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15 Questions to Jeremy Drake

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Doing well thank you. I'm in Silver Lake, CA.

The is happening right now. What can you tell us about
your performance?

Missincinatti is the duo of cellist Jessica Catron and myself on
acoustic guitar. It is music that reduces extreme aesthetic decisions
into gentle, beautiful abstractions that draw the listener into the
sound and into themselves. The piece we performed was a version of one
we performed in June 2004 at REDCAT in Los Angeles, Y^^Y. It
constitutes extremely hot close miking of our instruments combined with
an unorthodox performance technique intended to bring out very quiet
sounds not usually associated with the instruments. Having the mics up
so high means we were teetering on the edge of feedback which, when
combined with our additive looping, created an effect that had elements
of rainfall, microtonality, meditation, and Alvin Lucier's "I am
sitting in a room".

On a more general level: What constitutes a good live show in your
opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

I believe a good live show should be compelling. However, I do think
that translates differently for different musical situations. In
improvisation or experimental forms, I particularly enjoy an element of
uncertainty, an x-factor that keeps things interesting for the
performers and subsequently the audience. It keeps the moment alive. I
often find I'm working with elements in my performance that aren't
completely mapped out meaning there are many opportunities for my own
surprise. How those surprises are dealt with is where the performance
can potentially really engage an audience. In a way, I have this
feeling about last night's performance in that the feedback became the
unknown element which we had to make a part of our composition.

Which of the concerts of the other artists will you definitely attend?

The Sunday concert because it will also coincide with the opening of
the collaborative installation group show at the Gatov Galleries of
which I will be contributing multi-channel sound to a work with
printmaker Jill Fitterer and poet Jennifer Smith. It is actually my
first officially all-electronic composition and will be projected via 8
channels of audio broadcasted through 32 piezo transducers onto
printed-upon hanging clear vinyl sheets. Maybe tomorrow's concert as
well, if it takes us 8 hours to install our piece!

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

I continue to be influenced by a wide range of people. Often those with
whom I have the opportunity to work and see how they expand their art,
how it develops. Sometimes it's hard to chart the course of your own
development but being aware of the movement of your peers gives
perspective on the growth, stagnation, transformation, and ultimate
continuation of art.

There are a few individuals whom I admire, some of whom I know
personally, that I can name who have specifically influenced and
continue to influence the way I think about sound and music: Pauline
Oliveros, Nels Cline, Tom Waits and Angus Young.

What’s your view on the experimental music scene at present? Is there a
Sometimes it seems there are a lot of players and not a lot of audience
members. However last night, a Wednesday night in Long Beach, over 40
people came out to Open Bookstore to see the show. Quite

Three years ago this May, my colleague Chris Heenan and I started LINE
SPACE LINE a weekly new and improvised music series in Silver Lake.
Presenting concerts every week really gives you a sense of who actually
comes to see this type of music; other musicians, the rare and
respected "music admirer", the even rarer family unit, and people
occasionally looking for something to do on a Monday night. Attendance
is the element in it all that really ebbs and flows the most. The music
of the experimental music scene at the present time is strong, very
much alive and developing. However, the Los Angeles audience sometimes
seems a little lifeless, often contributing to it's own bad reputation.

Multimedia: A solution to all problems or a curse?
An artist needs to use whatever materials they feel are necessary to
express their vision. John Lee Hooker needed his voice, his guitar and
his foot. Iannis Xenakis needed orchestras, electronics and opera.
Pauline Oliveros is an amazing example of someone who embraces
advancements in technology as a means to realize her vision and I
believe is a pioneer in multimedia forms. She is a multimedia artist
who seems to be constantly open to whatever technological developments
can contribute to artistic expression. I heard her speak recently about
a collaborative performance involving musicians, dancers, and
videographers in New York and France (if I remember correctly) that
took place via the internet simultaneously in two separate countries
for two separate audiences. That experience fits perfectly into
Pauline's vision for the future of art, creativity and performance.

Some feel there is no need to record albums any more, that there is no
such thing as genuinely “new” music. What do you tell them?

I guess I would tell them that's one way of looking at it, if you want
to be a cynical jerk. Rock and roll could have stopped after AD/DC
recorded Back in Black, but it didn't. Or maybe it did for a while, but
it came back again. Petra Haden just did an all vocal version of The
Who Sell Out. Is that "new" music? In many ways it is. There are still
a billion and one discoveries to be made and each one will potentially
be unique.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
Like a deck of cards is to a house of cards. One possible way to
utilize sound is through composition. Improvisation is another. I
wonder has anyone ever used a deck of cards in an improvised music
performance? You can also just throw a deck of cards into the air and
watch them as they land, it's like listening out of your window. Or

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions
into the music he plays.

It's a choice, not a duty. I have found at that times music which is
often perceived to be devoid of emotional content can elicit profoundly
complex emotive responses, at least in my experience. But then there
are times when a performer's personal emotional investment may detract
from an audience member's ability to enjoy the work, that is again, of
course, my experience. And there are other times where the emotional
content is what's making it all work and mean something.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

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

People need to have an open mind to be able to appreciate anything.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival yourself.
What would be on your program for this season?

It wouldn't be the first time! And actually the LINE SPACE LINE
festival of improvised music will not be happening in 2005 due to
various factors not the least being lack of financial resources. With
each festival we hope to improve the underlying framework (read:
funding!) so we can provide financial support for the artists we
invite. Last year, we invited 12 people from across to North America to
a four-day festival to perform with local improvisers. We guaranteed no
money and didn't pay for travel. They all came and it was incredible.
Everybody had an amazing time.

As for the program of the next festival, I personally would like to
have a format in which a relatively small group of improvisers (say 12
- 15) come together from different places on the globe and rehearse in
various groupings for a few days before presenting their discoveries to
an audience at a 3 or 4 night festival. This time commitment is where
our need for funding really comes in.

What’s your favourite CD at the moment?
Last week it was Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique. The week before that
it was Low - The Curtain Hits the Cast. At the moment, I'm too deep in
this sound installation project to be doing much recreational

What’s up for you after the festival?

Ideally recording the groups Missincinatti and Honeycomb Wheels.
Presumably releasing a duo recording with guitarist Nels Cline.
Traveling to play some festivals with Vinny Golia's Jazz for Models.
Performing at the San Diego Spring Reverb Festival with Grackles.
Organizing a day of LINE SPACE LINE performances in the Sound/Shift
format (see John Berndt of Baltimore) at the LA ARTFEST. Hopefully
attending an ACA Residency with Pauline Oliveros in Florida and
visiting my family in Tennessee in June.

After that, I'll be visiting Europe to perform with long-time
collaborator reed player Chris Heenan in various ensembles including
TEAM UP, a trio with a revolving drum chair in Sweden, Germany and the
UK. Participating in multimedia collaborative project MAD
(Music/Art/Dance) at Roda Sten in Gothenburg, Sweden with Chris Heenan,
artist Sara Lorentzon, and dancer (my sister) Lisa Drake and going to
her wedding in Stockholm.

When I return, continuing to produce the LINE SPACE LINE weekly new and
improvised music series at Selah in Downtown Los Angeles with my
colleague David Rothbaum.


Jeremy Andrew Jeff (Ball Bearings Pinatas) 2002
Mount Washington (Reify Recordings) 2004
Rich West's Bedouin Hornbook (pfMentum) 2004
Team Up (Reify Recordings) 2004

Jeremy Drake

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