences" list on myspace names about half the bands on the planet and spans quite an array of genres. Are there any genres you don't like at all?
No. I tend to find something good in everything in life. Even if it's something I hate, I'll try to pick one element that appeals to me. I like quite a bit of mainstream pop, country, rap. There's something cool in everything, even if it's just a silly 2 second slide guitar part or some weird synth tone. Whatever.
9. Lately you've had a string of releases on Jay Watson's Placenta imprint. How did that happen and how has it worked out?
Jay is a great guy, very friendly and easy to work with. He sent me some Placenta stuff, including DENTAL WORK who are excellent... and he got very interested in my band for whatever reason (I have no idea why people like the stuff I do), and he wanted to work with me for a while but I played hard-to-get, as I usually do with labels for a bit. Haha. But yeah, I decided to do a clearing-of-the-vaults album and throw together all these weird rarities from the past 5 years. He did a great job on putting that release together, and I think it's a good album for people just getting into Scissor Shock and also, strangely, since every song sounds SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, it also may be one of the weirdest albums ever made. It sounds like 20 different bands, really. Anyway... I plan on putting out the next full length through him if he wants me to. It's up to him.
the rest on here: http://www.indieville.com/articles/20Q/scissorshock.htm
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|07.06.2009, 05:57 AM||#11|
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|07.06.2009, 06:02 AM||#12|
Flipside Interviews Nirvana
By Al (The Big Cheese)
Seems to be the rage across the land - retro rock. And yeah, these Sub Pop bands fit right in, but as the Sub Popians say themselves, "So fucking what, as long as you like it". So, I like it, I like it... Ok, here we have Nirvana, slightly older dudes (like me!) who are influenced by a lot of the same bands that influenced my own childhood daze (like the Coop!) and hating a lot of things that I did (like the Pelvis). They fucking thrash and jump around like I would if I was in a guitar band and they approach gigs like there’s no tomorrow. If you like to totally lose yourself on occasion, giving in to loud thundering grungy rock and then fucking diving into brick walls ‘cause it feels good, then Nirvana can be just the band to take you there. -Al
Chris - bass
Jason - guitar
Kirk - guitar
Chad - percussion
Krk: Your album sounds really different than you do live, did you do that on purpose?
Chris: Lack of funds... why is it different?
Krk: It was just a lot mellower, it doesn’t really slap you in the face it just kind of kicks you.
Kirk: We didn’t do hardly any guitar overdubs and we recorded it in three days.
Jason: The studio is a pretty sterile environment, you can't get really psyched in the studio, but live it’s different. It was really new material too, we just decided to go out on a limb and record 5 new songs.
Chad: We wrote down the lyrics on the way to the studio.
Chris: We were trying to be spontaneous.
Krk: Was the single the same way?
Chris: No, actually those were older songs.
Kirk: We’re really new in the studio, we never recorded before.
Al: Didn’t you have enough songs that you play live to put on the album?
Chris: Oh yeah, yeah. But we wanted to do new songs. We had a demo tape that was going around Seattle and we were going to put all of those songs on the album but we just decided to do new songs. It was just a whim. We make decisions like this (retarded voice) Yeah, let’s do it".
Chad: We’re the most indecisive band in the world.
Chris: All four of us have been walking around here for an hour deciding what to do.
Kirk: If we smoked pot we’d be dead.
Chad: We’d be hopeless then...
Al: You look like a bunch of pot smoking...
Krk: Was there a reason for not smoking pot?
Kirk: I kinda reached my end of things to do as far as acid and pot and stuff, I just reached a maximum on that stuff.
Chris: It’s fun for awhile but I just watched my friends deteriorate until they were virtually brain-dead.
Kirk: Once you go past the learning experience, then you go into the downhill part. I never took drugs as an escape, I always took drugs for learning.
Chris: I just did it every day for a looonnnng time...
Krk: Is this band like an experiment and one day you’ll do something else?
Chris: No, we can’t do anything else.
Chad: If it wasn’t for the band I don’t know where I’d be unless I had a girlfriend to support me or something.
Kirk: Someone told us that they wouldn’t even hire us at MacDonalds’ (laughter) So we’d better pull through.
Chris: Job experience, let’s see, I’m a janitor.
Jason: Industrial painter...
Chad: I was a commercial fisherman in Alaska for 4 years.
Kirk: I’m a good chef, I’m a totally good cook.
