Interviews

 

Kreuzblut Mathias Grassow ambient album cover

Kreuzblut

 

Kreuzblut: 
AV (Michael Brückner) Talks with...Mathias Grassow
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Mathias Grassow

Mathias Grassow

MB:  To me it’s always interesting to learn about the complete picture, including how an artist arrived at his particular way of making music, therefore I start with my questions at a very early point.  Can You still remember, on which occasion a drone – as a noteworthy sonic or musical event in itself – ever grabbed your attention? Or else, some other musical key experience from your childhood?

MG:  Well, those were probably sounds which rather reached me on a subconscious level, and it’s hard to remember any of them consciously. The sound of the ocean surf? Faraway church bells? Some vague memories arise, similar to those triggered by fragrances, but I can’t really tell why, for example, those bells ringing from the distance touch me so deeply. Certainly there must have been also musical experiences very early on but I can’t recall which songs or albums that had been, either.   

MB:  Were there any artistic influences coming from your family or wider social environment, e.g. were your parents or other important adults around you musicians? And since spirituality plays an important role in your music, or goes along with it, I’d also be interested how much influence your parents had in such matters.  

MG:  There hardly had been any spiritual or religious influence. Also, I don’t come from a family of musicians. My brother wanted to take piano lessons, and later my parents offered the same to me as well. However I wasn’t interested in walking the path of a classical musician or visiting a conservatory. Which turned out the right decision, because when finally the wish arose to play keyboards I already was 16 and felt more clearly what I really wanted to do.

Click here for the complete interview with Mathias Grassow

 

Indesterren Tom Eaton ambient album cover

Indesterren

 

Indesterren: 
AV Talks with...Tom Eaton
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Tom Eaton

Tom Eaton

AV:  How does your work as an engineer/co-producer help you when it comes to composing and fine tuning your own music?

TE:  I started working with synthesizers around 1987 while in high school and it was that experience that started me down the road of thinking about how sounds go together.  When you create sounds from scratch it becomes apparent relatively quickly that the arrangement of timbres has everything to do with how clearly each part is heard.  After dropping out of college and working for a few years for a company that installed commercial sound systems, I opened my own commercial studio in 1993. By that point I was a pretty competent synth programmer with a reasonable sense of how to shape sounds to make them work together, and I took that sense of arranging sonic elements of a track into producing records for the acoustic world of the Boston singer/songwriter folk scene.  Over the past 23 years I've worked on hundreds of albums in all kinds of genres and I continue to do whatever I can to balance the elements of a song in a way that seems to get the message of the music across.  Of course having a commercial studio at my disposal helped tremendously when I finally decided to turn my attention to my own music… and all that time between the speakers makes me pretty comfortable with the choices I made as I worked on my own material.

Click here for the complete interview with Tom Eaton

 

What We Left Behind

 

What We Left Behind: 
Michael Brückner Talks with...Robert Rich
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Robert Rich

First of all I'd like to introduce Robert Rich to those readers who do not already know him.

Robert was born in 1963 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He started to build his own modular synthesizers from kits and experimented with long-form sonic environments already from 1976 on. In the late 70s he was involved in some local noise/industrial bands.While still studying psychology at Stanford University in the early 80s, he started to organize his first all-night sleep concerts for which he eventually became well known. Also around that time, he released his first solo albums (“Sunyata”, “Trances” “Drones” etc), first on cassette and then later on small European labels on CD.

In 1987, he contributed to Steve Roach’s album “Dreamtime Return”. Success on a larger scale came when a string of Robert’s albums were released on the American label “Hearts of Space” (most of all “Rainforest”). At this time his musical vocabulary already had encompassed more percussive and melodic elements than on his early drone based work.   

Click here for the complete interview with Robert Rich

 

Music For a Busy Head Vol 1.

 

Music For a Busy Head Vol. 1: 
Ambient Visions Talks with...Matt Coldrick
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Matt Coldrick

AV: Why is music your preferred form of artistic expression instead of painting or some other endeavor? What is it about playing music that allows you to access the inner parts of who you are?

MC:  I used to draw pictures of enormous ships when I was very young. Dad would come home with computer printer paper like huge toilet rolls and I'd un-roll one to about six foot and then draw a massive ship. I still doodle!

Writing was also within me but a deprecating and rather cruel teacher stunted my passion by accusing me of copying a poem I wrote  when I was about 8 !

I recovered my zest for writing after completing  "The Artists way for the first time ".  (I've done it 5 times now!)

