1 – This new LP ‘S/W’ sounds very sculptural, almost bacterial. A very strong feeling of space and physicality is endlessly recreated. As an exploration of connection between dance music and contemporaneous sonic work, could you tell us more about the process of composition?
Joshua: I’ve always loved the physical response that I have to dance music. I think we wanted to keep this sort of visceral response within our music, but have it framed in a way where it isn’t specifically designed to make someone dance – that could just be a byproduct of someone in the crowd throwing shapes to an angular rhythm and generally being “that dude” in the club, a thing I’ve always enjoyed immensely. The composition process isn’t anything particularly arcane – we slide things around until it sounds nice to us, or interesting, and then we print it.
Turk: One definite thing about each composition is that it almost always starts with a single, very defined idea. This idea may morph as we get deeper into the song, but we’ve found what works best for us is to have a clear concept first and then execute.
2 – Your previous release on Spectrum Spools, ‘Second Woman’ has also a very similar sonic approach; in the way sound is fragmented and space used as a compositional element. For instance in the track ‘900438an4’ we can notice the use of repetition, movement (silence to loudness) and melody. Did your self titled EP informed the creation of this new LP? Is it a continuity? Are your releases interconnected somehow?
J: The E/P was completed a year after the S/W full length, which we finished in February of last year. If anything, E/P is an extension of S/W, and not the other way around – but the first three releases in their entirety definitely form what we like to think of as the first arc of what our output could be – we had these ideas and wanted to explore them in every way we could think of before abandoning them, and the two full lengths and the E/P are the completion of that body of work.
T: Yes … the first three releases could be considered our first phase. Now we are deep into phase two which we are extremely excited about.
3 – Would you qualify ‘S/W’ as a sonic exploration of musical affect or musical effect?
J: I think “effect” would be more accurate – “affect” to me denotes the idea that we are mimicking something LIKE music, which is also predicated on the idea that what constitutes music is a narrow band of possibilities – but I think I can speak for both Turk and myself that what is music to us is such a broad spectrum of sound and possibility that certainly our work constitutes something we would classify as music.
T: Agree with Josh 100%. Some of my favorite music has been made by non-musicians and might not qualify as “real” music to the average listener, but for my taste music is so much more than just harmonic progressions or being able to play an instrument.
4 – In an interview about your self titled ‘Second Woman’ you talked about how you ‘were interested in tweaking the perception of time and space within the audio field using some of the newer software that is available.’ How would you define your relationship to ‘time’? Do you want the listener to experience a certain kind of time passing?
J: Time, as a concept, became something of a problem for us – we felt beholden to it, imprisoned by it, almost. All of this work now is our way of trying to subvert the idea of time in music, and focus more on space, distortion, etc. Almost all music deals with a very linear representation of time; a fixed tempo, a fixed period of time for an equal division of beats. We wanted to distort this concept and throw out the idea that time should/could be linear, and approach it from a circular method.
T: We also hope this circular nature of time transfers over to the listening experience as well … we hope that when someone is done listening that maybe their brain feels like there has been a time dilation. I have this thing that I’ve had to see a doctor about … these flashes of memories that come to me, except I feel like these are “memories” that I have never experienced in real life … I get this full body sensation, become light headed, and feel like I’m crossing over to somewhere else. I know Second Woman doesn’t feel like that, but the experience makes me feel like I go somewhere else and lose time — music I think can cause similar experiences.
5 – We noticed a strong important of titling your tracks in a conceptual form. Are you seeking movement through this typographic composition to match the sonic aesthetic?
J: The titles certainly mean very specific things to us, but probably not to anyone else, unless someone figures it out.
T: It’s a way of “naming” the tracks without imposing some sort of meaning on them. We want the listener to make their own narrative in their minds. Obviously this has been done many times before us, but I think it’s what worked best for this cycle of material.
6 – Could you tell us more about the idea of using ‘/’ and creating a visual composition with it?
J: For us this was just another way of numbering the tracks
T: See my above statement
7 – Do you consciously constrain yourself to a specific palette of sound? Do you often set up restrictions?
J: We definitely have some restrictions – but these aren’t conscious. They sort of happen on their own, because for us, for this project, certain things seem to go well together and many things don’t, so it’s really more about making decisions of discrimination when creating sound design, as opposed to saying “we are only using this one instrument for this song.”
