As you dig through your consciousness looking for the sounds that
will become your music, do you ever run across spiritual or mystical
roots at the source? If so how is your music connected to these roots
and how does it influence what flows out from you?
I feel the exposed tips of these "roots of consciousness"
you speak of are what call me deeper into the soundworlds I am drawn
to create. I feel the tips of these roots are what often call to
me. Sometimes as passing epiphanies , sometimes as sudden
inspirations or even long term pursuits of on-going questions which I
continue to ask myself and ponder upon. After dwelling on an area of
deep interest or elusive attraction and following these
metaphorical roots, the creative process is like providing the
nourishment with rich soil and water.
My music becomes what can be equivalent to the
display of nourishment the lifeform receives during this process and
is witnessed from above the ground through the release of music into
the world, in essence bringing the unconscious and daily fantasies
and obsessions into form and awareness.
At this point in my life, it all flows together
and the need to create is constant, like breathing, the
spontaneous moments at any point can create openings that offer
the chance to explore non-ordinary states and peak sessions that can
be captured on a recording which can forever hold and transmit the
energy as it occurred.
Would it be fair to say that your music creates a frame of mind in
your listeners that allows them to more easily move into a spiritual
state? Why is that?
The willful intention in all my music is to create an opening which
allows me to step out of everyday time and space into a place I feel
we are born to experience directly. Many of our current social
structures and material concerns shut down the opening or build a
complex array of plumbing to run through it.
In any case, these soundworlds offer a place
where the bondage of western time is removed and the direct
experience of the feeling of an expanded state is encouraged. Of
course the soundworlds I choose to create and live within are the
ones my nervous system responds to, and people aren't
necessarily going to respond to them in the same way. I often refer
to the words "visceral" and "being in the sound
current" when describing my work.
This is a prime area where I feel the measure of
all my work... in the body, the vessel for spirit. So for me to
create these sounds and rhythms and utilize my own body as the
reflecting chamber is my direct way of living in the sound
current that occurs naturally when the juices are flowing. From the
feedback I receive this is something I know receptive listeners are
feeling as well. Tapping into the creative process at this
direct level simply feels like birthright.
I realize that you have been making music for many years now but for
those readers who may not know you perhaps you can give us the
Readers Digest version of your career in the music business?
Its been a long, wonderful and strange trip indeed. When I set out
to live the creative life as a sound sculptor it was a different time
to say the least. In the mid 70's this music was still being born,
especially in the states. There were almost no labels, no real radio
support, a few underground magazines like Eurock
and Synapse, the latter of which I also wrote for, but compared
to today with the Internet as the hub of all things it was the dark
ages. Imagine trying to hook up with like-minded people or get your
music to people beyond your immediate reach. It was also an
incredibly exciting time with impending changes in the air. The
frontier of consciousness expanding music was clearly growing and
this impetus was spawning many new instruments and small
companies that often came and went as fast as they appeared. I set
out to do electronic music against many odds but my passion to
live in the sound current was all that mattered, and this is what
drove me through all the highs and lows and beyond the naysayers. At
that time only a handful of people around me knew what I was
talking about when I would start on these born-again tirades about
the "music of the future". There really was a feeling
of being a part of something significant in a historic sense. To
witness all these changes and to meet and work with many of the
people helping to bring all this together in such a short time was
nothing short of fantastic.
It was just 20 years ago that getting your music
onto an LP or a cassette run was a major accomplishment. Then there
were the tasks of gathering names from underground sources and
mailing packages and letters to each and every one. It was a
grassroots effort where I felt like every cassette or LP sent out was
like a personal connection. I still feel this way. My first
release was "Now"
in 1982, followed by "Structures
from Silence" on cassette. It was
this release that brought me to the attention an official label at
the time, Fortuna Records based in California.
This is about the time I met Robert
Rich as well, who was also self
publishing his early work like Trances
It's important for me to say I have never
approached my music as a career, profession or a way to make a
living. It so happens that my obsession to live in these soundworlds
provides the support to keep me creating and this is something I
don't take for granted.
As a side bar to the above, this is a very brief
overview from my perspective of events not long ago that
occurred in the pre-internet era... The "commercial"
ground swell started to build in the late 80's, the catch-all term
New Age was adopted for the purpose of retail and marketing.
