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15 Questions to Mark Hamn

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi! Fine, thanks. Right now, I’ m in Taranto, in the South of Italy, which is also my home. I’m working on my next piece of music.

What’s on your schedule right now?

Well, probably my next release will be on a CD-R production containing artists of the experimental electronic scene but I cannot tell you anything specific. As I said before, there’s this new work that’s still in the making... but don’t worry, I think it will be finished in 2 month at the latest.

What does music mean to you?

Mmm. It’s a good question... Well, above all, it's an instrument to amplify certain feelings. This way, when you are in a particular state of mind you could be “listened” by your music so as to find relief and gratification.

In which way, would you say, is your personality reflected in your music, what makes it different from that of other artists?
I don’t  know exactly in which way i’m different from other artist, but surely the technical and mental process that leads to the creation of a musical track is something deeply personal. Also, in electronic music the difficulty is achieving something homogenous.

A question closely related to the former: 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?
I am very much inspired by artists like fennesz and basinski but also, more differently, by they likes of matmos, snd and others - even if I believe not to be a part of the  minimal techno tradition, but rather of the electronic and experimental ambient scene.

How would you describe or characterise your composing process?
An idea, a first draft, then the practical phase, then certainty, which is different from my initial idea.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
It can be a very tight relation from a technical point of view or something much lighter and hardly more binding than a single mathematical equation.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

I believe that above all in my kind of music it is important to make the audience see that you are actually doing something. Recently, it has happened to me that I witnessed a scandalous performances, where the "musician" just pressed the "play"-button on his beautiful laptop and didn't bother to do anything else.

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?
Surely not. Any improvement would have to do with an improved quality of music.

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I don't think there's a real crisis but only a period of radical cultural transformation, above all in the methods of music-making and its distribution (internet , p2p...etc)

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? Is “new” an important aspect of what you want your pieces to be?
Naturally, the diffusion of technology has also carried with it a creative inflation, but this does not mean that not there is genuine music any more. Perhaps what it will really lead to is a closer selection in listening.

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a poltical/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?

Art is, first of all, an expression of itself. And for this reason it can have a political  or introspective connotation or both, but it's not possible to define what art must do outside from those who have created it.

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

Thomas Felman, Fennesz, William Basionski, Philip Jeck and many others.

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?
On this point, I prefer to name nobody in particular, but there naturally exists a group of adventurers , part of the minimalism movement  that sometimes, perhaps for the will  to put their point across, create absolutely inaudible tracks - and thereby provoke contrasts between the specialistic critic and the listeners accustomed to them; I refer above all to a particular Japanese tradition but I have already said that I prefer not to mention specific people.

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

Surely I have in mind some features, some references, but I do not dream of a “Magnum Opus”.  I'd like to grow constantly with the the quality of my compositions in order to avoid saying that I merely play this way because I don't have the means to do something else.

Poison de... (1999)
marketipo mondragon (2000)
koloured fetished slips (2000)
Her studdt (2001)
Nigerions and the Paparions (2002)
Morgue at Vogue (2004)
Croissants Fourres Creme Chocolat (2004)
Prefixes (2005) Webbed Hands

Mark Hamn

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