Interviewed by MJB
October 2003

MJB: Is there anything you're feeling particularly Mouthy about?

MS: Ya, believe it or not, boomboxes!!!!! Being a hometaper and being broke I go to stores looking for boomboxes to mix on. Well, I've found that it's getting harder and harder to find boomboxes with "Aux In" imputs in them and counters on them! You just can't mix on a boombox with no Aux In! I have to find the ones that have no CD (just cassettes) and they usually have the Aux In, but they still don't have the counter!

MJB: Who or what are your musical influences?

MS: Let's see....... The Beatles are my main influence (everyone who knows me knows that). I also like The Who, Oasis, PFR, U2, The Monkees, Ramones, and many of those grunge bands from the early 90's (too many to list).

MJB: Who or what made you start recording your own songs at home?

MS: I was a teenager who wanted to have a band. I didn't have a band at the time, so I just started jamming with myself on tape. I started by recording a guitar track on a small tape player (yes, it was bad quality) and then I would play it back on a big stereo and play drums along with it. Then I recorded that. The quality sucked, but at least I was recording. I learned that you get some MEGA tape hiss from doing this!

MJB: Are still recording this way?!

MS: No, I got a 4-track 11 years ago and have since then moved up to 8-track. That hiss was driving me crazy after recording with a 2-track for two years!

MS: My stuff is actually set up in a recording/bedroom. I managed to squeeze two drums sets, guitars and everything else in there (a tight squeeze). I have a Tascam 38 8-track analog reel-to-reel. Yes, it's hooked up to a boombox! ha! I mic the drums with one mic (to save tracks) and then go from there. The challenge usually isn't getting all the instruments on 8-tracks, it's getting from the drums to the guitars without tripping over chords or knocking over keyboards or drums. ha ha.


MJB: Wow, a Tascam 38, is that with 1/2" tape?

MS: Ya, it's 1/2" tape. The tapes are hard to find now. I have to do some hard searching. Guitar Centers out here don't carry them anymore. Luckily, Sam Ash still does.

MJB: Why do you mix from such a hi-quality multi-tracker like the Tascam 38 to such a lofi device like a boom box?

MS: Well, I wished I had a good unit to mix on. I will someday, but for now I can't afford to buy one, so I get boomboxes. At least I have moved up to 8-track now and got a decent mixing board. Next I'll work on getting something of better quality to mix on. The boomboxes are temporary.

MJB: What's it like being one of the few females in the hometaping scene?

MS: I've never really thought about that much, but I do wish that more females would get into hometaping. The only female hometaper (besides myself) I know of is Robin (Don Campau's wife). If there's more out there, contact me!!!!!

MJB: You're also one of the few hometapers who does drum-based rock tunes using a real drumset. Tell me about that-- how you learned to play, how hard is it to record them, do neighbors complain about the noise?

MS: I started playing drums in 1986. I didn't have a drumset then. I contructed one using bongos, tabourines and chopsticks. I finally got a real drumset in 1988 and started taking lessons. When I record drums, I always use one mic (near the bass drum). It saves tracks when you only have one track for drums. It sounds cool too. If my toms or snare don't sound clear enough, I just EQ the whole track until I like it. No, I've actually never had neighbors complain about the noise. They usually clap and cheer when they hear me play. Their really cool neighbors.


MJB: How do you write and record your songs? Is there a process? Do you record drums first?

MS: With song writing, I usually write music about how I'm feeling or mood. I'll write music first and then lyrics will flow from that. When I record a song by myself, I record a guitar or keyboard track first while playing along to a click track (to keep the timing). Then I
add drums, bass, etc and go from there. I usually play the drum track second.

MJB: You are also one of those rare individuals who can write the song, and record it yourself playing all the instruments. Did you learn bass, guitar and keyboards at some point? What was your first or primary instrument?

MS: I started with the drums in 1986. Then I learned guitar in 1989, piano in 1990, bass in 1993 and had vocal lessons in 1998. Drums are still my favourite instrument. I enjoy singing as much as drumming, though. However, when bands hire me, they hire me as the keyboard player since that's what people say I'm best at.....I still love playing the drums the most!!!!

MJB: Has the computer and the Internet changed the way you make or distribute your music?

MS: No, not really. I still send all my stuff through the mail like I always did. The only thing that's different is, I have to read the reviews on-line. They don't send them through the mail anymore.

MJB: Are you involved in your local music scene?

MS: I used to be totally involved about ten years ago. Over the years, I was in the music scene off and on depending on which band I was in at the time. These days my band and I have decided to go back to gigging in coffee houses and bookstores instead of clubs. The club scene is cool. We just want to do something different. Variety is always cool. Plus, we want to spend more time writing songs and recording too.


MJB: What is the name of the band? What kind of music do they play? Are you the drummer or what instrument do you play live?

MS: I'm in two bands as of now. My original band is called "Aahs." I'm the drummer, rhythm guitar, keyboard player and lead singer in that band. We all switch instruments, so I get to play different instruments at our live shows. My other band is called the British Invasion Band. We're a cover band. We play tunes
from mostly the 60's, 70's and some 80's and 90's. I'm the drummer in that band and I do back-up and some lead singing as well.

MJB: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

MS: I would like to work with Darian Sahanaja. He is the keyboard player and one of the main song writers for the Wondermints (Brian Wilson's back-up band) This guy is a musical genius!!!!! I would not only like to collaborate with him, I would like to learn his recording techniques and musical skills. Darian is not only a musical genius, he is a really great friend. Nick and Mike (his guitar player and drummer are AWESOME too).

And now (drum roll please) the MICKY SAUNDERS Tapeography/Discogragphy:

1. Hard Night's Day - 1993 (Beatles cover tunes)
2. The Black Album- 1993 (More Beatles cover tunes)
3. Rockadelic- 1993 (original tunes)
4. Shabby Yard- 1994 (Beatles and other cover tunes)
5. Big Dreams- 1994 (original tunes)
6. Agical Blistery Cure- 1995 (spin-offs of Beatle X-mas albums/cover tunes)
7. Love Shine- 1996 (original tunes)
8. Mello Club Machine-1996 (more Beatles cover tunes)
9. Yesterday and Beyond- 1997 ( parodies and cover tunes)
10. Time- 1998 (original tunes)
11. Sandy Road-1998 (Beatles cover tunes.......I covered so many)
12. Cover Songs-1998 (more cover tunes)
13. Glory -1998 (original Christian tunes)
14. Kyleacopter/ We all Agree- 1998 (Dan and Micky EP)
15. Brooke and Midnight Blue-1998 (Paul and Micky EP)
16. Nowhere Groove- 1999 (original tunes)
17. Pat Feriod/ Pretending to Be Fast- 1999 (Dan and Micky EP)
18. HBAK-2000 (original tunes)
19. Ontario Hues and Back/ Somersaulting thru the New Age/ Star-2000 (Dan and Micky EP)
20. Aahs-2000 (my band's CD of originals)
21. Individualime- 2001 (original tunes)
22. Photographs in Tune/ Unexpecting-2001 (Dan and Micky EP)
23. Turn Around- 2002 (original tunes CD)
24. Dan and Micky CD-2002(collections of Dan and Micky EPs)
25. Rotation/ Going Tonite-2002 (Dan and Micky EP)
Coming out this year (still in the works as of now)
26. Retrograde- 2003 (Paul and Micky CD of original tunes)
27. Turn Into Life/ In the Blink of an Ear-2003 (Dan and Micky EP)
I only sell the albums that are original tunes........ the cover tunes albums are just for trading.

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
September 9, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
Carly Simon. Have you ever seen a mouth that big??? (Sorry Carly). I've heard that she's actually a Troll For Trout fan. Could it be???

Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
At this particular moment, Beck, Thomas Dolby, Radiohead, and Kraftwerk. Simplistic synthesis, like the kind I used to make with a Commodore 64 or some Radio Shack computer that had only those sounds. Of course Thomas Dolby took that about 300 steps ahead.

I like Beck because he seems to create music like building with Legos. The basis is usually built with loops ... the longer ones being the bigger Lego pieces. He then adds samples etc... the roof and the windows. He then spray paints the entire Lego house with the song. That's my theory anyway :). I'd like to use that approach at any rate.

Radiohead is currently my virtual walkman. It's very cryptic lyrics, but often times it does relate to what I'm confronted with during the day. And once in a while I hear the lyrics wrong and it's my favorite song. I like the fact that they're doing whatever the f$#k they want, especially now since I hear they're soon starting anew on their own label. That's what I heard anyway.

Can't forget XTC. Andy's songwriting still amazes me ... as these new CDs and box sets are coming out. There's always more. I love Colin's stuff too.

Also as far as songwriting goes, Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan play a big role. They both educated me highly with their own unique styles. There are chords that we refer to as "Todd" chords or "Steely Dan" chords. Todd with more the 'petal point' lydian things ... playing simple triads above a bass note. Try playing a D triad with C in the bass, resolving to a C, then play a C triad with Bb in the bass resolving to a Bb. That's a simple example.

There's lots of Steely Dan chords, my favorite is the D triad (3rd inversion I believe - with A as the bottom note - A-D-F#), and E in the bass. I believe that's the first chord of "Doctor Wu" (It's all over "Aja" too). Then there's the ever popular "Mu" chord ... where they accidentally hit a chord wrong and decided to dub it the "Mu". The C chord would be the triad (C-E-G), but with the thumb accidentally hitting a D instead of the C (D-E-G). Played with a solid C in the bass, it turns out to be a 9 chord. Very simplistic Steely Dan.

That kind of stuff. I wanna steal and use!!

Who were your early musical influences?
I went through lots of different periods of stuff ... probably beginning with the Beatles in like 1968 (the first music I was really exposed to as a child ... other than the Monkees, Sesame Street, and the Partridge Family). I really believe that influenced me greatly, though I remember putting my Dad's Psi U glee club album (78 record) on at 33-1/3 speed and thinking it was the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. That probably influenced me more.

At about 3rd grade (circa 1972-3), I became obsessed with Elton John/Bernie Taupin. I still have all the old vinyl. That pretty much prompted me to learn to play the piano. His early stuff remains to be a big influence to this day. Not much songwriting gets better than that.

Then in high school I was pretty much everywhere. AC/DC, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin (I got the complete CD box set about 2 years ago!). That's also when I discovered Thomas Dolby and Gary Numan. They are the ones who got me to buy a synth.

College days - first year of college (in Valparaiso, IN), I listened to a LOT of the Cure because I was depressed. I pretty much spent my time skipping classes and learning keyboard parts from Tony Banks and Rick Wakeman, and got an ELP book (Kieth Emerson) and was ALL into that. At one point I could play "Take A Pebble" I think it's called - all the way through.

Then I hit Berklee, and Jazz was all around. Coletrane hit me big time. Listened to people like Allan Holdsworth (guitar player/brewer ... played amazing solos that sound like you're drunk), Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson/etc drummer) who did a couple of jazz/rock albums (and more later), and of course Chick Corea and "Return To Forever" (some albums I swore to God he slowed the track down to play the synth/distorted Rhodes solos in ... until I saw him live at a clinic at Berklee).

Then of course there is the other side. I also listened to a lot of Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Bowie, Todd, XTC, Ministry, and Skinny Puppy, and a local Boston band called "Think Tree" (now reformed into a band called Count Zero - ).

Those in the last paragraph basically influenced me from then on. There's probably more I didn't think of right now.

Oh yeah, Devo, Oingo Boingo, Peter Gabriel, and Zappa.

Where do you see your music heading?
It's hard to say. I guess I'll find out when I make it. That's the easy answer. I just bought myself a new Ovation acoustic/electric, and an Epiphone. I haven't had a guitar (much less 2) since like 1981. I've borrowed a few here and there, but have not owned one. That right there is definitely going to head my music down a different path I would gather.

