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15 Questions to 3 Pups Music

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Newbie Brad: “We’re in Nashville, feeling pretty good.”
Pantha: “We feel proud of our achievements thus far here in Nashville, Tennessee.”


What’s on your schedule right now?
Pantha: “I’m excited about where we are now because each year, I feel like we’re climbing up another rung on the ladder of success.”
Newbie Brad: “We’re working on some things like doing some press, some jingle work, getting some new distribution and working on spring bookings. We may be doing some new things with another Nashville based group called the Japanese Beatles. Recently (November) we played the 2007 Dutch Fretless Guitar Festival and (December) the 2007 Sonic Arts Festival at University of Arkansas.”


What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?
Newbie Brad: “No single icon but people like Ornette Coleman, Booker T. and the MGs, Aaron Copeland, George Clinton, Maria Callas, Miles Davis, Michael Brecker, Cindy Lauper, Aretha Franklin, Vernon Reid, John Cage, Mahivishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Pee Wee Herman and others influenced us to be as we are. We call our music Jazz, Nu-Jazz or Experimental Music. Different cliques in the present music scene such as the improvisers, the minimalists, the electro-acoustic people, the noise-ers, the electronic and techno people, the ambient people, the jazzers or at least the electric jazzers, they accept us as their own, but we play in different styles. Someone once said our shows were like Stravinski, Miles Davis and Donkey Kong mixed together.”
Pantha: “I love it when people come to us and say they hear bits and pieces of the Beatles, Dave Brubeck or Burt Bacharach in our playing. Since Newbie Brad and I are fans of all types of music, you can hear all types of musical forms in our compositions and improvisations.”


What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Pantha: “There’s an old song that goes: ‚All things shall perish under the sky / Music alone shall live, never shall die.’ The distribution of it has to be changed, however.”
Newbie Brad: “No crisis. It’s only music, no one’s dying over it. We think the music scene is thriving. The businesses built on loaning money to musicians for old production and distribution methods are in trouble.“


What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
Newbie Brad: “Sometimes ‘new’ seems to mean new fusions of style or methods. Other times ‘new’ is still used as old-fashioned public relations puffery and BS. We appropriate the term ‘Nu-Jazz’ which is often used to mean jazz fused to pop rhythms. When we use ‘Nu-Jazz’ we intend it to get people to come to our shows, though we intend to present the audience with improvised music, styles and methods we think they won’t hear elsewhere in Nashville.”
Pantha: “There’s really no ‘new’ music because music is built on the same tones.”


How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

Pantha: “Sound can be used to paint an aural picture within a composition.”
Newbie Brad: “Infinite variety. Sometimes all is improvisation, other times all is composed. Sometimes everything about a music is timbre, sometimes everything is melody and harmony. Sometimes there’s rhythm we recognize, sometimes we recognize none.”


How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

Newbie Brad: “We have been performing pretty strictly improvisations for the last 2 years or so, but before that most of our performances were composed or of composed music. Though presently we do sometimes bring in themes we’ve prepared or recorded beforehand.”
Pantha: “Personally I think you can compose something through improvising. Learning by doing is the key here.”


What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
Pantha: “Balance between performers onstage constitutes a good live performance. I feel that Newbie Brad and I are a winning combination because we respect each other’s talent and do our best in letting the audience know this.”
Newbie Brad: “We try to pay attention to what each other are doing. We like it when an audience member has trouble sensing which of us played a particular phrase or noise. We like it when people believe our performance sounds “composed in advance”. We also like it when we ourselves feel our performance was worth preserving (by recording.)”


A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as “music”. Would you draw a border – and if so, where?
Newbie Brad: “We might not want to draw any lines, people thought the same thing about Stravinsy and countless others. Our motto is ‘experimental music is good for your grandkids’.
Pantha: “To me, anything with a rhythm and a pulse qualifies as music from the beating of a heart to the splashing of water.”


Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?

Pantha: “It’s possible to be a critical and a commercial success at the same time.”
Newbie Brad: “We think ‘serious’ tends to imply you won’t get the point of the music without some theoretical preparation, and ‘popular’ implies that an education isn’t necessary to enjoy the content. We think some musics and noises are very close to unpalatable without an academic understanding of rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre and/or the history of music, so we think the term ‘serious’ still has utility. ‘Popular’ as a term for music can mean many different things.”


Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
Newbie Brad: “‘Can’ but not ‘should’; ‘personal’ but not necessarily ‘isolated’ unless by choice. If someone takes the opportunity to convey political, social or other communication through music, the results are mixed but sometimes very moving. I often call the White House comment phone number and put the cell phone ear piece next to my guitar pickup so that every one in the audience can hear the call through the guitar. But at a clinic recently I told the audience I believed my intention in performing music was personal.”
Pantha: “An artist should try to be himself and share it with his audience. Being something that you’re not just to fit into a popular mode will only bring a false sense of self. Now you can adapt to current trends. But the key here is to let the trends adapt to you instead of the other way around.”


True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.
Pantha: “The old saying ‘I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like’ applies here.”

Newbie Brad: “We believe that’s most often false, but we think music education, either through organized or self-education, brings understanding of rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre and/or the history of music. These give one’s consideration of a listening some organization.”


Imagine a situation in which there’d be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions – would that be an improvement to the current situation?
Newbie Brad: “No.”


You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?

Pantha: “Can’t forget Ornette Coleman and John Zorn.”
Newbie Brad: “3 Pups Music.”


Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?

Newbie Brad: “God, the Snake, Adam and Eve walk into a bar and meet Woody Allen, Spike Lee and M. Night Shyamalan, soon all are admiring the new issue of Vogue. Tennessee Ernie Ford and Ricky Ricardo are on stage. Woody and God argue about reeds. Spike and M. come to agreements on the ethics of Nicks floor tickets, new immigration and Woody’s pederasty. The Snake gets a call from his mother, played by Glenn Close. Adam and Eve slip away in a cab driven by Sonny Rollins. (This might or might not be the plot of our latest cd Schrodinger’s Cab.)”

Discography:
"Pantha and Newbie Brad"
"Dorothy Brought The Watchtower"
"Preoccupation"
"Greenwood Suite"
"Katrina and Rita, The Death Of Jazz And Blues"
"Uptown, Downtown, Outside The International 9-11-05"
"Feast Of All Holy Martyrs"
"Sherbet"

Homepage:
3Pups Music

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