This travesty of a word started to build momentum and swoop up
many forms of unsuspecting genreless music at the same time.
Companies like Windham Hill
and Private Music
backed by major label clout and greed continued to build the fire and
find a peak in the early 90's inspiring dozens of overnight
labels to spew out reams of forgettable "product."
In my opinion this glut of "product"
helped to poison the well in some ways and turn a lot of people off
to this music in the end . Still the momentum from this time was
positive and thankfully, like a raging California wildfire, it burned
itself out, leaving behind a smoldering, ashen heap which fueled the
natural process of survival of the fittest. The Phoenix rose up. On
the 8th day, what's his name created the Internet, the mecca for
all fringe dwellers old and new, including the ones that
survived the great "wildfires"
of the early 90's. These to me seem like bumps in the long road when
even looking back a few years later.
For those who might want to catch up on what they have missed to
date, what titles in your rather large CD catalog would be essential
to understanding the musical evolution of who you were and who
you are today?
I think it can be divided into a few periods, first starting with Empetus
then Structures from Silence
and Quiet Music
then to Dreamtime Return,
on to Origins,
and Dream Circle,
and On this Planet.
Perhaps the most efficient way to see the perspective is the release "Dreaming...
Now, Then" a retrospective
from 1982 through 1997.
The collaborations with vidnaObmana, Light
Fantastic and Body
Electric with Vir Unis... Atmospheric
Conditions and Early
Man, really this is a hard call since
I feel each project is connected to the evolution in the model of a spiral.
Steve live in concert.. Hartford, Connecticut
Photo by John Wadsworth©
Do you have any specific goals in mind when you step into the
Timeroom or is it an intuitive process that asserts itself only after
It can be both. The neutral, safe environment of the Timeroom is
something that I longed to have before building it from the ground
up. I wanted to create a space that was more than a room full of
gear. It had to offer a kind of sanctuary during the creative
process. For me this was achieved by the shape, windows and color
scheme, the arrangement of gear, no phones or clocks.
This is a place I love to be in everyday, so in
an eastern sense it relates to having this quiet place inside
yourself no matter where you are which is a much harder task to
maintain out in the world today. So the Timeroom supports and
encourages my desire to create these sounds that often feel
just out of reach, just below the surface but always present, a place
you know exists but were unaware of until soundworlds are created
that feel familiar in that strange, elusive, clearly non-verbal way.
I often refer to the ways of a visual artist, painter or sculptor in
terms of the relationship with the process of creating one's work
over long periods of solitary time.
Are there any mental or spiritual exercises that you go through
before you step into the studio to begin a new project?
I would say living life everyday as I do is constantly exercising me
to stay connected to what really matters in my life. This is before
music or projects, since my life is centered around the creative
process. Often I am creating pieces with no agenda, the Tabula
Rasa...clean slate...empty state of mind.... This process leads
me to a place rich with new understandings on many levels. It seems
at times that pieces will come together in an effortless way that
takes me months to understand how they came about on a more conscious
level. The Magnificent Void
is a disc I really have no memory of creating. I worked on the
various pieces over a period of a few years but all the details are
gone. Other projects are still fresh in my mind. Also there is a
strange dichotomy of surrender and control that occurs when creating
with the complex technology that I work with. The choices alone could
be daunting. People who see the Timeroom for first time often
ask "where do you start?" To answer this in plain English
is not possible.
We need new words for this, but perhaps a better
question is "when do I start?"
The answer is "when the spirit moves me."
For many the advent of technology and the computer has been seen as
a threat to our humanity. Do you find it ironic that such high tech
instruments as the synthesizer and the computer can create music that
touches such primitive parts of our soul and spirit? How is it that
you view your own relationship to the instruments that allow you to
produce that which lies within you?
I have always embraced the technology with open arms. I was
ready to carve out my soundworlds with all these tools, and when I
laid hands on my first "ancient"synthesizer years
ago, I knew this was my path.
The threat from the technology comes from the
people's intentions and motivations and also the misconceptions and
ignorance drawn from the tired cliché that technology is cold
In fact, I feel incredible evolution in the
beauty of a fine tool that lets me create these soundworlds that
could never have been realized until only a few years ago. The tools,
like the finest single-haired paint brush or surgical laser, can
share the same artistry as today's music technology, touching
infinitely subtle, complex and unseen worlds.