What music software do you use?
I'm now flying between Cubase VST 24 and Magix MIDI Studio 7 Deluxe for sequencing. One's a better MIDI editor, and the other can actually support the sounds I use. For tracking and mixdown, I use Magix Audio Studio 7 Deluxe. That's a pretty bitchin' studio, actually. Between the 2, I use Cool Edit 2000 for priming tracks and editing stuff.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Pro Tools!! But that would either take a big upgrade in my PC, or a new computer. Actually, if I were to go that way, I'd buy a new Apple and all the fixins. I know that can get pretty pricey (like a new house or something), but there are systems more close to a new car or something. Actually, there are ones more like a good used car, I believe.

Other than that, I think my next purchase is an "E-bow" for the guit. Awwww!

What's your home PC setup?
533 MHz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB RAM (currently), SoundBlaster Live! sound card, Windows XP Pro, Some graphics card I wanna replace even though it's kinda cool, CD, CDR, and a floppy drive.

What kind of speakers do you use - do you monitor at high volumes?
Tannoy PBM 6.5s. I've had these since about 1989 or so. I only blew out a speaker once ... playing The Wall. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention Pink Floyd in my influences). I mix at normal listening levels ... not really blasting out. I also do lots of mixing in my headphones (Denon AH-D950s). Those I turn up quite loud sometimes. Headphones are much better for hearing the effects and stereo stuff. As far as monitoring, instrument wise I've only really put direct keyboards & samples in ... or through my Boss SE-50 effects box. In the few time's I've recorded guitar, they were also through the Boss. Any acoustic guitar I've done, I've used headphones. Vocal-wise, I do it 2 ways. One way is to pump it into the headphones, and take one ear off so I can hear myself. The other way is to pump it very low through the Tannoys and go. I use the first method mostly.

Nowadays ... at this point anyway, most of my instruments come from within the computer. It certainly puts the Mirage to shame :).

And as far as loud, I do intend to get some large speakers and mix LOUDLY. If I did that with the Tannoys, we'd have another Pink Floyd happening.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
For the past decade, neither. I usually concoct stuff in my head. It's the lingering bits that get recorded :). It was best when I was in Boston and was a bicycle messenger. My brain would be bombarded with so much input over and over, it would start things going big time. It was also so great because each time I'd go to a certain section of Boston/Cambridge/Charlestown etc, the same loops and songs would come back. I have a few albums still lingering over there.

When I first started recording, I wrote entirely on guitar. Now that I have guitars, that certainly could be the case now. It's kinda funny ... being a keyboardist and all, I never really sat down at a piano and wrote a song (other than piano pieces, of course).

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Some songs start with a phrase. Sometimes the phrase is a hook such as "Nothing's going to get you nowhere" or something. Sometimes the phrase is meant to be an off-the-cuff thing. Sometimes it's an idea. What if human minds had a delete key? What if death was merely waking up from a very long dream? What if I were to call roll call to a room of John Neils? ... or something like that. Some songs start with a sample. In the case of Bacchus Jihad's "Cranial Bedfellows", I saw the movie Harold & Maude, and in the scene where he fakes hara-kiri, the beat immediately came to me when he screamed and grunted in rhythm. "Mother" was the same way - with a door tumbling over in Aliens. That basically set up the back-beat.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
A friend of mine brought over Peter Gabriel's 3rd album, and turned on "Intruder" sometime in 1981. I thought ... my god ... there's the possibility of all these sounds out there???

I immediately devised a way of using 2 tape recorders to record stuff. My "jambox" had a 1/8" input that would play over what was on the tape (a sort of karaoke feature). So I'd do a track on my tapedeck, put the tape into the jambox, and plug a microphone (or guitar or whatever) in the jack, turn the tape on, and play along with it into my tapedeck. And then I'd do this over and over until I've laid enough "tracks". The only problem was the jambox had no Dolby, and the tape speed was a bit faster than the tapedeck. So with each "track", it would get more hissy and sped up. Lots of fun. I still have all the recordings.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Not very much so now. I should get out more I guess.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
Um, Andy Partridge, Danny Elfman, Mark Mothersbaugh, & Thomas Dolby to name a few ...

What's the status of Bacchus Jihad? Is that CD still available? I love that thing.
Liam's living happily ever after on Beaver Island with his wife Marilyn ... up north on Lake Michigan. We communicate once in a while. There's been talk of writing. I guess you could say we're amidst an extended hiatus. The CD - Bacchus Jihad (1995) is still available!! Anybody out there, contact me - for information on getting a copy. There's no distribution at this point.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
It has certainly opened up the gates of exposure. Everyone and anyone can get their craft out there. It's given me the chance to find and meet others out there who are doing the same thing as me. Then we build different "communities" and such. It's definitely made the world a lot smaller.

What do you think about the current state of music - is it better or worse now (or the same)?
It's about the same. Well, that actually depends on what you mean by "the same". It's the same as it's been for about 10 years I think. The only change I see is record companies are being more loyal to dingbat bands. But I think it's the same where the powers that be are pretty much dictating what the audience likes ... rather than the other way around. If more good bands had the chance to be exposed, it would be entirely a different story. And I'm thinking the Internet may even swing that all around someday.

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
Kevin Gilbert's "The Kaviar Sessions"!! Although that's more an artist and album, than a band.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
Continue writing and recording, and hopefully come out with a CD by the end of the year (2004).

What's the URL for your website?

The Maniacs - First Album (1981) (currently lost)
The Maniacs - Limpid Fools (1981)
The Maniacs - Only 3 (1982)
The Maniacs - All Of Your Days (1983)
The Maniacs - Fluids In Motion (1983)
Rick & John - ? (1983)
The Maniacs - In Between Songs (1984)
The Maniacs - Dark Ages (1984)
The Maniacs - Completeness In The Night (soundtrack for no movie) (1984)
The Maniacs - Picture This/Live This (1984)
The Maniacs - Reach The Sky (1984)
The Maniacs - Protest Of The Mind (1984)
The Maniacs - Chances, Trances & Dream Dances (1985)
The Maniacs - Genesis (1985)
The Maniacs - Concert For Nobody (1985)
The Maniacs - I Know It's Something I Know, But I Just Don't Know It (1986)
The Maniacs - Last Album (1986)
The Maniacs - Happy Pop (1986)
The Maniacs - White Lies (1987)
The Maniacs - Life In Hell (1987)
John Neil - Conceptual Butterflies (live) (1987)
The Maniacs - Seductive Abstract Radiance Above Hatred (1988)
The Maniacs - Hissing Donut! (1989)
Love Job Incorporated - Love Songs For You (1991) (Keyboards, drums, b-vox, co-writer, producer)
Bacchus Jihad - Music from "Lost On The Bohemian Road" (1994) (a film I think went out somewhere)
Troll For Trout - Perfect Existence (1995) (Keyboards)
Bacchus Jihad - Bacchus Jihad (1995)
WGRD - Radioactiv Volume I (1995) (includes "Jupiter Days" by Bacchus Jihad and "Thirst" by Troll For Trout)
Troll For Trout - International Harvester (1996) (Keyboards)
WKLQ - Aris' Big Disc II (1996) (includes live tracks of "Thirst" and "Wishuwell" by Troll For Trout)
WGRD - Radioactiv Volume II (1996) (includes "Wristrazor" by Bacchus Jihad and "Balance" by Troll For Trout)
WGRD - Radioactiv Volume III (1997) (includes "Cupid Hates Me" by Bacchus Jihad and "27 Hour Date" by Troll For Trout)
Aware Records - Aware Michigan #1 (includes "Wishuwell" by Troll For Trout)
Troll For Trout - Rancho Relaxo (1998) (Keyboards, b-vox)
WGRD - Radioactiv Volume IV (1998) (includes "Icicle" by Troll For Trout)
WGRD - Radioactiv Volume V (2000) (includes "Earring" by Troll For Trout)
Reincheque Recordings - Reciprocal (includes "Factory of Smiles" by John Neil)
Troll For Trout - Lesgo, Lesgo, Lesgo!!! (2002) (Keyboards, b-vox)
John Neil - John Neil (compilation of songs from 1986-1993)

There's also of course Martin Fuchs' tape - Commerciality (Signal Ad) & Factory of Smiles. I can't remember the name of the tape or the date.
There's also:
Beasts I've Seen - Snowman & Life Is Good In The Greenhouse. 1995
Skylacking - Summer's Cauldron & John Neil's Burning Futon - Big Day. 1996
I think I remember I wanted a different 'band' name for "Big Day". ??? Huh? What? Whatever :).

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
August 17, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
Options. Saturation. Simplicity. I first hooked up with other kooks who record music at home on budget equipment in the mid to late '90s. At the beginning things were pretty simple: trade a few tapes through the mail, exchange a few e-mails or letters. Simple. As the millenium turned things seemed to pick up speed at an awful rate. Suddenly I was being bombarded with as many as 10 requests a day to check out various websites and pages and being a generlly earnest guy I tried to keep up for awhile. Eventually there was just so much saturation that I couldn't really begin to follow it all. I took to weird imprompteau forms of divination in order to choose what to listen to and / or download on a given day. It just became too much. Too many expectations. And I hate to say NO. But I'm learning to deal with this paradox of supply and demand - ugly concepts when applied to art, but in my experience necessary. Give me a song to listen to. Or a video. Don't inundate me with a whole lot of crap or I'll just ignore you. Keep it stupid, simple. And as a corollary I promise to try and do the same if I can help myself. Most importantly, stay enthusiastic in spite of it all.

What are the names of all of your music projects again? I know there's a bunch.
Hebephrenic is my main project. I started recording this stuff at 17 in 1986. I didn't give it a name until 1991 when I released the first Hebephrenic cassette "The Double Secret." Basically it's just me with electronics, guitars, and other various noise makers + instruments. I tend to stray between genres quite a bit. If I had to give it a name maybe it would be psychedellic ambient pop or simply ecclectronica (though I believe someone else lays claim to the latter designation).

The Hot Buttered Elves are a novelty Christmas band / project. Stylistically it's really varied + we have had at least 20 different people involved in the mix over the past 10 years. This project may be reaching the end of its lifespan after the next two or three releases. How much can you say about the HOLIDAZE?

Let's let me ask the questions, okay, Scott?
Johnny Sunshine and the Happy Ones is of a similar ilk as the Hot Buttered Elves (many of the same contributers) but without the holiday schtick. Not sure where this project is heading if anywhere at all.

Tapegerm is a group of 40 musicians / sound artists. We share loops and samples with each other to remix, rework, and / or mangle. It's been a sometimes rough, but almost always enlightening experience for me personally. I've learned to have a great deal of tolerance + patience over the years especially in band circumstances, but Tapegerm has broadened this past anything I ever imagined. It is probably best to think of it as a META-band. The term "collective" has always bothered me a bit because of its Cold War disparagement - you know, like "Hey, wow. We can't grow wheat, but we're smelting down all of our jewelry to buy
more seeds." Great Leap Forward, etc. But if you can get past the ideological paper tigers then you can really grow in a collective environment like Tapegerm.

I was born in 1969, but didn't get much of a taste for popular music until the late 70's - my early musical experiences were really naive and varied. Like many other hometapers The Beatles figure as #1 for a first influence. I was exposed to them through an old LP of "Yesterday and Today" that was a part of my mom's record collection. After this I got a copy of Sgt. Peppers for my 12th birthday (it was a happy mistake as what I had asked for was the awful Bee Gee's movie soundtrack of the same name.) I was hooked instantly with the album and the idea of a "studio band." I suppose the syndicated Monkees TV show also had an early impact.

When I hit the terrible teenage years New Wave was king + I thought that synthesizers were probably the coolest musical instruments ever created by human beings. I started out with crap like Duran Duran and other big early 80's synthy bands + ended up with Depeche Mode, The Cure, Tones on Tail, early Bowie and many others.

By the late 80's I started getting back to my musical roots + discovered Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, Let's Active, and Syd Barrett.

