Sunday, January 27, 2008

Escape Mechanism

Escape Mechanism

Happy birthday, Some Assembly Required! To celebrate SAR's 9th birthday (as well as the 200th episode!) we're playing musical chairs: For this week's Q&A, Jon will switch places and take the interviewee chair. And the honor of sitting in the interviewer's chair goes to me: TradeMark G., of The Evolution Control Committee.

Listeners of Some Assembly Required know well the familiar voice of Jon Nelson, who has hosted SAR since its inception. But his founding of this show is no accident -- did you know Jon is an audio collage artist himself? And did you know Jon is a NON-audio collage artist too? Few know what Jon does off the clock, and for this special occasion, I convinced him to take the hot seat so we can all learn more about him.

As I recall, I first learned about Jon from his own audio collage music under the name Escape Mechanism. I remember complimenting him on how clean the sounds were, and that his attention to detail really carried through. I wasn't the only one to notice -- his debut CD was reviewed in dozens of publications, and even a profile in WIRE Magazine. It also cemented his involvement in the cut-n-paste art world, resulting not only in the SAR radio show (syndicated to dozens of radio stations weekly) but also Jon's Festival of Appropriation, and his involvement in the Sound Unseen film festival. His own visual art regularly exhibits in galleries, with a major solo show coming up...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Escape Mechanism...

*Name: Escape Mechanism

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: My name is Jonathan Nelson...

*Do you use a pseudonym? I host Some Assembly Required as Jon Nelson, and use the project name “Escape Mechanism,” when it comes to my own work as a sound collage artist.

*Members: Both Escape Mechanism and Some Assembly Required are solo projects. However, I have been supported and encouraged by a lot of people, including Amirali Raissnia, Gregg Boullosa, Corey Hanssen and Jayme Halbritter, who were the principle players in a short lived, but fun extension/combination of both projects, where we personally mixed sound collage live, both on the show and in performance spaces around Minneapolis. There have been many other players on that front, and many more who’ve been involved in other areas. For instance, I'll forever be in debt to Catherine Campion and Kate Iverson, for the major roles they’ve played in helping to promote Some Assembly Required over the years.

*Founding Members: Just me...

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I started working with a single dual cassette deck, in my teens. I’ve discovered, through many interviews with SAR artists, that this was in no way unusual. Years later, I learned to manipulate reel to reel tape recorders, using razor blades and wax pencils. I eventually got involved with college radio, in Minneapolis, where I was trained to edit digitally. So, mainly digital, but some tape... and very occasional experiments with vinyl.

*Another genre descriptor: It’s not really a genre descriptor, but Escape Mechanism’s catch phrase is “100% recycled,” because every sound incorporated into my collages is recycled exclusively from the media environment. In fact, SAR actually started out as a showcase for other artists who were 100% recycled. Fortunately, I decided to widen the parameters just the tiniest bit and we’ve been focusing more generally, on sample-based music and audio art since 1999.

*Why you use this descriptor: See above…

*Location: Minnesota. I’ve lived in the city of Minneapolis the longest (over ten years), but have spent lots of time in other places, namely Duluth (MN) and Chicago (IL).

*Original Location: I was born in Dallas, Texas.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I loved to draw when I was a kid, and got interested in Xerox Art, Sound Collage and Photography in high school. In college, I studied Fine Art for a few years, before my interest in sound collage propelled me toward a major in Production for Radio. From there, I got involved at my college radio station in Minneapolis. Eventually, I set up my own little production studio, and released my first album, an EP, in 1997, with a full-length follow-up in 1998. The radio program has been my main focus since then, although I have put out a couple of live albums – one with my own band (on Recombinations, in 2004) and another with Steev Hise, The Tape-beatles and Wobbly (on Staalplaat, in 2002). I’ve also been showing my visual assemblage work, and mounting sound installations, since the late 90's.

*History: My family moved to the suburbs of Minneapolis when I was 7 years old, and to the suburbs of Chicago when I was 17. I spent over three years at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and then Columbia College, in Chicago, through my early twenties. I was moving back, again, to Minnesota not long thereafter, and ended up volunteering at KUOM for just over a decade, where I started working on Some Assembly Required. I’ve worked all kinds of jobs in the meantime, and tried to be as creative as I could be, in spite of everything else that was going on.

*Born: Texas, 1974.