I got my first guitar at 7 and according to my mum it brought me out of my shell . I was surrounded by music as my Dad was and still is a huge enthusiast. I was lucky to be aware of The Beatles, Dave Brubeck and Debussy at a very young age. I discovered I have a great memory for music. I could sing Beethovens 7th from start to finish-from memory

Something about the headspace music took me to when I played and listened  kept me hooked in. Its still my first medium but I write a lot and take a lot of pictures and see creativity as a state of mind now . Working in Multimedia in Australia for 4 years taught me that.

Click here for the complete interview with Matt Coldrick

 

 

Chakra Balance

 

Chakra Balance: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....David and Steve Gordon
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

David and Steve Gordon

AV:  Music seems to supply the soundtrack to many of our lives from a very young age to the day we die. Tell me about the role that music played in influencing and shaping you during your younger years.

Steve: There was a lot of music in our house when we were young.  Our parents enjoyed the 60’s and 70’s folk music revival and were also into Flamenco music.   The two of us started performing at our family gatherings as early as 4 or 5 years old.

AV:  When was it obvious to you that music would play a larger role in your life than just listening?

David: By the time we were in high school we started jamming together and playing in bands.  Around this time we started to think about doing it professionally too.  We soundproofed our garage and had musicians over to play with us.

AV:  Did you ever have any formal training in music? How does your classical training shape/influence the music that you compose?

Steve: We both studied music in college and attended the Dick Grove Music Academy in North Hollywood.

AV:  What is your instrument of choice for creating and making your music and why were you drawn to that instrument?

Steve: Even though we both have become proficient on many instruments, I still enjoy playing the guitar the most, both acoustic and electric and David prefers acoustic piano.

Click here for the complete interview with David & Steve Gordon

 

 

Heading West

 

Heading West: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Mike Howe
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Mike Howe

AV:  Do you remember when it was that you fell in love with music?

MH:  Yes it was when I was about 2 or 3 years old, I used to listen to the Beatles on an old fashioned record player and I used to make microphones to sing into out of toilet roll tubes.  I also remember listening to “Peter and the Wolf” over and over again, I loved that.

AV:  What does music do for you that other art forms don’t?

MH:  Music just excites me much more than other art forms.  I’m kind of deeply interested in the mechanics of it even though I don’t know much about music in an academic sense.  My understanding of music is much more intuitive I think.

AV:  Did you study music academically at some point in your life? If not could you tell me how you learned to play and what advantages/disadvantages you have because you did or did not not have formal music training.

MH:  No I never studied music.  I can’t read or write it.  I learned to play firstly by watching musicians on tv and, when I was older, at gigs. Then it was simply a case of picking up instruments and trying to play them, imitating what I’d seen and heard.  It was really hard but I didn’t mind because it was so exciting to me.

I think there is an obvious disadvantage of not having had formal music training in that I am probably much more limited in what I can do technically than I might otherwise have been.  But I think my deep intuition for music makes up for that a little bit and allows me to come up with creative solutions to these limitations.

Click here for the complete interview with Mike Howe

 

 

The Blue Rose

 

The Blue Rose: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Al Conti
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Al Conti

AV:  Tell me about how being surrounded by art and music growing up influenced the way that you looked at the world and the way that you wanted to express yourself?

AC:  I believe that I was born an artist, so growing up in an artistic family only encouraged it.  As a child, I was always up to some artistic pursuit like drawing, acting, creating puppets and attempting just about every kind of artistic expression I could come up with.  There’s a family story that, when very young, I pointed at the television set and told my parents I was going to be there. There was no talking me out of it, and I drove my parents to distraction until they enrolled me in theater classes.  I was never sociable in school, and, in fact, disliked being there because it always felt like someone was trying to re-program me away from what my soul wanted to do. In theater class however, surrounded by other artists, I was suddenly sociable, much to my parents’ and teachers’ surprise.

The fact that my parents were involved in the arts only helped encourage me further.  While my siblings were also encouraged, I am the one who eventually made it a profession.  Because expressing myself was natural for me, they always encouraged me to follow what I felt. I was never told, “You’ll starve as an artist.” I was never forced to be anything by my parents other than what I was inclined to be.   

Click here for the complete interview with Al Conti

 

The Great Hoop Steve Brand ambient album cover

 

The Great Hoop

 

The Great Hoop: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Steve Brand
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Steve Brand

 

AV:  When and why did music become an important part of your life? 

