It must have been around 1986 when I first came into contact with Zan Hoffman. His music was “experimental” but way different than most. It was unexpected, confusing, chaotic, lo fi ( in the early days) and weird. It became apparent early on his passion and enormous energy for collaboration and creation.
Although I tend to regard Zanstones as his solo experimental project on this tape not only does he go “out there” but also goes funky with drum machine and bizarre foreign vocals. As I said, Zan does the unexpected although when one hears it, especially his vocals it is uniquely and immediately identifiable. Zanstones 67 was his 600th release.
Above, “Crayon Grenade” by his Grandbrother project. Zan would often split his cassette releases into two parts, one album per side. This one had Grandbrother cover songs on side two.
Above, “The Prostitution Of Ambiguity” which featured Cheap Machines, Amy Denio, Don Campau and Mark Hanley.
His Zanstone release “Ground Hemp Emerald”. For having such a massive catalog Zan never fails to come up with interesting album and song titles.
Above, Second Violin “Hospital Fugue Of Mad Nurse” ( also with Adam Bohman). and below, VZL “ZRX”. Both from 2001.
“The ZH27 Story”, a collection from various releases over the years. Also came with computer files for images.
Two releases with Nick ( Dennis J. Baldwin) a home taper who was from Indiana at the time. Above, ThickNickSick, which also featured Minoy, Catfish and others.
The incredible package he released on Generations Unlimited with booklet, inserts, catalog, a cut up record , all housed in an oversized record box. This also featured a collaboration with Nick.
Above, a release called “ZakoZako” which featured ( among others) his partner in Grandbrother, CBC III.
The amazing bullet casing cover of the split tape , Zanstones “I Can’t Find Today Without Yesterday” and “(1-4 Please Get Up On”.
What year did your involvement with the tape scene begin? How did you find out about it?
1984 was a big year as I started a tape label in the fall after stumbling across the home taping network earlier that year or maybe late 83. My friend John McBride had bought a copy of Op magazine and when he couldn’t make heads nor tails of its contents, he gave it to me since he knew my eccentric taste in recordings.
In this I discovered not only a wealth of independent label music but a fascinating column “Casstinettes” which had reviews and addresses for cassette releases. Some reviews even mentioned artists willing to trade. And it was that which set the ball rolling.
Were you recording your own music before you heard about the tape trading scene?
I had started some experimental tape recordings in 1983 at Drake University in Des Moines, partially inspired by the Cage/Tudor “Indeterminancy” Folkways album. A condenser mic in a large Panasonic walkman really impressed me how it changed sounds. And with rudimentary equipment, largely on loan or borrowed, I began the earliest Zanstones recordings.
Early on you began releasing tapes of other artists mixed together by you, sometimes with your own music as well. These had to be some of the first experimental remixes or mash ups in this genre. What gave you the idea?
My earliest “Roomscapes” recordings were based on sonic exploration close to home. Since I had no equipment to speak of (borrowed tape decks were my initial recording equipment) it soon became apparent that my sonic pallet was not inexhaustible.
My Mail Art experience gave me a few ideas – one an extension of my “worthless photograph” collection idea. I wanted a theme or idea I could ask my Mail Art friends help with and I decided to ask for something that just about anyone has, which they are willing to part with: worthless photos.
Well in the audio realm I thought: all my home taping friends have unfinished recordings laying around. And like worthless photos, these are something an artist is willing to part with usually. In order to solve my anticipated issue of limited audio sources I could mine the most interesting international source I knew of: my home taping pals!
The idea of “mash-ups” with a wide range of contacts came out of my Zanstones “40 × 40” release (1984/85) where I asked people to send me 40 second pieces to work with. It only seemed natural to make collages out of this material. That this was uncharted territory never occurred to me at the time, it just seemed the most creative solution to a situation I had set myself up for.
What I mean is, at the time postal collaborations were exclusively artist vs artist and never collages of people who didn’t even know each other such as I was doing. These audio collages seem an extension of the visual postal collaborations I had been doing with Mail Art friends.
These were fascinating and unique experiments, however did any artists ever object to being used this way?