Through the 90's I just went all over the place. Jazz, early electronic pioneers, garage rock, Englands Hidden Reverse, you name it. Most
importantly I started to release my own music + the music of my friends. It all becomes relevant when you start doing that.

As of today I'd consider this (very imcomplete) list to be my greatest influences:
The Beatles, The Chipmunks + Grasshoppers, John Denver, Mozart, The Beach Boys, Blondie, The Talking Heads, U2, The Police, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Bauhaus, Tones on Tails, Love and Rockets, David Bowie, Can, T. Rex, Tom Waits, Cabaret Voltaire, Coil, Nurse With Wound, The Legendary Pink Dots, Robyn Hitchcock, Pink Floyd, Devo, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Julian Cope, The Modern English, Nick Drake, Kate Bush, The Ramones, The Dead Kennedys, My Bloody Valentine, Pere Ubu, Hüsker Dü, Big Audio Dynamite, Moby, Orb, Boards of Canada, Autechre, <your name here> if you sent me something......

Enough of the name dropping - over the past 5 years I've been influenced as much by those who are likely reading this interview as any of the above before that. Rock on.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
Naivete, intuition, foolishness, felicity, greed, hubris, shame, fear, hate, revolution, defeat, submission.... (rinse + repeat)

How do your songs come to be?
Lame attempts at the muscial equivalent of Cold Fusion. Retarded socially misfit alchemy. Oblique Strategies.

I press buttons and or strings and shit happens. I mix a bunch of it together and it either works or ends up in the dustbin.

What about your other activities, like the Micromuse list - what else is there?
MicroMuse was actually created as a backup list in case AutoReverse died. I didn't want the fragilly assembled group of hometapers here to lose contact completely so I just made up a list + invited folks to migrate. Thankfully the reports of the death of AutoReverse were greatly exagerated as I'm not a really attentive moderator. The list is low volume + will hopefully grow over time, but I don't think it has the "cool factor" that AutoReverse achieves.

If you're interested in joining despite my boredom warnings click here:

Are you active in your local music scene?
Not presently. Last show was in December 1999 with The Hot Buttered Elves. Perhaps again soon in some form.
Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?

Todd Rundgren. Andy Partridge. Robyn Hitchcock. Edward KaSpel.

Probably most of all my mother. She's an excellent soprano + sings in her church choir. Needless to say, she claims "not to understand my music." I'd like for that to change. We'll see how that works out. I think every hometaper should make an album for their mother (and or father). I'm working on a mom-friendly mix.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
Wonderfully. Terribly. (see above)

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
Sigur Ros, The Flaming Lips, & whatever is in my mailbox the next time I check it.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
I'm starting to try to figure out what to do with all of the old tapes. I started this recording obsession in 1986 and didn't bother releasing anything until 1991 so that's a big chunk to figure out. Plus there's the new stuff that's trickling out slowly. I'm never sure what's just a sketch and what's a finished piece. I'm tackling this from both ends by starting a new feature on my website where I have a few new MP3s each month and then offer them as purchashable CDs. We'll see how this works out.

What's the URL for your website?


This is kind of in flux right now but I'll give the shortlist of CDs currently available as they will stay "in print."

Hebeprenica 1.0 (2000)

The Hot Buttered Elves:
Unwrapped (2000)
A Very Lofi Christmas (2000)
Dark Jollies (2001)

Interviewed by hometaping legend MJB
August 14, 2003

MJB: Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?

RS: I would like to ask George Bush 2 questions. 1) Where are the weapons of mass destruction? 2) Why is my gas still $1.50/gallon ? What else ? Oh...Tool is a very boring band. Drugs are dumb. It is the springtime of my loving, the second season I am to know.

MJB: Word. Musical influences?

RS: Kiss, Devo, Frank Zappa, Guided By Voices, The Beatles, Pink Floyd (Roger Waters albums only), Led Zeppelin, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Husker Du, The Didjits, David Bowie, Butthole Surfers, Buzzcocks, Grandaddy, The Knack, Lee Harvey Oswald Band, Supersuckers, Lou Reed, Prince, The Residents, Vibrators, Ween, ZZ Top, Weird Al Yankovic.

MJB: Wow, Kiss! Ian's gonna love this interview. What's your home recording setup?

RS: I have currently given up home recording, or any recording for that matter, so I don't really have one at the moment.

MJB: OK, so what was the classic Russ Stedman rig when you were making what I consider to be some of the better homemade rock music out there?

RS: I started with two tape recorders. After that it was a Tascam 4-Track followed by an 8-Track. Then I got a digital 8-track. After that I also did some stuff in Cakewalk Home Studio 2002. Didn't like that much. My favorite was the digital 8-Track I had, a Boss BR-8, which has sadly been discontinued. It was a great little machine.

MJB: How do you write songs?

RS: Many different ways. A lot of times I just sit down and make them up out of thin air with no pre-planning.

MJB: Like while the tape is rolling? Do you do drums first? Just lay down riffs and see what develops? Lay it on me.

RS: Not with the tape rolling...but I don't do a lot of demoing and refining...I just sit down and make up a song and record it. Usually I would do the drum machine first, just depends I guess.

MJB: Why do you write songs?

RS: Probably because I got tired of jumping around my room playing a cardboard guitar and miming to 'Kiss Alive!'. It also had something to do with the Beatles, I'm pretty sure.

MJB: Oh shit, Ian is going to LOVE this interview! You either work or have worked in record stores, right? I mean, the record store and everything in it has to be some kinda motivator, it was for me. I was like "Hey, I wanna make records and CDs too." Although I never worked in a record shop.

RS: I have worked in a record store for the past few years and plan on staying as long as I can. I'm not sure if it motivated me to write songs. I think a lot of my motivation was taken away by having a job I like so much. The best of songs come from the worst of times.

MJB: Are you active in your local music scene?

RS: Not anymore. I was quite active in the mid-90's. Since then, our best live music club has closed and it's just not the same any more.

MJB: Were you in a performing band, or did you only ever make recordings?

RS: I had a band in 95-96 called Ten Center that did my songs and covers. Nobody really cared for us, of course. After that I played guitar in a couple of Pop/Punk bands called The Sneakies & Stickler. It was fun, but then the live music scene died and there was no reason to be in a band anymore. Since then, it's come back, but not in any form I can relate to.

MJB: What music are you excited about right now?

RS: The new Grandaddy album (Sumday) totally kicks my ass. I love those guys.

MJB: They had the only good cover on that stupid movie soundtrack that was all Beatles covers. It was "Revolution". My sister said, "oh I love the Beatles covers, but why did that one band have to ruin Revolution?" I told her "Duh, it's a fucking musical Revolution, get it?" I guess she didn't.

RS: I haven't heard that, but Grandaddy's 1st album "Under The Western Freeway" is one of my all-time favs. Check it out !

MJB: Do you like being associated with the 'hometaping' movement, whatever that is?

RS: I like being associated with it. I feel very disconnected from it these days, however. Back in 1997 when I bought my first computer, I had this idea that the Internet would bring home-tapers together into a huge family. That never really happened. All the Internet did for me was make me lazierabout sending things in the mail, so in effect, it kind of ruined the home-taper excitement for me.

MJB: Well, it musta happened to everybody, because the amount of mail action totally died down.

RS: Exactly...everybody went into e-mail mode around '97 or so. Too bad you can't teleport a cassette. Downloading MP3's and sending e-mails just isn't the same.

MJB: Everybody got an mp3 page or something. I also thought burning CDs was gonna set the world on fire like. Get it, burning, fire? Uh, yeah. Whatever. I like having a computer to do stuff like slicing and dicing tracks, stuff I woulda had to do with physical tape edits or lame pause and play bounce techniques in the past. Did you get into using the computer as
part of your recording rig?

RS: I mostly got into the computer because of the internet in general. I also did Tech Support for Gateway for about 3 years, which taught me enough about computers to be able to pretty much build and fix them, and also earned me a nervous breakdown before I was done. The 90's were so great for the technology sector...and then it all came crashing down.

MJB: Yeah, computers suck. Hey, what would you say someone who is just buying their first multitracker, dreaming of the hundreds of homemade albums they are going to crank out?

RS: Try your best to be as self-indulgent as possible. Fuck what other people think.

MJB: Who were some of your favorite hometapers? Are you "Love, Calvin"? If not, who or what is "Love, Calvin"?

RS: Good lord no ! Love Calvin is my dear old friend Scott Johnson who currently resides in a tiny little town about 50 miles north of me called Madison, SD. He is a great guy who's had some tough times over the past 10 years, but is on an up-swing at the moment and getting ready to do his first recordings since about 1993. He is one of the greatest songwriters ever, and in fact, I am currently in the process of remastering all his old stuff for him...which will take forever, but it will be worth it. As far as favorite home tapers go I'd say the short list would be : Dino Dimuro, The Rudy Schwartz Project, Sockeye, M.O.T.O., Dan Fioretti, and a bunch more I can't think of right now.

MJB: On your website discography, some recordings are described as "art rock dogshit". Explain.

RS: That description comes from a project Evan Peta and I would work on occassionally called "The Michael Kenyon Seizure" (named after the real-life "Illinois Enema Bandit"). It was really just improvised noise and sonic clutter.

MJB: Do you still feel the need to make your older recordings available, or do you see them as "of the moment" stuff, like people were either in the scene and scooped them up, or interested parties now can just "fuhgeddabowdid"?

RS: I don't see any reason to make them 'available', unless someone specificly requests one.

MJB: You heard the man, request some tapes!

by Ian C Stewart
August 4, 2003

I'm influenced by nearly everything I listen to. Early on I absorbed a lot of Bach, Scarlatti, Bartók, Prokofiev, Hindemith, Schoenberg. These days I'm more eclectic: the project I'm working on shows traces of my interests in weird prog (Pierrot Lunaire, Amon Düül II, Thinking Plague), indie rock (Mary Timony, My Bloody Valentine, The Scientifics), experimental electronics (Biota), and who knows what else. On Agape Ludens I can find you individual pieces that betray the influence of Merzbow and Cecil Taylor, or Laurie Anderson, Penderecki and Death in June. I'm all over the place -- or at least, I try to be.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
I was 12. I was listening to a lot of stuff (classical) and it was something to do. At the time I was really into fugues, 'cause I like complex structures, and did even then. I didn't actually know how to write a fugue, but I was lucky enough not to realize that until later, so I kept going.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
There's no set pattern. Sometimes I just go until I have a couple of minutes of stuff, then build a structure out of what I have. Sometimes I work out a structure and then fill in the details. Sometimes I improvise until I come with ideas; sometimes (though rarely) I use some kind of system. I do find that whether I'm doing notated or recorded music makes a difference: I come up with different types of rhythms when I know someone's going to have to learn the piece, and the experience of working on music paper, which is basically diatonic, is different from working with a graphical sequencer, which is basically chromatic. My music is mostly chromatic
either way, but maybe I throw in a few more major chords when I'm thinking about pitches rather than intervals.

What music software do you use?
These days, Reason 2.5 is my main tool. Best program EVER. But I also use or have used Peak, Cakewalk, Metasynth, HyperPrism, SoundEdit (for System 6!), and I don't know what else.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Yes. All of it.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
I don't even play guitar! Well, I can make sounds come out of one, but not the way you're supposed to. I like improvise with two hands on the strings, guitar facing upwards in my lap. But no, I usually write at a piano, or sometimes straight onto paper or into the software. Tape collage stuff is definitely done in the software itself, except for the most general outlines, which I often sketch on paper.

Talk about your latest release, Agape Ludens.
My latest and first. Agape Ludens came about sort of accidentally: Two years earlier, I'd done an album of electronic stuff under the name Abi Ziva Lai (pronounced "Abby's Evil Eye" -- she had one, I swear!), called Purple, Sparkly & Ridiculous. It was all three, but mostly ridiculous. I'm kind of embarassed to listen to most of it now. It no longer officially exists; if you have a copy, burn it. I mean in a fire. I didn't get back into electronic music until spring '02, when I made "Dance for a Broken Marionette" for a concert. I started doing more electronic stuff around then, especially after a rather disastrous performance of a notated work for keyboard and guitar, and it eventually coalesced into an album. I remember coming up with the basic structure last fall -- I was falling asleep, and I jumped out of bed, heart pounding, to write it down. An amazing moment.