SB:  Ever since I can remember, music has been in my life, Michael. Music of some sort was always playing in the house. As I child, I had toy pianos, drums, banjos, guitars, etc. I had my own record player and I'm told I would stay up late at night listening to records—I drove my family nuts with it. As a teenager, I played in garage bands with my friends, covering rock tunes. Later, in graduate school, music resurfaced again as a passion, this time as backgrounds for my painting and sculpture exhibitions; this was the early 80s, which was a time of great experimentation and innovation for me personally and for the arts in general, but a lot of technology for what I heard in my head wasn't available, or maybe at least was either not commercially available or very expensive…especially for a college student. So, I would make tape loops out of cassettes, carefully deconstructing cassettes and taping them back together again. I'd record sounds in stairwells into cheap recorders and then use my roommates Teac tape deck to layer them. Even when I was playing in bands and covering other people's music, I felt compelled to experiment and to try to recreate the ideas and sounds I was hearing in my head (which sometimes didn't go over well with my bandmates), using bows to play the strings, shoving metal between the strings, detuning, weird tunings, I tried it all. Music for me, has always been a natural outgrowth of expression, creativity and emotion, and an escape from the every day, the mundane, deadening routine. Music is and was for me, a key or doorway into other times, other realms of being.



Click here for the complete interview with Steve Brand

 

 

Cosmic Diva

 

Cosmic Diva: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Stephanie Sante
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Stephanie Sante

 

AV:  Tell me about your love for painting and music and how music eventually became the artistic focus of your life?

SS:  I showed an aptitude for fine arts at a very young age. I spent many hours creating paintings in my room as a child while other kids were outside playing. I specifically enjoyed working in acrylics as it lent itself to my surreal style. My earliest influences were Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Fine Arts remained my focus when I entered college and my style diverged from Surrealism toward Science Fiction. At the time many of my paintings were reminiscent of the type of artwork you would have seen in a publication like "Omni" Magazine. About the same time I became very interested in music and picked up guitar. I became  obsessed with music as I felt it presented  degrees of freedom of expression and emotional rapport that I could not obtain singularly through painting. 

AV:  Did you feel like you were sacrificing your love of art to pursue music?

SS:  I will always love and appreciate art. Especially art as applied to Science Fiction and Surrealism. To me its all about imagination and exploration. I have always felt that I made the right decision moving into music as my core pursuit. These days most Science Fiction artists gravitate toward 3D animation and most of that expression involves movies. A number of years ago I was schooled in 3D Modeling and considered picking up animation as a second career, but ultimately I made the decision to focus on my music and engage art as a sideline of my music production.  

Click here for the complete interview with Stephanie Sante

 

 

Primitives by Remy & Synth.nl

 

Primitives: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Remy Stroomer and Michel van Osenbruggen aka Synth.nl
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Remy Stroomer

Michel van Osenbruggen

AV:  How did the two of you first meet and what were some of the common elements of the music that you both created individually that hinted that maybe you could do something together?

Remy: Michel and I met eac hother at the E-Live electronic music festival, back in 2007. We soon found out that we shared a lot of the same musical interests, of which the music of Jean Michel Jarre was the most common. Hereafter we met at various other electronic music events, and also had some dinners together. In the meantime we became good friends, and at a certain point this lead to a music session in Michel’s Apollo Studio. We had no idea if and how things would work out, but most of the material with which we started in 2011 seemed very useable to work on for a potentional release.

Also because our individual musical styles as well as our production methods differ a lot, it was reason for both of us to try something together.

Within the months after our first session we visited each other’s studios several times to work on our tracks. One and a half year later
“PrimiTiveS” was accomplished and we actually surprised ourselves with the results of the many intensive days we spent on this project. 


Click here for the complete interview with Remy and Michel

 

Subliminal Pulse

by Bruno Sanfilippo

 

Subliminal Pulse: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Bruno Sanfilippo
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Bruno Sanfilippo

AV:  When was it that music became an important part of your life?  

BS:  I played the piano even before I learned to walk; it was just another one of my toys.

As a teenager I used to spend long hours improvising on that tall upright piano Pleyel (1886) http://www.pleyel.fr/   At the age of 20, I began the search for my musical identity, and since then it has become an important part of my life 

AV:  Did you have lessons or any formal training in music growing up?  

BS:  When I was a child in Buenos Aires I attended music classes but at that time the musical teaching methods were tedious for me. I remember a teacher who actually forbade me to improvise on the piano. I was bored with music theory and music reading.  In 1984 I met a great teacher and experimental composer Patricio Migliazzo who took on the challenge of teaching me. He began teaching me music using methods that were bold and that were sympathetic to my needs instead of the more traditional methods that had bored me as a child.  Patricio wrote hundreds of contemplative musical scores, that we would most certainly call “ambient music” today.  

