Buttfinger must have been a late addition to the Wifflefist family, as just when I thought the collective was officially history, the website had a new group listed as one of its own. Buttfinger is Tommy Birchett, from the state of Viriginia. He has three albums available on Broadcastatic, Interfear k7 and Wifflefist. Much of the material is available at his website as well.
Oh, I hate having to play this project! I have to admit it. I'm just a little too uptight to say their name without apologizing, and I hate myself for it. There are no legal reasons why not to, so when I do play them (and I do, because they're good), I do say the name, but it's either giggle like a schoolgirl or hem and haw like an old man, as I do. Either way, it's just (yet another) reminder that I'm getting old. What with all the crazy names bands these days are coming up with...
Anyway... Buttfinger is quite good with his dual cassette deck and built in turntable. I imagine he's moved beyond these limited means by now, but that's how he describes having gotten started. It reminds me of my original set up. I imagine a lot of sound collage artists got started in very similar ways - just experimenting with whatever means they have at their disposal.
Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Buttfinger...
*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Tommy Buttfigga, b-figga, cuttfinger
*Do you use a pseudonym? Yes, Rev. Tommy Birdscheidt
*Members: it's just me, 1 lonely dude.
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: All of the above, but if I have to pick one I'd say "turntable manipulations." It started with a dual cassette deck my parents gave me as a gift. I begged for that tape deck because I wanted to make mix tapes using my existing cassettes for sharing with friends. It didn't take long for me to realize this cheap tape deck had a really precise pause edit button that allowed me to cut and paste beautifully. As a kid in the mid-1980’s, I recorded lots of radio and TV fragments to cassette. I created lots of cut and paste tapes for my friends. One of my first successful pause-edit creations was a collage that consisted of buzzers and bells from an episode of the TV show The Family Feud. When I played the collage piece for my friends they loved it. I was inspired to continue. As I got older I grew interested in breakdancing and rap culture. My dual cassette recorder had a built-in record player, so naturally I started teaching myself how to scratch. I was never any good at it, but when I started to get interested in Punk and DIY I realized being good was not necessary, so I just kept with it. This Cut-n-Scratch-n-Paste eventually got branded with the ridiculously juvenile name "Buttfinger" and it stuck. Some of the more recent creations have been manipulated or refined digitally, but the Cut-n-Scratch-n-Paste sound is still in effect. Actually, it's not just sound-- there are now several videos. I have most of them collected on a self-released DVD-R.
*Is there a story behind your name? I wish I had a better story for you here, but the truth is I was sitting down at work one day eating a candy bar. I had a pair of scissors and some transparent tape. I was bored.
*Location: Most recently based in Richmond, Virginia, previously based in Farmville, Virginia.
*Original Location: I was born in Hopewell, Virginia. All of these places are in Central
Virginia, in the Richmond area.
*What is your creative/artistic background: Other than what I've already described, I have worked with photocopy, photography, field recordings and digital art. I am part of the radio-based collective Broadcastatic and the sound recording and performance group Ting Ting Jahe.
*History: I began making my tape mix/collages around 1987.
*Born: Hopewell, VA. December, 1969.
*Motivations: I love to chop up media and I don't mind if I make a mess.
*Philosophy: Record. Cut. Scratch. Paste. Pause. Play. Repeat.
*How would you like to be remembered: "Tommy was a pretty nice guy" would be good enough for me.
*Web address: http://www.broadcastatic.org/buttfinger