What's up with the cover art?
That's based on a picture I took when I did photo in high school. It's a pay phone, viewed sideways and way close-up, with the reflection of the camera in it. Look for the buttons and you're starting to get it. I made that cover art using that photo, a Xerox machine, an old typewriter, and some glue. Lo-fi and cool-looking. It has no meaning.

Where do you see your music heading?
I intend to become a cult classic.

Are you active in your local music scene?
At Yale I am. I'm a member of Ensemble IGIGI, a new-music group run by student composers. I'm going to be writing more for them this year, both electronic and traditionally notated. (For the record, my "classical" music these days is something like a cross between Bartók, Messiaen and Dave Kerman, kind of.) I've also been asked by an undergraduate chamber orchestra to write a piece for them to play next spring. I'm not really involved in the local indie rock scene, though I go to concerts sometime. I'd like to be -- maybe in the future. It's too bad Emily "Vuk"Cheeger left for art school in Finland or whatever.

Who would you like to collaborate with on new music?
You mean famous people? I'm actually negotiating with a semi-known avant-rocker about him appearing on my next album, but that's a surprise and I'm not telling who. Other than that -- anyone, really. Non-famous people, too. Oh, I still need to do a project with c. reider.

What other bands are you excited by?
I'm excited by a lot of stuff. Aside from what I've mentioned so far, some stuff that's been interesting me lately includes ohGr, cLOUDDEAD, Ground Zero,
Magma, Radiohead, Kampec Dolores, Harry Partch, Franco Battiato...

What's next for you, musically speaking?
I'm working on my second non-disowned album right now. Either the whole album or the first half of it (a 25-minute piece) is going to be called Schwartzwaldmusik III, which is German for "Black Forest Music 3," so called because I've written two other things with "Black Forest" in the title, and because German is neat. After that, I've got plans for a miniatures album, and a c. reider remix album, mostly based on his mp3 album Sources and maybe on some Drone Forest stuff.

What did I forget to ask you?
You didn't ask me what I was feeling particularly AUTO about! Oh, wait.

Alex Temple - Agape Ludens (Electric Walrus, 2003)
c. reider - Aughtet (Vuzh, 2003) - source material on "Lexsk"
Drone Forest - Live (Vuzh, upcoming) - Bontempi electric air organ on one track

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
July 22, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
Yes. George Dubbya. I read Arianna Huffington's column, and even though I have a hard time keeping up
with the governmental cast of characters, I sincerely hope that little bastard does not get re-elected.

Musical influences?
Earliest...The Beatles, The Monkees and Johnny Cash. Biggest...Beatles, Monkees, R. Stevie Moore, XTC,
Martin Newell and Guided By Voices. All because they have written and recorded some astoundingly great songs. And of course, most of those artists have indulged in home recording.

Where do you see your music heading?
Nowhere, fast. lol

What music software do you use?

What's your home PC setup?
Don't have one. I'm very archaic...I still use tape.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
Almost always guitar.

Talk about your latest releases.
There are a few things coming out...I just did a new collaboration with Ken Clinger called SOUTHBOUND TO
ROSWELL, except this time I did the music and he did the lyrics and vocals. There's also a new Kinski
Spiral acoustic disc coming out by the end of the year called SILENT STARS. As for what's out right now, I've re-issued my Emigre album NOTHING PERSONAL with the obligatory bonus tracks, plus an album of odds and ends called PLEASE STAND BY.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
My adolescent fantasies of being a rock star, which were very quickly nipped in the bud when I realized early on that I don't make the kind of music people go out to clubs to hear. LOL But that's OK, home recording is more personal and intimate, anyway.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Off and on.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
Sure...R. Stevie Moore, Don Campau, MJB, Bryan Baker, LMNOP (MJB, LMNOP and Bryan Baker have all asked me in
the past and I didn't have time). Old timer home tapers like me basically.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
It's brought me more exposure, definitely.

What do you think about the current state of music?
Well I'm in my early 40s now, so at this point in time current popular music does nothing for me. LOL I pick up a copy of Rolling Stone and it all just looks so lame. So I read stuff like MOJO, which is the best magazine around, I think. It's focused on music instead of trends, like Rolling Stone. But maybe that's me just being a grouchy old man. LOL

Are there any other bands you're excited by?

REM, White Stripes, Sigur Ros, Butthole Surfers, Sixpence None The Richer, Cocteau Twins, Queen, The Residents, Nick Drake, My Bloody Valentine, that whole Henry Cow/Art Bears/Slapp Happy/Robert Wyatt/Recommended Records thing...

What's next for you, musically speaking?
Trying to finish up the new Kinski Spiral disc, which is taking forever. LOL When that's ready we'll start playing out again. That's the game plan anyway.

What did I forget to ask you?
You forgot to ask me about my family! I have a 19 month old daughter named Grace who is just the most beautiful little angel in the world. She's amazing.

All are CD or CD-R releases and are on Cut And Paste Records, unless noted...

Nothing Personal (Emigre)
Obscurity Knocks (Home Recordings 1987-1997)
Hanger 18
Duet Yourself/Naive Assumptions
Bubblegum Buddha
Too Old For Angst
Hopes And Fears (with Ken Clinger)
Snow Day (with Ken Clinger)
Correct Me If I'm Wrong
Pop Victrola
Please Stand By...
Nothing Personal (revisited)
Southbound To Roswell (with Ken Clinger) (forthcoming)
Gajoob Magazine Compilation (Gajoob Magazine)

Work In Progress ep (promo only)
Hymns And Fragments
Elizabeth Disappears ep
Silent Stars (forthcoming)
Re: Newell The Martin Newell Tribute Album (
Not Necessarily Beautiful But Mutated Vol. 3 (Devo tribute compilation)

Landlocked (Flydaddy)
Just Don't Try 7" (Bubblegum Smile)
Beeswax 7" ep (Caroline)

Monster Halloween Party (Briggs Gift Company)

Not to mention the numerous underground cassette compilations I've been on over the years...

cut and paste pob 152 green oh 44232 usa

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
July 19, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
Yes, in fact. I'm reading a fantastic book called Absolutely American, by a Rolling Stone writer named David Lipsky. It's about his four-year experience living near West Point and getting to know everything possible about this American military institution. He's a damn fine writer and his story reads like a novel. You should go pick it up. Now.

My earliest influences were the soulful stylings of folks like Sting, R.E.M., and Shawn Colvin (although the first tape I ever bought was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.") Once I discovered Mike Oldfield and XTC in high school, though, it was all over. For the past four or five years, I have been obsessed with anything that jangles (I have pictures of Peter Buck and Johnny Marr in my home studio -- seriously!) and anything that pops (there is nothing so great as Jason Falkner's "My Lucky Day" or The La's "I Can't Sleep"). Bob Mould's guitars have completely changed my life. In January, I started to play the drums; I am lucky to be in touch with Mitch Dorge (the drummer from Crash Test Dummies), who offers moral support as I practice, practice, and practice some more.

Where do you see your music heading?
A few months ago, I watched a PBS special on old-school 1960's folk heroes. Roger McGuinn stepped out on stage and started to play "The Times They Are A'Changin'"; it was at that point that I decided to save up for an electric 12-string guitar. I have always loved the sound that McGuinn and others have coaxed out of their 12-strings; it's about time I did the
same. Although I played a $2,500 Rickenbacker a few weeks ago, I'm going to have to settle for something cheaper!

What music software do you use?
This is embarrassing: I use an old-school version of Performer for my MIDI sequencing. It's so old school, in fact, that I use an even older-school Macintosh to run it on. I used to run the free version of ProTools on my iBook but, since I switched to OS X, I can no longer do so. My most recent purchase was a small, portable Fostex digital 8-track recorder that mixes down to a .wav file. It's a fantastic machine, and its powers can be heard on the song "Saturday," which appears on my website.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
I don't think so, at least until I win the lottery or get a huge contract with V2.

What's your home PC setup?
Aaah, good question! I have the old Mac ("Honker"), a PowerMac 8500/180, on which I do MIDI stuff (with the aid of my Korg O5R-W module, the biggest and best workhorse in the business). I use the Fostex to record and mix; once I get a track mixed down, I output via USB to my iBook. The song gets cleaned up in iTunes and burned to CD (or uploaded to the web)
from there.

Do you write on keyboards or guitar?
Usually guitar, although my best songs are written in the shower. I have a crappy old acoustic (that I've had since 8th grade), an Ibanez electric, a Danelectro bass, and a Rogue acoustic 12-string; my keyboard is a wonderful Technics with an onboard sequencer that's never let me down.

Talk about your latest release.
My newest is a two-CD retrospective, "Random Patterns of Song," with songs culled from my first three albums, a live show, and a few cassettes that have been sitting in a box in the closet of my apartment. I just wanted to get everything out there so I could purge my system and begin anew.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
The melody comes first, then the lyrics. I don't spend a great deal of time making lyrics that say something deep and personal; my biggest concern is that they go along with the music.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
I guess that I make my own music because I want a amalgam of whatever I'm listening to at the time. For example, I'm listening to Ween's "Exactly Where I'm At" as I answer this question; this is a song that I don't want to end, ever, because I love the guitar, bass, and drum parts on it. The drums are simple and propel the song steadily; the lead guitar is atonal and strange while the rhythm guitar jangles like a Tom Petty song; the bass plods and rips at the same time. Maybe now I'll write a few songs in which some or all of these elements might exist, either together or separately. I suppose that I write music because, too often, I find myself saying: "I wish [insert another artist's song name here] would go on longer! How can I make that happen? I know! I'll write my own!"

Are you active in your local music scene?
I try to be. We have a great venue a few towns over called the Rain Desert Café, and I perform there often. The owner, Jan, has a great professional soundboard-based recording system set up, and, for $10, he'll make you a CD of your set. (Two songs from a set I performed last summer, Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" and The Smiths' "Panic," appear on
"Random Patterns of Song.")

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
In real life, MJB. In my dreams, Johnny Marr.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
The Internet has been a real boon for independent artists everywhere, myself included. I have been on for three or four years, and, although they've now been swallowed up by Universal, they still host a few of my songs. I'm going to get my act together sometime in the next few months and put together my own website, but my day job -- as an eighth and ninth-grade English teacher -- gets in the way of such things.

What do you think about the current state of music - is it better or worse now (or the same)?
Corporations suck, but that's never going to change.

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
Oh definitely. I love the new Fountains of Wayne album. I'm just discovering Warren Zevon, who floors me. I saw Rooney and Grandaddy open for Pete Yorn, and I've been grooving to them a lot lately. Stew and his band The Negro Problem make me happy beyond words.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
I have three projects on the burners. Two of them are legit: one, "Songs About Songs," is a collection of songs about singers and songwriters. I'm really happy with the first few songs that I came up with, one called "Marilyn Manson" and another about Michael Jackson that has yet to be recorded. The other is a regular, honest-to-goodness covers album that I'm plugging along with. The third project is a fucking joke, but I'm really excited about it. I spent some time a few months ago with the family of one of my students. They're great people, but they listen to a lot of Contemporary Christian music. Anyway, I wondered what would happen if some kid in some high school somewhere decided to start up a Contemporary Christian band and cut an album, but then realized that girls don't go for Contemporary Christian music (at least the girls who go for musicians), so his band underwent a genre change and became...a sex-obsessed boy band. Being neither religious nor a boy myself, I envision the split EP: "God's Helpers present 'What About God?' b/w Sexxx Factory's 'Hot Sun (Hot Buns)'". How many people can I piss off, do you think?