Click here for the complete interview with Bruno Sanfilippo

 

Miles Tones

by General Fuzz

 

Miles Tones: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....James Kirsch aka General Fuzz
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

James Kirsch aka
General Fuzz

AV:  How did your studies in classical piano growing up help to give you a good foundation for what you do now?

JK:  Besides giving me a foundation on music in general, it gave me an outlet for emotions which ran a little high when I was growing up. Taking lessons forced me to spend time at the piano, and inevitably I would do some improvisation during the time I was supposed to be practicing.   

AV:  I’m sure all your time was not spent listening to and practicing the classics as you grew up. What was it that jogged your creativity in terms of music that you might catch on the radio or music that you might have actually bought?

JK:  Early on, some peers turned me on to Ray Lynch and Susan Ciani, which was life changing. Only in the past few years did I realize that in many ways my music falls into the new age genre. I can draw direct lines back to those artists. I like to think of my as new age music 2.0. I fell in love with Orbital and the Orb when I was 19, and those bands provided the framework for the type of psychedelic yet melodic music that I wanted to make.  

Click here for the complete interview with James Kirsch

 

In Search of Silence
by David Wright

 

In Search of Silence: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....David Wright
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

David Wright

AV:  Where did your love of music come from? Family, radio? 

DW:  My mother has always been very musical and still plays the grand piano in her living room at 85 years old! I’ve always just loved music from an early age. I did listen to the radio a lot in the 60‘s and was well into the pirate radios like radio Caroline. TV shows like SixFive Special, Juke Box Jury and of course Top of the Pops (wow, showing my age?). I bought my first 45rpm singles in 1965 - “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys and “Glad all Over” by The Dave Clarke Five. Loved the mid to late 60‘s and into the early 70’s for pop music but also loved other music of the period like Pink Floyd, Cream, Santana, Taste, Credence Clearwater Revival, Moody Blues etc etc. I lost interest in pop music in the mid 70’s - HATED punk and started to take an interest in Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze circa 1971/72 and then into more instrumental based music of EM genre, Kitaro, Jarre, Vangelis, Oldfield etc etc. 

AV:  Did you have any formal training in music and if so how did that help you to define the style of music you would eventually create?
DW
:  No formal training. I played drums, not that well, in a band covering Credence Clearwater, Canned Heat, Cream style rock but that was just fun in my teens when I lived in the Far East (my father was in the Royal Navy). When I was younger I always saw myself as a Dennis Wilson style drummer (sorry, Beach Boys fan I always was and always will be) and as I grew older those rock star aspirations faded as I got a job, got married and found myself in the real world. Actually, I’m pretty sure that not having any formal training was a blessing because I’ve never been confined or influenced by any preconceived ideas about how the music should be. I think some musicians get hung up on the
“technical” instead of letting their imagination take them along. 


Click here for the complete interview with David Wright

 

Beachcombing

 

Beachcombing: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Bob Holroyd
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Bob Holroyd

AV:  One of your early band names was Beside the Point. Meaning that the music was the point and a band name didn't really matter. Tell me about why music is/has been important to you over the course of your life. In other words what is the point of music to you?  

BH:  I suppose it has two main functions, if that is the right way of putting it. It is an outlet for the whole range of emotions, and is a vehicle for artistic expression.

AV:  Your music has been described as a gumbo that pulls in bits and pieces from many different genres. Do you find it easier to write music when you have no boundaries in regards to what the final result will sound like?  

BH:  I'm sure I have a style or sound that I can be identified with, but I don't start writing with any particular preconception in mind. It's not a completely random process - obviously I have a starting point and a kind of loose structure when beginning a new track, but the music develops as it progresses, and this is helped by not ruling any style or influence in or out.  I write music a bit like a collage. Therefore if certain sounds or styles work musically, or sound interesting, I don't see why they shouldn't be used together. 

Click here for the complete interview with Bob Holroyd

 

 

The Mountain Lake

The Mountain Lake: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Joahn Agebjorn
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Johan Agebjorn

AV:  Do you remember when it was that you first started to take aninterest in electronic music? Who were some of the first artists thatyou listened to and what was it about their music that caught yourattention? 

JA:  I think it started when a classmate of mine gave me a mixtape with italo disco (a style of 80s disco coming from Italy) when I was 10 years old. Until then I had mostly listened to Swedish mainstream pop like Europe and Roxette. There was something about electronic sounds that grabbed me, a clearness of the sounds. A few years later I discovered ambient music (Biosphere, Future Sound of London, Aphex Twin) through specialty shows on the radio and MTV Europe's Chill Out Zone. I spent all my pocket money on buying CDs from these artists and Pet Shop Boys, The KLF, Moby, Kraftwerk etc. 

