|> Neural Magazine|
Speedy J interview.
by Alessandro Ludovico
Which are the main concepts beside your official web site development?
The web site it's not really as conceptual as other web sites, but the only thing that I've tried to do together with the people that actually are designing the graphic is to not completely break the standard rules. Just playing around a little bit, by making the navigation random and by making the background random and stuff like that. I mean usually on the web sites, even though it's a new media, as it's not really new, but it's still a media that has a lot of possibilities that are quite undefined and I think already there have been a lot of conventions. Things like printed media and television has been around for such a long time because a lot of conventions has been developed, but the Internet and the new digital media give us a completely new set of possibilities and still those people follow the rules of conventional media, so I'm not saying that this web site is completely going against them, but we've tried to use these extra possibilities like randomness. But I must say that this web site is much in development. Only three of the nine planned sections are online, so things only have to be growing in the future and this is not completely growing on my ideas about, because I have a budget from my label and so I have to make a sort of useful resource for Mute. But If it was my own project, completely defined by myself, then I would probably been playing around with these possibilities of non conventional things a bit more than it's been used there.
Is there a particular aspect of the web that fascinates you?
Yeah, I'm exploring the clich¸ that things like the geographical issues allover, geographycal place to be able to communicate with people together from a completely different geographycal locations, that's something it's still such a powerful feature. Lots of the internet traffic is been used between not only between overseas customers and companies, but usually from people even in the same country. My fascination is that things like identity and geographycal places are completely aroudable with anonimity it's a very powerful things as well. I'm conversing with people, I'm in contact with people, that's a very large part of my work, like people who writes and modifies software, and I don't even know their names, I don't know where they are and it doesn't matter, because there's sort of a trust between people that never met and don't know anything about their physical identity. And I think that's something that fascinates me.
What's the most obscure and threatening part of the computer technology?
I'm not too afraid of it to be honest, I mean there's some obscure things and I think the most threathening thing is probably that this technology is tryied to be controlled by the the major companies, like the huge corporations are sort of losing power because the technology are trying to be against this power, by giving everyone a mobile phone. And basically there's something else, I see there's a huge investiment in the future, because these big corporations, they lost their attach with tecnology and now they're giving everyone a mobile phone that has GPS and stuff like that and against the power again deserving control to the people again and for a while in the 90s there were sort of anarchy situation, but now they're regaining control. Even people don't realize that they're giving away more and more privacy everyday. They're using credit card in the supermarket. Everyone has been tracked all time and I see a lot of technologies, but I also see a lot of threatening in the fact that it's again used by big corporations. And people don't know that.
In your latest releases there's a very peculiar mood, a sort of harsh, dark view of the world. Do you see the future in the same way and why?
I'm a musician and I can paint any picture I want to do. This doesn't necessarily means that this reflects my moods, or my state of mind. I mean it's just a picture. Anyone can paint you a picture with dark clouds and fire in hell, but it doesn't mean the artist who created it it's actually in that sort of mood. To give you an example, seeeing the charts in 90 per cent of every records there are lyrics about love, but not everyone wrotes those lyrics has been in love to writing it. I think the interesting thing of being an artist or a musician is being able to present an alternative point of view, an alternative world, a whole set of possibilities, might just be the case that the creator is fascinate about the subject, but it doesn't necessarly mean that's a reflection of the person itself, I think something that's liking more alien, unrealistic and maybe abstract is more interesting than if I would describe the world that I'm living, I think that's quite boring, and I'm thrilled to paint you another picture, so I'm using that possibility. I think I'm just look at the privileges and the possibilities that you have as a musician, and I think that not many people are using that full potential.
Imagine you'd program a software in minutes. What you'd like it would do?
I'm not really familiar with coding. But I use things like Macs and DSP and that's like a light version of full version of writing software. I dont' really have wishes that it's something to do with program beacause I already use software that's more available. Most things I use to create music are written by me. I've a plug-in written by me. If I fancy any particural function, I'll make it myself. Also I'm in contact with many software developers, that make music software or any other stuff. If I have a good idea, or I have something that I want to try, I just have to get in touch with them, and usually they'll implement in their packages. Quite a fortunate position to do this, so I' dont't really have a dream machine or something like that. How I do things when I'm working? I still find the interface between me and my machines. If I would change anything, it wouldn't be the machines, but it would be me. I would to be able to be connected to my network just through my brain. And I'll don't have to bother eating, drinking, sleeping... I could just work non-stop for maybe three days. It's a strange idea, but I hope sometime in the future, it would be normal, not much that science fiction.