What did I forget to ask you?
"When is your birthday?" Tomorrow; I'll be 24, thanks for asking.

1997: "Education in Reverse"
1999: "Roomful of Losers"
2001: "Nobody Cares About Ben"
2003: "Random Patterns of Song" (2-CD retrospective)

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
July 5, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
Yeah I always feel mouthy about something or other. I suppose as far as music goes, I'm kinda down on our local music scene, which I'm learning more and more as I travel about and talk to other musicians is pretty much a reflection of the national scene, and not just in the smaller cities and towns. And that's that it seems harder and harder to find places for an original material rock band to play. And it's even harder to get people to come out to shows once you do get a booking. Of course, if you're a cover band or a tribute band, no problem. I live near a small city called Harrisonburg with three colleges in the area, including one with 18,000 students and it's very hard to get folks to go to shows. And not just Book of Kills shows--actually we get a pretty good crowd locally, I suppose--it's just original music in general. If you're not big-time, people just don't wanna know. Also, I don't like how the cereal companies have been putting less cereal in their boxes and charging more for them.

Who are your biggest musical influences and why? Who were your early musical influences?

I have so many. It started (yawn) with the Beatles when I was a little kid. I loved the original British Invasion bands. Other influences would include the 60s punks and to a slightly lesser degree the 70s punks. I'd have to say the Pixies were a pretty big influence but mainly 'cause I have a very serious crush on Kim Deal. I actually thought the better rock music of the 80s was awfully good music that easily stands up to any other era.

Where do you see your music heading? in general is headed to the bank. My music...I just don't know that I progress so much as continually try out different styles and sounds. I'm not imaginative enough to reinvent the wheel. I simply try to become a better songwriter. In that regard, Robert Pollard has been an influence, even though we're around the same age, because of the strange chords he often likes to jam together. He has some pretty weird sounding progressions where the first time you hear them you go, What the hell? Then you begin to understand he hasn't locked himself into the way chords are 'supposed' to work off one another.

What music software do you use?
I use SoundForge 6.0 and T-Racks 2.0 mainly. I don't have a whole lot of software. I did use the Acid program last summer when I was recording an album called All About You. It was fun but at the same time a bit tedious to sample stuff and then chop it up and process it and so on.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?

I don't have any plans right now. I just bought a Blue Max and a Blue Tube (a relatively cheap outboard compressor/pre-amp combo), a Rode NT1-A (which I love!), a Boss DR-770, and a Pod 2.0. It's mainly stuff that I'll use when I record 'solo' material.

What's your home PC setup?
I have a Sony PCV-RX860 Digital Studio PC. But I wish I'd bought a new Mac instead. I started out Mac and then got frustrated back when they were putting out shitty products without Steve Jobs around. Now their computers just kick ass, but I had so much PC-oriented stuff, I was hesitant about going back.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
I'm a VERY limited keyboard player, so I write most of my songs on my guitar. Actually they come to me in my head first and then I try to find chords for them on the guitar.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Songs usually come to me in my head first and then I try to find chords for them on the guitar. I can often hear an entire band playing in my head when a new song comes to me. Even the sound of the vocals. It's pretty much a daily event. The really stupid thing is that I should carry around a little pocket recorder so I could take audio notes when the inspiration strikes but I don't. So I usually lose about 75% of the ideas I have, like when I'm riding around in a car. You wouldn't believe how many songs have come to me when I am driving. I heard there's actually a reason songs come to you when you're driving. Something about the right side of the brain sort of opens up because you're left side is kind of in a weird trance state or something. I know other musicians who say they come up with a lot of ideas when they're driving too.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?

Well I guess the glamour of the whole rock scene when I was a kid. I suppose I'm pretty shy in a lot of ways and it seemed like it would be really cool to be a rock and roll musician and more or less force youself not to be so shy. People find it hard to believe when I tell them I'm shy. They laugh.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Not nearly as active as I should be. I talk the scene up a lot. Try to get bands together for the occasional show. I'm so busy with family and job, in addition to my band, that I don't have as much time to do stuff like that as I wish I had.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
Robert Pollard probably. I just like his work ethic and of course the music he produces. He's brilliant. Kim Deal. For other reasons.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
It has provided me and the band with a good, cheap way for people to keep up with us. Where we're playing, when we're releasing a cd. But other than that it has had very little effect. I used to sell and trade many more cassettes in the 'glory days' of homemade music when everyone kept track of what was going on in real paper 'zines than I do now with cd-r's and the internet supposedly being a godsend to home musicians.

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
It pains me to say this, but I think I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm looking backwards and listening to older stuff more than new stuff. And I've realized how little I music I actually heard coming out of the 60s, 70s and 80s. So I've tried to go back and pick up on bands I missed or didn't listen to as closely as I should have. As far as groups who're putting albums out right now, I like GBV, of course; Radiohead is always interesting if a bit passionless at times; White Stripes are fun but a little samey-sounding; I liked the Strokes a lot, but I was envious of the fact that they sort of had an easy road into the business, at least compared to most bands, but they do have lots of talent. Oh...I love the Flaming Lips!

What's next for you, musically speaking?
I'm working on recording an ep of 7-8 songs with Book of Kills, then we're thinking about doing an acoustic ep. I'm also writing and recording a new album on my own. I'm trying to do 20 songs by the end of the summer. It's sort of a parody and sort of not. Too hard to explain. It's nothing earth-shatteringly new. I'm also still trying to learn how to sing. But I know I have a pretty limited voice. I'd kill to have Pollard's voice. Trying to learn new chords but most of them sound weird.

What did I forget to ask you?
Favorite color? I could never actually figure out what my favorite color was. I just like 'em all.

What's the URL for your website?

And give me a full discography
Oh my gosh...

NOIZ (December 1974)
12 SONGS (January 1983)
BLOOM OR DIE (September 1989)
FOR THE GOOD OF THE CAUSE (September 1991)
8 FROM THE ATTIC (May 1992)
THE HAUNTED LIFE (October 1992)
DETRITUS (November 1994)
SAINT JUDAS (July 1995)
RE(=JECT) (August 1995)
NOTHING YOU CAN SAY... (March 1997)
IF I SHOULD FALL cd single (May 1998)
WRITING ON THE WALL (September 1999)
SONGS (1983-2000) - The Best of Book of Kills (November 2000)
COLLECTION (February 2002)
WHEN WE WAKE (February 2002)
ALL ABOUT YOU (September 2002)
COLLECTION 2 (April 2003)

MULTIBAND COMPILATIONS: The Homemade Music Sampler; Kiss My Dead Lips; The Smell of Success; Sounds From The Basement

(A lot of these albums have been deleted...)

Interviewed by Ian C Stewart
June 22, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly mouthy about at the moment?
I was very mouthy about the out-of-proportion fees imposed by The US Congress in cahoots with the Recording Association Of America on non commercial internet radio. These fees have caused many stations to forget about internet radio. This was done last year so I am less mouthy but still pissed off. I suppose none of us are entitled to anything on the internet, but c'mon, the greed factor is running too far. The RIAA wants everything owned and controlled, even the narrowcasted or niche programming. At KKUP we are discussing the possibility of using my "No Pigeonholes" radio show as a re-entry point to internet radio because many of the artists that I play are not part of ASCAP, BMI or The RIAA. We are only in the early stages of discussion about it though. No doubt there would be a lot of legwork and legal checking first. Also, it would probably require written permission from each artist beforehand.

Musical influences?
My biggest influence was probably my friend Geoff Alexander who got me into avant garde jazz and ethnic music in 1969 when we were in high school. He also got me involved in KTAO in Los Gatos California which was to become my alternate education instead of college. Under the wing of the owner, Lorenzo Milam (one of the founders of communtiy radio in the USA) I learned about the delicacies of baroque , world music and much more, mostly deep personal stuff. My younger brother Chris was also a big influence on me vocally. I was always afraid to sing from my heart but he helped me learn how. Since I began as a guitarist, many guitar players are big influences like McLaughlin, Hendrix, Clarence White, Harvey Mandel, Derek Bailey, Terje Rypdal and Zappa. My early influences are like that of so many people my age: Beatles, Stones, The Who, early Pink Floyd, Mothers Of Invention and Fugs. I was lucky to hear Miles and Coltrane in my teens and fall under the spell of jazz and experimental music. It was a thirst I had to quench. I was also fortunate to own a record store (also with Geoff Alexander) in the 70s that specialized in strange musics. Of course it couldn't last but we both got good record collections out of it. Lou Harrison would occasionally come in and buy ethnic albums that we special ordered from Europe.

Where do you see your music heading?
I recently got a digital 8 track recorder, my first upgrade in 22 years. I think this is going to allow me a few new possibilities and better sound fidelity especially for collaborations which I love. For my own solo music I am excited to try to continue to express myself honestly and passionately even if it's a nutty commentary on my day job in the produce department. I want to rock, to squonk, to spurt licks, make noise and do classical karaoke sound collages.

What music software do you use?
Help me, I can't figure it out. Cubase, MP3, even Real Audio escape me. I am a learning curve loser. That's why I have learned to love presets. Presets with a purpose, that's me.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Maybe , if I ever figure it out. I'm sure there's tons of possibilities.

What's your home PC setup?
A rather ordinary HP desktop that is helpful when something isn't wrong with it.

What kind of speakers do you use - do you monitor at high volumes?
I have some old custom made JBL type speakers in my music studio. I also use headphones to mix. I'm trying to find a nice balance between the two. My volume levels creep on me when I am mixing so I start out moderate and end up ear shattering.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
I have written songs on both and continue to. Many times a song will come to me while I am stocking the tomatoes or cucumbers or carrots. I forget a lot of them of course with the 24 hour muzak and customer diversions in my head.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Many times I will create backing tracks for myself and then make the song up later, that is, add the lyrics and lead guitar,etc on top. I like this way and it is similar to my method for collaborating with others. I start with the cadence of words and see where it takes me. I do not attempt to rhyme much and that's part of the challenge. I think rhyming resolves the tension which can be so gratifying but sort of cheap and contrived. I suppose this method is kind of like Talking Heads, "Remain In Light" a big favorite always. They got a groove on and then David and Brian would do their magic.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
I loved listening to it so I wanted to participate somehow. My dear, late father was a drummer as a kid and he always lit up when he talked about hitting the skins playing big band jazz.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Not really, I certainly wouldn't mind though. Since moving to Santa Rosa I haven't made many musical friends and I could use a local drummer/ multi-instrumentalist. I really enjoy camaraderie and collaboration. I am also thinking about curating some kind of avant garde live music venue locally because I think it might be interesting. Just thinking so far though.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
How about Amy Denio? That would be a dream. Heather Perkins, Micky Saunders, Linda Smith, Tim Jones and Terri B, my old friend Bob Ballantyne...and more with MJB, Dino DiMuro, Kevyn Dymond, James Hill, Greg Gray and Joe Menichetti. That's just to start.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
It has helped me communicate quickly with collaborators and even start projects with people I was unaware of. Can't say that's not cool. It has also allowed me to meet people like Jerry Kranitz (Aural Innovations Radio), Eric Wallack (new collab pal), and for old friends like Mark Kissinger, Andi Xport, Josh Mars, and many others to find me.

Are there any other bands you're excited by? you mean new groups? Hamfatter, Simon Felton/ Suicide Cat and anything from Stone Premonitions in England. Dino DiMuro, Michael J Bowman, Ken Clinger, Eric Wallack, CR Goff III and anything by Amy Denio, my wife Robin O'Brien's new material and much, much more..Pope John Paul The Third is a fun group. Minmae from Portland is excellent. Hutch from LA.

