Foo Fest 2013: Timeghost
| An interview with Adam Morosky of Timeghost |
When did you first come to Providence, and what brought you here? How did you get involved with AS220?
I first moved here almost 10 years ago. It seemed like a place where people go to hone their skills rather than try to get famous fast. When I first started playing noise in high school, I had some older friends that turned me on to some Providence bands and told me the shows here were insane. I got hooked on it and it’s been the most important thing to me ever since, for better or worse. I’m not involved with AS220 personally, but I’ve been to some great events there and it’s a crucial part of Providence.
How has the Providence music scene evolved in your eyes? How has it fostered your work?
I can’t account for all of the music in Providence, but from my experience within a very peripheral scene, if people have enough space and time they can make their best music. When there are enough active spaces to play over extended periods of time, the music community grows. Time and space can be expensive, so when rent is cheap in Providence the music community can spend more time making music for you to hear and less time making your lunch at a restaurant or your bed at a hotel. Of course there are other factors like support from audiences, access to equipment, and knowledge to run a show smoothly, but without ample time and space there is no studio space or shows at all.
Who are some of your favorite local artists?
It would be too easy to name close friends. I recently heard Wendy Carlos was born in Pawtucket, which might not count because she doesn’t live here now. She makes pencil drawings of cats, some of the most famous electronic music records in history including my favorite: the opening theme music of Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining, in addition to keeping public lists of people that she hates.
I have the impression that you work very independently. What are your thoughts on collaborating with other artists and musicians? Have you, and if so, how does that work for Timeghost?
I started performing around here in bands and occasionally I get together with other people to experiment. Most recently I have toured and collaborated with Luke Moldof, another local modular synthesist who came out of the noise crowd. I also recorded recently with the vocalist Laurie Amat, who has performed and recorded with The Residents and Der Blutarsch. Collaboration is great for breaking familiar patterns and experimenting with irregular processes. It’s also perfect for making ugly, cathartic, and completely boring things, which is all necessary. Sometimes I think Timeghost should be a band with other people. Maybe at some point if the right people come along.
How do you interact with and engage your audience in a live performance?
Every show is different. Sometimes I turn my back to everyone and concentrate entirely on the sound. Sometimes I run electrical current into people or throw garbage at them. The one consistent thing is to maintain a corporeal or visceral element, relating the sound to another bodily sensation through visuals, tactility, smell, heat, or other things. Eye contact is sometimes the most powerful element, and the most difficult to do effectively.
For you, how does performing live differ from recording in a studio?
Obviously, at a performance there’s a bunch of people standing around and there’s a limited amount of time. When I record I’m usually alone and I improvise until I get tired. Then I take a break for a few hours or days. When I return, there’s a lot of listening and deciding. At a show, I like there to be parts that I am both familiar and unfamiliar with., like a structured improvisation. I manipulate pre-recorded sounds and mix them with live sounds. Sometimes the changes happening to one sound is connected to a visual thing happening. When I record, I mostly pay attention to the sounds unless it is for a video recording.
How was your Spring 2013 Tour?
It felt like a real tour. It was exciting, alienating, tedious, upsetting, fun, and at times it made me question why I do this or anything at all. Mission accomplished! I had the great pleasure of travelling with Luke Moldof and Bernard Herman, both of whom are insightful, exciting, and honest musicians to get feedback from.
In your writing process, what elements come first? Lyrics, sound, etc.
For me, sound and text are two very different outlets. I don’t see one coming before another, they both just exist on their own and at some point they get put together. I haven’t been writing lyrics much lately, but a recent performance of mine included a two-part piece of prose based on stories my brother told me about fighting in the Iraq war. Lately, a difference between music and text is that lyrics come from outside sources and the sounds come from a relationship to my instruments. I set up systems that generate different sounds and then make compositional decisions after listening to improvisations or field recordings. I occasionally use dream content for lyrics, but I still see that as my mind channeling and interpreting outside stimulation.
In what environment are you most inspired to create? Time of day, location, alone or improvising in a performance, etc.
Typically alone and very late at night after reading, writing, and cleaning the studio thoroughly. My studio is in a loud neighborhood above a business, so my favorite time is when everyone goes home and sleeps. I like working in isolation. I’ve also gotten pretty accustomed to coming up with things right before a show, to test out new challenges and use the performance as opportunity to experiment.
What are you currently listening to?
Lately I’ve been very inspired by the first record by the Spanish Industrial band Esplendor Geometrico, as well as the Los Angeles Free Music Society group called Solid Eye. This summer, I regularly listen to the LP “Sonic Seasonings” by W. Carlos, “Umma Gumma” by Pink Floyd, and “Collapsed” by Emptyset. I can put on Harry Partch, Conrad Schnitzler, Delia Derbyshire, and Coil at just about any time. Just for fun, I listen to on ABBA, Cro-Mags, ZZ Top, and the songs “Wooly Bully”, “Little Rug Bug”, or “Tequila!”.
Can you talk about what recording your new LP for Load Records has been like?
It has been slow but some exciting results are starting to take shape. The record may take longer than we had hoped but both the label and I agree that it shouldn’t be rushed. It’s one of the best opportunities I have been given so far, and I am humbled to have been offered unexpectedly.
What should we look forward to from you at Foo Fest?
I have no idea. I probably won’t know until the night before the show.