Hello Paul, thanks for taking the time out of your day for this. Many, many people know you based off of Information Society, but that's not what we're here for. We'll be talking about your own solo career and your album "Nocturnes". Let me first start off by asking when you first started writing experimental/atmospherical music.
Robb - "I’ve always dabbled from my very days. I still have an archive of very experimental tracks from the early 80’s."
Following on that thought, when did you really start getting a feel for "Nocturnes"? When was it that you decided you wanted to create the darkly romanticized sound of "Nocturnes"?
Robb - "I’ve been listening to a lot of non-pop music in the last few years; it just seems to fit my mood a lot of the time. The fundamental ideas which this collection of tracks is based on has been percolating in my mind for the last year or so."
Did any other musicians really influence you to write out "Nocturnes", or was it something that was more self involved?
Robb - "William Basinski comes to mind, but almost more in the sense of what I was trying not to do. By which I mean I didn’t want to creat a 'tape loop' or traditional 'ambient' record. You could certainly use this record as background music, but the compositions are much more strictly composed than your standard 'set and forget' ambient."
Now, I noticed that you really don't want listeners involving the term "ambient music" with your new album. It almost sounds like it offends you; why is this?
Robb - "No, not at all. I’m just trying to indicate that this music is worthy of close attention, rather than being a fuzzy halo playing in the background somewhere. Also, not all of these tracks are exactly 'feel good' music."
When it comes to your album, each one of the songs don't even have a name, really. It just goes 'Nocturne #1' all the way down to 'Nocturne #8', aside from the last track that's named 'Aubade'. Why is this? Some may look at it as laziness, but I think there's more to it than that.
Robb - "These tracks were written to be listened to in order, and can be imagined as the course of single encounter between two people, who part in the morning. An aubade is an antique morning song sung by a departing lover. As for the titles, I really didn’t want to weight the tracks down with imposed imagery. Ideally, the listener will bring his/her own images to the experience."
Another thing that I would like to ask about is the order of the songs. Listed on your Bandcamp page, the songs do not go in order from #1 to #2 to #3, but are otherwise randomized. Was there a point to this? Or was this a mistake?
Robb - "No, not a mistake. The numbers indicate the order they were written in, the final sequence is just what I considered the best order to listen to them in."
How did you go about composing each of the pieces present on "Nocturnes"? Was there a certain image in nature that you were going for? Were you trying to turn emotion into music? Or was it something else entirely?
Robb - "Yes, I was trying my best to turn the whole gamut of “nighttime emotions” into music. The only specific visual image I had in mind was darkness, and the many flavors thereof."
The cover art, as well, is quite striking to myself. I feel bad for the bird presented on it, getting hit by such a wintery storm. Who designed the cover art and what does it symbolize?
Robb - "The bird photo appealed to me because I immediately felt a certain fellowship with that bird. Don’t we all feel like that bird sometimes? That bird is your soul; the storm is life."
Some ambient musicians have a hard time putting on a live show to coincide with their music. Do you have any plans to put on a live show for "Nocturnes"? And, if so, how do you plan on presenting it and making it engaging to the audience?
Robb - "If I had any hope that I could reach an audience, I would do a live show for sure, because I do have some ideas, but I’m not certain that a realistic hope."
Aside from "Nocturnes", what else do you have going on as a solo musician? Are you working on a follow up to this album, collaborating with other musicians, or something else entirely?
Robb - "I recently had my string quartet “Bandoneon” premiered at the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival in Oregon, which was a really satisfying experience. You can see that on my Youtube page. And yes, I am working on a follow up to “Nocturnes”, as well as some new material with Information Society."
And, is there anything that I haven't covered concerning "Nocturnes" that I may have missed that you wish to discuss?
Robb - "Nope! That was pretty complete!"
Lastly, I thank you for your time again and wish you the best!
Robb - "Thanks! My pleasure."
We will never be the state's poster child band, nor do we want to be, but after a decade of hard work we have a solid following and I am very grateful for that. It seems like every gig we play we make new fans who actually stick around and that is a rare thing anymore. We have reached across genres locally and have built ourselves a dedicated and very diverse crowd here.
Pittersplatter, Jan 07 2014
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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