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15 Questions to Biosphere

img  Tobias Fischer

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I am just back from a bicycle trip in Kraków, where I have been living for more than a year now.

What's on your schedule right now?
I am flying to Seattle tomorrow to perform at the Substrata Festival and to lead a field recording trip in the Cascade mountains.

How would you describe and rate the music scene of the city you are currently living in?
There are lots of things going on in Kraków. All kinds of festivals (music, film, dance, theatre, etc) all the time. The electronic scene is very small though.

When did you start producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I bought my first synthesizer in 1982. My influences were bands like Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and many, many others.

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
June 1990 when I decided to leave the band Bel Canto and make music on my own as Biosphere.

What are currently your main compositional- and production-challenges?
Right now I am working on a project inspired by the Polish forests. I am having fun transforming Polish folk music into something eery and dark.

What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
It depends. I often start with a sample taken from a record or a film. Sometimes I start with one of my own field recordings, or by making new sounds on a synthesizer.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

I am not interested in improvisation at all. Ingmar Bergman once said: "I hate improvisation!" and I totally agree. Sometimes I am "improvising" in the studio when I am looking for a theme. But as soon as I have it, I "lock it".

How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?
A good sound can often be more important than the actual composition. The better the sound, the less you have to "compose". A good, organic sound can be a composition in itself.

Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?
I don´t. Explaining everything is boring. You loose the mystery. For example, I don´t like to watch these bonus films that you can find on many DVDs where they show how the film was made.

There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
I like mp3s and I like vinyl. The problem with mp3s are torrents and illegal downloads. Luckily, vinyl releases cannot be shared quite as easily.

The role of an artist is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
I am just trying to make the best possible music without thinking too much about other things.

Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today?
There is an information overload today. It´s too easy to release music. I must admit that I am not listening enough to other artists due to a lack of time.

How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?
As soon as non-mainstream music reaches the masses it becomes mainstream. Keep it secret!

Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Akira Rabelais. Salvatore Sciarrino.

Many artists dream of a "magnum opus". Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
Not at all. I am not dreaming of a magnum opus.

Image by Trine Falch.

Biosphere Discography:
Microgravity (Origo Sound) 1991   
Patashnik (Origo Sound) 1994   
Polar Sequences/ w. Higher Intelligence Agency (Beyond, Beyond) 1996   
Substrata (Origo Sound) 1997   
Insomnia (Origo Sound) 1997   
Cirque (Touch) 2000   
Birmingham Frequencies/ w. Higher Intelligence Agency (Headphone) 2000   
Shenzhou (Touch) 2002   
Autour De La Lune (Touch) 2004   
Dropsonde (Touch) 2006   
Wireless - Live At The Arnolfini, Bristol (Touch) 2009   
N-Plants (Touch) 2011

Recommended Biosphere Interviews & Articles on the Web:
Early Biosphere interview at themilkfactory, dealing with the beginnings of the project.



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