I listen to a lot of jazz too: Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, Peter Brotzmann, Myra Melford (to name but a few) and outside, experimental music like Otomo Yoshihide, Haco, Ami Yoshide, Zan Hoffman, Charles Rice Goff and Hal McGee. I also really dig the dreamy pop compilations and releases by Alessandro Crestani from Italy, the Public Eyesore label (experimental) from Omaha, Mark Ritchie's sadcore, Timo's bitterness on self released tapes and the Russian electronic scene produced by Artemiy Artemiev. Al Margolis Pogus label (experimental)is also high quality stuff. I know I am leaving a lot out too, sorry.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
Projects with Eric Wallack, Charles Rice Goff III, some new solo rock songs, a collab with Agustin Criollo,a chain mail collab with a guy named Mr. Fuckhead, a collage- type pop project, maybe some tunes with my wife (I hope). Maybe a drone texture album.

What did I forget to ask you?
We didn't talk much about my radio show, "No Pigeonholes", a program that features music from home studios. I play all styles from 3-5 PM on the 2nd and 4th Sundays on KKUP 91.5 FM in the SF and Monterey Bay Areas. My show is archived on the internet by Radio Marabu in Germany. This is also the home of the great German musician and DJ, Lord Litter. He is The Man in Europe for independent music.

I want your original home recorded music! No cover song bar bands, name droppers or music industry wannabes ...please. Original and independent.

Don Campau
PO Box 9162
Santa Rosa CA 95405

Occasionally when I get time to update it, I also publish the "Go Ahead, You Review It" web site. These are mainly capsule reviews of music that I've played on "No Pigeonholes" but also has independent music and film reviews by whomever wants to write them. Anybody want to chime in?

Also, my music label, "Lonely Whistle Music" is the home for my back catalog and also for Robin O'Brien, Dino DiMuro, Timo, Dan Susnara and Micky Saunders, Lord Litter, Frank Peck, Nicole Campau and many others.

What's the URL for your website?

Lonely Whistle Music

Kyle Sowash interviewed by Ian C Stewart
June 19, 2003

Is there anything you're feeling particularly Mouthy about at the moment?
don't neglect your oral hygiene. i know you kids like to rock, but PLEASE make sure you brush twice a day, and floss at least once a day.

Musical nfluences?
i dunno...i mean, i grew up on my mom's record collection, lots of jackson browne and fleetwood mac ...but i guess, musically i'm mostly influenced by elvis costello, and evan dando.

Where do you see your music heading?
just gonna keep rocking, man.

What music software do you use?
well, up until recently, we've pretty much had a "homemade" attitude. lots of four track stuff transferred to make our early albums, and i've got this program on my computer called "goldwave". so, what i used to do was run the fourtrack into my computer, and make a WAV file through goldwave, and burn it onto a cd with my NERO burning program. pretty hi-tech, huh?

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
no...not really.

What's your home PC setup?
it's a really old IBM computer, from 1993, i think. I put a new motherboard in in 1999, and it's only crashed once since then. it's pretty slow, though...

What's the amplification situation?
well, we play on a couple peavey amps from the '80s---the PEAVEY HERITAGE guitar amps, and the PEAVEY TNT 100 bass amp. they're small (yet loud), they have wheels, and they fit into the back of the station wagon quite nicely.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
usually guitar, but i have written a few on the keyboard (i.e. "shove off", "your best haircut ever", "distinctive gifts", to name a few.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
usually i don't write words until i have a cool riff to work with...our songs usually are just funny, and the words don't really work well without music, so....i wait til i get at least two cool riffs and a bridge, and then i put them together, and one day, usually a week or so later, i'll write words to it....and my life is kind of boring, and i watch a lot of tv, so i often times find out i base my lyrics on a character's situation in some sitcom.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
i got an acoustic guitar for christmas in 1993. and i really liked nirvana. i just really wanted to play "lithium", man.

Trick question: Are you active in your local music scene?
i'd say so. we play a lot, at least twice a month in town. i'm always out on high street hanging up flyers, and then walking back down the street to my car, removing the flyers that people have taped up over the top of mine.

What's your favorite place to play live?
i REALLY like red-16 a lot. it's air conditioned, and byob. it's really laid back, it's in a good location, and they don't treat you like an asshole there.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
one day, i want to track down the guy who wrote the folger's know the one "the best part of waking up..."; i want to get his permission to kind of make up some new words to it, scripting an entire Folger's commercial, around a touring rock band from columbus called "tom foolery and the mistakes", trying to drive from st. louis to dayton at 4 in the morning, struggling to stay awake. and then i want to pitch my idea to folger's. and sell their coffee.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
i get lots of art for flyers that way...

What do you think about the current state of music - is it better or worse now (or the same)?
i'm glad that rock and roll is getting popular again. (the white stripes, mooney suzuki, etc) i guess the state of music is better than it has been in about ten years.

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
there's this local band that plays out every once in awhile.....they're called DEVILCAKE, and they're brilliant. they're evil metal......complete with an opera singer and a smoke machine and upside down crosses. it's pure genius. also from columbus, you should check out GIL MANTERA'S PARTY DREAM. those guys are so laid back in person, but when they get onstage, they turn into their alter egos: gil mantera and the ultimate donny....picture two guys stuck in a '70's disco porn flick rocking out harder than devo. they're gonna go far.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
well, on august 15th, we're releasing our new cd called "TOM FOOLERY AND THE MISTAKES TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM" on our record label "colossal thumb!". then we're doing a two week US tour in support of it. when we get back, we're going to take a couple weeks off, and then resume recording for our upcoming split 7" with Jon Chinn.

What's the URL for your website?

"sagebrush eyecare" CASSETTE (c 1997 colossal thumb)
"Distinctive gifts since 1958" CASSETTE/CD (c 1998 colossal thumb)
"headed for a lonely summer" CASSETTE/CD (c 1999 colossal thumb)
"if armageddon comes this new year's eve...." 7" VINYL (c 1999 colossal
"there is too much doing to be done..."CD (c 2000 colossal thumb)
"i feel much better since i've given up hope" CD (c 2001 colossal thumb)
"there might be something strong with me!" CD (c 2002 colossal thumb)
"exes and oh!'s" CD (c 2002 colossal thumb)
"take one for the team" CD (c 2003 colossal thumb)

WAXD SKATE COMP (c 1999 colossal thumb)
THIS IS WEST TEXAS PUNK??? (c 2000 rt 84 records)
NOT SONGS, BUT ANTHEMS (c 2001 cody records)

interviewed by Ian C Stewart
June 14, 2003

Oh, geez. I don't think I have a good answer. I listen to so much stuff that I can't even think of any individual references that truly contribute to my sound. For a while I listened to a ton of Tori Amos and Juliana Hatfield. Does that count? As far as my early influences, I'd have to say Barry Manilow and Kiss. Both were in heavy rotation when I was in kindergarten. I used to
go into the basement and pretend I was Kiss - the entire band. I'd sit at the drums for a little while and then I'd get up and be The Demon, then I start singing and then switch to lead guitar. Thank goodness they didn't have camcorders. There would be some very ugly footage that my parents could blackmail me with.

Where do you see your music heading?
I would like to see if I could take it in a more 'dense' direction. More layers. Most of the stuff I write now is 4 part: guitar, drums, bass, vocals. I like to get into using more instruments, more layers. A bigger sound I guess.

What music software do you use?
Acid and CoolEdit. They're both easy to use and have a lot of power. I love creating new filters and sounds. With these two apps, it's easy as pie.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Not that I can think of. I'd probably just like to upgrade the Acid I have now and get some additional plug-ins for reverb types, distortion, phasers; that kinda stuff. I'd probably get an electric guitar before any of that though. Currently I only use my electric accoustic guitar. I have a Digitech pedal that's got a bunch of standard patches on it so I can sorta do distortion when I need it. Before I got a bass I would use the pitch shifter to get a bass sound. It sounded kinda dorky, but for demo purposes
it got the point across.

Do you write on keyboards or guitar?
I mostly write on guitar. If I had a real piano on hand, I would likely write on that more though. I'm limited in my guitar chops. Hell, I'm limited in my piano chops but I can fake it pretty good. Occasionally I write on Acid, but that is mostly my really whacked out experimental stuff.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Generally, I will come up with the music first and then add the lyrics. When I am coming up with the verse and the chorus chord progressions I will start coming up with lyrics right away, though. I'm usually in some kind of mood where the music is describing what I'm feeling emotionally. Shit runs through your head and your just start singing. Sometimes the lyrics are dead on and are kept and other times they get completely scrapped. On other occasions I have written the lyrics first. I guess it just depends. I've always been more music oriented than lyric oriented, so I'd say 8 times out of 10 the music comes first.

How were your albums recorded?
Well, in the beginning, my albums were compilations of my demos from my hand held recorder. You know, one of those tape recorders that you take to class and tape the teachers lecture and all. I would find the best take and that would be it. Very low tech. Complete with grainy hiss and all. However, if I have a bigger idea in mind, then I will use my Fostex 4 track. Nothing fancy. I think that the reason that I only write 4-part music is because that's all I've got to work with. I'm going to get all Beatles on it and bounce the crap out of it. I'm too much of a control freak. I'd like to have the option latter on of changing something and not have to redo everything. I haven't got into the whole computer hard drive recording thing yet. Not sure if I ever would. I have this weird internal feeling that my music will be lost. With tape, as long as some stupid fucker doesn't walk up to it with a magnet, it will be there for quite a while. Plus, the recorders and players are a physical thing. If pressed,
someone could bodge up a player. You've got magnetic signals on a tape. But with digital format, it gets weird. It's all 1's and
0's. Nothing truly tangeble. Computers are still changing at an alarming rate and probably always will. Ever try playing one of your old DOS games in XP? No? Well, that's because you can't (well, not easily). It's been phased out. And I worry about the digital medium that you originally record in being phased out as well. I'm odd, I know and all the above gibberish is unjustified but I'm still uneasy about it. Plus, I can't lug my computer around everywhere, so... What was I talking about again?

Any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
I think it would be cool to collaborate with Ben Folds. He's da man. His stuff is all poppy and funny (though some of my favorites are his more serious songs like Fred Jones Part 2). Maybe Billy Joel. Maybe Barry Manilow. They're all songwriters who tell stories in their music. That's interesting to me because I write more from an emotional view. 'I was just a fool and nothing more...' that kinda stuff. They write about 'Eddie Walker', the 'Piano Man' and the 'Copacabana'. I tried doing the story
thing once and I ended up writing about some girl named Jacinda who worked at a Skyline Chili restaurant. It sucked something horrible. I might want to jam with Juliana Hatfield and Lisa Loeb as well.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
There a side project that I've wanted to do called Duke Amethyst. It would be the equivalent of King Diamond doing covers of 1970's tunes. Most people don't get it, but c'mon! How funny would it be to hear some guy shrieking 'Afternoon Delight' backed with double bass drumming? Funny! I think I'd also like to write a concept album of some sort, maybe a musical or something like that. I've started a few but never finished them. "I Was Blind (Saved)" from Dark Secrets was that way. There was supposed to be this whole concept behind it. It was going to start out at some fancy schmancy party and in the background was to be an orchestra playing the part from 'Saved' except faster, more cheerful. It was going to be about the decline of a relationship between two people. I never made it past what I figured would have been the last song which was 'Saved'. Back in high school, after listening to operation:Mindcrime by Queensryche, I wrote the lyrics to a concept album called 'Red Scorpions'. It was about these two gangs in New York or something like that; the whites vs. the Puerto Ricans. Then the leader of the white boys falls for the sister of the leader of the Puertos. Sound familiar? I finished it up and let my friend read it and he said, 'That's West Side Story' which, in hindsight, I know now, but at the time I had never even HEARD of West Side Story. I still find that strange that I would come up with the plot of a Broadway classic (including having Maria as the main female lead).


