martes, 19 de septiembre de 2017

Jack Rose interview from 2009

Tenía pendiente leer esta larga entrevista a Jack Rose
https://arthurmag.com/2013/12/04/ah-man-a-career-spanning-conversation-with-jack-rose-by-brian-rademaekers-from-arthur-no-33/
Se hizo en 2009, meses antes de que muriese.
En ella cuenta que unos tipos le pidieron permiso para grabarle durante una actuación.
Después decidieron editar esa grabación en una pequeñísima tirada de vinilos de 78 rpm (formato casi abandonado desde los años 50-60).
Se hicieron 6 discos en total. Los grabadores-editores se quedaron 3 y le dieron a Jack Rose otros tres.
¿Bizarro? no se vayan todavía: Jack Rose puso a la venta dos de sus copias; una se vendió por 500 dólares...y la otra "solo" por 200 debido a que la había reproducido "un par de veces"...
Mi comentario: podría estar comentando sobre esta anécdota hasta mañana...

sábado, 9 de septiembre de 2017

Polishing turds


Muchas veces una canción es simplemente un truño.
Su forma básica es tan escasa, tan absurda que
aunque se le añadan arreglos, seguirá
siendo un truño. Como dicen los anglos: "polished
turd".
Esto va por cómo funcionan muchos grupos;
el componsitor lleva una idea más o menos básica.
Y el resto de músicos aportan
"sus partes" de forma inconexa, más pensando
en lo que quieren tocar ellos que en crear un todo
completo.
Son como "sastres" cosiendo telas que no combinan.
También me recuerda a la fabricación en serie.

Canciones-truño que no aportan nada y recuerdan
mal y vagamente a muchas cosas sin definirse bien.
Nacen absurdas y solo ganan en estupidez.

También es cierto que hay verdaderos artesanos de
ese arte de "juntar partes" y hacer que funcionen.
Muchos músicos de los 70 sabían hacerlo. Y muchas
veces se logra que un pequeño truño huela bien.

Pero lo suyo, lo de verdad bueno, es que la canción
en su forma mínima sea por sí sola un todo completo,
redondo en sonido y forma.

martes, 5 de septiembre de 2017

Yes Selma interview


















Today i talk with Chad Beattie, the man behind the band Yes Selma. Some tags and name dropping for you: alternative rock, intimate, some lo-fi for good measure, Sebadoh, Tom Waits, Baltimore.
Listen while you read:
https://chadbeattie.bandcamp.com/album/songs-of-happiness

Yes Selma
Cool i am free now or any time today

GuerrillaRocanrol

Great, we can begin then.Well, i have been gathering some info through your facebook profile
you said you didn't expect to have an album published a year ago
how that came up?
i mean, how the album was done?

YS
Yeah, well i've been making music for a while now but i never thought i would get signed or anything. It was just something i did in my spare time. I used to burn my music on blank cd-r's and hand design the individual covers and give them out to my friends or leave them in weird places for people to find.

GR
What do you do apart from music?

YS
like as a job?

GR
Yea or not, whatever you do

YS
Well i used to work at a record store, but that record store closed down so now i make music full time and it's great.

GR
Do you plan to go on tour as a job?

YS
Oh yeah, i would love to. I'm still in the process of getting over stage fright. Once that settles though, i would love to travel and play cities i've never been to before.
It's kinda hard for solo up and coming artists, especially for me because i'm not really established and don't have too many connections.

GR
I like to give a full idea of the musicians i talk to, so some questions might sound weird, but hey! i'm no journalist and this is the underground hahahahahah. So my next question is, how is it the scene there in Baltimore? what do you do for fun?

YS
Haha i'm glad it's underground and less formal! it takes some of the pressure off...the scene in Baltimore is great. Tons of great artists. There are lots of problems, of course, but i feel really fortunate to live here and experience all the great music i am exposed to. There's a group called high zero that puts together shows of really out-there stuff - lots experimental artists from all different parts of the world. I feel lucky to live here, like i'm part of a secret.
For fun, haha, honestly my life is pretty much just playing music, going to shows, drinking beer, and paying rent.

GR
Odd jobs?

YS
yeah odd jobs and i have a little bit saved.

GR
I'm not very fond of tagging music, but i can found a bit of Tom Waits, Richard Johnston and Cobain in your songs, do you agree?

YS
I'm not very familiar with Richard johnston but i loved Tom Waits in High school. I guess he's somewhat of an influence, maybe subconsciously because i used to listen to Swordfishtrombones all the time so it probably seeped into my brain and lingered there. I get compared to Cobain a lot and i think he's good but i'm not super into him. I think it's just because i'm not a very good singer and neither was he and i write a lot about depression and obviously he did too.
"Something in the way" is a really great song though.

