Busy in the studio, but taking a break to attend to the podcast... Tune in to episode #110 in just a few... uploading as we speak. Our feature this week is on Realistic - read on!
[Update: Check out our 2007 phone interview with Realistic in Episode 164]
Realistic is James Towning, a musician and graphic designer originally from Ohio, where he also performed in a band called Fact TwentyTwo. Some Assembly Required listeners will most certainly be more familiar with his current project, which has gotten quite a few spins over the years.
I got my first Realistic record from Seeland around the turn of the century. That album, Maidenhead (1998), was a co-release with another label called Black Music. Illegal Art put out the follow-up, titled Private Moments (2001), which is the album which made me a HUGE fan. There is a new Realistic record in the works, so be on the lookout for that. There are a few compilation appearances and remix albums as well, so be sure to check out their website.
We'll be doing a feature on Realistic, including a phone interview with Mr. Towning, in an upcoming episode of Some Assembly Required [Update: Check it out in Episode 164]. So, while you're looking forward to that, here's the SAR Q&A with Realistic's James Towning...
*Founding Member: James Towning
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital deconstructions… I mostly use the application Cubase SX on my Mac with various software synths, samplers, and effects. After many years of wrestling with MIDI hardware and OMS, I really like it being self-contained in one box now. When mining for audio content, I tend to choose sounds that are from everywhere in my life. I moved to Brooklyn, NY a few years ago and I have a portable digital recorder that I carry with me most of the time. There's such a rich texture of sound and visuals here. I'm constantly entertained with what I record. And I continue to collect thrift-store records and cassettes. I love composing little sound pieces using whatever source material I choose. It’s a cathartic, fun, and essential part of my life.
*Location: Brooklyn, NY
*Original Location: Ohio
*What is your creative/artistic background: Art school in the 1980's. I work as a graphic designer now.
*History: In 1986 I started recording electronic music under the name Fact TwentyTwo. Initially it was me and another guy - Dave Butler. Dave would sing and I would make music using a Roland 303/606 combo and some Casios and an Ensoniq Mirage sampler. We were in art school in Ohio at the time. We had lots of fun. Eventually, Fact TwentyTwo became my solo project. I sequenced the music on an Ensoniq synth MIDI-connected with various samplers and drum machines. I would then record everything including my vocals to an 8-track reel-to-reel and then master to DAT. In the early 1990's the graphic design magazine Emigré started a record label and they released two Fact TwentyTwo CDs. A third CD called Sticky Pop was self-released in 1995. At that point I started putting the Realistic "Maidenhead" album together using the application Deck and a Macintosh computer. My process hasn't changed much since then.
*Born: I was born in 1963 in Marysville, CA.
*Motivations: It makes me happy.
*Philosophy: None really.
*How would you like to be remembered: As a relevant artist.
*Web address: http://www.blackmail.com/realistic
Thanks to Realistic for being the featured artist this week! Be sure to check out their website. You can visit our links page to visit a vast majority of the artists who get aired weekly here on Some Assembly Required. Its updated regularly, and if you notice someone's missing, please drop me a line and let me know. I can be reached at assembly (AT) detritus (DOT) net. Always good to hear from you!
Thanks for listening,