I see the didgeridoo and see my favorite analog
synthesizer the Oberheim Matrix 12 as both being high points in the
eras that gave birth to them. The didgeridoo
was a much, much earlier form of technology, one that created a rich,
continuous drone in the same way as the most current
synthesizer and computer set up. In the right hands, the Oberheim Matrix
12 Analog Synth can tap into the same
timeless realm as the didg, and elaborate on this feeling with a much
more intricate series of multi-layered drones that blossom into
waves of sound that seem to be spilling forth from other worlds. Of
course in the wrong hands, both the didg and the Matrix 12 can be
irritating, threatening or just plain boring. It's a matter of the
artist's intention and skill, and how deep he or she is willing to
draw upon their own true source of inspiration.
Do you plan on using DVD technology to create soundscapes that take
into account the surround capabilities of that medium and the
capacity for many hours of journeying time?
Absolutely, although at this present time I am choosing to not be on
the bleeding edge. I'd like to wait a little while longer until the
standards within the format have settled down and the production
costs make sense in relationship to how many people will be
interested. Roger King, who masters all my music, is making the
investments in surround mastering, and we are also looking toward
this someday as well. I know Robert Rich is doing an extended play
DVD, and I will be curious to see how this all works out for him. Of
course it's the perfect medium for truly long form pieces. I still
feel the standard CD was short changed by capping it at 74 minutes.
Would you like to combine images and video to further express the
feelings of your music within the context of the DVD format?
I have had quite a few visual music pieces in the past on
video and Laser Disk, point being the merging of my music and images
has been a part of my creative process outside of whatever format the
visual element comes in. I am currently working on the
soundtrack to a beautiful 70 minute long film of southwest images
shot on film by Steve Laser. Of course the images are close to my
heart, and we are looking at release of this first on video this
year, hopefully to follow on DVD. This past year I was also part of a
visual music CD-ROM release combining the photography of Martina
Verhoven, her husband Vidna Obmana, and my wife Linda Kohanov
offering poetry that appears between the images. It' s like a
beautiful, surreal walk through a gallery.
This music itself can be so visual that it's a
natural extension. If there was enough time in the day I am
sure I would start creating my own visual-soundworlds, but for now I
have to draw the line. Someday it will be great to have a release
with the archival elements from the Web site archived on DVD as well.
We need more time and the budget to produce it. I can see having Slow
Dream Circle and Atmospheric
Conditions on disk as well.
How does your life in the desert help to shape the music that is
finally created by you in the studio? Is there any inherent spiritual
or mental conditioning that happens to a person who lives in close
proximity to nature?
My feeling here is one of being home in the best sense of the word.
I just love it here on many levels, the land, the weather, (heat in
particular) the atmosphere, the sky and the expansive views. I have
always been drawn to the desert. Since I was young my most vivid
memories are of desert landscapes and the feelings that would awaken
and stay with me up to this moment. This feeling of stripping or
burning away the non essential is something that I am very
aware of from the environment here. It's an open, sensual, mind
expanding place which also demands that you stay present and aware in
the midst of its extremes. As a metaphor, the desert provides endless
inspiration which ultimately makes its way into my music, even if the
work is not about the desert directly. Like all places, it has
its own frequency. It feeds me in a direct way without any question.
I suppose it's the same for people drawn to the Northwest or New York
City the Tropics or Australia. If you are open to feeling a place at
this level then all this makes sense.
So early on when we talked about the roots of
consciousness, this is never more clear to me than when it's time for
me to hit the road for concerts. The roots feel so deep here it's
really difficult for me to leave the desert, even though I ultimately
enjoy visiting other interesting places. My wife and I almost feel
like there's a magnet under Tucson.
We actually feel physically uncomfortable driving out of here. Then
about 30 miles from the city limits, the force field seems to break;
the pressure subsides, and we can enjoy the trip. Coming home always
feels great. I am thankful to have found such a place.