My Pain's Just Dandi (1996)
Ruthless Angelic Cherubs Volume 1 (1998/1999)
Ruthless Angelic Cherubs Volume 2 (1998/1999)
Picking Up The Pieces (1998/1999)
Dark Secrets (2001/2003)

interviewed by Ian C Stewart
June 11, 2003

Because I started the Cocker Spaniels when I was thirteen, I think that it would be safe to say that my biggest musical influences were also my earliest. :-) I ask in advance that you bear with my strange way of answering this question. The Beatles made me want to make rock music of my own. Jimi Hendrix taught me that rock wasn't just "white folks' music," contrary to what many musically ignorant friends and relatives have told me (and on occasion, still do). Prince taught me that I didn't need a band to make my own rock music because I could do it entirely BY MYSELF. Guided by Voices taught me that I didn't need a professional studio or a major label to make my own music; I could just make it with and through whatever means I had available, and the talent would shine through anyway. Pavement taught me that my music didn't have to perfect, and that many times mistakes can make your music sound even cooler. Last but not least, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine taught me that rock music is at its best when the guitars sound funny.

Where do you see your music heading?
I want to integrate more elements of IDM and gospel into my music. I'm always looking for new ways to make my songs sound funny, be it by using alternate tunings on my guitars, toying with effects pedals, or abusing my recording equipment. As soon as I can afford the necessary software, I'd like to incorporate digital signal processing into my bag of tricks. Also, since my spiritual walk with Christ has grown over the last couple of years, I feel that my writing should reflect that. Hopefully, I'll be able to accomplish these goals without turning into either "electro-clash" or Stryper. No matter what, though, I'll probably stay rooted in the concept of the three-minute noisy pop songs w/ lots of vocal harmonies and weird guitars.

What music software do you use?
A freeware version of GoldWave, but unfortunately that's it. All of my tracking is done on an outmoded Yamaha MT8X cassette eight-track. I then transfer the tapes to GoldWave for further editing and occasional sound effects.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
I'm saving up to buy something along the lines of either Cubase or Reaktor.

What's your home PC setup?
A Compaq Presario that craps out on me about every couple of months, which is why I save all of my songs to Zip disk after I finish recording and editing them.

What kind of speakers do you use - do you monitor at high volumes?
I use the JBL Pro speakers that came with the computer when I bought it. I don't monitor at very high volumes because neither the speakers nor the MT8X have the dynamic range to withstand it. Usually, if I can get a mix that will sound good through headphones *as well as* through speakers at a low volume, then it will sound decent on any other setup.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
Most of my songs are written on guitar. I use the piano mainly as an aid when I have a weird chord in my head that I can't figure out how to finger on the guitar. Maybe twenty percent of the songs I wrote are composed entirely on piano.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Usually, an idea for a song comes into my head when I'm really bored or empty-headed (this is usually during school or at work). I'll have a verse or two of lyrics that I keep going over and over in my head until I can completely flesh them out. When I have all of the lyrics I need for a song, I then start writing it all down on paper. Then, I'll go to my instruments and fiddle around until I come up with a chord progression and vocal melody that will fit the lyrics. I re-write the lyrics to fit the music, then I re-write the music to fit the lyrics. I keep re-writing the lyrics and the music until I feel I've come up with the best fit between the two. The process can take anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of months for a single song, though it usually doesn't take more than a couple of hours.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Not as much as I should be, mainly because school, work, and church keep me so busy. I recently started playing live again last year, and the reception has been great! One of my shows managed to attract about a hundred and fifty people, which is MIRACULOUS for a city as small as Waco. I play out at least once a month locally, and I plan on getting shows booked regularly in other Texan cities before the summer ends. There's a growing faction of bands in Waco who are neither Dave Matthews clones nor Blink 182 clones, and I am very happy about that. Once I get the next Cocker Spaniels album finished, I am going to make it a point to support them and network with them a bit more.

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices
Stewart Anderson of Boyracer
hip-hop producer Timbaland
and Scott Herren of Prefuse 73

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
That's a horrible question to ask me because I either buy or download at least ten different new records a week! I'm always finding some new artist or group that knocks me off my socks! I will list some of my recent favorites, though: the Swirlies (disjointed shoegazer pop), Mary Mary (contemporary gospel duo), Manitoba (psychedelic IDM), Deerhoof (twee noise-rock), Lamya (weird R&B singer), Plus/Minus, Luminous Orange, the Baptist Generals (rustic lo-fi folk), etc.

What's next for you, musically speaking?
Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on my seventh Cocker Spaniels full-length, "Withstand the Whatnot." It consists of twenty-three songs that I've written and recorded over the last three years, and it will be my first professionally mastered and pressed CD! I'm releasing it myself, and I plan to promote it as much as I can during the school year through the Internet and local performances. Once I graduate from college next May, I plan on booking a national tour to promote it. Hopefully by then, I'll have another Cocker Spaniels release or two in the works as well!

What's the URL for your website? --- there's nothing on it but a picture of myself and five rough mixes of songs from "Withstand the Whatnot," but I'm going to make it a fully functional site again after the CD is released.

Self-released cassettes ---
GEATLAND (1995),
FEAR OF GIRLS double-cassette (1996),
LITTLE WHITE TRUTHS (2000---also released on CDR),
as well as a number of scattered compilation appearances that I can't quite remember right now.

interviewed by Ian C Stewart
June 03, 2003

When did you start doing cool stuff?
Started doing music at the start of the 80s, still in high school. This was when I was in the Metal scene. I had a band called Martian Beer Pigs which didn't last. Then later I was in a punk band called Silent Lunatics which didn't last, and another punk band called The Two-Year-Olds which didn't last. I began to register a sinister pattern; nameless forces where preventing me from being in a band that lasted. The solution was home taping. After seeing a 4-track for the first time I fell in love and saved up enough to get my own, in 1989. I have yet to look back. Actually I did digress a bit and played drums in a rather good band called Copyright but it didn't last. The "label", I call it an anti-label; "Trevor The Fish" was the name of the catalogue of tapes I had at the time. I started putting out copies of the catalogue in 1995, so it became the name for all the musical activities I do. I actually thought I was the first person to think of swapping music for other peoples' art, but that was because I hadn't heard of anyone else doing it at the time. It was a good idea, because I got in touch with a few nice people and got some interesting things in the mail; it was sort of a cross between music distribution and mail-art. I was distributing zines at the time too but I gave up on distributing other peoples' stuff. At the time "Trevor The Fish" was more punk orientated but that's expanded since then. Started the zine "The Taped Crusaders" around 1998, I think it was, the first issue came out late that year. It was influenced by AUTOreverse in its print form, which was the first zine I'd seen that concentrated on home tapers (it was called a "Home Taping Journal" back then), and the book "Cassette Mythos", which was my bible for a while. Only just started uploading MP3s this year! I've joined the last century at last.

What's the status of your zine?
"I'm losing status at the high school
I used to think that it was my school..."

At the moment I'm tethering between not doing it anymore, or to keep going. When I started the zine I wanted to encourage people to record their own music, and to demonstrate to people that it was possible and desirable. Now there seems to be no need, since the boom in home computer music. What's needed now, I think, is an emphasis on genuine independence from The Music Industry and genuine emphasis on collective production and distribution. Everyone's recording their own today, and that's good. A lot of people still think they need a Music Industry boss to tell them what to do and that's not good. So the original emphasis of the zine needs to be changed, I think, or at least, the pro-collectivity, anti-capitalist emphasis needs to be brought forward.

Who are your influences?
Early musical influences where from the start, anything "weird", or interesting, or novel, or unconventional, or explicit. When I was a little kid I loved electronic music because of the unearthly sounds. I used to tape anything from the radio that was advertised as "electronic music"; I have ancient tapes of electro-accoustic concerts that the ABC used to broadcast, especially the annual Electro-Accoustic Festival in Stockholm. There was a regular programme on Saturday nights called "Dreamtime", which played half classical and half synthesizer music, where I discovered Klaus Shulze, Tangerine Dream, Robert Schroder, Kitaro, Eberhard Schoener, Clara Mondshine, Kraftwerk...the post-70's German and Japanese psychedelic crowd. I still love that music deeply, and always wanted a synthesizer of my own. Also recorded stuff from a programme called "Metal Beat", which played loads of Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Test Department, and the whole industrial/post-industrial mob, including a lot of names no longer known. These where my earliest influences, and at the time, I hated rock and pop music. Then in 1982 a friend got me onto Iron Maiden, because of my interest in Satan. It was the first time I heard any rock that I like because it didn't sound like conventional rock music, it was a lot darker and harder. It was a quick downward spiral into the whole Heavy Metal trip, and I got more into the harder thrash bands. Venom, Bathory, Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Exiter, Raven, all that mob. (True Nordic Black Metal came much later, ironically, after I had been out of the Metal scene for a fair few years). That's when I got Martian Beer Pigs together. I was still listening to electronic music but at the time it was tres uncool to admit that you liked that sort of stuff in the Metal scene. Anyway, playing bass was easier and cheaper than playing synthesizer. Still, I got more attracted to punk because of the politics it pretended to believe in. So I got right into the anarcho-punk groups like Crass, Conflict, Dead Kennedeys, The Ex, Rudimentary Peni....I'm sure everyone knows the names. The punk scene was a lot of fun at the time and I met friends I still have today, but I'm blackly cynical of punk these days. Crass where right. Sadly, punk is standing joke now, with the exception of the few punks who are active in life instead of just their scene. I got very burned out on pseudo-politics and punk music, and decided I had enough of both around 1995. Very serious depression at this stage. I discovered Noise, the Power-Electronics genre, again from the radio, which has always been one of my best sources for hearing new music. Usually when I hear a new music I don't embrace it outright, I give it time to affect me, which is what I did with Noise. I knew I wasn't interested in getting into any scene, which in Noise's case is the best idea. But after a while, I got right into the anti-music itself, and it's still a big influence on me. So these days, it's a full-circle thing. I listen to anything and everything but the biggest influences now are the abstract and experimental. Lately, though, I've been playing a lot of music on keyboard and have found that it's the sounds themselves that influence me to make something out of them. Which means I'm doing music I never thought I'd do.

What made you decide to start making music of your own?
I have no idea. Because I like music so much, it seems logical. I have ideas all the time and they need to be excreted. I first started doing music with the Metal band, because at the time in the Metal scene, you didn't just consume music, you produced it as well. It's a healthy state of mind.

What music software do you use?
I have software to record sound onto the computer, but it's simply so I can burn it onto disc. I have used that software to record straight up, though, and once with a very long track I recorded two stereo-panned tracks, burned them to cd, then played them through the 4-track as a mixer with the synt and effects and recorded a very effective four stereo-panned track piece of Hell. But I have no actual multi-track software.

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Down the track it would be nice to have digital multi-track. But I'm in no hurry, really. I have everything that I need and see no reason to be greedy.

What's your home PC setup?
I have a relatively old Apple Mac, a beige G3. It's next to the stereo in the loungeroom so it's easy to wire it up. It means I can use the stereo for recording and mixing which makes life very easy, as I can hear more or less what I'm going to get in the end result.

What kind of speakers do you use - do you monitor at high volumes?
Old crappy second-hand Sanyo and RCA speakers; I've been meaning to get some decent speakers for a while. I monitor at the volume I need, yes. I'm lucky because I live by myself. In some cases though, I use the headphones, if I'm recording vocals (which doesn't happen a lot).

Do you write on keyboards or guitar?

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
Like many people there's no one method. Usually I'll have an idea of a riff or melody or sound beforehand, and I'll try to get it on an instrument. I have tried just mucking about on the guitar to get good riffs, but that's an iffy method, for me. I'm just not a musician, so it's frustrating sometimes just sitting there with a guitar and coming up with the same old riffs. I have to have the ideas first and then work out how to play them. With the keyboard it's different, I usually always just turn the thing on, muck about, and a song or piece will come. The sounds will suggest a melody or chord arrangement and I'll just build up from there. As a result, my music is usually always very simple.

