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Interview with Jasper TX

img  Tobias Fischer

There's an intriguing story behind the name of your project and your album titles are equally associative. Are there, although somewhat hidden, very concrete ideas, images and stories behind your pieces and their titles?
Most of the times my music starts with a simple snapshot. An image I get in my head of something. It can be a small detail of something much bigger but that detail triggers something inside of me and all of a sudden there's a story to that snapshot. I know what has happened before and I pretty much know what's coming next. All I have to do is create something that captures all of that, the entire story. Either through one track or through a whole album. More and more my albums are "thematic“, with a strong sense of narrative. Although I realize it's not visible or clear to everyone, I know the story and I conceive the music as pieces or scenes to that story.

So, if you take the album you're working on right now, which images are in your head at the moment?
An intensely burning black sun that covers the entire field of vision. Radiating pulses of frequencies. The sun is only a metaphor for another story, though, and I can't and won't give that away. But the overall theme is alienation and the feeling of not finding your place anywhere.

So how do you go about setting an image like this to sound?

Well it's almost like scoring a film. Either you emphasise the picture you see in order to make it grander and more obvious or you work with contrasting music to create something that's almost in conflict with the image. It's all about finding sounds that kind of convey that image, that reflect the way you want that image or story to be perceived. It's so hard to achieve but when you finally hit home it's the best feeling ever. And basically it comes down to being creative with the instruments or sound sources you have at your disposal in order to realise what you want.

So, in a way, the sounds you're using will mostly have a kind of emotional or visual connotation to them?
Yes. There's still structure and some melodies but their main purpose of the songs is to carry images and scenes.

What about the voice on "De Förste Ord"?
De Förste Ord is the first track from a collaboration I did with a Danish poet named Bue Nordström. So the words are actually Danish. The whole album is mainly about death and about our inability to communicate. The funny thing about that album is that almost no-one understands the words, but somehow everyone seems to really like it. I guess it's the same thing as when you listen to a Sigur Rós album; you can't really make out the lyrics but the emotions are there anyway. Also it was really cool and challenging to work with material like this. To kind of make a score to a collection of poems.

Are the titles to your albums in any way connected to the story you're trying to convey?
Yeah, the titles are very much connected to the overall story. I would describe them as headings to different chapters in a book. A few words that relate something about the story, but without giving it all away. Hints maybe. Of course, some titles are more random than others. If it's merely one song for a compilation or something like that, I just go with something that kind of captures the mood of the song or what I was thinking about when I wrote or recorded the track. But there's definitely a visual thing there too. Like the snapshots I was telling you about.

So with that in mind, how come quite a few of your releases deal with "ghosts" or "voices from the dead"?

I'm not sure really.The thing is I don't believe in a life after death. I think we're here for a while and then we kind of go to sleep. So probably, to me, the ghost is more a representation of memories, really. Of people who are no longer here or of childhood summers or whatever. I think it's more of a metaphor of things we've lost and can't get back - or back to - again. I mean, you'll never kiss your first girl again, or drink that first beer or hit that first note on a piano.
It's also a reminder that all of this will end some day and you gotta make the best you can of the time you're allotted. And also not to take life, or yourself, too seriously. It's supposed to be fun right?

So would you say you're a nostalgic person?

I wouldn't say I'm a nostalgic person. I rarely look back and regret things or wish I could go back to a certain period of my life. But I sometimes wish for a simpler life. Without all of the thing that you have to deal with from day to day. I love my life as it is now and I think that all the things that I've been forced to go through have made me the person I am today. But there's something bittersweet in the notion that a day passed is a day gone. And you can never get that back. And that's the down side to nostalgia: Everything gets better in nostalgia. Experiences that, when you had them were pretty awful and nasty, become kind of beautiful when you look back at them. I guess that's a good thing in a way, because you can keep your distance to the past. But I think you have to be careful so you don't get lost in these sentiments, because you risk ending up living in a past that never really was.

So when you look back at your own records, does that also leave you with this bittersweet feeling of recognising some distinct period from your life on the one hand and the sensation that, perhaps, you'd do things differently this time around?
Most definitely so. I love all my records but I rarely listen to them because to me, all the flaws are exposed. I know exactly what I would have done differently if I could do it again. But the funny thing is that I wouldn't wanna go back and change a single thing about them either. It's like a scar: It's a reminder of an experience. And that is something valuable. I don't think we should regret things so much, rather just see them as integral parts of the person you are today. But I can still remember loads of details about my records. Where I recorded different parts of tracks and what kind of weather it was that day, for example. When I made my first album („I'll be long gone before my light reaches you“) I was feeling extremely depressed so that's an album I really can't listen to at all. I actually tried a while back but I just couldn't follow through with it. But I'm still very proud of it and it really helped me pull through a rough period in my life.

Sound artist Ian Hawgood, in an interview, told me: "If I listen to an older album again it reminds me of the obsessiveness I put into it and makes me feel sick. I make an album until I hate the music, and once I hate it, I know its complete. I still hate my finished work, so that's a good sign." Is that a feeling you can relate to, then?

No, definitely not. I love my albums very much and I know that if I hadn't been me who composed them, I would have loved to listen to them more often. But the thing is I'm also very meticulous when creating my albums. I spend a lot of time and energy in getting them exactly the way I want them. So by the time they're done or released, I've already moved on to the next thing. And for me the next thing is almost always a counter-reaction to what I've done previously. So I don't really "understand" the previous album anymore. Or, I do understand it, but it's hard to relate to. I can relate to the subjects, to the emotional core it is dealing with. But as far as recording ideas and structures and stuff like that go, it can be hard to feel a connection. It depends, though: I can look back at an album and wonder: How the hell did I create that sound? So, no, I don't hate them at all but it can be hard to listen to the music for a lot of different reasons.

With regards to what you said about always going in the opposite direction from one album to the next: Would the idea of finding a style to settle in sometimes seem appealing or is there a part of you which really wants to constantly progress, develop, evolve and try out new things?
I don't want to settle into one specific sound. That wouldn't be interesting at all to be honest. The reason I make music is because it excites me. And doing the same thing over and over again would not excite me at all. I don't see the point in doing that either. That's just borderline laziness. As a music fan I love it when the artists I listen to evolves, when you're surprised by every new album. It's a good thing and it keeps you on you toes.

By Tobias Fischer

Jasper TX Discography:
I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You (Lampse) 2005
Feberdröm/ w. Rutger Zuydervelt (Self-released) 2006
So Now We’re Ghosts No More (Kning Disk) 2006
Vintermusik/ w. Rutger Zuydervelt (Odradek) 2007
A Darkness (Lidar) 2007
D + A EP (Self-released) 2007
Harrisburg (Self-released) 2007
In A Cool Monsoon (Pumpkin Seeds In The Sand) 2007
Pilgrims (Self-released) 2007
Black Sleep (Miasmah) 2008
Closet Ghosts (Fenêtre Records) 2008
This Quiet Season (Slaapwel Records) 2008
Lungs (Under The Spire) 2009
Singing Stones (Fang Bomb) 2009
The Bending Of Light (SMTG Limited) 2009
Untitled Nr. 7 (Dead Pilot Records) 2009
Waverly Cemetery (Sound & Fury) 2009
Replica Archipelago/ w. Bue Nordström (Bokbandet) 2009
A Voice From Dead Radio (Under The Spire) 2010
Hills/Mountains (Under The Spire) 2010

Jasper TX at MySpace

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