Friday, May 30, 2008

DOVentertainment Interview

This week's episode features our long awaited phone interview with DOVentertainment's Charles Watson. We did a Q&A with Watson last March (2007), so instead of a new Q&A this week, here's a list of the DOVentertainment artists featured in this week's episode, with links to their Q&A's...


Nubile G & The Spurious Whiz

Steinski and Mass Media

The Tape-beatles

We've also done phone interviews with these artists, and many more (including John Oswald, who is also featured in this week's episode). Check out the growing list of artists we've interviewed over the years (many of which are available for download) HERE.

Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

Episode 208, Some Assembly Required

Episode 208, Some Assembly Required
(Featuring an interview with DOVentertainment's Charles Watson)

01 John Oswald - “Brown”
02 Nubile G & The Spurious Whiz - “Your jolly giant”
03 Nubile G & The Spurious Whiz - “America Is A Paper Tiger”
04 Steinski and Mass Media - “The motorcade sped on”
05 Producers for Bob - “Bababababobby”
06 Negativland - “Tribal mandate”
07 Steinski and Mass Media - “It's up to you (the war mix)”
08 The Tape-beatles - “I Can't Do It”
09 The Tape-beatles - “Desire”

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Q&A update

Believe it or not, it's often difficult to get artists to talk about their work. Though, I suppose, if our Q&A were just about the artist's work, it might not be as difficult. While those personal questions might put some folks off, I think they make the features much more interesting. I, for one, am just as interested in people's personal motivations - and those are the details which are very often left out of the Official Bios and Artist Statements.

I tried to make the Q&A as generic as possible, with that in mind, hoping that while some artists will feel compelled to stick to his or her official story, others will flesh it out in a more revealing way. I want to include everybody, of course, however they choose to respond. That's the most important thing. A little background on each artist, regardless of what kind of details they choose to share. Over 100 and counting - so far, so good.

Anyway, the point is I'm not able to bring you a fresh Q&A this week, but you can check out past Q&As with artists we're featuring in this week's episode... For example, Antediluvian Rocking Horse, The Beige Channel, The Bran Flakes, Idiom Creak, Lecture on Nothing and Donna Summer (aka Jason Forrest) have all been featured at the SAR Blog over the past couple of years. Check out our list of previous SAR Q&As at the Interview Page (scroll down to the very bottom of that page), here at the SAR website.

Next week's episode is the long-awaited DOVentertainment interview! I tracked down Charles Watson over a year ago, who agreed to a phone interview and Q&A. Watson is one of the founders of the influential label and one half of the band, Nubile G and The Spurious Whiz. The online feature was posted in March, 2007 - Check it out HERE - and the interview episode has only recently been produced and scheduled. Since we've already posted his Q&A, we won't have a new one next week either, but we will be featuring Q&A's with artists such as Douglas Kahn, Tom Roe and Copycat in June, so stay tuned for that as well. There's lots to look forward to. Until then...

Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Episode 69, Some Assembly Required

Episode 69, Some Assembly Required

01 Lecture on Nothing - "Making excuses"
02 Idiom Creak - "Jet powered monkey navigated"
03 The Beige Channel - "The man"
04 Donna Summer - "Time and its other"
05 People Like Us - "Ipanmnmna"
06 Lance Lockarm - "Bring the music back"
07 Messerchups - "Hyperboloid of engineer Gitarkin”
08 Idiom Creak - "3gaining consciousness"
09 Donna Summer - "Melodrama in transformation"
10 Antediluvian Rocking Horse - "Road hog"
11 The Bran Flakes - "Champagne music"
12 DJ Shadow - "Mutual slump"

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

John Fleetham

John Fleetham

John Fleetham is a Minnesota based musician, who also works with film and video. He has at least one record, called "Tea Choir," and another in the works (to be titled "The Metonymy Suite"). There is relatively little info to be found online, so this is one of those Q&A's which will add some much needed information about an artist you've heard on Some Assembly Required!

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with John Fleetham...

*Name: Well, I'm John Fleetham.

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: No.

*Do you use a pseudonym? No. To the extent that the Christian and surname actually are my innermost self, not just signifiers, I don't use a pseudonym.