Are you active in your local music scene?
NO! I'm in self-imposed exile. I was active in the Metal and Punk scenes, but I burned out on all that. I don't want to be a scenester. I just want to hear music, see bands (occasionally), and leave it at that. So I can't even tell you who's playing lately in Melbourne or not. People overseas will know more than I do. It does mean being rather solitary, though, but I'd rather put up with that than the regular bullshit that is inevitably part of any music scene. It's a bit of a no-win situation. I love the idea of making music with other people, but how to avoid the live scene bullshit? I don't

Are there any music people you'd like to collaborate with?
Everyone. You. Anyone reading this interview. I have collaborated with Clinton Green, who records and plays as Undesisive God, and James Smith, who records as W.I.T., to great result. I enjoy working with other people, but the opportunity seldom comes. Clinton and I have a project called The Unnameable, which does abstract-dark-noise in tribute to H.P.Lovecraft, which is an ongoing project. I'd love to do more stuff with more people.

How has the internet affected you as an artist?
Because of a long period of being on the dole, it was very hard for me to get involved with the internet due to cost reasons. Now that I'm working it's easier, but for a long time I felt pretty frustrated at not having access. Now it's just great. Discovering MP3s was one of the most exiting things for me, like being a little kid again discovering the radio, and a teenager discovering tape trading. I'm still not sick of them. It's icing on the cake to hear how the major labels hate them so much. It's a sad thing that their predictions that it would cause irreparable damage to the Music Industry was simply paranoid hyperbole, but it's nice to dream. I love downloading free music and I love uploading my own stuff. It's the best fun.

Are there any other bands you're excited by?
It's not so much bands that I'm listening to these days. Usually when I get into a band, they've been around for a long time, as I like to discover stuff when I'm ready. I'm very exited by the music of the composer Arvo Part, who does some of the most uplifting and inspiring orchestral music I've ever heard. It's led me to explore the whole vocal-choir and 20th. century orchestral tradition. Also very into Morton Feldman's music for the Rothko Chapel, and would like to hear more of his stuff. As far as bands are concerned, the only band from around here I really like is 99, which is Laura MacFarlane's band. I've loved her music ever since I heard it, she's a genius. I believe she's still contactable at I saw Cat Hope play at the "What Is Music?" festival last year on an otherwise very uninspiring night, and she was great, very scary and impressive. She's connectable at but beware of pop-ups! It's a shame her abstract-noise band Lux Mammoth split recently, as they would have been fun live; their "New Gauge Sinner" cd is great. (It's also available from Her other band Geta Negra is fantastic on cd, some of the best "slowcore" rock stuff I've ever heard, and I'd love to see them live (their a Perth band so it's a big deal for them to come to

What's next for you, musically speaking?
I'm always doing something. At the moment The Unnameable is working on two movie soundtracks; that is, we've been contacted by two different people who are doing short Lovecraft movies and want us to do the soundtracks. Will these movies ever come out? Who knows but we're enjoying ourselves getting the sounds together. I'm presently going over all my older 4-track stuff and re-recording the songs that I never "released" on tape and am re-recording them better, or I did release but want to re-record anyway. I'm starting with what I think are the better of the old SCRS. stuff. Other upcoming projects include a version of Antonin Artuad's "To Be Done With The Judgement Of God", and a soundscape version of the Russian Supremist children's picture book, "A Tale Of Two Squares". Also versions of Paul Elluard's poem inspired by Picasso's "Guernica", and a version of Byron's poem "Darkness". I'm also working on a dada-ist audio collage version of the section of Milton's "Paradise Lost", where the demon Moloch is advocating a first strike against Heaven, juxtaposed with the American president's public speeches on similar topics.

What's the URL for your website?
I have no personal website. I have pages on Go to and you'll find a list of the pages available (seven so far). Or, just go to and look up The Incinerettes, De Profundis, Vermin Engine, Screwtape, The Scroungers, Sol Noir, The Unnameable and/or Ereshkigal in the search engine.

This is the stuff that I've burned to cdr. When something is available online, it means on the above MP3 URLs, for free download. So download away!

THE SCROUNGERS "Hail Hail Wrack And Ruin"
THE SCROUNGERS "When Your Tired Of Unemployment Your Tired Of Life"
THE SCROUNGERS "If I Can't Have A Revolution You Can Fuck Your Dance" Punk rock. A version of the first cd is available as "Satan! Satan! Satan! Oi! Oi! Oi!" (anyone who was in Australia during the Olympic games would get the joke) from Mortville, c/o Andy Koettel, 713 Grace St., Ottumwa IA 52501, U.S.A. There is some stuff available online, but very's a work in progress.

VERMIN ENGINE "Space Is Dangerous"
VERMIN ENGINE "Black Milk Of Daybreak We Drink You At Night"
This is essentially an extention of The Scroungers. Spacepunknoiserock. Instrumental stuff. What I think punk should be, rock against rock. The first album is more "Space Rock" while the second is more "Noise Rock". The second album at least is available online.

DEARTH-NFIOS "I At Your Shit Now I'll Eat Your Soul"
DEARTH-NFIOS "Sic Gloria Transit Mundi" (online)
DEARTH-NFIOS "Ihvh Elohim Meth (Ambient Joys Of The Afterlife)"
DEARTH-NFIOS "Nothing To Be Done"
DEARTH-NFIOS "So, You Wont' Talk..."
DEARTH-NFIOS "Lemiscrate Monolith"
DEARTH-NFIOS "Leviathan Cathedral (Black Light Black Heat)"
DEARTH-NFIOS "Feel My Vomit" Noise and power-electronics. I later changed the name of the project to Screwtape, so it's an extension of the above.
SCREWTAPE "Eli! Eli! Lama Sabachthani?" (online)
SCREWTAPE "Hail The New Dusk!"
SCREWTAPE "Archon Effluvia"
SCREWTAPE "Where Their Worms Dieth Not..."
SCREWTAPE "Tantric Violence"
SCREWTAPE "Global Fecund Buggery"
SCREWTAPE "Soulstorm"
SCREWTAPE "Mightier Than The Sword"
SCREWTAPE "Meditations In Antimatter" (two tracks online)
SCREWTAPE "Isaiah 24/20-21"

This is a collection of all the nice little rock instrumentals I recorded in the early to late 90's, all put together on on cd.
THE INCINERETTES "Cthulhu Selassie"
This is stuff I recorded on a friend's 8-track. Mostly instrumentals in the above vein. Available online.
GLOSSOLALIA "Slain In The Spirit"
Different from the tape version, it has stuff from other tapes and has excluded some of the more abstract stuff. Again, minimal rock instrumentals.
OSCULARUM INFAME "Shemhamforesh, Baby"
More songs with vocals and a more Metal influence.
ERESHKIGAL "De Frigidis Et Maelficiatis"
Much like the above but less Metal. Available online.
SHEOL "Chorazin Embassy"
More Goth-Metal, or as I call it "Black Pop". Getting pretty Satanic here. Available online.
VALE OF PEST "To Purge In Order To Cleanse"
Less Metal and Gothlike. Still dark. Available online but for some reason I decided to call the project De Profundis.

SOL NOIR "Night Over Eden"
SOL NOIR "The Fish Look Around"
Keyboard instrumental music. Both these albums are online.

This is a collection of things that I wanted to burn to cd but didn't know under what project name. Magnetic Storm was my high-school dream of having a band playing synthesizer music like my original influences, and the first three tracks are definitely that. The others move away from those influences a bit. I really should upload this.

THE UNNAMEABLE "But Of That, I Will Not Speak..."
To the writings of H.P.Lovecraft. Dark noise. Available online. Also available from .
Noise. Available online at James Smith is contactable at

As always, this stuff is available for free or exchange. I mean a swap of your music or anything else you do. I accept no money. If you send money I'll rip it up and send it back to you. My postal contact is
PO Box 356
Email is

In Almonsin-Metatron.

interviewed by Ian C Stewart

Who does what in Shy Rights Movement?

I write most of the songs and also sing and play guitar. Paul Doucet plays guitar and bass, sings the occasional backing vocal, produces and programmes the drum machine. Sometimes we write songs together – he’ll do the music and I’ll come up with some words.

Where did the band name come from?
It’s from a Garrison Keillor short story – about shy people starting a protest movement. I loved the idea and the name and thought it was apt, but I really don’t like Garrison Keillor’s work very much at all.

When did the band form?
Initially, in January 1995. We used to be a four piece, but half the band quit in ’99 and then I kind of fired the one remaining member, but he wasn’t really interested in the band anymore anyway. So I’m the only original member left.

How do your songs come to be?
I write about what happens to me and the people in my life. Songs come at me all the time - it’s just a matter of documenting them and not letting them get away. I write lyrics constantly and put them to music later, when I have a quiet moment with a guitar.

What all projects do you have going now?
Shy Rights Movement and my solo stuff are the only 2 on-going now. The solo stuff used to go under the name Frank Peck but now I just use my real name.

And how many releases do you have out?
There are 5 SRM tapes – Songs from the Smalltime, Live and Dead, Vanity Recordings, The Happiness Project and Reward Time. One 7 inch single too. Also, countless tracks on various CD and cassette compilations from various labels.

Solo stuff - 14 Frank Peck tapes and 2 under my own name. I’ve had other tapes out on other folks labels too. There’s a 2 CD thing coming out soon from Seagull Tapes in Omaha, Nebraska.

How many songs have you written?
That’s impossible to say. I’ve written so many, I couldn’t even put a rough number on it. Hundreds.

When did you start writing songs?
When I was about 6 or 7, I’d make up songs and sing them into a tape recorder. I couldn’t play an instrument or anything. I just liked making things up. Not just songs – I’d draw and write too (most kids do, right?) I started playing keyboard when I was a bit older and then got a guitar and started a band when I was 15.

Have you always been prolific?
Yes, because it’s an endlessly fascinating process for me. If you keep writing, there’s always the possibility that you might come up with something really amazing. It’s that search for the perfect song that drives me to write so much stuff.

Are you concerned with quality control?
Most of the things I write are never heard by anyone. It’s actually a good thing to write so much, because it means that the songs you keep are usually of a better standard. It means I can choose the songs which I think are the best and don’t have to fall back on weaker ones to fill out a tape.

Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
1. The Beatles. Obvious choice, but they really are hard to beat, and were one of the first bands I really loved as a kid.
2. The Smiths. They were the big band for me when I was a moody teenager.
3. Husker Du. The guitar sound itself still makes me shiver to this day.
4. American Music Club. Well, you’d expect me to say this. An incredible band.
5. Nick Drake. In a way, my main influence, because his guitar style is one which I’ve been trying to copy for years!

The thing that all of the people above have in common is great songwriting and that’s what influences me the most.

What's next for the band?
We’re recording a song for a forthcoming Daniel Johnston tribute CD and also some songs for a new tape.

What's the URL for the band website?

January 2003

by Ian C Stewart

Who does what in the band?
The drummer throws garbage and visits the landfill every weekday but Friday.
The bass player breeds hamsters for Richard Gere.
The guitar player is a virtual encyclopedia of stupid arpeggios that don't ever fit the song, but it makes him look better than the rest of the band. He also has the best facial hair and a strong chin like Jay Leno.

Where did the name come from?
Medical condition from a nursing dictionary.

When did the band form?
A full moon night when the end of Kwanza fell on the beginning of Ramadan, which was the the 13th day of Christmas and the 666th day of Hanuka twice removed.

How do your songs come to be?
We rip off Devil Cake songs.

Who are your five biggest musical influences and why?
Devil Cake, King Diamond, Yngwie Malmstein, Billy Sheehan and Chet McKracken.

What's the biggest show you've played so far?
The Hilltop Bean Feast and the Suicide Orgy show with Devil Cake and Snoop Dogg.

Any amusing band-related anecdotes you'd like to share with the world? True stories only, please.
THe drummer couldn't pay rent for the practice space because he was buying top of the line baby furniture.

What's next for the band?

Looking for a singer to do some recording.

I need a picture of the band, preferrably a live shot with all the players in it.
Please put in a picture of Devil Cake.

And give me a full discography.
1 fucken cd, called Semi:Colon.
January 2003