I can think of two artists in 25 years who disliked the results of our collaborations. This doesn’t mean everyone adores the results, but I have to admit many people are thrilled with the results of our efforts together + this is heartening toward my continuation of these exploits.
I’m very generous with “rights” concerning releases and that makes what I do an attractive proposition to fellow networkers I do work with. Any release you appear on, as you know Don, you have full rights to. You can trade, sell, net-release, or find whatever channel you like for its distribution. That, coupled with the wildly varied creative nature of my collaborations makes for happy collaborators.
Your documentation of these projects was sometimes fairly cryptic. I was known as DonCa and others had similar monikers. Was this a purposeful attempt to create mystery? Or just a shorthand because there were so many contributors?
That’s such a good question, I had to do some soul-searching to respond. I got a kick out of taking people’s birthnames (instead of artistic monikers) and using the first few letters to come up with a nickname moniker I could use. I think humor and my tendencies for nicknaming friends was at the forefront of this technique.
As it developed I was able to use such shorthand as a code for the “in” crowd of home-tapers to dig. Certainly the crypic quality was fun and the shorthand method made it much easier for doing tape covers.
My obsession with this died down after the 1980s, and eventually when I made digital covers to replace the originals I made full names a standard. This was crucial leading up to entering my catalog in discogs.com which allows for no funny business in artist credits!
It seems that you have slowed down or stopped these mixes to concentrate more fully on bodycocktail. Is this so or do you continue to release these multi artist collabs?
Oh Don. One swallow does not a porn star make! You are very perceptive that this year I have put the experimental activities on the shelf to commit to, uh I mean obsess over, Bodycocktail.
But it has been this way before. After I discovered how much I really enjoy making music with Bodycocktail I tend to immerse myself in it until I am burned out + I feel I am repeating myself. And at that point I will ignore it altogether and do collaborations and experimental works until I get exhausted doing that.
This year I have been having a blast doing trios with a borrowed accordian and melodica and quartets with the Sound K rollup piano I bought for my last tour! And in the spirit of collaboration I spent the spring sending these to my home taping friends internationally to see what they might make of them (great results so far).
But the most intense and fruitful collaborative effort to date has to be Bodycocktail starring Skjit Lars. I met a fantastic musician/drummer in Norway last fall when our separate groups played Ronny Waernes’ Nodutgang fest. In fact Lars “Skjit Lars” Nicolaysen clearly ranks highly as one of the most intense and insane drummers I’ve ever seen play live. So I was excited when he agreed to play some drums with Bodycocktail via internet collaboration.
I had no idea how well this would turn out. I start by sending rhythm-free songs via yousendit.com and Skjit Lars takes over and before I know it, not just drums, but synths, bass and other instruments have transformed my raw songs into something fantastic. Then I do vocals over these instrumentals and put Skjit Lars in charge of mixing and mastering.
At last count you were over the 1000 release mark on your label. You are the most prolific artist I’ve ever encountered. Where does this energy come from?When you look back do you ever think “maybe I should have edited this down a bit” . Do you release everything you actually record? Do you think your message can be diluted by being “too prolific”?
I honestly couldn’t be happier with my recorded output. As an expression of my creative intent each release stands alone and proud. My creative maturation can be charted across these works. No journey is complete without every step taken.
How I’ve developed, my varied emotional states, my evolving network of collaborators, the march of technology and equipment through my life – all of these are documented in their own way across over 1000 releases.
And although there are few people all releases would appeal to, each release has its satisfied listeners and fans. I’ve long wanted a catalog that had works that has enough breadth that individual works could appeal to a wide range of tastes. Without reservation I feel ZH27 meets that standard.
Although I don’t release everything I record, I will often work long and hard enough with my experiments until they pan out. If something doesn’t work out its not released for art’s sake. As my intuition and skills improve though, my success rate is higher but I still know when something is a disaster and shouldn’t be released.
Your self cataloging is an important aspect of your work. This part of what you do is an archive unto itself and you seemed to be doing it right from the start. Talk about why this is important to you.
