Sunday, 8 June 2014

How To Avoid Art Q&A

Your name:

Where are you from? 
Sykesville, Maryland - USA.

Name of band: 
How To Avoid Art.

Who else is in your band? 
No one, currently - but this is subject to change as needs arise (such that machines can't replicate.

How would you describe yourself?
Musically, I believe the work falls under "industrial" or "electronic", but there are many other genres embraced and utilized (or exploited, as the case may be). 
I would describe myself as pretty cool seeing how I just recently got a Castle Grayskull (for the Masters Of The Universe Classics line) and none of my friends have I'd be the "cool kid" on the block.  :)
That aside - mainly because no one except me thinks having such a huge playset is cool or even a thing to be mentioned at my age - I am a husband, toy collector, and a Christian with a background in apologetics which I began studying twenty-some years ago.

Who are your main influences musically?
I don't really listen to much music these days. I primarily listen to podcasts (Stand To Reason, Unbelievable, Let My People Think, Reasonable Faith, and a few others). Oddly enough, I do draw from these talks. Mark Driscoll said something in one of his sermons and at that instant, I KNEW I had to get that in musical form (more or less...the piece is called "Sponge" and you can decide whether it's music or not).
When I do listen to music, it's typically classical. That said, I would cite things from my youth which stay with me to this day: The Art Of Noise, Juluka (Johnny Clegg), Kraftwerk, Celtic Frost, Controlled Bleeding, Xymox, Misfits, Front 242, Nuclear Assault, Fear, The Police, The Smiths, Stan Ridgway, Minor Threat, U2, and Peter Gabriel (at least that's what comes to mind now, trying to think on these things). I listen to jazz - from Big Band to the "smooth jazz" (which I'm told "isn't jazz at all"). There's just something classy and cool about blasting Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra. I love African music as well - the closer to it's roots (meaning the less like pop it is), the more I like it. What I'm not trying to say is "I have no influence", but I've seen "influence" construed to "outright imitation" and that I take umbrage with - not that you intended the question this way, but the philosopher in me requires this distinction be made for your readers. I have a great deal of distaste for a lack of originality and complete disdain for copycat sounds.
This might be a way to illustrate the difference. Let's say a person drinks a couple bottles of scotch and goes out for a drive. One thing leads to another and the car ends up crashing into someone's living room. Now, when the authorities arrive, the person is not under suspicion of "Paying A Surprise Visit", but rather "Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol". In this light, I see influence as a doing something you wouldn’t do otherwise had you not that influence at all.
So it's hard for me to cite relevant influences when (external) music plays so little a part of my day to day life. The music I listen to the most is my own - I'll mix something at night, and find all the faults the next morning on my commute to work, take notes, and repeat the process until it's "good enough" or I tired of correction (whichever comes first).

What do you hope to achieve in music?
It's two-fold and has little to do with me. My management company, TishKi Productions, is personally and deeply involved with helping the poorest of the poor around the world and they are also partnered with World Vision and Compassion International. Whatever I can do to further their efforts, is great by me. Secondly, I hope to give people something to think about with the lyrics. 
Music with a message is on the forefront...whether I succeed or not. Trying and failing is not the same as not trying. One thing I've got going for me is that I will often lift sections of The Bible for my lyrics (Fro instance; "Monk Q" is from Proverbs 3, and "Sons Of Hell" is from Matthew 23). God's Word never fails. I attempt to bring these concepts to a different audience that wouldn't consider stepping foot in a church. The truth doesn't get any truer when someone important, attractive or famous says it. So, if people can relate better to a strange fellow in dressed in black with New Rock boots screaming the same things spoken from a pulpit, then so be it. I'd be happy to be here for that sole purpose.

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
Oddly enough, it was back in the days of Myspace when my friend Megan (whom I've never personally met) responded to a song a posted with "Holy &%$#, Rob!" (in praise) and made my song her profile song. THAT legitimized my work.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
Fallout 3. All the time I spent playing that game, when I had specifically taken off work for the express purpose of working in the studio and all I did was play that game non-stop. This happened more than once. Yeah, it was fun, but soooo much time wasted...and it (the game) never crossed my mind again until just now. A massive time sink.

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
"Sons of Hell (Blind Guide Remix)". I am extremely happy with the drums. As well, it has moments that very-well represent (at least to some degree) the rest of the body of my work: found sounds, processed voice, thrash guitar, fast sequenced synths, atmosphere, obtuse breaks, and a bold message. As well, I had several other artists remix this track and I was the only one that changed the time signature (or BPM). The first time I did change the BPM  was "Sons Of Hell (Eternal Weight Mix)" and it lacked the upbeat dance-floor-readiness that the other artists were putting forth...and I didn't want to be outdone when I wrote the, the Blind Guides remix was my answer to changing the BPM (down from 140 to 120) and making the song more pounding and bashing. I've always liked the power and presence of the  kick and snare of the Art of Noises' "Beatbox"...and I think I came close to that power this go around.

Where can we listen to it? 

Where can we find out more about your music?

Anything else you’d like to say that I forgot to ask?
Thank you very much for this opportunity!

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