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15 Questions to Detritus

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi. Yeah, not too bad thanks. At home right now…..

What’s on your schedule right now?
Currently doing the final mix for a remix of a track by Loss.  After that, I will go back to working on material for the next full length cd. It’s about 40% done at the moment, and is sounding pretty depressing at the moment

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?

That’s a really difficult one. I think to be honest I have been much more influenced by soundtrack and classical works than anything else, and I say that without hopefully sounding pretentious. When I was much younger, soundtracks by people like John Carpenter and Brad Fiedel had a huge impact on me, I think due to not only the very emotive sense of drama in their music, but also because of what was immanent in their work… what was only suggested.

Later, I got into people like Gorecki, Part etc, and then in the early 90’s I really liked the way Will took classical elements and combined them with beats and electronics. Strangely though, I can’t really posit the influence of drum n bass in my music as I don’t really listen to any. I just like the energy of the rhythm sections.

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

I think there is very much a sense of staleness at the moment, where it feels as if the same ideas are just being recycled and regurgitated. I know when I play at festivals in particular it is rare that I hear something which really grabs my attention for very long, but that could be a consequence of organisers just “playing safe“.

Hopefully, this sense of staleness will lead to artists coming up who dont feel genre-bound to produce the same old sounds and structures, and there is definitely some signs that this is starting to happen.

What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?
Nothing is ever truly new. Even the most “original” of sounds can be traced in some way to various musical forms, and I think that deliberately attempting to produce something “new” for the sake of “newness” is both futile and disingenuous. I can see how that could appear to contradict my answer to question 4, but I think that it is pretty much the other side of the same coin. Either strictly adhering to given forms and sounds, or deliberately avoiding them feel like the same thing to me.

But I guess it’s all about why you produce music. Some may approach it from a point of intellectualism, deconstructing forms in order to challenge or provoke which I respect. But that is not what I am about. My relationship to my music is too “explosive” for that. I guess I’m too caught up in my own emotional evangelicism ;)

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

They are impossible to pick apart for me. The sounds I use are part of the compositional process, and changing them completely alters the dynamics of the track.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I tend to pretty much improvise everything during composition, at least harmonically. Live I allow myself scope for improvisation, but also pretty much stick to general structure of the track.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
For me, a good live performance is one in which I have completely thrown myself into what I am doing, rather than having to worry about technicalities etc. It has to be thoroughly cathartic for me, and hopefully this sense of catharsis comes through to the audience.

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?

I wouldn’t draw a border. Anywhere. What one would class as music, another would class as just “noise” (i.e. non-music), and that is fine. To try and impose some sense of objectively deriven boundary, to establish a definition of music which is concrete, ahistorical, and beyond revision is just a form of conceptual fascism. If someone chooses to listen to something which makes no sense to me, that doesn’t give me the right to impose my own conceptual apparatus onto them.

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?

See the previous question.

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?
Again, as per q.9 I wouldn’t impose any necessary conceptual significance to art. But the old dictum of “the personal is political” is certainly a valid one. I also don’t believe that any form of aesthetic has meaning “embedded” within it an essential, and therefore deterministic way, but due to shared cultural knowledges, some form of expression are likely to produce particularly forms of interpretation, and so I think to deny any form of responsibility for this would seat the artist on an unstable pedestal.

True or false: People need to be educated about  music, before they can really appreciate it.

Utterly false. Again, see q.9

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?

I would say yes, but as with anything, such a situation would lead to exploitation.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
Shit. Cant answer that one! I do know however that I wouldn’t have 2 days of straight rhythmic noise ;)

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

I do. But annoyingly it is impossible to describe. I think more than anything it is kind of a “holy grail”, i.e. something to strive towards rather than anything achievable….

Enodgenous (2003) Ad Noiseam
Origin (2005) Ad Noiseam
Thresholds EP (2006) Ad Noiseam


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