There are those who take their recording equipment out into the
field to record at sacred places or at places that offer acoustical
sounds that can't be created in the studio, are there energies
that can be tapped into in these natural surroundings that can
move a musician in certain ways in their compositions and their playing?
No question about it if you are open to this sort of
perception and create a kind music that will allow for the moment to
be translated directly. In my experience, it's something that extends
to old spirited concert halls and 500 year old churches I have played
in throughout Europe as well as the outdoor events in natural settings.
As for recording actual performances in remote,
power spots and so on, I am more partial to absorb the setting and
translate this back in the studio. In the remote sites in Australia
for example it was impossible to have more than a portable DAT.
In this situation, I used the DAT to take audio
photographs, location ambience recordings of a place. In the studio,
I'd use these sonic images to trigger memories, to go back to the
time and space where I made the original recording.
Also I love what happens when you inject a field
recording into a mix, the sensation of air and atmosphere and another
sense of space in a new context. Just recently, I created an
evocative yet minimal soundworld that was playing live for a
few days in the Timeroom. One morning it had just rained, and then a
host of desert birds were coming out and doing their thing. From the
studio, I could hear they were in perfect sync with this atmosphere I
had been working on. I quickly proceeded to set up 2 mics outside the
Timeroom. I sealed the studio door and started recording and
mixing the outdoor magic that was happening while performing subtle
contours "inside". This quality of "air" brings
an openness than often can create a powerful opening when
hearing the environment-location recording woven into a soundworld
and out of its original context.
One CD of yours that is always referred to as a must have in any
ambient collection is Dreamtime Return. Tell me about how the remote
environs of Australia helped to shape the music that ultimately
became this 2-CD set of music? How did your supporting players
figure into this CD as a whole and how did they become attuned
to the vision of the music that you created?
was certainly a culmination of my deepest desires and aspirations up
to that point.
It's where I feel I came into my own as an
artist. It was really an initiation for me on many levels including
the connection to my own sound that I was constantly searching out.
Most of all, it was a time of intensive personal growth and
understanding. With the music, I felt that I'd left a lot of
the European influences behind at that point, integrating them as
well. This is when the relationship to my own land in which I'd
grown up became really clear to me, starting with Western Spaces.
Also the feeling of a sonic and spiritual bridge between the
Southwest and the Australian outback was awakening.
I spent a lot of time in Joshua Tree outside of
L.A. in the desert region. I grew up in the Southern California
Deserts, Anza Borrego and others. So all of that was there for me to
connect to in a deeply personal way. I was feeling a sense of
spiritual expansion, out from beyond the desert I grew up in and was
inspired by, to a much larger, less familiar landscape.
This is when the Dreamtime concept started to
unfold, Around this time I also saw the film by Peter Weir, The
Last Wave, and heard the first
didgeridoo. That introduced me to at least a white film maker version
of certain mystical aspects of the Dreamtime and Aboriginal culture
in it's own obviously diluted way. But still, it was a significant
step in my growing fascination with Australia. I had a friend who
moved to Australia in the 60's and came back with great stories of
this faraway place that captivated me. It was alive in my
subconscious for years. In the mid 80's I was starting to work on
preliminary pieces for Dreamtime Return,
just gathering different impressions with no idea that I would be
going to Australia. I really hadn't thought about it much more than
just fascination concerning the other worlds out there, that you can
travel to in your imagination.
Knowing I was working on this project, which was
around 1986, the owner of Fortuna Records , Ethan Edgecomb,
sent me a book "Archaeology of the Dreamtime".
Probably within a month of receiving that book and reading it --
which was from more of a anthropological point of view of the Australians
Aboriginals in the Cape York area (
of Australia) -- I received a phone call from a film maker who was
working on a film called the Art of the Dreamtime. Using that
very same book as a reference, he was producing a documentary for PBS
and planning an expedition to that very same remote area in Cape York
with a film crew from a university. One thing led to another, and I
became the musician / composer on that expedition. They took care of
everything for me so I was one of the crew members. It was just an
unbelievable turn of events. The film maker said he first heard my
music when he was traveling to Mexico through Texas and Structures
from Silence was playing on the radio late at night across the desert.
I remember him saying that he felt like he was in
a Stanley Kubrick film.