*Motivations: To champion works which illustrate the beauty of that which is Strangely Familiar… and to create some of my own surreal tracks as well.

*Philosophy: Some kind of a cross between the Road Less Traveled and the Middle Path.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a creative person - an artist - who tried very diligently to introduce a rather under appreciated art form to a few people who may not have noticed it otherwise. Hopefully I was able to encourage a little creativity in the process.

*Web address:

Episode 200, Some Assembly Required

Episode 200, Some Assembly Required

01 2 Many DJs - “Smells like booty”
02 The Avalanches - “Frontier Psychiatrist”
03 Stunt Rock – “A funny sample and a bad guitar loop do not a song make”
04 People Like Us – “Dolly Pardon”
05 Steinski and Mass Media – “Xen to one ratio”
06 The Tape-beatles – “The law of repetition”
07 The Evolution Control Committee – “Rocked By Rape”
08 DJ Abilities – “Well Being”
09 Lecture on Nothing – “Fresh makeup”
10 Negativland – “Michael Jackson”
11 Secret Mommy – “The Culture”
12 Escape Mechanism - “Today”
13 Aggro1 - “Untitled (Johnny Cash vs. Ashanti)”
14 Public Works - “Persuasion”
15 Listen With Sarah – “World Wide Hula”
16 Party Ben - “Fischervana (smells like emerge)”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Square Root of Evil

The Square Root of Evil

The Square Root of Evil is film editor, music promoter and internet radio programmer, Jen Pearson, from Vancouver, BC. She's been featured on over a half dozen compilations, on US, UK and Canadian labels, including Toast and Jam's "We Bore 2." She currently has one EP, called "Chirping Data" out on Belladonna Records.

Her work has been described as everything from IDM, Breakcore, Techno, 8 bit, Drum 'n Bass, Glitch and Jungle, as the sub-sub-sub genres continue to split further and further... She's done some touring, and has been threatening to release another EP, so be on the lookout for performances and new material by this Canadian laptop artist...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with The Square Root of Evil!

The Square Root of Evil

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Not this project...

*Do you use a pseudonym? So it would seem.

*Members: Just me.

*Founding Members: Jen Pearson

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital Deconstructions, I suppose - I like to take sounds that I have found or recorded and use them to make something else.

*Another genre descriptor: I like Plunderphonics too, but don't usually use a descriptor. My friend Kinoko came up with "Smiletronics" to describe her music. I like to think that works for me, too.

*Is there a story behind your name? It's not that exciting sadly. I am a big fan of the 60's show "The Avengers,” so when looking for a name I turned to that as inspiration. One of the episodes was called "The Square Root of Evil" and when I googled it, I found all kinds of joke equations about how the Square Root of Evil is women. I decided it was perfect.

*Location: Vancouver, BC

*Original Location: Vancouver, BC

*What is your creative/artistic background: My dad was a great guitar player and baritone singer. My mom is a singer. They used to play shows when I was young, and music was always a part of my life growing up. I took band in school and made a half-assed attempt to be a rock n roll star, but never really got serious until I could do it all myself.

*History: I started in 2000.

*Born: In early November, in a hospital that is no longer there.

*Motivations: Having fun, making people smile, getting the tunes in my mind out in order to make room for more. I really like eclectic dance music, so much so that only listening wasn't enough.

*Philosophy: Music is fun! Dance! Nod your head! Tap your toes!

*How would you like to be remembered: Favourably.

*Web address:

Episode 199, Some Assembly Required

Episode 199, Some Assembly Required

01 Go Home Productions – “Papa Was A Clock”
02 Mr. Dark Keys – “Dinner With Death”
03 Splatt - “Tie (Dirty mixer)”
04 DJ Shadow – “Midnight In A Perfect World”
05 The Bran Flakes – “Countdown To The End (Choo Choo Mix)”
06 The X-Men – “A turntable experience”
07 Go Home Productions – “Happy Behaviour”
08 Brain Shivers – “Questionable”
09 The Evolution Control Committee – “By the time I get to Arizona”
10 E-Jay & Rocky-Rock – “Music Evolution”
11 The Square Root Of Evil - “I Hate Him Even More Now”
12 Forty One – “Penzoil”
13 DJ Cal (Calle Hansson)- “Nona Drove All Night”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Go Home Productions

Go Home Productions

GHP is Mark Vidler, the very grounded, well known and equally talented mashup artist from the UK. He's best known for his work as a Bastard Pop artist, but has also been quite busy doing more traditional remixes, in addition to some creative work for television and radio (Update: We did a phone interview with him in 2008. Check it out HERE). He's been a featured artist on XFM, WFMU, LIVE105 and the BBC, just to name a few, and is one of the few mashup artists to have his work legally available. Don't ask me how, but he's managed it... His album "This Was Pop (2002-2007)," a 5 year bootleg retrospective, is also available as a free download at his website.