Chris: We’ll all vouch for that.
Al: You’re right they wouldn’t hire you at MacDonalds.
Chad: If some idiot told me to cook Big Macs faster, I’d just, fuck... One thing we all have in common is a pretty healthy resentment for authority. We’re all pretty stubborn and we’re all anti-authoritarian.
Chris: Anti-culture! The culture of the whole world just sucks!! The malls, the expensive cars and peoples values are just fucked. They don’t care about love or nothing, they just care about their fucking selves. Especially Los Angeles California!!
Kirk: We’re all pretty psyched on the Batman theme for this summer.
Krk: So what is Seattle like compared to LA.?
Chris: A lot more laid back.
Jason: It’s a lot smaller and more closely knit.
Al: Seattle is getting pretty popular as a music scene lately.
Chris: Yeah, it won’t happen again for probably another 100 years, but it’s great!
Al: How do you guys fit into the whole Seattle music scene?
Chris: I don’t live in Seattle, I live in Tacoma, I just go there to play.
Kirk: We live in a like a radius around Seattle. I live 35 minutes away.
Chris: But we appreciate it, and we think that every band that is getting the hype deserves it.
Jason: Seattle in the past has been totally overlooked, and there are a lot more quality bands in Seattle per capita than anywhere else.
Krk: Why do you suppose that is?
Jason: Because it rains all of the time and we have nothing better to do.
Chris: It never rains in Southern California.
Kirk: I think the environment has a lot to do with it. It’s pretty rounded. We drown all the time but we bake every now and then.
Al: Do you think there is a general "sound" that is coming out of the Northwest?
Kirk: That’s really hard to say because we’re inside. Most of the shows that you see in Seattle are really high energy. Our send off show was insane!
Krk: Do you think that being on Sub Pop opens a lot of doors?
Chris: Oh yeah. They have a lot of clout.
Jason: It’s cool for the opportunities that it’s brought, as far as being pigeonholed as a Sub Pop band, that’s not very cool.
Chris: Our sound just happened, we were doing this for like 2 years.
Jason: We definitely didn’t jump on the Sub Pop bandwagon. (We are rudely interrupted by a giant Cockroach which Krk promptly stomps into the pavement.)
Krk: I hate those motherfuckers!!
Chad: You can freeze those things, then put them into water and they come back to life.
Chris: You can take a fly and put it into the refrigerator for a minute or two until it gets really slow, then you take it out and get a hair and tie it around it and when it comes back to life you’ll have it on a leash!
Kirk: We won’t pull our hair out, we’ll just tie a fly onto the end of each hair...
Jason: It will be kinda like GBH, but more like a Van Der Graft Generator effect...
Al: But when you head bang you’ll smash them all together.
Chris: Then they’ll all calm down for a minute.
Kirk: Yeah but they only live for like 3 days...
Chris: That’s only some flies, some of them live a little longer...
Al: 4 days... Jason: I had a fly die in my hand once. (another Cockroach attempts to consume us...)
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|07.06.2009, 06:15 AM||#13|
Galaxie 500's kinship with the Velvet Underground isn't limited to musical parallels. The group, founded in Boston in the late 1980s, was far more successful after its break-up than it was over the span of its three full-length releases -- Today (1988), On Fire (1989) and This Is Our Music (1990).
Overshadowed by the behemoth Pixies at the time of their greatest successes and subsequent swan song, Galaxie 500 are once again battling those alt-rock giants in the summer of 2004. The release of Plexifilm's video anthology Don't Let Our Yourth Go To Waste: Galaxie 500 1987-1991 arrives in the midst of a Pixies reunion, an irony that is far from lost on members Damon Krukowski, Dean Wareham and Naomi Yang. But the Plexifilm collection, which includes all four of the band's videos (all directed by friend and collaborator Sergio Huidor), five full-length concert performances, two bootleg concerts from the band's final year of touring and a rarely-seen UK television performance, once again puts the band in the center of a maelstrom, as fans and critics argue for Galaxie 500's legendary status within the history of alternative music.
Galaxie 500 frontman Dean Wareham (now of Luna) and drummer Damon Krukowski (now of Damon & Naomi) spoke to Splendid about the release of the Plexifilm anthology, and discussed the group's history and ever-expanding legacy. · · · · · · ·
Splendid: Dean, for readers who are unfamiliar with the band's history, could you offer a quick summary of how you, Damon, and Naomi all met?
