frantic talk on indie pop featured artist: black light wow, what a load of work! i started those first interviews somewhere in april and it took until now, til the first two are finished. so here we go with the first one: it features bud **** a well skilled homerecording artist from dallas tx, who really gets you in the mood with his velvet-like indie rock gem and simply blows your mind with some ultra weird experimental noise orgies. here is what he has to say:
Q1: though a lot of mp3 regulars appreciate your 3 minute indie pop gems your the latest uploads on your mp3.com page were some 20 minute sound and noise jams. do you feel bored with thetraditional pop song format?
A1: I wish mp3 wouldn't limit the length of the uploads to 20mb, because had to cut those tracks short. On my radio station,transistor (free plug), I have a lot of ez listen lo-fi stuff. The noise tracks are being moved to a new station, broken radio. I seem to be inspired lately by more strange unpredictable sounds, i.e. sil2k and aluminum noise. RIYL (recommended if you like) the SYR (Sonic Youth Records) self released stuff. But, I'll always be captured by a good melody as well as spontaneous and unrehearsed soundscapes.
Q2: i guess these experimental longplay tracks are made on the spot, without much songwriting work or rehearsing done before. it could be the perfect material for outrageous live-jams. do you have any plans for performing this noisy experimental material live? do you have a band behind you to perform live at all?
A2: the experimentals are made on the fly. The idea came to me while recording lead parts for other songs. While rehearsing parts, something would come out that I really liked, and I wished that I had the tape rolling. Some of the best stuff is created the first time around. Much of my songwriting has been adapted to this style. It's not always perfect, but it is very real, and it makes the process much more relaxing. I just bought a violin at a pawn shop, and can't wait to fool around with it, a piano and some toms. Live play would be difficult for the experimental songs..to recreate the recorded material.. an easier way would be to create new material onstage with the tape recorder rolling. The last couple of years I have been recording without a band, just enjoying the garage studio.
Q3: so this means you don't feel like performing live with a band?
A3: I miss live playing, and might put something together again. Though, I have really enjoyed burying myself in my studio for a while, writing andrecording, giving copies out to friends and uploading stuff on the internet. I have done a lot of live playing since the mid '80's. I am in my 30's now, have 2 kids and need to make some money. Staying out all night for $20 doesn't do it for me anymore, and it doesn't help with the family situation, if you know what I mean. Playing out live is fun, but there are so many other ways to share music today.
Q4: a lot mp3 artists probably see it that way. would you jump on the train, if you'd see the chance to get a recording contract? do you think the internet offers new opportunities for musicians who do music for smaller target groups?
A4: I definately wouldn't "jump on the train", but probably walk around it, walk through it, check out the engine, talk to the engineer, see what routes it took and then blow the whistle and shout "all aboard" (with no advances, of course). I've always wondered how many record company guys are regularly checking out the indies on the internet. As far as making money off the internet as a musician, I haven't expected or seen a cent yet from mp3 or iuma, another good indie site. Maybe if I had my own site set up for sales of cd's and merchandise. I'm certainly not in it for the mula.
Q5: one last question concerning "the business", before we go back to your music: assumed that the big record companies don't feel like broadening their repertoire with indie artists like you, do you think it would make sense to start up independant online labels run by musicians? do you think there's a market for that in the US?
A5: It's a great idea. See if mp3 or iuma would furnish you any of their financial information. I don't see how they are making money. Most listeners like to download stuff for free. You could poll some of the top mp3 artists to see if they are making any money. If the artists are making money, the web site is making more. The guys who are making money (like cdnow) are selling cd's from well known artists and they have big advertising budgets. It would seem that an online label would need to have a large promotion campaign outside the web to promote the bands they feature and to get people to the website to buy cd's. There are lots of "online labels" out there; you could call mp3 and iuma online labels of sort for indie artists. As an independent musician, if I were to sign on with an online label, I would choose one that had great traffic and one that would pay a good percentage from the sales, play the music online and promote the music online and to radio stations. We could start one today for relatively low dollars, but could we get enough people to the site and then get them to buy cd's or pay for downloads? CDNow allows customers to play portions of songs from cd's. It's a great concept to allow customers to preview the music before making a decision. Have I answered the question?
Q6: sure you did. this whole online-label thing seems to be soemwhat exciting and i totally agree with you, that you always (or still?) need offline promotion for almost any online service you offer. btw: mp3.com for example totally lives on its shareholders. they hardly make any money with their services or dam cds or and surely not enough with their ads. but now back to your music: if you had the opportunity to get a moreless famous artist to play on one of your songs. who would that be?
A6: loaded question; i'd be open minded. When writing songs, sometimes I can't help but have an artist in my head as I play the melody. On the last record, I had temporary song titles with famous artist names because they reminded me of recognizable figures, i.e., Stones, Stp, David Lynch, Rev Horton Heat, SoundGarden, Lou Reed. Some are infuences, some are not, some tongue in cheek, some not.
Q7: okay, talking about influences: what were the 5 most influential records for you?
A7: murmur - r.e.m. white light white heat - the velvet underground, crooked rain crooked rain - pavement, tejas - ZZ Top 1976, Time Out - Dave Bruebeck Quartet, late 1950's; can't deny my Texas roots or cool jazz interests.
Q8: you mentioned texas roots. how does texas influence your music nowadays? would you say there is certain "air" in certain places, that makes music sound like the place it was produced?
A8: We are naturally influenced by our surroundings, sounds esoteric; but evenso with music. I love old texas country and blues, from Hank Williams (senior) to John Lee Hooker. We have had some pretty good modern stuff, as well depending on your tastes i.e. Stevie Ray, Bedhead, Butthole Surfers, Toadies, on and on. The Dallas scene is more diverse and international, while the Austin scene is more Texas roots based.
Q9: okay, so just one more question for this time. where do you think you are going to be (musically) five years from now?
A9: hmmmmmmmm, probably making music in my home studio, just like today; sharing music with friends and compatriots on the internet; exploring new sounds and methods of recording and mixing sounds. I heard a good sound collage sitting in my car this morning at the car wash..wish I had my tape recorder with me.
i thank black light for that interview. next time its going to be chris fitts talking about millions of ways of shocking people down in the southeast of the us.