Saturday, May 17, 2008

John Fleetham

John Fleetham

John Fleetham is a Minnesota based musician, who also works with film and video. He has at least one record, called "Tea Choir," and another in the works (to be titled "The Metonymy Suite"). There is relatively little info to be found online, so this is one of those Q&A's which will add some much needed information about an artist you've heard on Some Assembly Required!

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with John Fleetham...

*Name: Well, I'm John Fleetham.

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: No.

*Do you use a pseudonym? No. To the extent that the Christian and surname actually are my innermost self, not just signifiers, I don't use a pseudonym.

*Members: Just me.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Started off with tape but I work digitally now. However I came relatively late to computer recording so I think that I have a method of working that is still very much habituated from working with tape. I like doing things in the simplest way even if it takes longer than it might otherwise with better software, hardware, plug-ins, etc. However, I must admit poverty is perhaps a primary reason for this. I don't know how beneficial it is to get into specifics with regard to working techniques.

*Another genre descriptor: That's a difficult one because when people who ordinarily don't listen to anything other than what's on the radio (the Other Radio) have asked me about my music, I have been very resistant to describing it to them. I would be more likely to describe my work as noise rather than (godforbid!) 'electronica,' although to me, noise is something Merzbow specializes in and I don't often sound like Merbow. What's always of interest in the process is the balance between what may have been originally conceived, what is intentionally accidental and what is meticulously worked over.

*Location: St. Paul, Minnesota.

*Original Location: St. Louis Park, MN

*What is your creative/artistic background: In addition to music: writing (heavily in previous years, almost not at all now), painting (same), and currently film/video work.

*History: Age 14 began recording and did some very nice abstract stuff at that. I just finished a short film with actors and a script where I used a piece I did when I was fifteen playing a ukelele through a mic which was plugged into my stepfather's Fender Vibroverb amp. It sounds like Middle Eastern music, but the current form of it was digitized and accentuated a bit.

*Born: I was born November of 1977, in St. Louis Park (MN).

*Motivations: I love hearing new music. I miss Let it Be records, which was on Nicolett (Avenue, in Minneapolis), because they had an 'unconventional' section which was often well stocked. Nothing compares with it now. I hear about new music from the Wire magazine and the Aquarious Records website. Appreciating art has always inspired me to make my own. I cannot be only a spectator or listener. And when you can't afford to buy an album it's also easier to just make you own!

*Philosophy: My biggest musical and editorial influence is the Hafler Trio. For those who know there's a clue and for those who don't, there's a recommendation. I believe in the pursuit of "possible music." As far as pure philosophy is concerned, I like Jacques Lacan, but I appreciate him aesthetically (particularly the seminars which were spoken events, not written papers). For Lacan, even the question of Dasein, or Being, or dealing with trauma and life and death is all a matter of style. It's one thing to have an aesthetic philosophy, but an entirely different thing to execute art. Works happen within circumstances; sometimes circumstances which can be so limiting as to make real creations impossible. Ideally I would like to be conducting an "orchestra" of sitars, bagpipes, steel guitars, gamelans and giant wind chimes. That's not terribly easy to do. To some extent the wonderful thing about sampling makes it possible for me to "sketch" something like this. I can sample all these instruments and put something together. It's not the same as the orchestra. but it's possible music. Sometimes that can be truly ecstatic. It's like when you hear a radio in a warehouse, or a loud public space and you hear this weird, beautiful song. You listen for a few minutes trying to hear it and when you get closer you find it was a song you already knew but your mind created something else entirely. Something which doesn't exist. That's possible music too.

*How would you like to be remembered: Why, is there something I should know?

*Web address: Don't have one. Email is ok.


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