*Members: Just me.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Started off with tape but I work digitally now. However I came relatively late to computer recording so I think that I have a method of working that is still very much habituated from working with tape. I like doing things in the simplest way even if it takes longer than it might otherwise with better software, hardware, plug-ins, etc. However, I must admit poverty is perhaps a primary reason for this. I don't know how beneficial it is to get into specifics with regard to working techniques.

*Another genre descriptor: That's a difficult one because when people who ordinarily don't listen to anything other than what's on the radio (the Other Radio) have asked me about my music, I have been very resistant to describing it to them. I would be more likely to describe my work as noise rather than (godforbid!) 'electronica,' although to me, noise is something Merzbow specializes in and I don't often sound like Merbow. What's always of interest in the process is the balance between what may have been originally conceived, what is intentionally accidental and what is meticulously worked over.

*Location: St. Paul, Minnesota.

*Original Location: St. Louis Park, MN

*What is your creative/artistic background: In addition to music: writing (heavily in previous years, almost not at all now), painting (same), and currently film/video work.

*History: Age 14 began recording and did some very nice abstract stuff at that. I just finished a short film with actors and a script where I used a piece I did when I was fifteen playing a ukelele through a mic which was plugged into my stepfather's Fender Vibroverb amp. It sounds like Middle Eastern music, but the current form of it was digitized and accentuated a bit.

*Born: I was born November of 1977, in St. Louis Park (MN).

*Motivations: I love hearing new music. I miss Let it Be records, which was on Nicolett (Avenue, in Minneapolis), because they had an 'unconventional' section which was often well stocked. Nothing compares with it now. I hear about new music from the Wire magazine and the Aquarious Records website. Appreciating art has always inspired me to make my own. I cannot be only a spectator or listener. And when you can't afford to buy an album it's also easier to just make you own!

*Philosophy: My biggest musical and editorial influence is the Hafler Trio. For those who know there's a clue and for those who don't, there's a recommendation. I believe in the pursuit of "possible music." As far as pure philosophy is concerned, I like Jacques Lacan, but I appreciate him aesthetically (particularly the seminars which were spoken events, not written papers). For Lacan, even the question of Dasein, or Being, or dealing with trauma and life and death is all a matter of style. It's one thing to have an aesthetic philosophy, but an entirely different thing to execute art. Works happen within circumstances; sometimes circumstances which can be so limiting as to make real creations impossible. Ideally I would like to be conducting an "orchestra" of sitars, bagpipes, steel guitars, gamelans and giant wind chimes. That's not terribly easy to do. To some extent the wonderful thing about sampling makes it possible for me to "sketch" something like this. I can sample all these instruments and put something together. It's not the same as the orchestra. but it's possible music. Sometimes that can be truly ecstatic. It's like when you hear a radio in a warehouse, or a loud public space and you hear this weird, beautiful song. You listen for a few minutes trying to hear it and when you get closer you find it was a song you already knew but your mind created something else entirely. Something which doesn't exist. That's possible music too.

*How would you like to be remembered: Why, is there something I should know?

*Web address: Don't have one. Email is ok.

Episode 207, Some Assembly Required

Episode 207, Some Assembly Required

01 Lobsterdust - “Marley Maiden (from Exodus to Revelations)”
02 John Fleetham - “Autistic Palace”
03 Brian Joseph Davis - “Stravinski”
04 DJ QBert – “Seven”
05 Oh Astro – “Candy Sun Smiles”
06 Lenlow – “J-Lo vs K-Co vs S-Wo”
07 Joe Frawley – “Metaphor”
08 The Bran Flakes – “Mutual Admiration And Love”
09 Loo & Placido - “Bigger than love”
10 Big City Orchestra - “Untitled (Villanella, track 01)”
11 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Characteristic mix”
12 Twink - “Life Is But A Dream”
13 Dj Js-1 - “Ventilation (Scratchapella)”
14 Wayne Butane - “Untitled (Backwash, track 08)”
15 ToToM – “The Way Simple Men Are”

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Owen O'Toole

Owen O'Toole

Owen O'Toole is a Los Angleles based composer, often working with film, who has worked with many projects, including Wet Gate, the all 16mm Projector Ensemble, who we presented with Sound Unseen in 2001. I interviewed O'Toole around this same time. Check out the Some Assembly Required interview with Owen O'Toole HERE.

