AUTOreverse #14, summer 2011
Ian C Stewart
Let’s start by talking about your musical influences. Who are your biggest influences and why? Who were your early musical influences?
My primary musical influences are actually quite orthodox and considering the character of my electronica tend not to fall into the more predictable categories. This is also because a lot my work expresses a part of myself that I live with but not always from. I grew up with rock music and with rock music I remain, especially Paul Westerberg and Van Morrison. I adore The Beach Boys, The Who, The Stooges, early Bowie, The Smiths and Morrissey. I love cheesy country and trucking music, but also Blue Oyster Cult and The Beatles. However, I enjoy electronic music, usually ambient, and also primo American punk, such as Husker Du and Ramones.
I have lately been obsessed with The Model by Kraftwerk and the soundtrack by Popol Vuh for Aguirre: Wrath of God, the latter epitomising to me what ambience can be: exotic, otherworldly yet grounded and penetrating.
I listen to very little electronic music like my own. One is only so strong…in fact, once I was mixing a track for hours on headphones and at the end of it found myself totally disassociated and neurally damaged. So that mix was a success.
Where do you see your music heading?
It’s always my aspiration to explore and create new sounds and embrace new collaborations. Basically I just want to expand the palette of sound I can use. At both ends of the spectrum – underground and commercial – I want to reach the respective audience more effectively, continue to refine my texts, work with more fellow cult artists and especially create bodies of work that deserve respect.
What music software do you use?
Other people’s… Seriously, when I did a lot of mixing myself I used no-brainer stuff. I started with that labyrinth of technical challenge some called e-Jay. I then used rudimentary freeware such as Multiquence. I tinkered with n-Track, and similar programs. Against all odds I created what I termed “486Core”, a world of lo-fi weirdness. I did eventually become somewhat proficient and my shortcomings were forgiven by my conceptual sense. But I am no Fugelwicz.
And then, one day, I made a fantastic discovery: If I archived my mixes other people would remix them. I’ve never looked back. And so now, vicariously, I use other people’s software. People who know how to use it.
Remixing has been my revelation. Well into my amazing journey with michael dent, whose words and voice had reactivated my interest in my work as Datawhore, a nom de loop by then kinda well known to the online underground electronic community, I got tired again. Creating my album with michael, Div Joyvision was a fantastic experience and a privilege to bring to some people a real talent of my own discovering. It took a lot of time and ideas and energy, and I was tapped out.
Couldn’t let it go, though. I needed a way to make it last, milk it and expand it.
For a while I had been active on Tapegerm. The standard of work there is very high and the buzz tangible. I decided, skeptical of my chances, to post an archive of files for “When I Die” from the Div album and wait and see. I expected nothing. Shortly, remixes began to come in. Amazing remixes. michael had worked with Mick Harvey; he ended up doing one. Eric Debris of legendary Paris punk pioneers Metal Urbain did one. Most importantly, it’s how I came across Dave Fugelwicz, who has done some incredible work with my spoken word material.
I uploaded more archives. More remixes flowed in. I began to see the power and beauty of this idea. How it reinvents your work through others. I was always two people. Now I could see I can and will – must – become a dozen, more, a thousand, a legion. I wasn’t lonely anymore.
Sleep on the Edge by Dave Fuglewicz & Jeremy Gluck
Is there any other music software you plan on getting?
Other people’s, when they upgrade it.
What’s in your home studio setup?
My mind, a ten dollar mic, Cool Edit and…um, that’s it.
Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
I can’t play an instrument. I am a singer and songwriter by vocation. And writer. I write lyrics, poetry or texts and record spoken word for others to use in mixes. I used to rely on samples and loops but I have no real desire now to mix from scratch.
Tell us about your latest releases.
I’ve released a 21-track album online via iTunes et al entitled “Everlove” that features mixes by Dub Gabriel and Brendon Moeller. Also a new net label release via Fracaso entitled “Jeremy Gluck and Michael Dent ‘Div Joyrevision’ (Matt Ellis Mixes)”, which is the latest of a series of net label releases for me.
Can you describe your songwriting methods?
I rarely write “songs” now, though for years I did. I write poems or texts and record them as spoken word, give them to mixers and stand back. However, depending on the project, I can work quite conventionally on song-structured material. I can spend a lot of time editing my words.
What made you decide to start making music of your own?
Part of my motivation for living online from 1995 was, after many reversals offline, the fact that I could control and create without limitation, with no middlemen and no editing. I have operated in the offline recording and publishing worlds with some success, but annoyance with the offline valuation of creative work – ie how much money it makes – pissed me off. I love the virtual arena because it is less concerned with that orientation. Having said which, I have had some satisfactions working offline and do value physical product, be it a book, CD, or written article.
Having been a lyricist and singer for many years but never a composer, I found the sudden ability to solely compose very exciting and liberating. My capacities on the machine improved and little by little I became more and more ambitious with my compositions.
So began the years of lonely tinkering. Fascinated by the dynamics and skewed spirit of cyberspace, I used crude PC audio tools to create lateral mutant sound collages that aspired to capture the energy of cyberspace. Chat rooms, cheesy religion, Microsoft and whatever else I could find pieces of floating around online sound file archives, plus my own cut up texts, were juxtaposed over abused generic dance music. Everything flowed from that sonic abscess. Ten years later I’ve already had a fantastic creative adventure and sense it is only just beginning.
Surrendered to My Function (2000) by Jeremy Gluck & Binda23 (iTunes/Surrism Phonoethics)
Are you active in your local music scene?
If by that you mean “the world”, then, yes. Otherwise, no. I only leave my house to buy dark chocolate.
Who would you like to collaborate with on new music?
This divides neatly into artists I already collaborate with, like Dave Fuglewicz, whose talent has created a considerable body of work together, and new prospects like Bronwyn Bonney.
What other bands are you’re excited by?
The ones I listened to when I was 15. I don’t listen much to new bands, I am saturated at this point. I tend to revisit and find more and more in the artists I’ve always loved.
What’s next for you, musically speaking?
I always have a number of projects and pieces in development with diverse artists.
Firstly, a CD by my ambient rock’n’roll Carbon Manual project, with two guys from Bristol, Iain Weir and Cliff Gee. Our debut came out in 2009 on Red Star Digital Music. We are working on a new collection featuring a collaboration with Lydia Lunch. We make our live debut in Bristol in October with Silver Apples, which I am excited about.
Dave Fuglewicz is about to finish another mix, which is always cause for delight. We released a net label comp on Terranean earlier this year and the hits just keep on coming!
In addition I am collaborating intensively with an American ambient artist named Don Tyler and Swiss artist Lisa on a new electronic project that will break cover next year. He’s a leading mastering engineer, so it’s cool seeing how he works, which is with great precision.
I’ve got a release due on AntiClock, with Bronwyn Bonney of Crime and the City Solution reading.
Her voice and songs are superb and I am thrilled she agreed to read for me.
Apart from that will be the usual stream of remix collaborations. And my old band, The Barracudas, may even record; we are reforming for some Spanish gigs, so anything is possible!
What did I forget to ask you?
You forgot to “ask” me when I became enlightened. Don’t worry, a lot of pseople get intimidated by it.
Is there a complete discography of your work somewhere?
A discography of my electronica is a challenge. You can find several compilations on iTunes under “Datawhore”, plus under my own name additionally a handful of albums of electronica, including remixes. My work also appears on numerous Tapegerm and other online releases.
As for my legacy rock’n’roll and assorted:
thank you, Jeremy!