Once I had a few tapes out I made a typewritten and collage one page sales sheet for ZIDSICK. So by 1985 I had tape listings with little descriptions of the works. I was using catalog numbers on the covers and the tapes. I had ledgers to keep track to distribution. I listed contributors assiduously and begun a long arduous struggle to keep contributor copies sent to all artists.
At first while I was building up the first 50 releases it was all very exciting and a thing of pride to be able to send out current catalogs to contacts new and old. Keeping my enthusiasm in check was costs for doing this were always busting my budget, which in that era was dedicated to repeated imported and domestic beer purchases plus the rare Neudeutchewelle LP where and whenever that might appear.
So the happy times of cataloging soon became a crucial and never-ending process as new releases poured out by the scores. Descriptions soon left the catalogs which became painfully confusing tape listings organized by numbers but not chronological. When release numbers stopped becoming a chrono-logic (before ZIDSICK 100) the catalogs became impenetrable lists of projects people had never heard of.
This chaos was not tamed until the 1st “explanation catalog” that came out to accompany Dave Prescott’s Generations Unlimited LP box set in 1990. This organized things by projects with a sidebar listing contributors.
This concept was not much improved upon until it gloriously went online in wild color in the late 90s. The 21st century improvements have been putting them into blogs dedicated to each project, creating myspace pages for active projects and most importantly for everyone involved was the huge effort of doing an exhaustive discogs.com entry for over 1000 releases.
Discogs was like dragging my filemaker database online. The former was the fourth or fifth technological solution for keeping track of my efforts. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when it was all up there. Because its useful to me as well as the world as I can ask it the same questions I ask my database when I am online + nowhere near my filemaker bondi blue iMac in the attic.
Let me try to get it all straight now because even I get confused. I tend to think of Zanstones as your experimental work ( including the mix tapes), bodycocktail as your solo song project and Grandbrother as a duet song project. But this is not quite true because all these projects overlap and also incorporate the other various forms. Is there a way to describe the difference?
It starts in 1983 with the Zanstones recognition of the entertainment options available when ignoring barriers between appropriate use of sounds, musics, noises and voices in whatever combination suits me. And so early Zanstones take on many tasks including fractured songs, cut-up, harsh noise, sound exploration and more.
Soon after establishing a cassette label in 84 I invented the Zan*isect project for sonic explorations without the sensitivity of Zanstones. A project for brute force concepts. By 1985 a handful of other projects emerged to explore collaborations (by post or in person) of a wide variety.
All of this happened while I was in college. I was in my first band back then: the Universal Will To Become. When I returned to Louisville and moved into my own apartment CBC3 became my roommate and between us we invented Grandbrother in 88. It lasted while we were roommates until the early 90s. Then in 93 I bought my very 1st electronic instrument – an 80s Ensoniq Mirage sampling keyboard.
I knew Agog and also Francisco Lopez had them. Mine came with a great range on 80s samples on floppy disk so that was my excuse to start my solo proto-new wave song cycle we all know as Bodycocktail. Initially I played live with other friends in Louisville a dozen times or solo. I did a couple solo shows in the mid 90s but both Bodycocktail and Zanstones were studio projects mostly in the Twentieth Century.
I started my city-specific Zanstones shows in my 2000 tour of Spain plus Copenhagen. My solo Bodycocktail shows didn’t emerge until three years ago in Spain. Now most Zanstones releases are documents of live shows where I have gathered all sound material the day of the show in the city of the venue. And ever since my formulative show at Casa Atochas in A Coruña in northwest Spain, Bodycocktail’s songwriting is concentrating on vocal abilities I didn’t previously know I had had in full.
So project-wise my three main “solo” groups are Zanstones, Zan*isect and Bodycocktail. Other projects are collaborations in person such as Grandbrother or dnasnow/mouseup and works by post/internet like Masters of the Ungentlemanly Art.
Were you involved in mail art before the music projects? Did the mail art movement have a large impact on you?