AV:  When did you start composing music of your own and what style of music did you choose to begin with? Why? 

JA:  I have some tapes from when I was a child, playing the piano and singing my own songs. My mum noticed that I tried to imitate the English language before I was taught English in school. So I tried to make pop songs, but when I was maybe 15-16 years old I turned to more instrumental forms of electronic music, techno and ambient, reflecting the music I was listening to at the time. By then I also bought myself my first music computer (an Atari) and a sampler. For a long time I only made instrumental music because it gave me bigger possibilities to be experimental. I more and more turned to rhythmic electronic ambient music as my main genre. But since 2006 I've been making pop music again (very much in the 80s disco style) since I love it as well.

Click here for the complete interview with Johan Agebjorn

 

 

Jewel in the Sun

 

Jewel in the Sun: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Diane Arkenstone
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Diane Arkenstone

AV:  Music has a unique way of touching all of us in one way or another. Having read a little about you on the Internet you have said that you were singing and writing songs when you were 3 years old. What kinds of music touched you and motivated you to sing and write at the tender age of three?

DA:  Anything and everything musical touched me. I was writing Celtic songs about Donegal at age 3, interestingly enough, since I knew nothing of Ireland at the time, and the only music played in the house was classical and opera.

AV:  Was music a part of your home growing up and did your parents encourage you in your musical leanings?

DA:  My mother was a magnificent opera singer, who sang with the Symphony for many years but she and my father were completely against me pursuing any kind of musical career. There are eight children and none had any interest in music, except myself. It was very difficult because I was the only one of the eight children who had to pay for college because I choose music. I worked 3 jobs to pay for college and one was singing rock and roll, which I was sure was my direction, but over time, I found a softer side to my spirit.

Click here for the complete interview with Diane Arkenstone

 

 

A Quiet Light

A Quiet Light: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Meg Bowles
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Meg Bowles

AV:  Tell me about when it was that music became something more to you than just something you put on your stereo and passively listened to. What did you do to actively bring music into your life as a form of artistic expression for yourself?  

MB:  Music has felt like my primary language ever since I can remember. It has always linked me with vivid worlds full of feeling. I was immersed in classical and early music as a child, from infancy. My active listening skills began to be honed via education at home, where my father taught me how to differentiate between the various instruments of a symphony orchestra by ear by age four or so. Private music lessons began several years later, and eventually I began playing flute with local youth orchestras when I was around eleven years old or so. I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a form of artistic expression for me.

AV:  You went to university at both Northwestern and Boston and completed formal studies in classical music performance and immediately upon graduation you set out on your career in music...no wait a career in investment banking. Seems like a contradiction. Why investment banking and not something to do with music?

MB:  The reality of what a classical musician - even a superb one - needed to do in order to make a living at it was pretty staggering back then, and even more so today. Not only was I having trouble juggling hours of daily practice with my other interests (like psychology, which I studied a good deal of as an undergrad), I was also struggling with the demand in the field for technical perfection, where if you missed even one note during an audition, you didn’t get the gig! So it gradually dawned upon me that a career as an orchestral flutist was not in the cards. Although I seriously considered going for a Masters degree in psychology at that point, I just wanted to get out into the real world for a bit and support myself financially. Waiting tables was not going to cut it. So I found my way into an entry-level trading position at a Boston bank, and worked my way up from there. The decision was purely a pragmatic one, a financial means to a creative end. I went where the jobs were, instead of where they
weren’t!  And as you know there is a strong relationship between musical aptitude and mathematical aptitude, which was certainly the case with me. There was a curious sort of peace and challenge in this new world of markets and interest rates and numbers which was oddly satisfying.


Click here for the complete interview with Meg Bowles

 

 

Fragments

Fragments: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Steve Roberts aka Amongst Myselves
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Steve Roberts aka
Amongst Myselves

AV:  Where did your love of music originally come from?  

SR:  Wow what a question. I started out listening to popular music as I imagine most people did in the 70s. My brothers had a great influence in what I heard in my early life having 3 older ones. It's funny but I think what I love is sound more so than music especially since I consider lots of the music I now listen to and compose to be more sound art than music. Be it naturally created sound or electronically realised.

AV:  Who were some of the first electronic/atmospheric music artists that you listened to and what was it that attracted you to this kind of music?