Dean Wareham: I moved to the US from New Zealand in 1977 and went to high school in New York City with Damon and Naomi. We all wound up going to Harvard together -- I studied the social sciences -- and we started Galaxie 500 after graduation. We were about twenty-three when we started doing it.
Splendid: So who finished their degrees?
Dean Wareham: We all finished our degrees, which is the opposite of the standard story. Galaxie 500 didn't start until after we all already had our degrees, and when we started the band Naomi was in architecture school, which I guess she did not finish, and Damon was a grad student as well -- Comparative Literature, I think. He didn't finish that either, so the band did destroy their academic careers. (laughs)
Splendid: How did the Plexifilm disc come together, and what was the motivation?
Damon Krukowski: We had these videotapes that were not only unreleased but unwatched -- there was a pile of tapes in the closet. Dean had some too. The idea had sort of been bouncing around for a little while. Since the format had come in, Naomi and I were attracted to DVDs -- VHS tape just always seemed like such a crappy format. DVDs are very appealing. Naomi made a DVD for our last album on Sub Pop, Song to the Siren, a live CD packaged with a DVD that Naomi created -- it was a tour diary. In putting that together, she had authored the disc as well, so we learned how to make a DVD from scratch. We were just enjoying the format and we'd never owned a TV until we bought a DVD player, so it was partly that, actually. And then there were these tapes, and we had the feeling that if we didn't compile the material, someone else will, meaning it would just be bootlegged, which is okay with us but we had material that no one else had. And just as we did when we put out a live Galaxie 500 album, Copenhagen, we felt like we would like to make the choice and make the best possible presentation that we can. Dean was very into it also, so we all catalogued what we had and made dupes and showed everything to each other.
Dean Wareham: We started looking at the tapes and found all the stuff that we didn't even know existed, including a bunch of bootlegs that had been bought at various places -- but some of them were just too awful to include. Some of them, though poor quality, had something going on in them. The London show, for example, doesn't look so good, but it actually sounds good.
AUDIO: Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste
Splendid: Is it safe to assume that Rykodisc was supportive of the project as a way of boosting the catalogue?
Damon Krukowski: Absolutely, but we took it to Plexifilm instead of Ryko because Naomi and I have a history with the people at Plexi before they were "Plexi". The person who runs it, Gary Hustwit, used to run a book publishing company, and Naomi and I have a book publishing company called Exact Change -- Gary's former company and ours went through the same distributor. We used to see each other at trade fairs and business things so we actually knew each other from before he was even doing DVDs. So that was another thing that happened -- we had an eye on what he was doing with Plexi and we thought it was a great program that he had and we felt it was very comfortable place for the Galaxie 500 stuff.
Splendid: It's probably fair to say that the growing prestige of being associated with Plexi will probably come to mean something very different than if your DVD was just another catalogue release on a record label.
Damon Krukowski: I agree. And I really like what they're doing, the mix of music and interesting cultural artifacts from avant-garde film to the Christo release (Five Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude) -- I like the whole spirit of the collection and it didn't feel like we were inserting it into the context of those straight-ahead music video compilations that are being spit out a lot right now. With good reason, I suppose, because DVDs are a great format for this stuff.
Splendid: I would argue that Sergio Huidor's work fits quite well with the Plexifilm aesthetic -- his videos are the sort of experimental fare that Plexi is exploring on other releases.
Damon Krukowski: I think that's a very nice point.
the rest on here: http://www.splendidmagazine.com/features/galaxie/
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|07.06.2009, 07:05 AM||#15|
Bernard Stollman: ESP Disk's Sound Revolution
Published: January 6, 2009
By Franz A. Matzner
 234 | Next Page
In 1964, record producer Bernard Stollman founded ESP Disk with the motto "The Artists Alone Decide." Over the next ten years, Stollman's label secured legendary status, releasing a stream of avant-garde jazz, rock, punk and folk that consistently challenged the definition of what it meant to be avant-garde. It did so by bravely embodying its motto and embracing its instincts.
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|07.06.2009, 07:18 AM||#16|
Melt-Banana take aim again
Not in it for the money, but they don't mind a little pop
By SIMON BARTZ
'It was my first time to kill so it affected me a lot," says Melt-Banana's vocalist Yako, before breaking into a cackle befitting a Shakespearean witch. "But it wasn't a cute bambi. It was a big deer. You told us about (the Sex Pistols song) 'Who Killed Bambi.' It's you who made us keep thinking about the bambi incident."
