The relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema most importantly - has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
I tend to prefer art that can stand on its own, but as a case example, Julie creates abstract video backdrops for our concerts which I believe brings an interesting but non-essential dimension to our mostly non narrative music. I personally get more stimulated by a powerful sculpture than by a music video, but feel visual stimulations tends to lose impact faster than aural ones.
There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Digital files are practical, but in no way an interesting medium of expression. I grew up listening to 40 minute vinyl albums with expanded artworks that you could read or just look at making it a fuller musical experience. The latest AUN release, was conceived specifically as two twenty-minute sides for vinyl. The CD version contains additional material, which can be nice for the listener, but the album was created specifically for vinyl and makes less sense in digital formats. I just prefer physical analogue formats.
The role of an artist is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Whether the music is pop and light or very abstract and complex, I still view music as entertainment and escapism from reality and politics. I have no problem with people using it as a vehicle for their messages, but I prefer to listen to and create non-politically charged music.
Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?
I’m glad I had a 20 year pre-internet and digital music life. It must be much harder for any artists to find a voice amidst information saturation. Having access to anything for free has certainly lessened the value and increased the feeling of disposability of music for people growing up today.
How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?
A full make-up drone band with hip-hop mc could have crossover appeal (!), but I really believe the ones who have to find us will. We do not relate much to the reality TV/star-search crowd, and in turn, they probably won’t have any interest in us, which is fine.
Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the artist to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
One can hope that people would listen to albums at least once in full, and in the order intended by the artist and not randomised on their media player. People have very short attention spans and multi-task even in concerts, texting or filming and probably not paying enough attention to fully appreciate the experience. People should take the time to listen actively while not doing other activities when listening, to fully enjoy their favourite artists.
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
There are still many solid journalists out there that could help you find your way in the mass of releases, but their voices are drowned by the fact that so many people feel they must voice their sometimes-really-uninformed-opinions about anything. I will never understand why people who don’t like a certain type of art-form, feel so compelled to waste time talking about it.
As with anything, some PR agencies have genuine interest and knowledge of what they are pushing, but most will push anything if they are paid to do so. It's just business and PR and ad agencies will usually sell anything to anyone at any cost.
Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Visit AUN's website at www.auncom.com