SR:  I probably started hearing Electro Acoustic sounds when I was quite young on an Australian radio program, "Scratching the Surface". My brother and I thought it was funny and scary, I was only 12 years old or so. It was interesting because unlike pop music you didn't really know what was going to happen next. It was also on late at night when the surrounding environment was quiet. From this left field influence to something a bit more popular, one of my brothers bought a Tomita album, I think it was Snowflakes are Dancing. My brother having more main stream interests was also into "classical" orchestral music which I suppose Snowflakes fell into. I found it interesting in that he used synthesisers to create orchestral sounding instruments. It was using a synth to recreate acoustic instruments. I was just as intrigued by the rear cover of the record which had a picture of Isao in his studio surrounded but all his gear. I wanted that ! But that was the mainstream. What I found more interesting were snippets of synths that I would hear in pop music which were not imitating an acoustic instrument but were producing something I'd never heard before. I also started hearing other rock groups like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rick Wakeman, Genesis, all using synths as a main part of their music but once again nothing new in the style of music.

Click here for the complete interview with Steve Roberts

 

 

A Day Within Days

A Day Within Days: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Michael Allison aka Darshan Ambient
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Michael Allison aka
Darshan Ambient

AV:  What was it that originally drew you to music and eventually being a performer yourself? 

MA:  My dad played in country bands when I was very young and that made a huge impact on me. I was 8 years old when I started really becoming interested in the guitar. Around that time (1964-65) I began listening to The Beatles and a lot of Motown and R & B records. 

AV:  Having listened to a lot of music during the 70's and 80's I remember some great stuff and some not so great stuff. Tell me about the music that you made and the groups that you played with during that time and what you enjoyed most about the music that you played during that time period.  

MA:  I joined my first "professional" band Brimstone when I was in High School and some friends of mine who were starting a new band needed a lead singer.

I loved to sing so it seemed the natural thing to do. I was a "bass player" at the time but they already had one so being the front man was very interesting to me. It was a great way to hone my vocal skills and learn how to become an "entertainer". I was really into the whole Peter Gabriel thing at the time.  Disco was a raging phenomenon but there were still many great bands to listen to. My favorites were Genesis, Yes, ELP and all of the English "progressive rock" bands. The ascendancy of electronic music in the 80's gave exposure to some fantastic artist's too like Peter Gabriel, Michael Brooks, Depeche Mode and the Art Of Noise. All made significant contributions to how music is conceived today. 

Click here for the complete interview with Michael Allison

 

Frequency Response

Frequency Response: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....MjDawn aka Matthew McDonough
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Matthew McDonough aka
MjDawn

AV:  I've read that your iPod is filled with quite the variety and selection of tunes these days. What did you listen to growing up and how did that shape your attitude about how you wanted to be involved with music yourself? 

MM
:  Like most kids, I grew up listening to the music my parents listened to.  I was lucky since my dad was pretty hip.  I can remember him and I listening to David Bowie, Blondie and Van Halen.  When I started exploring music on my own, around the age of 12, I mainly listened to New Wave.  Bands such as The Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo and Devo were some of my favorites.  Around this time, I joined a drum and bugle corps called The Phantom Regiment.  My new friends from this social circle were all into hard rock or heavy metal.  I became exposed to Ozzy, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Judas Priest.  So from this point on I walked a fence through middle and high school.  I loved all the new electronic that was happening.  Depeche Mode, Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire would get played on my turntable right after spinning Metallica, Megadeth and Kreator.  


Click here for the complete interview with MjDawn

 

Portal

Portal: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Atomic Skunk aka Rich Brodsky
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Rich Brodsky aka
Atomic Skunk

AV:  What was it that got you interested in playing music in the first place? What was your instrument of choice when you started out? 

AS:  The first record I remember owning as a kid was the soundtrack to Disney's Jungle Book. There are a lot of great songs on there, but I can still remember the overture and the magical and mystical quality it had and how it made me feel. As I got older I fell in love with The Beatles, then bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who. Around the age of 15 I was determined to become some combination of Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend. My dad bought me an acoustic guitar at McCabe's in Santa Monica and then the following year, I got my first electric guitar,  a beautiful white strat with a maple neck and a Marshall half stack that was way too big and loud for me, but I loved it and it allowed me to be a rock god in my own garage in southern California. 

Click here for the complete interview with Rich Brodsky

 

Blue Dream

Blue Dream: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Fiona Joy Hawkins
©2001-2010AmbientVisions

Fiona Joy Hawkins

AV: Your bio says that you started playing music as a child. How young were you when you first started playing? What was it about music that captured your interest so early in life?