T: We also feel like the work is stronger if we master just a few tools as opposed to only knowing the surface level of many tools. We don’t care to be dabblers.
8 – We are curious to know what tools were used for the making of S/W?
J: Ableton Live and Max for Live, and Max/MSP
T: Using the physical input of the Push controller also helped us.
9 – You know each other for almost 17years now, how has your work evolved over the years since you first got into making music?
J: It’s actually about 20 years now. We’ve done all KINDS of things together – rock/pop stuff (mostly out of curiosity but we’ve scuttled all that), tons of electro, ambient, techno, etc. We’ve always had an easy time working together, so I think the the only thing that has really changed is how quickly we can work together now, even if we’re in separate cities – which is very, very fast now (by our standards, at least).
T: One thing that has changed significantly for both of us is the lack of desire to work on “songs”. After working on techno and drone music for most of our early lives, I think we both at one point, about a decade ago, had a knee jerk reaction to that and wanted to incorporate some of those ideas into more of a song/pop structure format. Having done that, I can say that this is an area music that I’ve lost interest in almost completely. Looking back to Josh’s comment about us feeling imprisoned by time and the grid, I also feel the same way about the format/structure of songs and the use of vocals within that format.
10 – Generally when you collaborate together how are the ideas born and when do they finally see the light? Do you often encounter epiphanies together?
J: One of us will send a sketch to the other and it nearly always sparks a salvo of ideas. Then we pass the session back and forth a couple of times and it’s done in a matter of days. Epiphanies have happened from one of us OR both – and often. Strangely enough, for me, this is the only musical project where a piece of music for me has a clear “it’s finished” moment – all others just have moments where I give up. These are very delineated and clear to us as to when they are finished.
T. Another thing is the selflessness that we both have in regards to each track. While many times a track will be 50/50, other times the division of labor will be much different. There are even tracks that are almost all completely Josh or almost all completely me. Whatever is best for the music is the way we approach it … we never try to force extra ideas into a song just to service our individual egos.
11 – Speaking of the notion of collaboration, In the previous release you asked the footwork JLIN to remix one of your track. For this one, you chose Gabor Lazar. We are curious to know why you chose him? How do you select your ‘remixers’?
J: We just chose artists whose work inspires us – both Jlin and Gábor have made some terrifically otherworldly music, and for us it was as simple as “wouldn’t it be awesome to hear Gábor Lázár shred this thing to bits?”
T: And in the case of Fluxion he asked us if he could have some stems to do some versions on his own, so we just said, “why don’t you let us include one your versions on our Ep?” We are both big fans of his Vibrant Forms albums.
12 – We noticed that you’ve been exclusively releasing on Spectrum Spools. – First EP then Second EP and now LP– It seems that the releases are like chapters of a story that you construct through time. Is this intentional ? Are you interested in working only with SS or you’re open to collaborate with other labels ?
J: Of course we’re open to collaborating with other labels – our palette will expand, and different ideas will be explored – but be certain we will continue to release on Spectrum Spools, for sure. John Elliott and Pita Rehberg have been really good to us, and it feels good to have that kind of support for music that isn’t anything bigger than a tiny slice of a tiny niche. So yes, this set of releases really only makes sense in one place, together, and Spectrum Spools has been the place!
T: John Elliot is one of the most like-minded people that I’ve ever met in regards to having similar taste and ideas. I love him and see us releasing records on his label until the day he decides to shut it down, which is hopefully never.
13 – Which sounds interest you the most in life?
J: I somehow find myself mesmerized by the A#7 first inversion chord droning from the freezers at the Target near my house…
T: All of them.
14 – Could you give us more infos about your recording process? Do you use filters or any other effects?
J: ALLES ZUSAMMEN!!!
T: We use computers.
15 – What other music have you been listening to lately?
J: I still can’t stop listening to “Departed Glories” by Biosphere – I think this is the best kind of “ambient” sort of record since SAWII, probably. It is a groundbreaking masterpiece.
T: That album is so good. I can’t get enough of all the Seekersinternational releases … they are each great in their own way, and they already have a diverse body of work. I also can’t stop listening to Pre-Tortoise Dream Music.
16 – What’s next for you and your music?
T: We have two albums in the works. Hopefully we can talk more about that later this year.