What's the Science Fiction tale you'd like most to compose the soundtrack for?
It's difficult because when I make music I already start with a graphical imaginary world. I don't get melodies in my head like some composers do, but I don't have practical ideas, and they're quite abtracts like textures and shapes. It's not really like a very defynable world, but it's still an environment I try to recreate. And if I would try to recreate it in physical parts (I've tried to paint it using videos) but always when it comes out, it's not satisfactory, because it's too literal when it's translated into audio, into music, it gets much closer to what I had in my mind although it's artificial, I would say that my music is already a soundtrack to something, but it's still something that's defined in invisible media. If I listen to music, automatically my mind forms images, and writing music is the reverse process, it's the images that I try to translate.
Would you like someone would write something basing on your music?
Yeah, but it already happens. There's a writer for theatre plays that uses my music as a starting point. It's somebody from Holland TV, It's not very well known, but it's a start.
You were a successful dj. What you think will be the dj cultural role in the near future?
I need to correct this. I was a dj in a band. DJ can mean different things. A Dj could presents records in a radio shows. Or it's also a club dj who presents records in a club, but the things I did was more in a dj which makes beats for a vocalist. The term dj is very confusing. I mean don't think of myself as a dj, but as a musician. I think the concept of taking parts of the recording and resampling them into something different was interesting ten years ago, when sampling became available, but I think with current technologies it's become a little bit often easy to do things. When first samplers became available it became possible to provide all of this cultural different cultural residence within a new piece, I think at that time it was also interesting, but there's also a downside with all these samples cds being available. It's the same things as these pictures you can buy in any main shops. It's the same thing with sampling. It's become available in every music magazine the cds with 'how to make drum'n'bass'. I push in and make the techique and the possibilities more interesting, I think. I used a lot of samples, but the source are not longer reported because I used samples that I recorded outside, but I manipulated so much that it should doesn't matter what the original samples were. I think that's more interesting than working with just taking prerecorded material because that's something unrealistical that fascines, I think.
How much, do you think electronic can be 'improvised' and how much, instead, the 'live' concept will be 'eroded' in the future?
I think electronic music can be improvised as any other music. It just depends on instruments you use. And I don't mean by instruments a particular piece of gear, but I mean the combination of different pieces of gear. Probably the purest form of improvisation is the way a jazz band works. They just say: OK, this the key, this is the tempo. They just play and see what happens. In this way you can also improvise with electronic music, you can say: OK, this is the tempo, you lock the tempo and then just start improvise manipulating sounds and arrangements, till you think you're going the right way. Using electronic instruments is as flexible as any other things. You can also improvise by yourselves and you'll be able to use all the spectrum of sound, as when you'll be improvising with physical instruments, you're using that particular sort of sound, but there'are so many different ways. It's just up to the musician.
"Music it's very suggestive" you said once. In your opinion can this suggestion be amplified with the new media?
That's a difficult one. The way I think about that is purely on the quality of music itself, and it doesn't really matter what instruments or technology is used for it. I mean music is an identity itself and I don't think in that respective technology has anything to do with technology and the suggestive quality of the music itself. I don't think the things are related. If I would use completely different media, just other computer systems or whathever is available even maybe including visual gear, I don't think it would make the music any better. It would just give a new sound to the artist who created it, but it won't be any more suggestive, but use of other technologies. I don't think those things are related. Basically my technology is just my instruments, if I would live in a different age and I wouldn't have these technologies available, I would do something else, and I were still be able to paint its pictures.
I was just wondering if a particular type of technologies could stimulate the expression of something special.
Well, I think that probably will be ways to use technology to make sort of altered experience but I don't think it would be better or worst. It would just be different. I'm thinking about samplers. At the time when they becomes available, it was very new, and very exciting and very stimulating, after while it would be back to the beginning and then creativity and stuff like that would be more important again to say something meaningful. So I think the technology is just a tool, and I don't think it would make the music better that it is.