FJH: My grandmother moved into our house when I was 8 years old. When she moved in she brought a 100 year old iron frame German piano with her. My mother showed me the staff and stave and how to work out which note was which in relation to the musical score and within 6 weeks I could play the first part of Fur Elise.

Click here for the complete interview with Fiona Joy Hawkins

 

Where Edges Meet

 

 

Where Edges Meet: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....James Murray

©2001-2009AmbientVisions

James Murray

 

AV: Is there any particular instrument that you felt drawn to more than any other? Why?

JM: The electric bass was the first instrument I picked up aged eleven. I went on to work with guitar, drums, keys – whatever I could get my hands on really. Finally the computer, which is to my mind an extremely versatile, flexible instrument. The bass remains my primary ‘real’ instrument for most live or studio contexts. I find its combination of rhythmic and melodic qualities deeply appealing but it could just be that it’s my first love.

Click here for the complete interview with James Murray

 

Carrying the Bag of
Hearts III

 

 

 

Carrying the Bag of Hearts III: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Janet Robbins

©2001-2009AmbientVisions

Janet Robbins

 

AV: Did you ever have any thoughts about following in your father's footsteps or was it always going to be about Janet's music and nothing else? Could you elaborate on that please.

JR: No, not really. I loved his music and what he did, but it wasn't for me. If I'd wanted a career in music more than the music, I probably should have stayed in Nashville but can you see that? I don't think so. Now that's just about following in his footsteps musically--I did follow him, and was inspired by him, to keep trying to find my voice. That's what he did, he was a total pioneer in his field and really wanted the limelight as well. I like the process of creating more than anything.

Click here for the complete interview with Janet Robbins

 

Into the Infinite

 

 

 

Into the Infinite: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Chad Kettering

©2001-2008AmbientVisions

Chad Kettering

 

AV: Where did your love of music come from and what were some of your earliest expressions of this love?

CK: The love of music came early on in my youth. I was exposed to some of my dad’s favorite music, the progressive rock movement. Music from Yes to Emerson Lake & Palmer and Chicago. One day I discovered my dad’s old trumpet in the garage and started making what could be called noises with it. This led to a very long journey of playing the trumpet in bands and orchestras.

AV: Did you ever have any formal training in music? If so how did that prepare you for being a professional player and if not did that create any limitations to how quickly you could move ahead?

CK: Yes, I studied classical music at Baylor University and received a bachelor’s degree in music performance. Baylor was a small enough school that it gave me the opportunity to perform in all of the major ensembles my freshman year. Many larger more well known schools fill their top ensembles with graduate students leaving you with just the practice room for several years.

Click here for the complete interview with Chad Kettering

 

Fever Dreams III

 

 

Fever Dreams III: 
Ambient Visions Talks with....Steve Roach

©2001-2007AmbientVisions

Steve Roach

 

AV:  It's been several years since I spoke to you formally in an interview (about 2001) and I thought the readers of AV might like to catch up with Steve Roach and see what's been happening with you and your music since then. On a personal note you turned 50 since last we talked and I was curious as to how this milestone and as a member of this over 50 club I'd like to know whether this has or hasn't affected how you perceive your music and what you'd still like to do in the coming years. 

SR:  I hit the big 50 in 2005, the energy of life's momentum just kicked into warp drive. I just love to be in the deep end soundcurrent most every day and or night.  By mid 2005 My wife Linda Kohanov and I moved 50 miles out of Tucson, into what you can consider the high desert outback. This grew out of the fact that Tucson has changed a lot as a city in the past 17 years.


Click here for the interview with Steve Roach

 

 

The Sacred Ordinary

 

 

The Sacred Ordinary: 
Ambient Visions Talks with.... Paul Ellis
©2001-2004AmbientVisions

 

 

 

Paul Ellis

Paul Ellis was born on Oct. 10 1961 and from an early age began to show a strong creative streak that began with drawing and changed to music in 1977 after buying copies of the classic European Electronic albums  Stratosfear (TD) , Mirage (KS) , Oxygene (JMJ)  and Snowflakes are Dancing (T) within a week's time. This proved to be a profound awakening for him. He suddenly began hearing a sort of music rising up within himself almost like resonant strings vibrating. The music though extraordinarily different than anything he'd heard before sounded strangely familiar.

He has continued to release albums in the classic European Electronic style ever since bringing his own unique touch to the genre. He was a founding member of the band Dweller at the Threshold and has also released several solo works and collaborations with artists such as Steve Roach.

