Joe Frawley is a musician and composer, and a sound collage artist. His work is defined by the creative combination of his own improvisational piano playing, fleshed out with samples and sounds found in both natural and media environments. He has three records, to date. Wilhelmina’s Dream was put out in 2006, Tangerine in 2007. The Hypnotist is due in 2008.
For more information, check out his main website, as well as his pages at Myspace and YouTube. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Joe Frawley...
*Name: Joe Frawley
*Is there a story behind your name? I started out as a sort of neo-classical composer, self-publishing under my own name. Then, when I moved towards electronic music, I considered adopting some other hip moniker, but nothing felt sincere. Plus, I figured if someone named Harold Budd can find success with a name like that, then I should be able to as well.
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Someone needs to invent a term to describe my music. I haven't found a genre that fits closely. When people ask, I call it "hypnotic, sample-based sound collage mixed with piano compositions.” I've also used "cinema for the ear.” As far as technique, I sample from a broad range of source material - any recorded media with sound is fair game. This sometimes includes works of other composers, though I'm trying to move away from that. All my work so far has been done using freeware, incidentally: Isobuster for ripping CDs, and Audacity for everything else.
*Location: I was born in New York, but have lived in Connecticut most of my life.
*Original Location: New York
*What is your creative/artistic background: I studied music in college and all that, but I was educated more by listening to records than anything. I've dabbled in many different styles of music, since around 9 years old, but only now at 36 do I feel like I've found the work I'm meant to be doing. When I was young, my favorite rock music always had extra-musical elements. Sgt. Peppers was probably the first record I fell in love with. And, later, Kate Bush - especially her Hounds of Love album - had a big effect on me. The way the music on those recordings plays off of other sounds (voices, ambient noise, etc.) is very evocative and somehow deepens the listening experience. In a way, my work is an attempt to do that same thing with classical music (“Instrumental” is probably a better word, depending on your understanding of the term “classical”). I’m interested in exploring specific states of mind: dream-like states, nostalgia, fleeting memories, and the contemplation of beauty are all recurring themes in my pieces.
*Born: I was born July 4, 1971.
*Motivations: My "motivation" stems from my early listening experiences of the albums I mentioned, along with my current ambition to use those techniques in the classical/instrumental context.
*Philosophy: My philosophy is simple: I open myself to all different kinds of sounds, and choose the ones which have some resonance with me. Many times, I think they resonate for subconscious reasons. From that I try to build a composition which satisfies structurally, using the repetition of motives, and other techniques, to build a kind of drama. Ultimately, I create pieces which please me, and hope that they in turn please some others.
*How would you like to be remembered: I'd like for my work to be listened to well into the future. I don't know if it has lasting value or not, but I do think all artists are in some way trying to leave some sort of stamp. I'm no different, I suppose.
*Web address: www.joefrawleymusic.info