Mail Art was crucial and very important, no question about it! One cool way it inspired my thinking is that I would collaborate back and forth sending people mail art that they would work on and send back. The good-hearted and humorous attitude of mail artists, its international scope, all were very appealing. The vital artistic reality about works in context of local/regional/national/international concerns – that’s all is deeply intrinsic to the mail art scene. And these became concerns to the mail music scene.
So I think In many ways that mail art was the mail music scene using a different medium. That audio arts are more engaging to me than visual arts is why mail music was more important to me. And though I never considered it before now, I can see how my mail art collaborations prepared me for my future activities in audio collaborations.
You also have a large interest in architecture. How does this inform your music, if at all?
Architecture mattered the most to Zanstones and Grandbrother for different reasons. “Roomscapes” were some of the very 1st Zanstones experimental pieces where I would do pieces where all the sounds were made with whatever I found in a given room. So both the contents and the built-in features were in play. Room and building reverbs have been a great part of Zanstones sound exploration efforts.
But they were most crucially used with Grandbrother live. We were so rarely amplified that room and building acoustics were a vital part of me being able to carry a room with my voice. Techniques gleaned during this era have served me well in my subsequent live shows.
From a formal and artistic standpoint buildings have sometimes served as starting-point or inspiration compositionally or otherwise. But the most literal building recording has to be the excellent external vertical I-beams of Mies Van Der Rohe’s journalism building at Drake University. It appears on Gory Armadillos Exackting Chortles – Dead Bug In Mirror.*
Let’s talk label for a minute. Again , my confusion here. You earliest label was zidsic? Or was it zidslick? That went on for many years, hundreds of tapes. What years did this act as your imprint?
It does take a roadmap and a dedicated enthusiast to keep track of my label designations and you are way too kind to give me the room to cut through some chaos.
The Zanstonean International Distrbution Service (ZIDS) was the name for my Mail Art, zine and xerox editions. It’s Independent Cassette Kvmpeni was ZIDSICK.
As tapes expanded I created sub labels or imprints such as “Elevation of Anxiety” for my Minóy collaborations + “Fragrant Complications” for comps. “Delegated Obscurities” were works removed from the ZIDSICK list but still available. For a few years in the late 80s early 90s I toyed with the ZIDSLICK imprint, sometimes followed by a 2 year number designation.
This died down and I removed the K in the 90’s – tired of the SICK part and it became SIC (sic.) As the internet era approached in the late 90s it became ZIDS.net and it took a dorky domain name battle to shift my name to an entirely new designation.
I was flipping + flopping around for a suitable url name when I got caught up in this “mission statement” headspace while I was working at The Agency in late 2000. An old friend harmlessly remarked that she didn’t know I was a “man on a mission” concerning my networking/audio activities. Well that begged the question of a “mission statement”. The answer to that gave me my current ZH27 tag.
“I’m on a 27 year mission to explore new audio realms including outreach to fellow explorers worldwide.”
You did collabs with Minoy. Did you ever meet him in person?
I only recently did my first visit to LA in my adult life last year. I was able to meet and jam with Damien “Agog” Bisiglia, and I met Joseph “Dinosaur With Horns” Hammer by accident while at the Culver City art walk. Minóy was deathly afraid of planes so we never met.
Talk about some home tapers you have met.
The first and foremost encounter was right at the birth of my tape label in late 1984 I drove to Indianapolis to meet Hal “Dog As Master” McGee and Debbie “Master/Slave Relationship” Jaffee. Hal’s unique and uncompromising approach was a real eye-opener and he was one of the 1st people to give me direction artistically.
I visited the on two other occasions. The 1st meeting I went into their studio and from scratch produced Zanstones III – Crawling Up The Wall To Trip Over The Ceiling”.
The most intensive home taping contact in the 80s happened with my Memphis homies, Richard Martin, Mike Honeycutt, Roger Moneymaker, Mike Jackson and Chris Phinney. Mystery Mike Honeycutt and I had extensive contact where we did a gnarly number of recording sessions in Louisville and Memphis with occasional live shows and radio appearances on WEVL Memphis.
He came to visit one year for a birthday celebration which also coincided with a visit from London of Adam Bohman. Live and studio actions filled that weekend. The release “a salt/battery” documents this time.