Agata, Rika and Yako of Melt-Banana are touring Japan behind their sixth album, "Bambi's Dilemma," in April and May, before traveling to the United States to support Tool.
Damn, and looking at your new album "Bambi's Dilemma" I see I don't even get a credit. That pisses me off!
Melt-Banana don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't take drugs. Their only vice seems to be mowing down animals at 100 kph in their tour bus. Yako was driving the bus to Cleveland during their mammoth 2003 U.S. tour and a deer stepped into the road and the next thing they knew they had a barbecue on their engine.
"But anyway, last year I spent a lot of time listening to The Sex Pistols again and it's kept the bambi thing going in my head," says Yako.
And it seems like listening to the retro punk-pop of The Pistols might have influenced Melt-Banana's direction with their brilliant new album, which, just like the last one, 2004's "cell-scape," does have its mainstream "pop" moments -- "Cracked Plaster Cast" has a guitar motif that could have been ripped from a U2 track and album-closer "Last Target on the Last Day" sees Yako ditching her screechy rap and opting to sing. It seems that Melt-Banana are realizing that it's not only frenzied live shows that burn into your frontal lobe and leave you with a feeling of "I don't know what hit me, but it was f**king great," but that to make a career out of it you've got to make a record that people can play when they get home from a hard day at the office/prison. A record that won't wind them up so much that they'd headbutt the cat before disemboweling themselves on their balcony. So on "Bambi's Dilemma," Melt-Banana are compromising -- slightly.
"Usually we put all the new songs on an album, but this time I'd written about 50 or 60 songs and we couldn't use all of them so then I had the dilemma of what songs we would use. We couldn't put out a 3-CD set!" says guitarist Agata. "Yako said she didn't like some songs and if she says 'no,' it's 'no,' so we deleted them. Yako basically chose the rock songs -- the ones where there was a distinct guitar, bass, drum, vocal. So it's a basic rock 'n' roll sound. A punk-rock sound."
And the other songs?
"It's a secret. They're for the next album," says Agata.
So Melt-Banana are moving in a different direction. Perhaps country and western?
"Hahaha! No! But from the very beginning we were thinking of making a record without guitars and bass. We felt we could make more accessible songs using this idea."
Accessibility is not what Melt-Banana is all about. Intensity is. When I watch a Melt-Banana live show or listen to their records I often think of human spontaneous combustion. These guys are so loud, so manic, so explosive that you almost expect them to go up in flames at any moment and burn the livehouse down. And I have never ever felt like that watching any other "hard" band, including Slipknot, Atari Teenage Riot and Japan's Incapacitants.
But whereas on stage Melt-Banana roar like lions taking a knee to the groin, offstage they are pussycats stoned on catnip. When Yako and Agata (bassist Rika doesn't do interviews) turn up at my apartment in Ebisu -- I've known them for 10 years now so we're on more-than-nodding terms -- I don't even bother offering them beer, and instead put on the kettle and ask them if they want milk and/or sugar.
Acknowledged abroad Melt-Banana have knocked out six studio albums in 15 years. They play tons of shows abroad and that's why, along with the likes of Guitar Wolf, they are much more famous elsewhere than they are in Japan. In 2003 they played 83 shows in Europe and the States, in 1999 115 shows in the States and Europe in just 18 weeks, and in May this year they embark on another two-month U.S. tour, most of the way supporting the band Tool.
Are they angry that they're still a small underground band in Japan, but one of Japan's biggest musical exports in America and Europe? It must feel like being rejected by your family when you play in front of just 100 people in Shinjuku and then 1,000 people in Brighton, England.
"We've given up on that," says Agata. "I think the number of people in Japan who really listen to this kind of music is low."
With these constant sanity-sapping tours have they ever thought of jacking it in?
"I never thought like that," they both say immediately.
"We have a friend called Mike Watt of a band called Minutemen who plays bass for Iggy Pop and he also has his own bands," says Agata. "He's in his 60s (actually, on Wikipedia he's just 49). When he's touring with Iggy, I don't think he's driving or carrying T-shirts, but when he tours by himself he's doing the same things that we do in the U.S."
"For us that is really normal. We are not as old as him but when we are then we can do the same thing. If he does it and other people do it, then we can do it until the day we die," says Yako.