This Q&A is a good way of of updating that interview, as he has of course continued working in the meantime. He managed his own record label for a period and of course had his own radio show(s), in addition to creating film and audio collage with groups and as a solo artist.

He has many websites, pointing to many projects. Check out his
super8 film collaboration, A Filmers Almanac, the 16mm Projector Orchestra, Wet Gate and his Blog, to name just a few.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Owen O'Toole...

*Name: Owen O’Toole

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: I currently use my given name as a solo artist, although I collaborate on an ongoing basis with other filmmakers and sound artists. Wet Gate is an example of one of those collaborations. Synapse Octet is another, with Charles Kremenak and John Reily using multiple super8 projectors. Wet Gate was founded by myself, Peter Conheim and Steve Dye after we all helped build a performance for someone else.

*Do you use a pseudonym?
- Wafer Face --- record label
- Dark Matter --- radio show (antique and avant garde music)

- I participated in various Festivals of Plagiarism and/or Festivals of Beef (protests against US wars).

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I do sound collage hybrid of found materials and music/sounds I make myself.

*Location: I am in the Los Angeles region trying to work as a composer/sound designer for film and television.

*Original Location:

*What is your creative/artistic background: I'm a visual artist, drawing and film, first. Got into doing radio programs in Boston and I tired quickly of playing sets of music, one song after the next. I began making tape loops and using tape delay effect which grew into my personal form of sound art. Also studied with sound artist and filmmaker Richard Lerman at the Boston Museum School (1983-86). He's a wonderful guy who encouraged me to develop my own methods.

*History: In some ways all of my sound work is an extension of the radio shows I did on and off for 15 years. I studied experimental music and film, began making my own work involving sampling and "process,” altering found sounds into new work, often involving slowing sounds down. A typical radio involved a few intro recordings and then beginning to mix sources, create looping patterns and record that on reel to reel; the halfway point of the program meant turning the tape over to mix the backwards first half of the night with ongoing forward motion, a kind of time stretch in 2 directions. Did many collaborative radio shows over the years. I have not fully moved into the digital/virtual sound world, still using table-top electronics, although I cut in ProTools. I'm a bit of a Luddite and resisted getting sucked into computer use as long as I could. I was also in a short lived group called Loaf of Wonder with Hahn Rowe (Hugo Largo, Foetus) and Jake Dillon (who played amplified electric football games) many years ago. Hahn also encouraged my use of tape loops and general sound exploration.

*Born: 5.20.61

*Motivations/Philosophy: To be alive at a time when so many modes of expression and communication exist is a wonderful thing. At the same time it is bitter sweet to see humanity sucking the life out of the planet, destroying so much of the natural world around us.

*How would you like to be remembered: I always hoped to produce great work that would awaken people to the beauty and wonder in the world and maybe lead to lives lived more sensitively to the fragile balance of life on Earth.

*Web address:
- I have several web presences and am just developing my personal artist site:
- A film I made just before moving to Los Angeles 2 years ago:

- Website for the international super8 film collaboration I initiated:

- Blogs:,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Episode 68, Some Assembly Required

Episode 68, Some Assembly Required
(featuring an interview with Owen O'Toole)

01 Escape Mechanism - "Draining"
02 The Coherent Encoherence - "A bell shall ring"
03 Beyond There - "The positive step"
04 The Plagiarist - "Louisiana cookin'"
05 Wet Gate - "(Performance excerpt)"
06 The Plagiarist - "Creature"
07 Dad's New Slacks - "144 arguments for the elimination of television"
08 Platzangst - "I can't do it (again)"
09 The Plagiarist - "Fernando"
10 The Tape-beatles - "I can't do it"
11 Splatt - "Rockin' teenage combo"
12 The Evolution Control Committee – “Toot”
13 The Evolution Control Committee - "Don't miss the great snatch"

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New episode on the way

Never fear - a new episode is on the way! I've been out of town this week and the next couple of episodes are on my home computer, so I can't upload them from the road, as I had planned (oops). Stay tuned for this week's episode featuring our interview with Wet Gate's Owen O'toole.