Half way between Louisviile and the Lucky Baby Retreat House in Lintin, Indiana Nick and I met + we returned to the Grandbrother Lounge for recording and drinking hijinx.
I attended Mac World Boston in the late 80s and that gave me a chance to see a relocated Mike Jackson again as well as to meet Dave Prescott for the first time. No recording sessions in this visit. I got to see Dave’s insane synth setup then.
I had other business trips to NYC and was able to meet Al Margolis twice and John Wiggins one in the early 90s. Also no jams or live shows. I did see Wiggins in his HBO studio digs, so that was impressive.
Francisco Lopez and have extended or brother-like bonds in person many times in Louisville and in Spain. We did concerts her as Lopezant and in Spain as Zan Francisco.
Jeff “Zurich” Surak and Carl “Lampshade” Merson rolled through Louisville on at tour as Stolen Government Binder Clip – playing a demented show at Cafe Dog in the late 80s. I returned the favor by going to live with them for a few months in the summer and fall of 2001. Zurich + I did a number of shows around the DC area + a roadtrip for a poorly attended and worse paying show in Chicago.
That’s a handful of encounters I can relate right off the top of my head.
What are the favorite releases you have done?
Oh. I never know it when I’m in the middle of it. Its only basking in results later do I grow affectionate with my releases.
Its a feeling that takes over me which is less of a “best of” mentality than a pride I feel. I don’t think that works are the best in my catalog and make a list. Its more of that I am proud how releases are getting at providing the answers to questions nobody else is asking. And if I do my work to a level of satisfaction it could easily be a Zanstones experimental release or a Bodycocktail song, a particularly intense Zanoisect work that I’d mention as a favorite.
New works favor old until I burn myself out on them and need to go to older works for inspiration or curiosity. The three Bodycocktail works from 2010 (144-146) in Spanish, French and Galego are killing me nowadays.
Zanstones 40 × 40 is the classic of classics from my label + for my 1000th release I did 40 × 40 2.o which I think is great.
More than half of Masters of the Ungentlemnaly Art releases are classics “For the Ear”, the 1st one with you on it Don, with my bowed snow shovel- “MA>>Masters of the Ungentlemnaly Art”, “Source of the Vile” which Minóy marked as “vile indeed” and unfit for release – a classic, “Belleglip Ranch Episode” with obscure home taping sources infused into modern context – great stuff, I’m scared to go on with this list.
Speaking of Minóy – Minóy\Zannóy put out some mind-bending timeless stretches of anxiety and vocal mahem. “Round One Minóy vs Zannóy” is cruel where “Inversezanmintones” is sublime.
Zantip 2000 put out some really cool works from “DSP40” my work @ Dave Prescott’s surprise b’day party in Vernont, a great series of Spanish works from that year and the maddening “Did You Get The Word Today?” – really interesting stuff.
If you want something that will leave you bewildeded – anything by “buddy if you like our music go to the vet” should be quite delightful.
Zanguts is another series I am hard pressed to name one release that isn’t surprising and rewarding.
The two Maurizantes releases I did with Maurizio Bianchi and the You Me Us + Them 4 part series “In Search of the Lost Haint” with MB and Bret Hart are great works that are spacy in such unexpected ways.
The Zanstones series from last year R0AM, L0AN, L0NE, T0NE, H0NE, Z0NE and 0WN are as ambient and spacy as I get, many are collaborations and I am fiercely proud of all 7 releases.
Zanoisect releases such as “Charvaka Enters Hastinapura”, “14 Incidences To Injury” and “On The At” are collaborations to set your teeth on edge.
Ok, is that a good enough start?
You can link Zanstones 40 × 40 with the free version available @ archive.org if ya like
Ditto for zanguts
When you have toured Europe was it as bodycocktail or Zanstones and what kind of material did you play. All songs? Any noise?
My first solo tours of 2000 and 2004 were Zanstones city-specific sound gathering concerts, where I gathered the evenings sound material the day of the show in the city I played in. So Spain, Denmark, Holland and Belgium only witnessed the Zanstones shows.
