of BROWNIAN MOTION and THE ERNIE
interviewed by Ian C Stewart
Are you feeling Mouthy about anything in particular right now?
Well, I’ve become an ever-vocal supporter of copyleft. Free information!
Let’s talk about your sonic influences. Who are your biggest influences and why? Who were your early musical influences?
There are many. I like all sorts of things, but at least within the general vicinity of what I do, Hafler Trio is pretty big. Aube is, too. I cite Killer Bug, but really the one track that is inspirational is the one on the Music Should Hurt comp. I’d also say Negativland, Ryoji Ikeda, and Nurse With Wound all fit in there. All of the above involve the creative manipulation of diverse sources. That’s what really makes me like them.
Where do you see your music/sound heading?
More layers and hacking. Less distortion.
What music software do you use?
My major tool is Audio Hijack Pro. I got it for a totally different reason (one of the few pieces of software I’ve paid for, as I prefer free and open source) but the fact that it will hijack a source or sources of audio and then allow you to use various plugins to manipulate the source and then record it in high quality format makes it priceless. The thing that makes it extra special is it will record the changes happening to the effects. Some similar software won’t do this.
Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
It’s more a question of using it. I’d really like to put Pure Data to use (this is the sort of “original” version of the Max/MSP software that Autechre and many other glitch/IDM artists use) to generate some virtual audio devices. Unrelated to this project, I’d like to make use of Sunvox for some KLF-ish culture jamming via updated tracker interface.
What’s in your home studio setup?
Heh, not much to it. The main workhorse is a Powerbook G4 running Leopard (though it’s destined to get a Unix/Linux dual boot). The Intel iMac isn’t as portable and doesn’t get quite as used for this project. My pedals got stolen a long time ago and really haven’t gone back to any sort of physical interface since.
Can you describe your sound-assembly methods?
Without going into huge detail, I like to give what I’m about to do a lot of forethought, but let the process sort of unfold as it’s happening. I really enjoy using sources that either I haven’t listened to or are dynamic so that there’s always a surprise. On the first album there a quite a couple unexpected surprises that I was really excited about.
What made you decide to start making music/sounds of your own?
I started making ambient/experimental/noise stuff in Lakewood, Ohio, whilst living with Patrick from Inovercy/Subliminal Self. There were names like Darkness Within Darkness and Shades Of Pink On A Grey field or something like that. I never released it. Probably should, some day, but all I’ve got is four track tapes and no four track tape player. Anywho, making sound just seemed appropriate. I was really inspired by people I knew (Bacillus’ glue records) and bands I had heard about– how they just did it out of whatever was around. I didn’t really do anything in earnest, though, until many years later. I really just happened to be hacking around with my computer and suddenly realized its potential for some interesting stuff. It speaks to the geek in me, anyways. And I’m pretty full up with that. Up until this point, I had been sort of dismayed that I couldn’t do anything. Pedals were wonderful, but unaffordable from my perspective. The earliest works were really exploratory- I didn’t really have a vision for what I wanted to do. I just knew that I wanted to do something.
Is there a good music scene where you live?
Yep, I’m part of a little group of noisey folks. It’s a pretty vibrant scene full of different ideas.
Who would you like to collaborate with on new sounds?
Anyone. I find that collaboration is a particularly healthy environment to open one up to new ideas. I’m at a loss for names because there are too many of them! I have been collaborating with Jon Seven aka President Blair (who runs the Timetheory netlabel: http://jon7.net/timetheory) as The ERNIE 4 and have really enjoyed that a lot. There is a never-ending stream of new ideas. We’ve played a couple shows together and have been doing a “virtual tour,” broadcasting a near-weekly set over the Internet (somewhat like Future Sound of London’s “ISDN” tour).
What other bands are you’re excited by?
Again, trying to stick to the genre, Crank Sturgeon, Joke Lanz/Sudden Infant, and PCRV/Matt Taggart have been getting a lot of airplay. There are many others, though. As for the locals, I point to [view], Warning Broken Machine, Chefkirk, Hobby Knife, I Died, I.N.R.I., to name a few. I also do a weekly beat-oriented electronic music show under the monkier dj x∃n (http://djxen.tumblr.com/) that focuses on free music, so I’ve found a lot of really interesting breakcore, IDM, glitch, techno, etc. etc. One really inspirational fellow is Goodiepal aka Gæoudjiparl aka Parl Kristian Bjørn Vester. Look him up!
What’s next for you, musically speaking?
Get album #2 on a netlabel. I wanted to stay local but not finding a home yet so I’m expanding wider. Album #3 needs to be recorded, but my plan for it will likely involve some more serious hardware. Let’s just say I’ll likely end up with a ham radio license and a software defined radio out of the whole project. It’s pretty ambitious.
What did I forget to ask you?
Why noise? I don’t exactly have synæsthesia but certainly experience sound deeply. Though I love poetry, I rarely listen to lyrics, and instead focus on the essential elements of music. It all boils down to pure sound. I certainly value traditional music, but also find value in pure sounds. I love ambient and don’t see it as much difference from noise once you get past the fact that one uses a palette of more “harsh” sounds. More importantly, music is another art form. Just as visual art is filled with different forms (not just renaissance or romanticism or even impressionism, but extremes like earth art, minimalism, abstract expressionism, analytical cubism, etc.) so it should be with music. Visual art is a treat for the eyes. Music is a treat for the ears. All of us certainly have gotten excited by speaker panning or tritones or a phaser or some basic part of a whole work. I just exploit that.
What’s the URL for your website?
http://brownianmotion.bandcamp.com is the main source of information for the time being. There’s also a Facebook page.
And give me a full discography.
Since there’s not much released yet, I’ll give you a musicography:
As Brownian Motion
-Midnight Vawk In The Park, 2009 on Timetheory (tmth-011) and Bandcamp (both digital)
-More Culture Than A Pint Of Probiotics, 2010, unreleased
As The ERNIE 4
-live show, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR, 16 April 2011
-live 063011, 2011, on Timetheory (CD, though hasn’t officially been giving a catalog number; it’s a pretty limited edition so far)*
-live show, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR, 2 July 2011
-live 070711, 2011, unreleased*
* these are part of the “Icecast tour.” We plan on producing physical CDs for each “leg” of the tour, and then it is done, releasing the whole set digitally.
Thank you, Walter!