Jon Nelson

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Stark Effect

Stark Effect

Stark Effect is California's Dr. David Dixon. He's a lecturer in physics at California Polytechnic State University and a member of the Snuggles Collective. His work has been included on compilations such as Boom Selection's "Never Mind the Bootlegs" and Free Speech For Sale. He's been featured on The Dr. Demento Show and XFM, and does everything from dictionaraoke tracks and mashups to sound collage and "mic in" tracks. Check out his website for more information and lots of free downloads.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Stark Effect...

*Name: Stark Effect

*Members: Stark Effect is just me, David Dixon.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Everything I do could be done by anyone with a PC, the appropriate software, and a keyboard acting as a MIDI controller. And an idea.

*Is there a story behind your name? Since I'm a physicist by training, I figured I should have a physics-oriented band name. I briefly considered calling myself the "Bersenheig Unprinciply Certaintle,” but thought it too abstruse. I settled on "Stark Effect" because it actually describes a physical phenomenon, namely the shift of electronic energy levels of an atom under the influence of a static electric field (named for Johannes Stark), but also because "stark" can be interpreted as "harsh" or "blunt.”

*Location: Los Osos, CA

*Original Location: I was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, near Milwaukee.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I wrote my first song when I was 6, on an air-driven organ that had special keys for playing chords. Early songs had titles like "Mellow-Dee.” Dr. Demento's show had a huge influence on me, to the extent that my first username on BBS's (bulletin board systems, for you young'uns) was "Mr. Parody.” I wrote "In The Gravy" to the tune of The Village People's "In The Navy."

*History: I listened to a lot of "new age" music (Vangelis, Jarre, etc.) during my formative teens, and had a series of Casiotone keyboards that got a lot of attention. My first formal lessons came in college, when it was already too late. During my first year of grad school, I recorded a tape of my own instrumentals (played on a Kawai K-4, which I still have), and shopped it around to various new age labels. I still have the rejection letters, somewhere.

*Born: April 7, 1970

*Motivations: What motivates me is that I want people to have an emotional connection to what I do. When you make a mix tape for a friend, you choose the tracks that convey beauty, or longing, or sadness, or jubilance, or surrealistic "what-the-f***?" I choose samples the same way. My primary influences are twofold: Steve Reich and Negativland. Steve Reich's "Different Trains,” using samples of Holocaust survivors as musical instruments, totally rocked half of my world when I first heard it in the early 90's. Negativland's collages rocked the other half. I bought a sampler and did some rudimentary explorations (which can be heard on my website, under "juvenalia"). These artists opened me up to using human speech as a musical element, which is what the Stark Effect tracks are all about. The "mic in track" songs, recorded between 2001 and 2004, are the best things I've ever done. I haven't been artistically active for a couple of years, because I feel like I've taken the "mic in track" idea as far as it needs to go. I have no immediate plans to make new music.

*Philosophy: The mathematician Carl Gauss had this as his motto: "Few, but ripe."

*How would you like to be remembered: I'd like to be remembered as someone who'd be memorable.

*Web address: All of my music can be downloaded for free at:

Episode 67, Some Assembly Required

Episode 67, Some Assembly Required

01 Stark Effect - "Gonna make you stupid"
02 Steev Hise - "Finale from Requiem for (un)dead popstars"
03 People Like Us - "Snippy"
04 The Beige Channel - "It happened"
05 Negativland - "Cityman"
06 V/VM - "The lady in red (is dancing with meat)"
07 Quahogs - "Smooth window"
08 Stop Children - "Medicine head 24 hour"
09 Steinski - "Lolita (burning mix)"
10 Steinski - "Hot spot (Terrible love mix)"
11 Stark Effect - "Armour hot kids"
12 Wobbly - "Wild Why (track 1)"
13 Wobbly - "Wild Why (track 2)"
14 Wobbly - "Wild Why (track 3)"
15 Conway - "Lisa's got hives"
16 Lecture on Nothing - "Customs (Other people)"

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