He's actually made his entire back catalog available - a couple hundred tracks at least, by my estimate - downloadable by album. Check it out HERE. There are a small handful of mashup artists I've learned to trust and Go Home Productions is definitely in the top five. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Go Home Productions...

*Name: Go Home Productions

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Mark Vidler / Go Home Productions

*Do you use a pseudonym? I have used various pseudonym's over the years: Lord Greystoke / Tarzan Of The Apes / English Cheddar Produce / Allen Dean / iBall Hard Life / The Kray Twins amongst others...

*Members: Just the one. I get claustrophobic.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: 'Digital Deconstructions' would suit me best I guess. All the bootlegs and original material are digitally created on the whole. I use hardware too, my guitars (via my Pod XT).

*Another genre descriptor: 'Psychedelectronics' is what I'd describe some of my more experimental stuff that I toy with in my spare time. Weird soundscapes with little or no form or structure. They are just personal sketches and very theraputic.

*Location: I'm currently based in Watford and have been for the past 10 years.

*What is your creative/artistic background: After dropping out of art school in 1987, I joined Camden based 'World Of Music' as a guitarist. We then morphed into 'Chicane' around 1990. We achieved a fair degree of success. 5 singles and an album. Played by Peel / Radio 1. Supported Spiritualized / Catherine Wheel, signed to BMG. Eventually left the band in 1996. In 2002, I felt the need to get back into the 'business' and created Go Home Productions.

*History: This year (2007), Go Home Productions has been creating for five years. On a personal level I've been making some sort of recorded noise since 1983.

*Born: I was born in Barnet (North London - UK), 1967 (the summer of love). So... that makes me a very healthy 40 years of age ...and yes, I look pretty good on it.

*Motivations: I've always made music in some form or another. My father being a classically trained pianist, my mother forcing me to watch TOTP and my uncles bending my ears with Beatles / Stones / Osmonds and Abba, all made a pretty big influence on me I guess. It's in my blood. In a weird way I see what I do (and what I have done) is paying homage to all the artists and bands that I grew up loving. I'm fortunate to have met, made friends and worked with a healthy handful of them. It's very much been worth it. That's what keeps me going.

*Philosophy: Not too much philosophy to be fair. Just tampering and remolding 'pop' music, or 'sounds' that I like. Yes, I'm manipulating other people’s work but I like to think I've applied a healthy splash of red to their canvas. My original material tastes many flavours: electro - dub - psych - soundtrack.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a good son, brother, husband, uncle and friend.

*Web address:

Episode 198, Some Assembly Required

Episode 198, Some Assembly Required

01 Aggro1 - “Behind these immigrant eyes”
02 Orchid Spangiafora – “Summertime”
03 Jason Forrest – “Storming Blues Rock”
04 DJ Astro – “Con Man”
05 Negativland - “Please Don't Sue Us”
06 Beyond There - “On wax”
07 Go Home Productions - “2 Months in a Disco”
08 Negativland - “Christianity Is Stupid”
09 Part 2 - “Wireless 2012”
10 Steve Fisk – “Vacation”
11 Wobbly - “Yyyoooooo,Yyooooohhh,Yoooooh,Yyyyyyyyyooooh,Property,Yyyyy,Aaaaaaaahhhh,Yoyoyo C'mon”
12 Listen With Sarah – “Bored Of Techno / Can't Speak Now”
13 Go Home Productions - “Don't Hold Back, Sweet Jane”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Divide & Kreate

Divide & Kreate

Divide & Kreate is a Swedish producer who's busied himself with remixes and mashups since about 2004. His mashup, “Always With You,” is really one of my all-time favorite bastard pop tracks. It's a tender ballad, not really intended to get a party started, mashing U2 with Willie Nelson, “Pump up the volume,” by MARRS, and piano work by former punk rocker Joakim Thastrom.

