Friday, August 28, 2009

Don Joyce

Don Joyce

Don Joyce is a member of the band Negativland and the host of "Over The Edge," on KPFA, in California. His work as a sound collage artist has been well documented, since the early 1980's. Negativland have released over a dozen albums, not to mention their Over The Edge series, and Joyce has produced at least one solo album (1994's "We'll Be Right Back," from Staalplaat's Mort Aux Vaches series), as well.

Joyce was the very first person I interviewed for the program, when Some Assembly Required was in its first year, in 1999. I believe I played an unedited recording of our phone interview that year. A little over a year later, in early 2001, the produced version ran as part of a feature on Negativland, as the third artist feature to run in syndication (check it out HERE).

Since then, I've interviewed fellow Negativland member Mark Hosler twice on the show (and turned two of those three interviews into articles for local publications, City Pages and Ruminator). Meanwhile, the band have been on at least a couple of tours and released over a half dozen new albums (not to mention re-releases and DVDs). We had Hosler out to Minneapolis in 2004 to present some Negativland videos and give a talk as part of that year's Sound Unseen, and sponsored the band's art show at Creative Electric (also in Minneapolis) in 2006; and during all of this, Don Joyce has continued his radio work at KPFA, on his long-running radio program. Over The Edge has been on the air since 1981.

They've been keeping very busy since 1999 and it seemed like a good time to do another interview with Don Joyce, who suggested we turn this week's online Q&A with him into a feature for the radio show as well. Thanks to his direction, I've learned how to record my computer's "voice" reading his answers to the Q&A and produced it all to fit between tracks off of Negativland's 2006 Over The Edge release, "It's All In Your Head FM," along with some creative (and musical!) interpretations of their work by The 180 Gs, accompanied by the very Negativland tracks which inspired them... Check out Episode 238 HERE.

I'm as pleased to present this new Q&A with Don Joyce as I was to present that very first interview back in '99. His dedication to his craft has long been an inspiration, and I've admired his work in radio and as a member of Negativland for close to twenty of the thirty years they've been working at it...

Check out the "animation" of this Q&A in Episode 238, along with an update on the band Negativland. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Don Joyce...

*Name: Don Joyce

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: (Don Joyce programs/hosts “Over The Edge”, and is a member of Negativland.)

*Members: (In addition to Joyce, many members of the band Negativland have made frequent guest appearances on Over the Edge. The program also features characters such as Crosley Bendix, Pastor Dick, C. Elliot Friday, Dick Goodbody, Dr. Oslo Norway, Dick Vaughn and the Weatherman.)

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Well, mixed feelings is the byword here. I love the micro-manipulations digital editing provides, but I still prefer the carts for playback in performance mode. Nothing is faster or more foolproof than the physicality of analog carts for performing a live mix, especially for how they can be paced and continuously interspersed in a mix without losing their place.

*Another genre descriptor: (Receptacle Programming, Culture Jamming)

*Is there a story behind your name? In the early '80s, I wanted to try live mixing on the radio. I hoped it would sound like it was over the edge of expectability in terms of the general radio entertainment out there in the air, so the name seemed appropriate to my hope.

*Location: I remain situated here in Oakland, very close to the Berkeley line, but nevertheless in Oakland.

*Original Location: New Hampshire.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I was a geometric painter and then an electric light artist who got into radio for its potential as an expressive medium made out of sound, then saw its potential as a mixed mediums live "performance" format as well. Electric sparks of live "thereness" that painting lacks.

*History: I first tried college radio as a DJ, then OTE began on KPFA in 1981. For a short while it was a regular DJ show with odd records played, then morphed into a live mix of live and pre-recorded elements, a fragmented collage of found sound sort of thing. I only met Negativland agents through OTE and they came up to play, and that's when it changed from my DJ record playing operation to everything getting mixed together live from multiple sources with improvised content.

*Born: 1944, Keene, N.H.

*Motivations: I think when sampling began in pop music, in the '80s, it was bound to appeal to artsy artists on the basis of its abstraction potential, and it did. Beyond the instant appeal of a sound manipulation/technique that seemed to typify and yet demystify mass produced music, sampling began the bigger musical process of a deconstructional expansion all over the recorded past. Everyone from pop stars to avant musicians were involved, and still are.

*Philosophy/How would you like to be remembered: "In the future, nothing will remain intact."

*Web address:
Over The Edge:


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