14 September 2009

Inner-VIew W/Julianna Barwick


...second* in a series of inner-views with random artists whom I think might be the future... long-scale guesses, open-asks, shrills and tidings - sweeping up detritus from the aether regions, old hands swapping with new faces...

Your music strikes me as very 'benevolent'( see here for what I mean by that); is it designed to be?

I've heard from a lot of people that they find my music very relaxing, chilled-out, meditative, etc. I saw on itunes the other day that 2 kids said that 'florine' helped them get through finals! I'm not aiming to make peaceful or zen'd-out music- it all kind of comes out the way it wants to so i guess most of them are slows jams- i'm a pretty relaxed, daydreamy, easy-going person so maybe that's why it sounds the way it sounds. If it takes people to a dreamy place when they listen then i'm really happy about that.

There's a clear similarity to certain kinds of religious, choral music; is this a conscious influence?

Totally. I grew up going to church 3 times a week and we sang a
cappella. Beautiful, beautiful hymns with layers and layers of vocals and
even some quirky 'fun' ones with clapping and female vocals and male
vocals taking turns, and back and forth. this undoubtedly informed my
musical tastes. Later I was in choir in high school and then an opera
chorus so I was always acquainted with the human voice and what it can do
in a choral setting. I just love the sound of many voices coming together-
especially the swells of emotion in most hymns and choral pieces. the
church i sang in when I was a kid was a cavernous space that supplied a
beautiful, echoing, ringing reverb that also has stuck with me. I try to
achieve that kind of sound in most of what i do.

I've never seen you play but I'm curious how your stuff translates to a live setting...

it's just me on stage, with some stuff, building the loops one at a time - usually just singing. It can take close to ten minutes sometimes to
end up with the 'song'. It's starting with the spare, lone vocals and
builds to a choir of sound - of sorts.

Are you going to play in the UK anytime soon?

Would love to but no immediate plans as of yet. spring?

For the sake of the techie geeks that read this(you know who you are) could we have an equipment / software list? You use a Loop Station don't you?

...sure do - i sing into a shure mic (sm58)- into an effects pedal (helicon voice tone create- the only pedal i could find that was made specifically
for voice and that has reverb, delay, and tons of other effects, all in
one), into a roland rc-50 loop station - you can build 3 loops at a time
and fade in and out, and that's it. i've been known to use an electric
guitar occasionally, keyboards, a triangle, and some other things (even a
brian eno iphone app---yes), but 90% of the time it's just me and singing
and the equipment.

Care to name some musical influences?

...aforementioned church music, bjork, thom yorke/radiohead, panda bear/animal collective, boy choirs (i've seen the american boy choir, vienna boys choir, and the boys choir of harlem live- so amazing)-- there are tons of musicians/groups that i love but as far as influencing me - those take the cake.

Anyone you'd like to collaborate with?

...any of the above, antony, nico muhly, bill callahan, black dice, film scorers, city center, laurie anderson.

What about non-musical influences? Films? Books? Which book do you think you could soundtrack effectively?

...almost as influential, but not quite, as my experience singing in church,
was seeing the film 'empire of the sun' when i was 7 or 8 in the theater.
the song 'suo gan' has played a pretty important role in my life - i love
it so much. and the rest of the soundtrack has gorgeous choral music that
i have always been smitten with. i think aesthetically 'the virgin suicides' is one of the most beautiful films-- lots of kubrick, too - visually, he made my favorite films, hands-down. I, like everyone else, am a huge salinger fan. i could completely
visualize all of his books in my mind - like no other author- so wonderful.
my favorite book, though, is probably 'the fountainhead' by ayn rand. i,
for better or worse, love the idea of an individualistic mindset. doing
our best, making yourself better - i loved not only the story but the
themes in the book. that being said, i'd love to score a new version of 'the fountainhead' and a close second would be the short 'a perfect day for bananafish' from salinger's 'nine stories'.

Is ambient a dirty word? It always seems like it is.

...it connotes ugly things. but there's a lot of beauty in the 'ambient'
world.

Are you interested in scoring an actual choir?

YES. someday. yes.

Are there any forthcoming projects that we should be aware of?
i'm working on the next record, will have a song featured in the
forthcoming 'esopus 13 CD' (esopusmag.com), have a project going on
kickstarter.com to try and put the florine ep on vinyl
(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/928045737/florine-ep-on-vinyl-limited-edition),
lots of shows stateside soon and everywhere else for spring.


Did I read somewhere that you've done some remixing?


Yes, i was asked by the people at XL to do a remix for radiohead's
'reckoner' and jack penate's 'tonight's today'.


*You must remember the Weird Tapes Inner-View?????
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