In 2007 I returned to Spain for a variety of show formats, Zanstones city-specific shows, a noise vaudville duo “dnasnow/mouseup” with my Dutch compatriot Rinus Van Alebeek and a couple solo Bodycocktail shows.
In 08 Masters of the Ungentlemnaly Art did a couple rare shows in Spain combining 20 years of Spanish home taping sources. This tour also was my 1st solo Bodycocktail tour with a dozen shows across Spain and Portugal.
Last year I did some combined shows with Zanstones and Bodycocktail sets but mostly kicked up a storm with Bodycocktail in Spain and at the Nodutgang fest above the arctic circle in Norway where I met the drummer Skjit Lars who is Bodycocktail’s newest member.
He’s only touring with me via backing tape this year… But we’re just getting started with the new era of Bodycocktail starring Skjit Lars. So in two days I will be doing mostly Bodycocktail shows in Italy, France, Belgium and Spain with a few Zanstones shows thrown in for good measure.
You played shovel in the early days. Do you ever get it out now?
I created quite the stir in 1987 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a VFW Hall in Memphis when I broke out the “bowed snow shovel”, or BSS as it is known in early ZIDSICK code. In the former it was May in Iowa + what on earth was I doing with a snow shovel? In the latter, using the handle to mock-bless VFW awards above the stage riled up some VFW’ers who managed to stick around during a punk noise fest.
The actual shovel was a flimsy aluminum affair that had long passed its initial purpose. The way the metal had crumpled at the top allowed for a great range of expressiveness. I subsequently tried other “models” of snow shovels + never topped my original.
The instruments’ most difficult problem is how quickly it destroys violin bows. They can be re-haired but this gets expensive in the long run. But that did not deter me from revisiting it for a full Zanoisect release in 2001 “Boad Snoe Shuvill”. “Sauntering Sugar Betty”, also from that year features another custom Zanstrument from my early years – the bowed Indian Sugar Can #20 (or ISC 20 in Zidspeak).
Both BSS and ISC20 will appear in different song/release titles from the early cassette years.
On Bodycocktail songs you use lyrics from other writers like Wallace Stevens and Charlie Newman. Do you also write lyrics yourself? Does using other writers change the feeling or free you up in some way?
In the early years I moved between poets I don’t know: pulitzer prize winning American Wallace Stevens, whose collected poem anthology was a gift for my 27th birthday from Minóy, to Franz Kafka parables I had in the original German and an artist from India Husain, whose chapbook with postcards and poems from the late 60s appeared as a hand-me-down from my parents collection of ephemera when we lived in India in that era.
My dear friend, and #1 Grandbrother fan, Charlie Newman started feeding me his stuff new and old and has thusly become my librettist of choice for Bodycocktail.
You nailed it Don, when you said it was liberating to lyrics beside your own. For a number of reasons it clears the way to do more songs. I’m not a poet so lyrics only come to me for specific situations… A thing I picked up with Grandbrother was to use a song as a view on an event from life.
I have penned about half a dozen “political” songs over the years “Nobody’s Winning in Grozny” and “Let’s Sing A Song About Paris Buring” are two clear-cut examples. My latest and sweetest example ““Vive O Galego” is the biggest stretch for me yet. I’ve come up with a Galego language anthem. Its the native language of Galicia in NW Spain + last year while attending a Galego rally I was inspired to write a couplet on the subject.
It seemed to me the present problems with the language and the state was much too close to that of the Franco era where he stomped out all regional tongues in Spain. So the couplet, sang in improvisation that night with Telephones Rouges¤ “Franco is dead but Galicia is AliveFranco couldn’t kill Galego no matter how hard he tried” became the basis for a song I wrote which I then had translated into Galego.
I can’t wait to rock out “Vive O Galego“¤¤ in concert in Galicia in a few weeks! But unlike your lyrical genius Don, I can’t keep pace with the number of songs I compose. So let me float this headspace on the subject by digressing.