The feeling of synchronicity was
overwhelming at times. Along with being in those remote
Aboriginal sites for weeks, the entire project brought up so
much in me that went way beyond music. Being at these sites, sleeping
on the same dirt as the ancient people of the land and listening to
pieces on headphones that I'd already created back in the Timeroom
before I ever imagined I would go to Australia was unforgettable.
This was also when I met Aboriginal
Didgeridoo player David
Hudson, who I went on to produce 3
didgeridoo records for. He taught me to play the didg. As far as the
others that were guests on the CD, my vision and focus with the
project had such a strong life of its own with all these experiences
described above that the elements I gathered for the project fell
together in a natural way. The timing was right on all levels.
Robert Rich created some perfect percussion tracks for me at just the
right time. Kevin Braheny had just completed building his EWI
instrument that is featured on "The Other Side." It
just goes on and on....
So it was a tremendous opening for me as an
artist, as a human being, and as a person who really listens with
their ear to the ground very closely. That to me was a direct
experience of how magical things can happen when you listen with your
heart and mind.
They continue to spiral out unfolding with a
natural order. I feel the uninterrupted connection still
reverberating from that point -- the understanding that I came to
during the 2 years of making Dreamtime Return.
By 1989 I was back in Australia for a second
adventure that led to the project, Australia - Sound of the Earth.
Its was directly after this second trip to
Australia that I moved to Tucson and started a new life with Linda
Kohanov. Funny sidenote is that David Hudson came for a visit here in
Tucson in the early 90's with his fiance Cindy and ended up getting
married in the desert behind my house. He was taken with how much
Tucson felt like Alice
Springs-central Australia , the place
where they met originally. They were inspired by the parallels
between the two deserts, how Tucson was able to bring up similar
feelings for them. Since they were on an extended holiday, they rose
to the moment.
Does commercial viability enter into your decisions when composing
and recording the music that will eventually end up on your next release?
Never. I just do what I do for my inner need and creative impulses.
The creative choices are often spelled out by the flow of pieces and
the nature of the shape they take in the Timeroom and in my life
before entering the creative space or listening to them out in the world.
One example is after leaving the Fortuna -
Celestial Harmonies label after talks with Hearts
of Space -Fathom resulted in contract
for a few solo releases.
They said nothing about the content, just the
delivery date. I worked for quite a while on the music but never
played it for any one besides Linda. I delivered the Magnificent
Void, perhaps one of the more
demanding deep listening pieces of my catalog. I know that some of
the people in the press department at Fathom were grumbling about
this amorphous complex ode to the void, what does it all mean and how
do we promote this?.( Lucky for me they hired an outside promotion
person) and to make a long story short is the way it went on to do
quite well, outperforming a release at the same time on their
sister label of a calculated nature on the pop side of the fence.
It's clear by now that I create my own brand of
music and the labels know what they are getting into if we work
together If you want to see a pretty easy-going guy shapeshift into a
jaguar that will go for the jugular then just start messing with my
creative process and the integrity of my music.
I never judge the success of any of my releases
by how many they sell or whatever. It's curious to see how they do,
but it has no bearing on what I will do next, case in point being the
solo guitar album Midnight Moon,
which I created for intensely personal reasons. Projekt
Records knew this and felt it
respectfully. To other labels that operate more on second guessing,
this was another potential "problem child" of a release,
one that turned out to sell very respectfully in the end.
Having worked with a variety of labels and label
owners I have to say working with Sam Rosenthal is great. We have a
direct, no bullshit way of getting things done. The respect is mutual
and since he is an artist he knows this side of the fence as well. We
have realistic expectations for this artform, one that is pretty much
off the map and under the radar but no less vital because of it.
What process do you go through when deciding what will and won't be
included in a CD release?
Gut feeling, instinct, creating a flow and balance that just feels
right. In allot of my music, the creating of a journey is vital
to the sequence.
If it's a single, long form piece or several
movements woven together, then the feeling that one piece creates as
its set up for the next is really important. Quite often, the point
at which the pieces melt is where the real magic can occur as well.
Is there some formula that you use to sequence the music so that
each song fulfills its purpose to the whole of the composition?
I have no formula since every project takes on a different shape and
set of harmonic-sonic-mythic puzzles to solve.