I have to admit that I agree and I feel a bit dumb for asking Melt-Banana the question in the first place. Struggling to ask them things I haven't asked them in the last 10 years (it's all on The Japan Times Web site) I end up asking them what's been their happiest moment ever in the band?
"Maybe when (the late British radio DJ) John Peel told us we can do anything we want for 30 minutes live on the BBC," says Agata.
"John Peel was doing his radio show in the next room and he was introducing us, saying 'Here's Melt-Banana' and we were supposed to play immediately but I wasn't sure if I should start as soon as he finished talking or wait a little. So I didn't say anything for a few seconds. In the next room through the glass was the staff and producer and all these people and they looked really pissed off. Hahahaha."
And so what's been the biggest mistake they've ever made?
"It's not a mistake but it's a kind of mistake," says Yako. "It's when we asked Natsume to play drums on the second album. He was too good for us. After that album I felt like we had to have drums as good as his. It was great for us to play with him, but a kind of curse. We still suffer from that."
"It's not only Natsume. We also played with David Witte (credited on half the tracks on 'Bambi's Dilemma' for 'drum ideas'), who plays really good, fast drums. It's really hard for a drummer to play those kind of fast drums, but we still end up asking drummers to play hard and skillful like that. It is a problem because not many drummers can do that," says Agata.
What advice would you give to Japanese bands wanting to make an impression in Europe or America?
"The first thing I would tell them is forget about the money," says Agata. "I was asked by this young band about how well we do financially when we tour America. But the thing is, when we first wanted to play outside of Japan, the reason was we just wanted to play to as many people as possible. We were wondering what American and European audiences would think about Melt-Banana and found that interesting. I had no idea about money at that point, it didn't matter."
"We don't think too much about the money," says Yako.
"It's all passion," says Agata, and he laughs out loud.
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|07.06.2009, 07:38 AM||#17|
1. What impression do you have of the US? Any significant difference between the first time you came and now?
Eva: for me the first time with the band was only 3 years ago, so it is rather a question for Vrata.
Vrata: The first time I came to the US was January 1989. The PPU were performing at a beneficial concert in a Manhattan club called “Kitchen” and we were to alert people about the fact that our artistic manager Ivan Martin Jirous was in the heaviest jail in Czechoslovakia. So we wanted to make an event to support him. And the communists obviously didn’t like such events. The second time I came to the US was in 1999 – it was our first tour as the PPU; we were touring the East Cost, the West Coast, we had 3 concerts in Canada – It was great!
What changed? Dollar is worth almost nothing right now, you can compare this situation to the Black Friday in 1929 when America was just a surviving nation. It’s a political situation because of your current president, but I hope it will be better after the elections. It will be better for the whole world if America has a better, more intelligent president than the one it has now.
Eva: The American tour in 1999 also celebrated the fact that after many years the band got together again. The band got together on the occasion of the 20 year anniversary of the Charta 77, so the PPU were invited by Vaclav Havel to play at the Prague Castle. You could see the country’s leading dissident intellectuals and long-haired rock’n’roll underground musicians together again. It was so successful that many concerts of PPU followed and the house was packed every time! And then 2 years later the main leader/composer died which was a big loss for the band.
Tanja: I read that you guys were…sad that he died…but you also felt freed in a certain way…
Vrata: Well, he (Milan) was a composer, bass guitarist and singer. But now we have Eva as a bass guitarist and great singer as well.
Eva: Yeah, they picked me because of my long legs (laughter). But it was a bit difficult because Milan was a very charismatic person and many people thought the band should just cease to exist because he was not only the main engine but also a very dogmatic kind of a person. So, after his death, the guys started to express themselves much more freely: they started to improvise more, the solos are now not played strictly at the same moment and there is a lot of space for musical synergies, as if one felt a human and divine spirits cooperating. There was also a certain disagreement among the members of the band because Milan wanted to sample out the new musical technologies out there. But Vrata, for example, wanted to keep the old character of the band, more psychedelic and more natural, that’s how it sounds now only it has a more progressive sound.
Vrata: We like making music as a project. Recently we have been working on three projects the two of them being reproductions of our concept albums from the earliest days but today with the contemporary-music ensemble Agon orchestra. The first original album was composed by Hlavsa and it is called “Nemesis Celebrated” inspired by the Czech philosopher Ladislav Klima, the second one is called the “Passion Play” music again by Mejla and words adapted from the New Testament by me (Vrata), the third project is something like a rock-n-roll opera called the “Railway Station Opera” and it was premiered in a real station setting where people, together with the musicians, got on a crowded train and headed towards the main stage…
Eva: ..And it was a blast – real happening! It looked like in the old days, except we didn’t dress up that much but there was a theatre set and people around wore costumes, we also had an opera singer who sings with us….The story reveals a dream of Vrata’s friend, Mr. Sadovsky who happened to fall asleep on a train one day and that’s what he dreamt.
