RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

15 Questions to Kraig Grady / Anaphoria

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you?
I can honestly say I am better than I have been in years.

Where are you?
About 90 Kilometres south of Sydney, Australia, in a town called Berkeley and on a street called Cambridge of all things.

What’s on your schedule right now?
For the first time I am actually working on more than one piece at once. One is a setting of one of the hundred letter words from Finnegan’s Wake; another is for my ensemble of microtonal instruments based on a meter of 108. Both involve things longer than what we are used to. These two works follow my vocal piece ‘Minirequiem for a Minigenocide’ about what the Georgians did or got told to do. This grew out of experiments doing harmonic singing in an anechoic chamber, a place as close to death as one might get to in a way. I held tones as long as I could, so here too extended length was involved.

What’s your view on the music scene at present?
It is no different than any other cross section of society, except like the other arts, it is used to running on very little with very little water. It persists, but that doesn’t mean with more water you would have bigger plants. Segregation, though, has set in with little subgroups breaking off that no longer communicate with other sub groups. This causes more rivalry than anything

Is there a crisis?
And when is there not?! Without it what would we need art for besides ornamentation.


What does the term “new” mean to you in connection with music?
I am not concerned with “new”, as it is difficult enough to hold on to oneself, and to explore that depth. It is depth that brings forth something useful. Well, there is a place for the new and that for me is in that I try to create works that change myself, and that leads one away from the overly familiar. Often it is a sudden revelation informed past. But perhaps we are likewise informed by the future as well.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
Each sound has its inner life that has its own disposition and resonance that resembles the organic and the natural. Not that the environment will always be harmonious: it rarely is totally, but it carries its ‘character’ in a consistent way and so it is best we work with it, otherwise we destroy its identity.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

I do both and I can stumble doing either one, going too fast or too slow. I rely on both.

How would you define the term “interpretation”?

The alchemy of the energy invoked by a past music with the energy the performer finds themselves encompassed by.

Harmony? Dissonance? The freedom to choose both, none or just one?
That these words bring up ‘freedom’ show how political they are. It is an expression of the extent of individuality in relation to others or together. But there is another word that is their equal: Melody, that great repressed because we cannot talk about it or analyze it. It is unapproachable from the scientific current we find ourselves surrounded by, like emotions. We are afraid of melody. We want to rid ourselves of it because we really don’t totally understand it; just what it does beyond our control. It guides us through these dissonances or at least reflects upon it. Melody happens whether we like it or not.

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?
If someone hears it as music, it is music. I never have trouble with it on that level. Sometimes, though, I might find it not good or even interesting music. But this question is searching for one’s borders and lately I have found myself disillusioned with what you could call scientific sound experiments. The problem here is that all too often the results might illustrate something that is true but only trivially true. There are some great artists whose work is based on the scientific but for myself right now I am concerned with people more than physics.

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
Well the world that had these distinctions is no longer with us right now. We only have fashions based on the relics of both. It is too soon to tell where this will lead. Possibly as our society becomes even more visually oriented, music will move even further into the background. People seem to settle for less and less in this regard.

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?
No, I think art has to celebrate the individual. Artists are usually misfits of society, which makes them the best ones to inadvertently comment upon it. The popular notion that an artist should be egoless I find more dangerous than anything. The world has experienced the most inhumane atrocities by people giving up their egos for a ‘group’ ego. Fascism is impossible without egoless individuals who supposedly do such and such for the common good. No, I prefer individual egos and usually these can’t get too big because they are confronted by so many other talented and creative egos. Group egos can do no wrong because it is defined as the just and best cause. It is a dangerous situation.

True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.
Music is not a universal language and it takes quite a bit of familiarity for it to be understood. I listen to and had a radio show of indigenous world music. It was and is a never-ending process of learning to understand other cultures not only of their music but the way in which music can be used and for what purpose. Even here there are differences.

True or false: The cultural subsidies doled out by governments are being sent to the wrong kind of people and institutions.
In the United States the government proclaimed war against the arts so there are almost none. Private institutions continue to attack and undermine the true artistic spirit because of their interest being economic or political. Society in general puts forth mediocre work in order to draw attention away as much as it can from work that confronts it, thus prevent art from happening.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
As much different work and approaches as possible. It would not conform to my own taste, although I am sure that cannot be wholly avoided. Too many directors use this position to censor work they might not understand. I have a history being involved in quite a few presenting organizations and this has always been my approach. Right now we have these little groups each pretending that the others do not exist which leads to an environment where one cannot allow more than one aspect of you self out in one place.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
I am afraid to put everything into one basket because more often than not, it would be a disaster.

As Kraig Grady:
Music From The Island Of Anaphoria (Bzang Editions, Tiny Organ) 1994
From The Interiors Of Anaphoria (BZang Editions) 1995
The Creation Of The Worlds (BZang Editions) 1997
The Stolen Stars: An Anaphoria Dance Drama (Archive Of Anaphoria) 2003
Without R & R. (Experimental Musical Research) 2005
Orenda (Archive Of Anaphoria) 2006
Beyond The Windows Perhaps Among The Podcorn (Transparency) 2007

As Anaphoria:
The Creation Of The Worlds (BZang Editions) 1997
Footpaths And Trade Routes (ini.itu) 2009

Kraig Grady

Related articles

Ólafur Arnalds: "Dyad 1909"
Still growing: An utterly hypnotic ...
empreintes DIGITALes: Label Profile
Labels come and go. But ...
Kui Dong: Free-spirited Piano Preparations
Even almost two decades after ...
Interview with Kenneth Kirschner 2
One sometimes wonders how far ...
Gustavo Becerra-Schmidt: The "Chilean Mozart" passes away
On Sunday, 3rd of November, ...
Frank Rothkamm: "ALT"
Understanding and enjoying at the ...
GVSU New Music Ensemble: In C Remixed
The GVSU New Music Ensemble's ...

Partner sites