Feb 20, 2006

Portrait of the Artist as a Londoner: CHECK OUT Simon Bookish

Bruce Nauman - Self-Portrait as a Fountain (1966-70)

Simon Bookish - Portrait of the Artist as a Fountain (mp3)

Simon Bookish - Metal Horse (mp3)

One Louder, I stumbled upon a an interesting Simon Bookish remix... check out his post on the Terry Riley Disco (Max Tundra Remix) .]

I stalked down Leo Chadburn, the man behind Simon Bookish's curtain, in Aarhus Denmark. Originally fascinated by the complexity of this London artist, I set out to explore the influences that output such an diverse, yet poppy sound. Turns out he's inspired by the desire to invent his own unique sound; using such ingredients as timeless antiestablishmentism and a rich batter of experimentation, texture, London, collaboration, computers, and art.

Kyle: How would you describe your sound? Leo: If it's a description of me you're looking for, then objectively I can only list what other people have likened me to; ScottWalker, DAF, Momus, 'Marc Almond singing over Stockhausen', 'Jarvis Cocker on crack' and 'gay Spalding Gray'. Irefute most of these comparisons, naturally...

Kyle: How important is London to your music? Leo: I think it colours a lot of what I do, in terms of those things I'm exposed to culturally on a day to daybasis, what kind of subjects I address lyrically, etc. London's like some massive kinetic sculpture that you have to engage with. If you stand still it swings round behind you and severs your head. I definitely think the music I've made recently has that 'switched-on' sound; I hope you can hear the city's electricity running through it.

Kyle: What role does technology play? Leo: All the music I've made in the last two years has been produced by me, at home or using some borrowed time in other people's studios. Simply because I like electronic sounds at the moment, everything has been synthesized, recorded directly into the computer and processed/treated by the computer. So technology has been vital. The home studio has also meant that I've been self-sufficient. Back when I was a 'real' composer, I used to have to deal with orchestras and all that kind of misery. Technology saved me from having any more arguments with self-righteous 2nd violinists. Having said that, my laptop died a bit last week, so I may have to consider some other ways of working in the next fewweeks!

Kyle: What's spinning on your iPod? Leo: I've been living like a hermit and becoming increasingly out of touch with current releases. I can, however, thoroughly recommend some of the amazing, talented people I've had the opportunity to have worked with recently, or even just hang out with; Leafcutter John, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, Bishi, Final Fantasy, The Organ, Max de Wardener, MaxTundra, John Fashion Flesh, Capitol K.

Kyle: What are your stylistic inspirations? Leo: In my opinion, the most 'inspired' musicians are those who are able to use style or genre to their own ends (Bowie, Louis Andriessen, John Zorn, Bjork, etc.) or those who stop fretting about style and get on with making stupendous structures and textures (the late Iannis Xenakis).

Kyle: Where do you fit into the music scene? Leo: Well, I'm pretty sure I don't fit into any scene anymore. I certainly don't want to! In fact, I don't think any artist working today would want to be tied to a single genre, to be pigeonholed. "I only write music in such-and-such a style" is somewhat analogous to saying "I only write music in G major".

Kyle: Is the 'Portrait of the Artist' single referencing James Joyce? Leo: 'Portrait of the Artist as a Fountain' is a reference to the Bruce Nauman performance photographs of the same name, not to 'Portrait of the artist as a young man'. [See above]

I like lyrics about 'the other', something challenging, even 'inappropriate'. Who needs any more love songs, baby?

The new Simon Bookish album UNFAIR/FUNFAIR will be released next week (February 27th). You can purcahse the first release (containing the singles above) from Tomlab or read more at simonbookish.com.


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