INTERVIEW: SIMON SCOTT - ELECTROACOUSTIC TALES GUIDE (2012)
"I find it excruciatingly hard to describe my music and those various terms seem to carry associations that are false or have connotations to negative genres. For example Ambient is sometimes associated with Muzak and also the New Age genre, both of which my music most definitely is not!. Electronic suggests I make digital dance music which my music isn't and many of my sound sources are analogue. I really enjoy treating organic sounds, such as the music boxes I collect, with both analogue and digital experimentation. I make my own loopers on my laptop and process sounds and samples in those but I also just play an acoustic and record that with a nice microphone in a good acoustic space too. I suppose the juxtaposition of different organic sounds and the various digital signal processes I use are polar opposites and this helps me find some space within those two extremes that reveals the attractive or emotive segments of sounds that I then develop into songs."
You're in the music business for many years now. Can you describe the basic changes during that time that you see?
So much has changed so fast for the consumer of music and I think it is wonderful that we can find almost anything online that we wish to add to our music collections. Unfortunately there is a huge part of the soul of listening to music dying because people want everything in an instant and they consume it too quickly. Type Simon Scott Navigare into a search engine and there will be a free copy online to download and skip through without noticing that the quality of the file isn't what I intended people to hear. I can't stop this but I would rather someone emails me and asks for a copy to hear than form an opinion about my music from a second hand file. The endless hours of recording sounds, composing, tweaking the loops, editing the samples, mixing the tracks and then mastering become sadly redundant and it is just because someone wants to hear music right now and to save a few pounds. Skipping through music and making decisions about an artists work in an instant isn't what anyone ever intended you to do when they made a piece of music or an album. The art of listening dies, the artefact, such as a beautiful vinyl record with an amazing sleeve, dies and the labels lose money so they sink. These are worries but I see a welcome rise in vinyl sales so clearly there is a need to own a release so that it belongs in your collection that is given the attention it deserves and needs. I never listen to something once and form an opinion, even if I download the music, and most of my favourite music reveals itself and unfolds after repeated listens.
One huge positive change is how we can start up our own labels and bypass the decision makers who are looking for financial gain rather than to release music they feel passionate. There is a great online label community who support each other and also some very dedicated retailers who release small label releases, such as Boomkat and Norman Records here in the UK.
Do you think that it's easier these days to promote one's own creative work regarding the social networks and all the possibilities we have today?
You certainly can promote yourself if you have the time to advertise yourself on Facebook and Twitter and this is something I personally participate in so that people know I have a record out, forthcoming live shows and variuos other bits of relevant information. The internet is full of people posting what they had for breakfast but I find it useful to see and hear what is going on. Collaborating with artists on the other side of the planet is a gift for musicians. I collaborated with Rafael Anton Irisarri in Seattle by file swapping and three of our collaborations ended up on the last The Sight Below album. Yes the internet has more positives than negatives provided you don't mind wasting a little time sifting through the online junk.
We can hardly find any review of your actual work that does not talk about your Slowdive days. What do you think about this?
I'm a musician and I was in a great band whose music has stood the test of time. This is a positive part of my career as a musician so I don't mind being associated with them at all as long as people actually listen to the music I make and realise that is generally doesn't sound anything like the band I was in back in the nineties.
Is Cambridge a good place to live as a musician? How is the cultural live in Cambridge from your point of view?
Cambridge is strange but I love it as I am from here and the city is beautiful. I love the surrounding countryside too and I find it deeply inspiring for making music. I put on live shows here and always feel my heart sink when there isn't a full attendance as the brainiac students generally stay in and study hard. There are some good musicians around but there is no scene here that I am part of, I am dislocated from any distractions and that is the way I like it. I spent years living in London searching for inspiration and never found it. The moment I moved back into Cambridge after being away I began to find it everywhere here and in the East Anglian landscape.
What's your wish for this decade as artist and Keshhhhh label head?
As an artist I wish for continued inspiration for composing, artistic progression and for my music to continue to connect with people. I have recently, since Navigare was released in 2009, visited some incredible places to perform live and I have met and played with such great talent like Ryoji Ikeda, Lawrence English, Tim Hecker, Stephan Mathieu, BJ Nilsen and the other Miasmah recording artists. I'm also hoping to collaborate more too as it took me two years to write and develop the new album Bunny
and I didn't work with as many people during that time as I wanted to. You learn new thing from other musicians and provide inspiration when searching for new sound palettes or ideas. For my KESH label my wish would be for cheaper manufacturing for vinyl and CDs as it ultimately costs the music buying public more as labels have to sell them to retailers at a price that covers all of those manufacturing costs and then the retailer is dictated to in terms of what price they can sell the product. I also hope to continue to invite my favourite artists to Cambridge for my KESH live events.