Click here for the interview with Paul Ellis

 

 

This Time and Space

 

 

This Time and Space: 
Ambient Visions Talks with.... Kit Watkins
©2001-2004AmbientVisions

 

Kit Watkins

 

Kit's solo career began in 1980 with the self-produced album Labyrinth, released on his own Azimuth Records label. The album won him 5th place in Keyboard magazine's Annual Readers' Poll Awards for keyboard album. He recorded and performed with drummer/percussionist Coco Roussel during this period. During the 80s, Kit continued to produce solo and collaborative albums, some released on his own label, while others were picked up by larger independent labels. In the early 90s, Kit formed a new label, Linden Music, which released a number of his new recordings, as well as CDs by Robert Rich, Jeff Greinke, and David Borden.

His music style has changed focus from album to album, and has gradually veered away from the progressive rock of his youth into more subtle and mysterious forms of expression, such as ambient-jazz and world-fusion. His influences include artists such as Brian Eno, Mickey Hart, Mark Isham, Joe Zawinul, Harold Budd, Wayne Shorter, Steve Reich, Joni Mitchell, Jon Hassell, Eberhard Weber, Jeff Greinke, Robert Rich, Jan Garbarek, Steve Roach, Wendy Carlos.  


Click here for the interview with Kit Watkins

 

Not Without Risk

Not Without Risk: 
Ambient Visions Talks with.... Byron Metcalf 

©2001-2002AmbientVisions

Byron Metcalf

Byron Metcalf is the shaman's shaman. And he might be the only person to appear on CD's with Dottie West, Kenny Rogers and Steve Roach in the same year.

No BS! I did an on-line search on Byron and the Dottie West and Kenny Rogers CD's came up. I was mildly surprised and even assumed that there had to be another Byron Metcalf. Then I read some of the interview here. Based on what I know of Byron's music, I'd have never guessed it. But it is true and it is cool.

For the rest of this introduction by Jim Brenholts and Byron's interview please click here.

 

 

Early Man: The Projekt Edition 2001

 

Early Man: The Projekt Edition:
Ambient Visions Talks with....Steve Roach
©2000-2001AmbientVisions

 

Steve Roach

Ambient Visions is proud to continue our series of Artist interviews with our latest entry featuring Steve Roach. For the last 23 years Steve Roach has been creating some of the most innovative and personal electronic compositions ever to find their way onto vinyl, cassettes and CD's. Beginning with 1984's Structures of Silence and continuing with 1988's Dreamtime Return Roach has created one classic after another in the field of electronic and space music.

Steve feels that the urge to create his compositions is equivalent to the act of  breathing and I'm sure that explains why he has been so prolific over the years and why he has no intention of slowing down in the forseeable future. Put on a Steve Roach CD and dig right in to this insightful interview. Enjoy.

Click here to read Steve's interview.

 

 

Tales from the Incantina

 

Ascensionism:
Ambient Visions talks with....Richard Bone
©2000
AmbientVisions

 

Richard Bone

Ambient Visions is proud to continue our series of Artist interviews with our latest entry featuring Richard Bone. With the release of Ascensionism Richard Bone finishes up his trilogy of music that started with Electropica. We thought that with the release of this CD it might be a good time to have a chat with Richard and find out a little more about what makes him tick as an artist and as a human being. Our discussion was wide ranging and covered Richard's earliest involvement with music and progresses through the variety of experiences that led Richard to be right where he is today. It was a pleasure talking to Richard as he was very candid and open with his comments about his life and his music. If you already know Richard I think that you will learn something new during this interview and if you don't know of Richard and his music then this is the perfect opportunity to be introduced to him and find some new music to add to your collection. Thanks for joining us and without further ado we present Richard Bone.

Click here to read Richard's interview.

 

 

Discovering Spirit in Sound:

Chant

 

Discovering Spirit in Sound:
Ambient Visions talks with....Robert Gass
©1999
AmbientVisions

Robert Gass

Ambient Visions is proud to present our first interview. Robert Gass has been involved with the study of chanting and spiritual music for over twenty years. A frequent lecturer and workshop leader, he is the founder of Spring Hill Music, a leading producer of chanting and transformational music. His own CD's and tapes made with his renowned choral group, On Wings of Song, have sold more than 600,000 copies and were hailed by New Age Journal as "the most influential recordings of the last twenty years." For those in the Wiccan/Pagan community you have no doubt had the opportunity to hear some of his chants as .wav files over the internet. Two of the most popular being From the Goddess and May the Circle Be Open chants. Thanks for stopping in and without further ado we present Robert Gass.

Click here to read Robert's interview.

All interviews unless otherwise stated are conducted by Michael Foster, owner/publisher/editor of AV ©1999-2017

 

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