RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

15 Questions to E. Ryan Goodman

img  Tobias Fischer

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hello Tobias, I'm good! I'm in Long Beach, New York.

What's on your schedule right now?
Work, practicing and juggling various music projects.

What's your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I used to think there was a crisis. Nowadays, I just don't know. Nothing stagnates for long; something always comes around and stirs the pot. The good and bad about music-making presently are the easily attainable free means of getting music. It does and doesn't help the artist.

Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?
Not at all, I play the guitar the way I play the guitar, that's it. All of my influences and life experiences are filtered through me and my outlet is the guitar - what you hear come out of my instrument through an improvisation is the end result.

What, would you say, are the factors of your creativity? What "inspires" you?
My personal creativity is the direct result of my accumulative life experiences---that's the bottom line. I truly believe that the subconscious reveals itself in the moment of free improvisation, and once recorded, that moment in time is captured. It's a very special (personal) thing. Everything around me inspires me on a daily basis. Hiking, meditating and like-minded musicians also inspire me.

How would you describe your method of composing?
It depends on what I'm working on, but mainly an improvisation reveals an odd melody or circular pattern that strikes a curiosity, then I go from there. Then I sort of transpose what I found and it develops slowly over time. If I'm working on rock stuff, I find chord progressions and/or an interesting riff and play them over and over again, eventually I get somewhere with it.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

On a very basic level, sound inspires composition. But I've been paying closer attention to this relationship from reading Jim Mcauley's 15 Questions interview. The sound of something generally evokes my need to improvise and/or compose. However, as Jim beautifully described; to really pay attention to every aspect of a tone, "the texture, the feel, the weight, the timbre of the note," can truly inspire. My playing is definitely changing for the better because of this tidbit.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I'm not strict about it at all. You either leave a piece an improvisation or you delve deeper into an improvisation to compose. My recent album has both. I actually really enjoy short succinct ideas that don't go anywhere else but stay within their own rules. I think I may have subconsciously taken that from my years listening to punk. I like short songs. But don't get me wrong, I like long songs too!

What does the term „new" mean to you in connection with music?
My ears have opened up more in the last few years---I guess I am becoming more mature. It's all beginning to just be music now. There was a time when I used to be more rigid with this term. When I first heard Shorty's "Fresh Breath" and U.S. Maple's "Long Hair in Three Stages" I said to myself, 'now this is new music!' They furthered my curiosity and excitement all the way up to Acre Thrills. Ever since they broke up I have found nothing to take their place.

Do you personally enjoy multimedia as an enrichment or do you feel that it is leading away from the essence of what you want to achieve?

I thoroughly enjoy multimedia! Give me more, more, more! I believe that it does seep into an individual's creativity, but I can only imagine that being a good thing. Sometimes I feel that I am over-stimulated here in New York City, but then most of the time, once I make it to the woods for a few days I'm cured for a stretch. However, I wish the world could live with less advertising.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What's your approach to performing on stage?
Keeping up the listener's interests and curiosity constitutes a good live performance to me. I don't really have an approach yet. Still ironing out that stuff.

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?
That's up to the individual artist, but I like to think that instrumental (especially, improvised) music stands on its own.

How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences without sacrificing their soul?
I'm not sure. I doubt improvisers would ever sacrifice their soul to reach more people. I myself would never do that. I like to think if you remain true to what you create and keep at it, that you will eventually receive a bigger audience and a wider appreciation. Only time will tell. True musicians/artists create because they have to ... Once you put it out there for human consumption the rest is up to the cosmos.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Not sure what order to put these guys in but the program would consist of the living and the deceased: Andrew Hill (solo, trio, quartet, sextet and big band settings), Deerhoof (Reveille era), Brian Eno, Harmonia, Robert Wyatt, WIRE, Working for a Nuclear Free City, U.S. Maple (Long Hair/Sang Phat era), Pere Ubu (Modern Dance era), Thinking Fellers Union Local #282, Thelonious Monk (with Sonny Rollins & John Coltrane), Duck Baker, Jim McAuley (playing every instrument in his arsenal), Eric Dolphy, Captain Beefheart (original line-up).

E. Ryan Goodman Discography:

Under the Lamp (Lone Lamp) 2008
Halves (Lone Lamp) 2010

E. Ryan Goodman

Related articles

E. Ryan Goodman: Halves
Arrows straight into your heart: ...
Interview with Karl Seglem
One of the songs on ...
Interview with Clang Sayne
Quite a lot of people ...
Workbench Recordings: Progressive Online Label for Folk & Jazz
New York Guitarist and Composer ...
Erik Friedlander: Overtaken by Memories
The title of Erik Friedlander's ...
Huntsville: Eco, Arches & Eras shows Janus Face
Norwegian threepiece Huntsville are back ...

Partner sites