In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?
This is something that I don't think about at all, actually. As I said previously, I'd like to think, very basically, that music is something in its own right, in and of itself, it is a statement by the artist - free from the intellectual trappings of 'culture'.
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?
It obviously intensifies any emotion we may be feeling, or emotions that may be happening on some screen somewhere. We all love a good break up song, it consoles and intensifies that feeling. Music in many ways brings these abstract emotions to life. We understand ourselves a bit better with the accompaniment of music.
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?
I'm not sure if it's my age, or if I just appreciate a package more than some, but I am firmly rooted in the physical presentation of music. I spent most of my youth pouring over liner notes and staring at album covers. The music seemed to make more sense to me with a nice piece of art attached to it. It made it more personal. And there's really nothing like knowing exactly how records were made - when, where, etc. Those little details in the liner notes reveal records to be the hard work that they are.
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?
I think the role of an artist is the same as it's always been - to provide a medium that speaks to a group of people. I don't really have any particular goal with my music. I think there are artists that have goals. That want to make a statement. That's never been my angle. In the end I really want a listener to walk away from my album feeling satisfied. Having felt spoken to on some level, however transparent or abstract.
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 think we are coming out that flood-of-releases phase. With the new found vinyl infatuation, record labels have to be a bit more discerning in what they put out, as they are bound by the economic restraints of physical products. That being the case, unlike digital-only releases, the bar has been raised again.
How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?
Mainstream music has always been a catalyst for more underground types of music. Speaking strictly about electronic music, I would say that the recent influx of so-called EDM will lead an entire generation of music listeners down the path of discovery. Considering where we are with EDM right now, there's a great possibility that some of the more underground producers might reach that level of mainstream due to the demand for more electronic music.
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?
I think there are two kinds of listeners: those that appreciate the form and process and those that enjoy it because it fits their mood or their situation. These can exist singularly or simultaneously in a listener. I don't see a listener as having any other role than enjoying what is presented to them.
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?
I think it's obvious that PR companies can absolutely make a release. And many times those releases deserve attention and many times not. I'd like to think that perceptions are changed based on the quality of art that is presented to the consumer, but often times that not the case. PR company's jobs are to make us believe that what is presented to us is the best. In the end, it's really up to the consumer to decide what is actually good for him or her.
The same can be said of record reviews.