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Interview with Herzog

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi! I'm great thanks! I'm up in chilly Aberdeen..


What’s on your schedule right now?

Not a lot right now.. having a bit of a break for Christmas, so looking to get started on some brand new material.. and updating my live visuals.


Up to now, you have released almost exclusively relatively short EPs. What makes the format so appealing to you compared to a full-length album?

I suppose I never have the patience to produce a cohesive full-length release! My first two releases were on Serein (http://www.serein.co.uk), which mostly release Eps: it's a nice neat package.. the listener can combine several Eps into the same playlist without getting too bogged down with an hour plus of the same thing.


One of your tracks is called “In the Background”. I actually had the impression that this is a red thread through your work: Keeping a lot of the action on a quiet, subliminal level. Would you agree?

It's more a case of letting the background and the music become the same thing, or letting the background come to the fore. I don't know.. I like the idea of playing music so quietly that it becomes indistinguishable from the musician's own action.. e.g. The sound of a finger hitting
a piano key or a guitar string.


Would you say your releases have a certain theme, a concept to them?
They're not really about anything, but sometimes a track will convey an emotion or the feeling of a split-second in time.. the song titles are usually a little clue to that.


Your latest EP, “ocean! be our blanket” on 12rec, to me, had a strong sense of romance and bittersweetness to it. Would you regard yourself as a nostalgic?
I suppose I would, but sometimes it's quite hard to communicate that kind of thing. To a certain extent “Ocean! Be our blanket” represents childhood, or rather the memory of childhood.. where individual details are lost but everything is covered in a sort of sunny haze and very nondescript events are remembered with the most fondness.


What, would you say, are the factors of your creativity? What “inspires” you?

I like the connection between words and phrases and music.. sometimes I'll have a song title in mind before working on the track, and I just try to find something that sounds a little like what the phrase means to me. I don't really have a creative process, or go out specifically looking for inspiration.


How would you describe your method of composing?
Despite sitting in front of a laptop, I like to keep a pretty hands-on approach, and try to keep the music on a human level. I'm never too demanding on myself or the music. I'm always surprised at how pretty my mistakes can sound.


How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
In what I do, I'd say the composition is secondary.. maybe I don't have enough faith in myself!


How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Not at all.. I rarely have a vision of what a track is going to sound like before I begin.. and if I do, it usually ends up sounding completely different.


Do you personally enjoy multimedia as an enrichment or do you feel that it is leading away from the essence of what you want to achieve?
We don't walk around blindfolded. The visual aspect is very important to me, and it's something I'd love to explore further.. either on my own or in collaboration.


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

I'm quite a nervous performer.. I tend to hide away and hope that everyone stays focused on the visuals rather than me! Fortunately I've only ever had good experiences playing live, and have met some great people along the way.


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?
This might sound selfish.. but no. However, if people aren't connecting with what you're doing, then you're clearly doing something wrong.


You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
I'd try to keep the pretence to a minimum, and keep the audience at the forefront of everything that goes on. I'd also make sure they'd have comfortable things to sit on!


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

Not really.. I'm already overwhelmed by the response that my stuff has had so far. I'd just like to have a nice album that people might listen to more than once.

 

Releases:
The Autumn Parade (Serein) 2005
This Time We're Infinite (Serein) 2006
Ocean! Be Our Blanket (12Records) 2007

Homepage:
Herzog at MySpace

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