The beauty of using the computer for non-linear
arrangement has created the potential for carving out the
perfect flow. My first project to use this mode was the Magnificent Void.
Now more than ever the feeling of creating a film
is the best way to compare the process. The editing of a film along
with the texture and grain of the film itself, the processing, can
drive it, slow it down, sweep one away.... whatever... I get
tremendous inspiration from films in this way.
Since I never really do "songs" many of
the long form pieces are created from many different elements that,
once woven into the fabric, serve many proposes in the big picture.
I also find myself deep into the eleventh hour
mastering with Roger and suddenly feeling the need to add or change a section.
I have often gone from him mastering a section
directly to the studio to create a section or remix a piece for a
different ending in order to get it the way it must be. It's
interesting having grown up with analog equipment, synchs,recording
equipment, the organic influence has created a foundation that can
absorb whatever new approach comes along while still keeping the
priorities straight in terms of keeping the human element alive in
the machine. Since this was the only way to create in the "old
days," with the analog gear nothing could be stored in
memory, you always had to approach it in the moment with these living sounds.
The Tao of the soundcurrent.
What kind of relationships do you have with the musicians that you
collaborate with on your various projects? Is it a give and take kind
of process or do you lay down what you would like to see and then
everyone works within those parameters?
It's very complex and unique to each project. True collaborations,
the ones that I am interested in exploring are based on more than
I feel fortunate to have met a few friends on the
planet that are real brothers before music. The richness that comes
though mutual respect and the understanding of common desires and
spiritual pursuits in the music and in life is made real by the work
itself over time. My work with Vidna
Obmana over the years has reflected
this perfectly and our recent chapter in going to the edge in the
concert setting has been another exciting discovery of the
understanding we share in the studio and in life. My current
collaboration with Vir
Unis is exploring a kind of
collaboration where the mutual focus is maintained through us both
having the same computer-based system for recording, arranging and
transforming. We can start a piece and continuously send it back and
forth, updating and evolving the piece at a high level.
Before and during this project we have
shared hours of discussions of many diverse topics beyond the music
that helped create the atmosphere that "Blood
Machine" was born in.
Other projects will call for musicians to work in
a session-like setting giving their special talents to a project as a
part of the whole.
True collaborations, are based on more than
musical ambitions. It's the alchemical potential to create
something that could only be reached by the fusion of the collaborators.
Do your personal spiritual ideas and beliefs shape and craft your
music in any particular direction? Is this a conscious effort
on your part or is it simply the deeper parts of you finding avenues
to the surface?
I truly feel the complexity of what makes me a human being and
drives me to create this music is something that can never be
measured and explained in terms conveniently reduced to a string of
words. Starting with the impulses and urges of early man deep in my
memory up to now, I feel compelled to make sense of the chaos and
beauty around and within me, give it meaning and feel more whole and
alive for our time on this planet.
As far back as I can remember, the realm of
ineffable feelings that would emerge in everyday life haunted me.
When I discovered the way to express this world through sound, things
just fell into place in many ways.
It feels like it's enough to just say I have to
create my music in the same way I have to breathe. It's not a
question if it's pleasing or disturbing to other people, or record
companies and so on. I do it for myself before anything else.
Where do you see the ambient music field moving over the next few years?
There is an advertisement in the current music tech magazines
that asks the question of the artist "innovate or imitate?".
It's up to those making the music to meet the challenge of having
all the tools anyone could ever ask for and then having something to
say that is connected to the bigger picture and that comes from a
genuine place. I have always seen this indefinable sound-art as an
outlet for the innately talented that not too long ago might have
never found their way to express these worlds. This means more and
more people like myself that did not fit into the conformity of
academic demands or give into the imprisonment of creativity in the
conventional matrix of the music business can create their own
way with true independence. I feel the best qualities of this music
are evolving in exciting ways, in all the sub genres. It's a moot
point to say the boundaries are dissolving; it's a big boiling pot of
humanity by now. I say just keep stirring it, adding new ingredients
and trying new recipes while staying connected to the soulful
qualities that move one to create in the first place. The good stuff
will rise and the rest will fall away like it always has. One thing
for sure is there will be more of both extremes.
