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15 Questions to The Green Kingdom

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Good, in Shelby Township, Michigan at home in my living room holding my baby daughter Gloria.

 
What’s on your schedule right now?
I recently finished my next full-length, entitled Twig and Twine, which will be released in November. I'm also working on a couple cdr releases and starting material for at least one album to be released next year. Besides that, just working full-time as a graphic designer and hanging out with my wife and two daughters.


How would you describe and rate the music scene of the country you are currently living in?
Oh I don’t know, it’s all good I guess... There isn’t really much mainstream music that I find to be very stimulating, but you know, I think there is something for everyone. I went to a Sigur Ros show downtown at a pretty large venue that was completely sold out  on a weekday - things like that remind me that I’m not the only one into weird music. :-)


Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?

Maybe - if you consider the way people like Delia Derbyshire and others combined and transformed sounds, you could make the case that we are continuing in that tradition by doing some things similar with laptops- which is a lot easier than using tape machines. I would say that Brian Eno really took the idea of “studio as instrument” to the next level, and now we have everything at our fingertips.


What, would you say, are the factors of your creativity? What stimulates you to write music?
For me personally, creating music is kind of an escape, a way to get away from the stress of daily life for a little while. Hopefully my music works the same for the listener. Of course I listen to just about every type of music and have quite a sizable collection, but anything can be inspirational at any given time- visual art or film, being outdoors, general everyday sounds. You just have to take the time to stop, look and listen.


How would you describe your method of composing?

As with many others, I really don’t have any standard process and most of the time only a rough direction or sound in mind for a track or album. Sometimes I’ll record a few parts on guitar or another instrument, sample sections of those recordings and start to loop, combine and process these pieces to form the basis of a track. Other times I will take unused pieces of various tracks and juxtapose them to form something entirely new and unexpected which I never could have planned. This doesn’t always work, but I think it is a technique which I think helps in not getting too predictable. I’m a big proponent of “happy accidents” you might say.


In which way, would you say, is your cultural background reflected in your work?
Not much I don’t think…


How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

Sounds are just the elements that work together to form the composition, but the sounds can come from anywhere. Sometimes they are composed on an instrument beforehand to fit together; sometimes they just come together in the laptop.


How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

I don’t do much improvising in the jazz sense, but at the same time not much of what you hear in the final piece was usually planned ahead of time apart from the general sound or feel I was trying to capture. Maybe it is sort of a deliberate improvisation using some of the techniques described a few questions ago.


What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
I think it’s hard to truly find a sound that’s completely new or unprecedented anymore, but at the same time if you combine your influences with your own unique voice, you can’t help but generate something original.


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 haven’t done any type of multimedia pieces to accompany my music as of yet, but it’s definitely something I’m open to pursuing in the future. I’m more of a web and print designer, so it would be great to work with a video artist or digital animator on a project.


What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I think like anyone else, I enjoy the variation and chance occurrences that only happen in the live setting. I’m more of a studio musician myself, I’ll pull a live set together eventually though…


How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences without sacrificing their soul?
I would personally love to hear more experimental music used in different environments, I think people really underestimate the effect sound can have on a space.


You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Ooh, that would be tough! I’ll go with Fennesz, Secret Chiefs 3, Stereolab, Arvo Part, Tortoise, Taylor Deupree, Brian Eno, Stars of the Lid, Sigur Ros, Kraftwerk, I don’t know, I wish a lot of the people I listen to were still alive...

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

I don’t know, though it would probably require me to learn some additional instruments or find some musicians to play them.  A mini-opus would probably suffice...


Discography:

Lucky Bamboo (EKO) 2006
Meadowview (Heldernacht) 2006
The Green Kingdom (SEM) 2007
Jasmine (Smallfish) 2008
Laminae (TheLandOf) 2008
Miniature Forest Remix 2008

Homepage:

The Green Kingdom
The Green Kingdom at MySpace