GR
I bet it's more the overall feeling that straight comparison;
i don't think you sound like Nirvana or Cobain straight away
Depression is a bitch...something that can attack anyone.
When did you start to make songs?

YS
I started writing songs when i was around 15 but i stopped for a while then i started back up again when i was 19 as a way to deal with a bad break up. Haha, that's a pretty cliche reason to start writing songs but it's true. When i was younger i knew i wanted to write songs but i didn't have any material or life experience to write about but after that break up i finally found things to say.

GR
Are you a "day by day" person or a "a plan for everything" person?

YS
A little bit of both. I kind of hate making plans but also when i do make plans i make sure to be very prepared to the point where it creates a lot of anxiety. I'm trying to work on that. I'd like to be a day by day person. I feel like those people are a lot more content.

GR
Well, language put us lotta traps, it puts tags and closed definition where there is not...so anytime we talk of scalations, we are losing the essence.

YS
Yea, but we haven't come up with anything better i guess...
Yeah, that's really true. comparing your life to other's lives is really a bad way to live because you're always wanting more instead of being happy with what you have.

GR
Did you play in any band before going solo? how was it?

YS
No - i've tried to play in bands before but mostly it never works out. I'm playing a lot now with two of my friends who are in a band called Rosemary Krust and that's a lot of fun to trade ideas through sound. But otherwise i have never really connected with anyone musically before.
Most people i've played with want to kinda do the same indie rock bullshit - like kinda "chill" reverb music - uninspiring lyrics and boring overall energy.

GR
Yea, that's one of the big issues of playing with others...do you think there are "patterns" of musical styles that musicians repeat without much thinking?

YS
Yeah definitely. Like someone will listen to a band like Vampire Weekend and then think, "i can do that" and normally they do it and that's why it always sucks. Repeating ideas always sucks. We as humans should always aim for something greater than what we have now rather than repeating the past. Maybe not in every scenario, but in general.
Sorry if i'm coming off as angry. There's a lot in the world i am angry about, but for the most part i'm a pretty passive person.

GR
What's Americana music for you?

YS
Like contemporary americana music?
I'm not really sure. i've never really thought about it. There are particular artists that sound very american to me. Like Bill Callahan and Will Oldham and Silver Jews. Like by just reading their lyrics you can tell they're american.

GR
Hahahahaaha, yea i get it...what chords and tunings do you prefer?

YS
Well, my instruments are always tuned a step down. And i use a lot of minor chords. I guess that's kind of my formula for making darker music.

GR
Your hatepets?
(the subjects you love to hate and write about)

YS
Hatepets, haha. i like that...well i think my themes are probably depression, angst, stuff like that. I hate restricting myself to these ideas though because any time i create something it's a new thing. Sometimes i will write a song based on someone that i know and sometimes i will write a song about drowning in the ocean and sometimes i will write a song about nothing at all- i try not to think about it too much. i just start by playing a note and take it from there.

GR
who is your favourite folk player? (folk players like Leadbelly for instance)

YS
That's a hard question. I love Jackson C. Frank. I guess that's folk. John Fahey is good too. Mississippi John Hurt and Vashti Bunyan as well. There's a musician called Frank Hurricaine who plays folk style guitar and he's one of the best players and people that exist.

GR
Have you got any political beliefs?

YS
I think it's more of a disbelief right now. With all that's happening in Charlottesvilleand the threat of nuclear war and that idiot they put in charge. These are pretty depressing times. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. I really don't know.

GR
Gimme some wisdom about the Millenials if you like, i know i said no to tags, but they make great headlines...i'm weak...ok, do you feel represented by the Millenial tag? Do you feel the social and economic environment now makes it pretty hard for youngsters? (i'm a middle aged dinosaur)

YS
Haha...yeah i'm not sure. i think a lot of people my age are pretty scared and depressed and angry. i think for the most part, we want the world to be a better place and we're aware of the idea that we don't want to work a full time job only to make someone richer.
We want to live healthy, comfortable lives and we want everybody else to be able to live healthy comfortable lives.
We're afraid to face reality so we believe that we can change the system. Can we actually change it? who knows. I'm not sure if it's socially or economically harder to be a millenial than it was for people born earlier. I think everyone has troubles in some way.

GR
Talking of jobs around my area: it's waaaaayyy harder now than 10 and 20 years ago...yea, it was shitty back then, but now the employer piss on your face without even pretending other thing.

YS
Wow where do you live?

GR
southern Spain

YS
oh cool.

GR
Yeah that's the unfortunate result of capitalism.
Mine is a land of low cost tourism, we profit from mass tourism from northern Europe since they are too scared of going to countries where terrorism is active. (This interview was done before the Barcelona attack).

