Play it loud
The relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema most importantly - has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
Music is a strange beast especially when compared to other art forms – it is one of the most direct forms of communication and seems to hold a strange power over many people. The weird thing about music though, is that it communicates something that words can't, therefore it's very hard to discuss or pinpoint why this is. It's no wonder that music has started to become an important component in other art forms.
Music, for me, is at its best when played loud through a good PA, when it becomes a physical experience – there is something exhilarating about being hit by huge sound waves. It's overwhelming.
There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Coming from the generation of music fans that bought albums and admired artwork and packaging I, of course, will always favour physical releases. I also like the emphasis this puts on a larger body of work, such as the album. I have little interest in singles or songs.
We do, of course, live in the digital age and I appreciate that it's becoming ever harder to release music as a physical product so I try to keep an open mind about releasing music on different formats and stay optimistic that the future of music doesn’t look as bleak as perhaps Apple or the major-label industry would have it if they had their wish.
The role of an artist is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
I have trouble with giving too much meaning to music, spelling out how the audience should be interpreting it. Although it's important that some people are political with their work, it's not something I feel comfortable with. Although I am interested in social politics, I try to let the music speak for itself and hopefully anyone listening can interpret it in any way they wish.
Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?
I think the whole issue is somewhat of a paradox – there are many pros and cons to the ever-changing and challenging world of information overload and excessive consumerism. I do love the internet though and the fact that information can be shared so freely has to be seen as a big positive – the obvious impact this has had on music is huge.
Many people have stopped purchasing music as it's so readily available to 'share' or 'steal' on the internet. Music technology advances, as well as sites like eBay, make it relatively easy and cheap to build a functional home studio; hobbyists can release high quality work without the need for the old-school system of going into a studio with a producer and finding a record label to fund its release and deliver it to the public – this is a positive thing. Unfortunately, it's lead to so much sub-standard music everywhere – it's become hard for many people to find the good stuff or differentiate the good from the mediocre.
I think we are perhaps in a weird, in-between phase of music consumption and releasing. It may level out again to a situation where people consume good music and the artists and labels get adequately compensated. But, either way, it has no effect on my desires to create music. I'll still do it even if I'm the only one who ever hears it – I think the creator will always get the most out of what they do. The process of creation is an important one, whether everything that is created should be shared with the world is another question.
How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?
Not really sure about this one – surely by definition if non-mainstream music reaches a wider audience it becomes mainstream. This is not really something that concerns me.
Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the artist to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
I guess there are two different listeners - the one at home listening to records and the one that comes to the live shows. Certainly at concerts it's a two-way experience and if the audience is into the music and listening intently, then it creates an energy in the room that the performers can tap into. When this happens it's a wonderful experience and heightens it for everyone.
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
Perhaps unfortunately, PR companies are often the most successful way of reaching a wider audience. It's not something I pay too much attention too though. It's worth mentioning that they are not completely necessary either as, thanks to the internet, promotion and contacting people to share music can be done quite easily. It's just that that the people making the music are not normally the best suited to take on this job.
Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
I'd like to recommend the talents of Petrels and Graveyard Tapes.
Petrels is a label-mate of mine who releases an incredibly powerful and beautiful noise.
Graveyard Tapes is the duo of Matthew Collings and Euan McMeeken. They released their debut album earlier this year- it is called 'Our Sound Is Our Wound' and it's well worth checking out.
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