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15 Questions to Alan Bloor/Pholde

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I live in Toronto, Ontario. I have lived here for the past 7 years.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I have a couple of shows coming up in the new year with my extreme noise project Knurl. But nothing at the moment for Pholde. I had a few Pholde shows not so long ago in September and October. Three Pholde releases are to come out in the near future. One from C3R, (Toronto) one from AFE (Italy) and one from Blade(Italy).

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?
My biggest influence was working in welding shops. I used to love the sounds of the cutting and scraping steel. That influenced me to start Knurl. Pholde branched out from that after meeting the guys at the Ambient Ping (then a weekly ambient music event) in Toronto. I would have to say I see myself as part of a movement, I guess. I wouldn't say I'm part of a tradition.

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
If you mean the ambient music scene, I think it's very strong and close knit. I find there are no big egos and everyone is friendly and willing to help each other whether it's setting up shows or releasing material. So, no, there's no crisis that I can see.

What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
"New" is a vague term. Like "alternative". I think "new" could be used if the music they're describing or playing has never been done beforeusing sounds or instruments that were created or prepared specifically for that piece. But if a group is playing songs, on traditional instruments in traditional keys and chords, then I don't think that should be called new.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
I feel a composition has to be something that is planned and can be recreated. I don't agree with people who say that something that is improvised is a composition. I understand that a composition can be partially improvised such as Giant Steps by John Coltrane. But I have a hard time believing people when they say John Cage's 4:33 is a composition.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Like I said in question 6. To me, a composition can be partially improvised. It has to be, in a sense. One can never recreate a piece
exactly the same way twice. A classical pianist for instance will more than likely improvise something within the piece. Such in the way that Vladimir Horowitz will not play a Bach piece the same way Glenn Gould will. But the piece they play will still be a composition.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
For me a good live performance is when the performer or performers show a professional dedication to their art and appreciate the audience by performing to the best of their ability. There's nothing worse than watching someone on stage that really doesn't care if he or she is up there or not and takes an audience for granted. I always like to perform to the best of my ability. To try and leave the audience with a memory of the show for a couple of days.

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?

It all depends on what people want to call "music". Five cavemen sitting around beating on bones was probably music to them. But then again if I compose a piece in which I creek a door for 2.3 seconds, drag a chair for 5.1 seconds, break a pane of glass, and roll a bowling ball down a flight of twenty three stairs, is that considered music? It could be in someone's view. I feel that if sounds are performed in a sequence and with an intent then it can be called music.

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
I feel "serious" is an empty word. Who has a right to say what is serious and what's not. If someone's playing Heavy Metal for instance, does this mean they're not serious about what they're doing? I think "serious" is a bit of a snob's term. "Popular" on the other hand makes a bit more sense. If something appeals to the masses whether it's music or literature, I can see that being called popular.

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?
I don't feel an artist should sacrifice his or her integrity for their audience. I think an artist should have a true passion for what they are creating whether it be political, social or otherwise.

True or false: People need to be educated about  music, before they can really appreciate it.
I think if someone has an open mind to different types of music, then appreciation and education can come naturally. If someone spent their entire life listening to one type of music, then I think it would be more difficult for that person to appreciate other types of music. Then on the other hand, if someone's introduced and exposed to different styles of music, they may learn to appreciate them.

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?
Not at all. Artists work hard to create music. Not to sound dramatic, but, it is a part of them. It comes from their soul. People shouldn't have the right to just take someone else's music without their permission and use it just because they don't have the creativity to come up with something on their own.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
It would have to be forming a band of about five musicians and everyone playing a different metal instrument. Such as each one playing a pavement saw of a different size. I acquired one of these recently. It's about three feet in diameter and it rings for a really long time. The guy that gave it to me worked as a concrete cutter and told me he could get them as large as six feet in diameter.

Kharborundumm (2000)
Intone (2000)
Seal to Self (2001)
In Accordance with Conscience (2002) Panta Rei Recordings
...and with it, we shall devide (2003)
Relating to the ultimate purpose (2004) Mystery Sea
In Which one may descend (2005)
That which tends to dissuade (2006) Gears of Sand

Alan Bloor/Pholde

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