Judging from your site you have embraced the move to using streaming
media to let your music be heard, what is your view of the current
controversy surrounding MP3's and their use on the Internet?
As an independent artist its the best thing to happen since the CD
burner and the Internet itself. I see it as a great way to get the
music to people that might not have the chance due to the
stranglehold pop culture has on the traditional radio, press
and TV. I see a mutation that involves taking the college radio
paradigm, mixing it with syndicated shows like Hearts
of Space and Echoes,
splicing this into specialized on-line magazines and then including
the Artists sites, Mp3.com
all the links and so on. Put all this in the hands of the people
directly, and you have a great system to empower the individual.
Just this past week end Cliff Tuel the beloved
Webmaster of my site created the opportunity for the new Early
Man 2CD release to stream all weekend
from my site. This was a first for us and very successful with great response.
The best way to get the word out about the music
is to hear it directly. I feel it's a great alternative to the
written review where the music is often used as a soap box to express
the writers personal subjective opinion.
Nothing is like hearing for yourself and not
being told what to listen to.
Since this music is never advertised that much
this is a great way to help get beyond the ambient ghetto. As an
artist that makes his living directly from his work, I am not in
favor of uncontrolled "stealing" of my work. Again using
the radio as a format, the need to find some way to compensate the
artist who are providing the "software" to broadcast in the
first place is vital. I feel the entire controversy with
Napster and so on is more telling of how our society has devalued
music, expecting it for free without considering what it takes to
create it in the first place. In my case it's not a privilege, it's
been hard earned at many personal costs. Its a complex situation but
for the time being I am happy to use the MP3.com site as a way to
share the music to new and established listeners. I am still a
believer in manufactured CD's as the preferred medium for now and
feel the reliability and quality along with the complete vision
that goes into the real deal when holding it in your hand is hard to
beat until it becomes obvious that direct downloads or whatever is
the status quo.
With your constant schedule of releases, touring and studio work
when is it that you get to sit down and rest during the
course of the year? What is it that you like to do to unwind after an
intense period of activity?
I get nourishment and energy on many levels from being in the
soundcurrent everyday and from where I live and of course my
relationship with Linda and our interspecies family. I have my
daily and weekly downtime which often involves mountain
biking (off road bicycle)
through the AZ outback. I have been an avid MTBiker for years and I
could go on for a few pages about the rarified state of mind one can
get to after several hours of climbing, descending, exploring your
way into a remote canyon or mesa, and then finding yourself back in
the Timeroom 4 hours later.
The time after returning from traveling from
concerts is when the well is most run dry to the point of being
nearly catatonic. The energy to put the music out as I do in the live
setting is intense since what I do is more than a concert for me in
terms of the mental and technical perpetration. I really feel it down
in my marrow, both in satisfaction and also to the ragged edge at
which it takes me to. I love playing live, and it always brings
new discoveries and pieces into form. It's just a question keeping it
all in balance. I am currently taking time away from playing live
until 2002. Not sure if I will hold out that long.
Any final thoughts for your many fans about what's next for Steve
Roach in the near future?
Elegant Futurism. This is my term for what's next with the Blood
Machine. This best describes the
sound I have been carving up with Vir Unis over the past few years,
starting with Body Electric
and then Light Fantastic.
We moved through many pieces before what became the cohesive whole
that is the Blood
Machine. This project was just
completed and will be out by April. We kept a clear focus on finding
a sound we could not describe or compare to anything. We just
continued to create pieces that took us to the next place and the
next piece in the puzzle. It's positively charged music, very
stimulating and life affirming.
We created every sound from zero and infused it
with the qualities that make Electronic music so powerful on a
personal level when all is said and done.
Beyond that I always have several fires burning
at once where one project feeds the other. Two of these will be
coming later this year but they are still being formed. This is my
favorite place, within the music as its being created and coming into form.
would like to take this opportunity to thank you for speaking with
us and sharing some of your thoughts about how the music so many of
us enjoy is made. You've also given us a glimpse of the man behind
the music and that goes a long way towards allowing us to understand
why pieces were written and why they ended up like they did. I wish
you great success in your future projects and I along with all our
readers anxiously look forward to that next release.
Thank you for the opportunity to stretch out, and many thanks to the
readers and listeners.