Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 2, 2006: Steve Fisk

July 2, 2006: Steve Fisk

Updated: July 4, 2006

Well, I guess its not going to be as easy to keep this up as I thought! Getting a new Q&A each and every week, that is. The scheduled feature this week is with Steve Fisk, so I'll just do a little online research and fill in the questions for now... (note: an email this afternoon from Mr. Fisk indicates that they are on their way)!

July 4 Update: They were indeed, and the updated Q&A is below. We agreed to simply add his (and bandmate, Greg Gillmore's) answers after the Q&A I started on Sunday. Read on...

Steve Fisk is one of those legendary figures in the world of sound collage. I first became aware of his work about eight years ago when I began a search for his record Over and Thru the Night. It had received rave reviews on one of the listservs I belonged to and at the time I was scrounging everywhere to find anything that recycled sound. Finding any clues whatsoever was exciting, and I sought out every album I caught wind of, back then. In a way, I kind of miss those days. Now I get a dozen CDs every month, and tons of emails announcing new releases every week, most of which don't even fit the format of the show! Having to sift through all of that, to find the one or two gems (inevitably hiding beneath it all), can be kind of a challenge. I'm happy to do it - don't get me wrong. I'm just remembering how it used to be - the thrill of the chase, as opposed to the process of elimination...

So after searching tirelessly for Steve Fisk's Over and Thru the Night, and always coming up empty-handed, I finally just called the label, or the distributor, or someone with a relationship to the record. I must have found their number online, I guess. The guy who answered the phone confirmed that the system did say it was out of print, but he hesitated and said he had a funny feeling... When he came back to the phone, he told me he had found a box hiding in a backroom or somewhere, and asked if I would like to place the order! Of course I did, and when the CD finally arrived in my mailbox, I felt like I'd found buried treasure.

The funny thing is, I was familiar with Fisk's work even before that record ever arrived in my mailbox, though I hadn't put two and two together at that point. He has worked as producer with several of my favorite bands over the years, including Nirvana, Soul Coughing, Low and Damien Jurado. He also produced a great spoken word CD by Steven Jesse Bernstein called Prison. He's worked with a ton of other artists as well - check out his website for more information about all the projects he's been involved with.

Here's the SAR Q&A with Steve Fisk, as filled in by me. Hopefully we'll be able to replace this, later this afternoon. If not, here goes...


*Name: Steve Fisk

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Fisk joined vocalist Shawn Smith to form Pigeonhed, releasing their debut album in 1993. See below for a list of other bands he's been in...

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Steve Fisk is an engineer, producer and musician. His solo records often use sampling techniques and include lots of appropriated sounds. My guess is that he's familiar with both tape manipulations and digital deconstructions.

*Location: Seattle, Washington

*What is your creative/artistic background: (Copied directly from his Myspace page...)
Greg Gilmore, Leo Mayberry and I play "improvised" shows infrequently around the Northwest. We're working on a name. We might have a "live" record soon. I have played in Heather Duby's band. I have rocked with Kim Thayil, George Lynch and Dave Alvin. I was also in Cut Out, Pell Mell, Pigeonhed, Halo Benders, Anonymous, Customer Service, Tiny Holes, War with Elevators, The Fisk Fibers, Nashville Chubs and the Tennesee Tanglers, The Elrukns, Havana 3 A.M., Tungus Grump, John Foster's Pop Philosphers, West Side Lockers and the Chains of Hell Orchestra.

*History: (also from Fisk's Myspace page...) I also produce records. The Wedding Present, Screaming Trees, Unwound, Beat Happening and MANY others. The list is at Career Highlite: I believe I was the first person to interveiw Dot Wiggin about the Shaggs and their wonderfull record "Philosphy of the World."

*Web address:

July 4 Update: Since posting this Q&A, Steve Fisk and Greg Gilmore wrote in with some answers, pertaining to their band,
Archivaro Vertical, so I’ll add them here, as a short “PS” to this week’s SAR Q&A, with Steve Fisk…

*Name: "Archivaro Vertical"

*Members: Steven Henry Fisk,
Greg Gilmore, Leo Mayberry

*Founding Members: same

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: no

*Another genre descriptor:
Greg Gilmore: If you make up a weird word to describe yourself you'll just be asked to define what it means. Then you're in trouble.

*Location: Seattle

*What is your creative/artistic background:
Steve Fisk: I was in bands, studied comp somewhat formally. Greg was in bands and knows too much about computers. Leo is a VJ.

*History: 4 years

Steve Fisk: I was born in Long Beach, California. I don't know about the other guys.
Greg Gilmore: Just a few years after Steve, in Verdun, France.

Steve Fisk: We try to entertain ourselves and our small audience. We never rehearse. So I guess we're improvisers.
Greg Gilmore: Discovering what music might come from a pregnant, empty moment.

Steve Fisk: We never rehearse.

*How would you like to be remembered:
Steve Fisk: We never took the easy way out.
Greg Gilmore: And we never rehearsed.

*Web address:
Steve Fisk:
Greg Gilmore: Like a cobler with no shoes...


July 4 Update: Thanks to Steve Fisk and Greg Gilmore for contributing to this week's SAR Q&A!

Check out this week's podcast (episode 82) to hear tracks by Steve Fisk (two actually - one of which also features Bob Basenich and Mark Hosler) and nine other sound collage artists! As mentioned above, Fisk has a page at myspace, you can check it out HERE. Check out the SAR Myspace page while you're at it.

Don't forget - I'll be spinning tape manipulations, digital deconstructions and turntable creations at The Minnesota Museum of American Art this Thursday, July 6th - along with performaces by Beatrix*JAR and Canadian. The MMAA is in St. Paul at 50 W. Kellogg Boulevard, in St. Paul, MN. Their telephone number is (651) 266-1030 - for more info.
(Patio Nights: 7PM, $5, All Ages).

Also, directly after the MMAA show, at Nomad Pub on the West Bank (Minneapolis), Catherine Campion has set up a night of music and movies. Cat's in the band Canadian, and has a history of unexpected wonderfulness (in regards to Some Assembly Required, especially). Her new band Canadian will be performing, with One For the Team along with a schedule of short films, including the brand new video collage collaboration between myself (Escape Mechanism) and R Room. Check out the video HERE, and/or stop down after visiting us at the MMAA. The Nomad Pub is located at 501 Cedar Avenue, in South Minneapolis. The event starts at 10PM.

That's it for this week - Hope to see you all at The MMAA and/or The Nomad this Thursday!
Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

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