We currently also play in the National Theatre before each performance of Tom Stoppard’s play Rock’n’roll. Stoppard is Czech by birth and his play gives a superb survey of the periods ranging from 60s to 90s.
2. At first the PPU were not interested in the politics at all. But whether you wanted or not you became a political symbol of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and therefore you had to pay attention to politics. How about now? Are you still interested in politics?
Vrata: We know about what is happening around but it’s not our focus. We would like to be more poetical than political. We have never sang political songs, there was just that one song called “Hundred points” (1978) which had political lyrics in it.
Eva: But we don’t stay away, we do get involved in some things, like the event “We don’t talk to the communists”. This band has really become a legend based on the fact that they really destroyed our country so when there is a chance we just express our thoughts.
Vrata: It’s necessary to do that.
3. What attracted you as a musicians in 60’s and 70’s to a progressive music like Frank Zappa and Velvet Underground? These bands were pushing the boundaries at that time. How about now, do you know of any bands (Czech or foreign) that do that?
V: I joined the band in 1972 I always wanted our band to have its original sound and expression with the Czech lyrics. Instead of clumsily singing in a funny English I have always thought to sing in our own language music which we create.
E: It’s more and more difficult to influence people by music; In the 60’s there was a different atmosphere – a war atmosphere – so it was easier to do that. But nowadays people don’t react that much to this kind of playing anymore. I wonder why that is. Even in Prague I thought that it would be different after the Velvet revolution, that we would set on much more of a spiritual path. But our country now is more capitalistic than any other country around us. Everything is so much more about money then about relationships and spirituality and that’s very sad. It’s all twisted. That’s not what we presumed during the Velvet Revolution! We used to drive around the country talking to people, trying to convince them to go to the general strike and they did. And it changed the whole establishment. I doubt that this similar behavior of togetherness would happen now.
Tanja: I even wonder sometimes if the kids nowadays know what the Velvet Revolution is!
Eva: No, I don’t think so.
4. Did you ever meet Vaclav Havel and what was your first impression of him?
Vrata: Disappointment. (laughter). When I finished my time in jail I was invited to his farm and I expected this buffed guy, 6 feet tall, with shiny black hair, but he was a small guy with blond hair. But we immediately clicked and became good friends. He supported us so much! We even did couple of our recordings on his farm and he paid for the whole thing. We also performed our “Passion Play” there and Vaclav asked me if we would allow this young band to be our for-band. The band was called “Psi vojaci” and they were about 13 years old at that time. We are still friends with them, they are great. We have to remember that it wasn’t just our band that was responsible for the fall of communism, it was other bands too. We all influenced each other.
Eva: Havel comes to our concerts from time to time and sometimes asks us to introduce him as the non-playing member of the band…
Tanja: ohhh, that’s soo sweet!!
Eva: (laughter) People just adore him..
5. I know that a lot of people asked you already about your time in prison during communism. But I will ask you again because I think it is important for people to always remember those times. So, here I go: What would they do to you in prison? Would they beat you?
Vrata: It was a complete nonsense.
Eva: They would beat them up, drown them…it was quite the torture!
Vrata: I would say I survived about 80 or 90 interrogations which was sometimes very exhausting.
Eva: They also pretended that they kidnapped Vrata’s daughter and they made him defect the country.
Vrata: But the truth is that some prison guards would be very polite, they would ask if I had enough cigarettes and stuff.
Eva: They even made one of the episodes of the famous TV series called “Major Zeman” about the PPU. They made them look like hooligans and druggies. That’s how they brainwashed people and many of the viewers still believe it was true up until recently. I think it’s very difficult for Americans to understand this whole think. When I tell them that we used to buy music in a black market in the deep woods and that we would get arrested for getting caught exchanging Pink Floyd albums – which cost a fortune, by the way…something like 500 Czech crowns!
Tanja: Thank you so much for taking the time and doing an interview with such a “lowly worm” like me and I wish you guys the best of luck!