This is one of those Q&As which is all the more necessary, apparently, as I'm finding very little else on the web about this artist (who has chosen to keep his real name a secret, for the time being). Unfortunately, that doesn't make for the best introduction... Ah well, I guess I'm just making it that much easier for the next person to introduce him. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Divide & Kreate...

*Name: Divide & Kreate

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Erm... no, but I guess you could call it a mainstreamish general disaster.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Oh yes, yes I do.

*Members: Wouldn't you all like to know... Although many people are led to believe I am two people it's only me, me and myself. Me, myself and my ego.

*Founding Members: That would be me. Or my ego.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I would classify it as bootlegs and/or remixes as I these days do a little bit of both. It's a painfully slow process. I usually have a general idea of what I want to do. That idea doesn't often work out that well... but now and then it does. Most of the time it's a trial and error process, at least when it comes to bootlegs. Remixes is a little bit different. Anyhoo, once you have your idea it's all about sequencing your different loops and patterns into some kind of structure. Here I can spend several hours. Literally wasting time. Listening to the same few seconds of a mix over and over and over. I guess I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. Once a mix is finished I’m frankly bored to death with it... can’t listen to it for days. It’s like I’ve heard it so many times it lost its meaning.

*Another genre descriptor: No, not really, although if I had to label my style I would call it 'pop punk'

*Why you use this descriptor: Many pop songs today are very boring and produced in an uninteresting way. I find it very amusing to wreck pop songs with rock based tunes. It makes the songs come more alive, gives them an edge so to speak.

*Location: Stockholm, Sweden

*What is your creative/artistic background: I did play in a rock band once. Like 15 years ago. I played the guitar. I remember we had a hard time finding a bass player, everyone wanted to play the guitar. I still play some occasional chords on my acoustic guitar nowadays but I have forgotten how to read notes.

*History: For about 3 years now.

*Born: I was born in 1976 in the most southern part of Sweden. I’ve only been living in Stockholm for the past 7 years.

It's all about the creative process. It's very similar to playing with Lego. It's all about the journey. Once you're finished you're tired of it. Next!

*Philosophy: There are no rules! It's all about having fun and provoking people.

*How would you like to be remembered: I would like to be remembered as a talented bloke.

*Web address:

Episode 197, Some Assembly Required

Episode 197, Some Assembly Required

01 Divide & Kreate – “Always with you”
02 Secret Mommy – “The Beach”
03 Slate – “X Marks The Skratch”
04 Scratch Perverts – “Adventures on the wheels of steel”
05 Jeffrey Sconce - “The raspberry reaper”
06 DJ Danger Mouse - “Public service announcement”
07 Cannibals Eating Cannibals – “Theme from Droplift II”
08 Realistic – “Amazing Fall”
09 People Like Us – “Oompah Pumpah”
10 Peanut Butter Wolf - “The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.)”
11 Myeck Waters - “Hey mister storyteller”
12 Quahogs – “Smooth window”
13 Forty One – “Sugarfoot rag”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SAR Q&A x 2007

Happy New Year, everyone. It's finally 2008 and I'm excited to create the following year-end list for those of you who may have missed one or two of our features over the past twelve months...

There were over forty new SAR Q&As this past year. Just like last year, the intent was to upload a new artist feature each and every week, and I was pretty good about it in 2007. Below you'll find the list, along with links to each of the respective artist features. Enjoy!
Jon Nelson

A plus D

Jim Allenspach




The Beige Channel

Ros Bobos


DJ Cal

Greg Carr

Daniel Steven Crafts

The Droplift Project

DJ Earlybird

The Evolution Control Committee

Forty One

DJ Foundation

Joe Frawley

The Freelance Hellraiser

Steev Hise

Junkshop Coyote


Tim Maloney

DJ Marvel

The Piss

Wes Nisker

Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz

Orchid Spangiafora


Ergo Phizmiz


RX Music


Janek Schaefer



Carl Stone

Rob Swift

The Tape-beatles

James Tenney

Jan Turkenburg

Wax Audio

Wax Tailor

Want more?
There were over forty Q&As uploaded in 2006 as well. They're all linked to from the bottom of the SAR Interview page, where you'll also find a list of all the phone interviews we've done with SAR artists over the years (may of which are available to listen to online)...

Check it out HERE.