Sunday, April 01, 2007

Steev Hise

Steev Hise
Steev Hise may have been the very first person I met online, back in the mid nineties, when I first ventured out onto the world wide web. I was looking for other artists who created using recycled sounds and found him there somewhere. I don't think he'd started Detritus yet, so I must have done a search for "found sound collage" and found one of his posts to a listserv, or something like that.

The internet's become a lot more user friendly since then, and you can find a much larger amount of information about sound collage and audio artists on the net these days, but back then it took a serious effort. I would spend what seemed like hours typing new combinations of search phrases into all of the search engines I could find (Does Google even have any competition these days?) and see the same ten responses over and over and over.

So, I started firing off emails to total strangers and one of the first people to respond was Steev Hise, who shortly thereafter started his "recycled culture" website,, which not only set out to provide the web with some much needed info on the subject of recycling in art and music, but also to provide server space for collage artists who needed help getting online. I'm one of the people who took advantage of his generosity right at the beginning. Both the Escape Mechanism and Some Assembly Required websites got their start at and I've long maintained my email address (thanks Steev!).

Sound Unseen asked me to invite some SAR artists to perform in Minneapolis a few years ago and I asked Steev to open for Wet Gate when they performed at The Bryant Lake Bowl. All told we had three evenings of "plunderphonic" events at that year's Sound Unseen (2001), including John Oswald and Wobbly on another night at The Bryant Lake Bowl, and my band (Escape Mechanism) opening for The Tape-beatles at The Oak Street Cinema. We even presented a panel discussion with The Tape-beatles, Wet Gate, Steev Hise and Kembrew McLeod at the Walker Art Center, called "I Love Trash: Recycling Culture and Rewriting Copyright." It was an exciting week!

Steev posted some photos from one of the evenings at the Bryant Lake Bowl

Steev's been performing and composing with recycled sound and video for years. He's also created original instruments and software and has been working lately as a documentary filmmaker. His first documentary, "On The Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juárez" is available on DVD from (as is his CD titled, "Original"). Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Steev Hise...

*Name: Steev Hise

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: nope

*Do you use a pseudonym? No

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: None. I'm a documentary filmmaker who once made electronic audio art, which is not to say I've totally given that up. I may go back to making music and sound art, but I've been concentrating on film/video for the last 4 years or so. For now, I think music is an insufficient form to convey the messages I need to convey to my audience, so that's why I do film.

*Another genre descriptor: "Recycled culture." I stole that term from the Tape-beatles. It really fits.

*Location: Davenport, Iowa, but I live in Tucson now.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I come from a community radio and punk band background, with a little grad school thrown in, at an art school studying music and new media. (Starting at) WCBN ("Radio Free Ann Arbor"), the student station in Ann Arbor, at the U of Michigan, where I did my undergrad in electrical engineering. For grad school I went to CalArts in Los Angeles, studied there with Morton Subnotick, Tom Erbe, and Dick Hebdige, amongst others. Band names, in chronological order: International Leakage, The Tao Puppies, T-Zero, Ears Under Siege (getting into noise and ambient electronics here), Hubie, Wax Utensil Guild, The Anti-Cyborg Orchestra.

*History: About 16 years.

*Born: In the late '60s.

*Motivations: To make the world better, somehow.

*Philosophy: The world is f****d, and artists have the responsibility to help fix it. Just as everyone does, but artists have a more important role than many, because they have the power to communicate ideas and sway opinions.

*How would you like to be remembered: That's a hard one. Maybe something like "he was great in bed, and his intentions were good."

*Web address:
Also, I have a blog here:

Also, the site for my new documentary about the murdered women of Ciudad Juarez is:


Post a Comment

<< Home