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|07.06.2009, 08:18 AM||#18|
The Sacred Bones Label Finds Shades of DarkByAndy Beta
Caleb Braaten, holding court underground
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|07.06.2009, 09:20 AM||#20|
martin hannettan interview
First published in Muziekkrant Oor, September 1981 in The Netherlands.
Interview by Bert van de Kamp.
Translated by Hans Huisman whom we thank profusely.
After a written request for an interview we're finally sitting opposite him in the lobby of the Strawberry Studios in Stockport, near Manchester. 'Martin moves in his own mysterious way' Howard Devoto had told us that same morning. He rolls a joint (the first of many) and gives me a smile from underneath his coated glasses. Behind him a photograph of Abba's Agnetha, his biggest musical hero. 'I take that picture home with me every night' he jokes. He is soft spoken, often diverges from the subject and is sometimes unintelligible. 'A lot of musicians find it hard to work with him', according to Devoto, 'because he doesn't communicate very well. He sits like Buddha behind the mixing desk: untouchable'. England's new wave producer number one is an enigmatic character, who finds it hard to talk about his work. This is his third interview.
Jilted John, Buzzcocks, John Cooper Clarke, A Certain Ratio, OMD, Durutti Column, Joy Division, Pauline Murray, Basement 5, Magazine, The Only Ones, The Psychedelic Furs... this is just a selection of all the bands Martin 'Zero' Hannett has produced in the past five years. He has developed his own unique sound. Dub techniques, delayed reverb, elastic drums and other 'special effects' give away the producer's identity. There are people who buy every record produced by him. Reasons enough to visit the man and find out about the hows and whys. The interview including interruptions will take the whole evening and go into the night. Martin is just finishing the first New Order album. During the breaks he sits with me and answers some questions. At five o'clock in the morning, everybody else has long since left, he takes me home with him. The uncooperative man from earlier that evening has changed into a very kind and willing person.
I desperately need a holiday. I've been working constantly for the past three years now and there's danger that work becomes routine. I want progression, not status quo. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in the control room. There's no reason for that.
What's your favourite production?
Professionally speaking Soap (Magazine: The Correct Use of Soap) was the best, Closer (Joy Division: Closer) the most mysterious: that album was made as closed as possible, kabalistic, locked in its own mysterious world....
According to some the Basement 5 album was the best.
The only problem with that album is that you have to play it very loud to enjoy it to its fullest. It was the most difficult production, that I must say, the heaviest, it was 18 degrees in the shade, the end of August. As I recall it has been the most physical album that I've ever done. It was good. It made me feel like I had been carrying bricks around.....
That was the feeling at the end of every day. Putting the bass lines in the right place, heavy work.....
The dub techniques on that record are very up-front. On most other records you use them more subtly.
Yeah, most of the time I do use them, don't I?
Where did you learn those techniques?
I've always listened a lot to Joe Gibbs records.
Do you immediately know how it works?
Not always (laughs), but sometimes when you're in the studio you develop certain unique, magical qualities which you don't understand yourself. I think it's because this music is so openly dope-music, dub, you break free from your cocoon, play it loud and feel alright.
When you play Magazine right after Basement 5 you cannot believe it's been done by the same producer. I hear it because I know it. Your fans say they can hear it right away.
That means that in a certain way I've succeeded in what I set out to do. I put these special things in my productions to keep them interesting and not to lose the listeners' attention. When you know what to look for, you hear them everywhere. On Soap it's more sublime.
The break in I'm a Party is clearly Hannett.
(thinks) Yeah, although I always forget what version eventually was put on the record. There are five incarnations of I'm a Party and they're all totally different. Strange repetitions and such.... you know when you're in the studio for ten days in a row, strange things happen: little ghosts start creeping around (laughs).
You can distinguish two types of producers. The serving kind, more like a technician and the creative type, that is responsible for the more artistically decisions. You clearly belong to the latter.
Mmm, maybe so, yes.
Have you ever been in a situation where a band comes into the studio not knowing what they really want?
Not really, although: Steve (Hopkins) and I recently did a few sessions with Paul Jones, for which we've also written some arrangements. I always keep my ears open for things which are out of context and don't get noticed by the band. With the Psychedelic Furs I had more artistic control. Everything was wide open. I love records with that party-feeling to them. Bowie records have that. Like everybody was having a party in the studio. In an ideal situation every band I work with have enough studio time to be themselves.
the rest on here:
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