I got so ahead of myself in the late 80s making taping but not covers and catalogs that I was exhausted by the label work and it cramped my desire to put out new works in the early 90s. So, to become healthy in my activities I asked myself the simple question “what does it take so putting out a release is nearly efforless, where I can enjoy again the process of making releases?”
So early on I noticed same “school” of problem looked to be rearing its ugly head with Bodycocktail. Its that I different parts of my processes run at very different paces. In the 1st instance my label activities were glacial and the releases rapid. In Bodycocktail’s case song composition rapid and lyric production glacial. My Bodycocktail solution was using poets and poems to do the word work and bringing it alive with my voice atop my music was the real job.
So that explains two Bodycocktail anomolies – lyric heaviness, and the almost complete absence of choruses. Furthermore, if it rhymes, its my lyrics – otherwise someone else words are used.
Liberating is a good term also in that I am free to make meaning with my voice and inflections which I can project on other peoples writings in ways I wouldn’t do with my own. When I write my own lyrics there’s a way they will be performed that is built into them as they are being written. And with someone else’s lyrics I can invent from scratch.
And THAT is the fun and the work rolled into one, Don! Invention out of thin air. Like magic. I am even known for 1st takes and improvised vocals that end up very authoritative. Often in these instances I have not even read the poem all the way through before I do the take. Because I want the surprise to be the best part of all. Not knowing where the work is going and not knowing where the vocal line will go or how to drop the phrases in the right places and only being sure of the music and its ability to guide me into doing the right thing.
So using someone else’s words is liberating in that it allows me to leap into the void and see what I can discover!
What about your non music friends and associates, What do they think of your music passion? Are they surprised when they find out about it?
I kept this information under close guard after the experiences of playing my recordings for friends in college. I distinctly remember the opinion of a basketball player at Drake who I played something for “that shit is some fucked shit”.
I tend to only expose my experimental works to people I hope will appreciate them. Sometime after 2000 I stopped being so shy to tell friends and strangers of my activities.
Since we are dealing with Americans here its real hard to get in a discussion of my activities without people bugging me about my plans for fame + fortune. Dreadfully boring getting peoples minds out of that blind alley. In general people who are interested are generally confused and it takes lots of questions to clarify where I am coming from.
The people who actually hear my stuff, I usually play Bodycocktail for people since its most accessible, are really surprised. I have had a number of people doubt it was actually me!
Compare the community of the Cassette heyday to now. And talk about how the internet has affected what you do.
There are two crucial differences that come to mind. The tape community was tiny compared to today’s online network and it felt intimate. It seemed large at the time, but manageably so. So the community aspect of tape culture was more obvious. There seemed to be a common ‘non-establishment’ mindset people from the widest backgrounds shared. It took a concerted effort to be part of this and accordingly there was a sense that “we were all in this together”.
Nowadays there is less contact across disciplines as people find others with similar interest and gravitate in that direction. And the depth of contact between individuals is more difficult to establish. Its too easy to be a myspace or facebook “friend” without really developing any relationship.
That would be a somewhat negative difference. The major shift is that the way the internet destroys time and space has opened up contact with all parts of the world internet accessible. So this puts hard-to-network places from Indonesia to Italy back on the networking map.
Through myspace I was able to find collaborators in Greece, China, and Indonesia where beforehand I couldn’t get any traction there in the hometaping years.
The speed of communication has made a huge difference in my networking, as has the ability to listen to new artist works before establishing contact.
*And talk about how the internet has affected what you do.*
The internet has added quite a few “quality of life” improvements to my networking activities and I will list them briefly before my plane to Rome takes off:
My catalog of releases (over 1000 of them) is available online to all interested parties 24/7/365 in glorious color.
I couldn’t arrange live tours without the speed and convenience of email. Myspace has been the best CLEM replacement a boy could ask for – an endless smorgasbord of home recording artists’ calling cards.
I can collaborate with artist at a distance without the cost or hassle of the post office. For instance, half of my new backing trax for my new live Bodycocktail set is with the help of my Norwegian drummer – we do all our work “together” by trading cd quality files over the net.
Thanks Zan. Continued good luck with everything.