YS
So tourism is on the steady rise in Spain?
does that boost the economy or is it kind of a bummer?

GR
This year it's been a nightmare, there are even protests and demonstrations agaist it going on

YS
Wow i didn't know that. That's rough. Gentrification, i imagine.

GR
Well, it feeds the economy for sure. The problem is like always the bad distribution of those profits. And gentrification yea, of course, very shabby one...even surreal...i better don't begin with it...
What are you doing tomorrow? are you writing a new song, doing a new recording?

YS
Actually i just finished recording a new album so i'm kinda taking it easy for a little with the recording. I've been painting a lot so i might do that for a little. Or visit friends. Or take a walk or something. I'm not sure what i'll do.

GR
Yea, painting! i saw your paintings too...i'm not an expert, but i studied some art at college...i could say you're a Pollock fan, is it accurate?

YS
I do like Pollock. Basquiat might be my favorite. I like to paint because i know i'm not good so it's kinda nice to do something where you don't have to try to make something that's gonna sit in galleries or something. You can just paint anything you want and even if it sucks it doesn't matter because it's just about the creation process.

GR
Yea, i can back that.




















YS
Yeah, i hate art elitism. I think if you make something with feeling and you're happy with the outcome, then it's good art - even if nobody else in the world likes it.

GR
Hahhahaha...yea, markets pervert it all...Mate, it's almost 1:30 a.m. here and i've had a long day...do you think we can finish the chat tomorrow?

YS
Oh yeah absolutely. Haha it's 7:25 pm here.

GR
I'll come back, great talking!

YS
That's very true...and cool, i appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. It's a lot of fun. great talking.

(other day):

GR
-How's your guitar, is it special or custom in anyway? how did you learn to play?

YS
- I play a Fender Telecaster. It's probably the most expensive thing i own. It's not distinct in any way but i love the tone of fenders.
I use a variety of pedals too. My three go-to pedals that i use on almost all my keyboard or electric guitar sounds is the Digitech Whammy octave pedal, a Fuzz face, and the Boss dd7 delay pedal.
Though the dd7 is busted and makes all these crazy feedback high pitch screeching noises that i love. A lot of times in my songs, like in the song "Empty" off of Songs of Happiness, you can hear the dd7 fucking up and making these really crazy tonal belches.
That wasn't intentional.
I really love the process of recording because of all the mistakes that can happen. Like sometimes i have an idea of how i want a song to sound, then it'll turn out totally different from what i expected.
I used to get upset when something didn't turn out exactly how i wanted, but now i prefer it. Once you learn how to accept your mistakes and not get hung up about them, life becomes a lot easier to live. And more interesting.
- When i was probably 12 or 13 i took lessons for a couple of months. My teacher was a folk musician and he taught me the basic chords and how to finger pick. I can't read music or anything and i'm really not that great of a player but i can move the fingers of my right hand really fast. I'm more interested in style anyway.

GR
-How do you record your songs, what gear do you use?

YS
- I record my songs in my bedroom. I used to record on an eight track but i found Garageband to be much simpler and it gave me a lot more room to experiment by cutting up certain parts and pasting them in different areas and stuff like that.
So editing-wise, Garageband is a lot more beneficial to me but i still love the romance of recording on an eight track. There's something really powerful in the sound. Also i never record with direct inputs. Only microphones. I think the static and silence of the room that you record in is an instrument in itself.

GR
-Which ones are the current subjects you're writing about?

YS
- Right now i'm writing and recording a lot about death. I was getting kind of bored writing tragic love songs and also i've changed quite a bit since i put out Roadkill - my first album.

So in my next album that will probably come out in 2018, i tried to get really deep inside my psyche and understand the roots of my anxieties. A book called "Denial of death" by Ernest Becker helped me understand that all anxieties stem from this overwhelming fear of death. Like anxiety is the awareness of death. So i'm just trying to understand that concept more and build off it. There's a John Cale song. "Fear is a man's best friend." haha.
That's a pretty accurate statement.

GR
-Become a fortune teller for two minutes, tell us what are you doing in the next years.

YS
- I have no idea what i'll be doing in the years to come. I have really been more interested in expressing ideas visually. Or trying to visualize sound. I want to play more shows and maybe go on a small east coast tour. Brooklyn, Philly, Cleveland, Asheville, Atlanta. visit Some of those cities. Meet new people.
Baltimore is a lovely city, but it can wear you down. Same bars, same faces. A change of pace would be nice. We'll see. I try not to focus on the future too much. It seems once i envision something, then the idea of it becomes less exciting. I'm more fascinated by the unknown.


Hey, thanks for taking the time to talk. I really enjoyed and appreciate it. Cheers!