Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
When I am home and didn't gig late, my son usually wakes me up around 6:30 am, I or the missus deals with him and bring him to school around 8. Then typically I have to deal with a bunch of bullshit, emails, hustling, booking flights, shopping, finishing charts, other bandleader/ artist administrative nightmares, etc till midday. Then, if I am lucky and don't have a doctor's appointment, therapy, rehearsal, teaching, PTA meeting etc, I get to practise the drums, exercise, write music or program for 2-3 hours.
Then usually I cook and hang out with the family and drink expensive unfiltered wine if I am not playing a jazz gig. A fairly conservative life, as you'd expect from a parent. Of course when I am touring (which I do about 3-4 months of the year) it's all planes, trains, cars, cabs, hotels, laundromat, restaurant, coffee shop, soundcheck, gigs, hanging out and masturbating in peace.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
Ok let's take "forever winter" from my Forlorn album as Wolff Parkinson White.
There is a very basic rhythmic idea, in 5/4. The tempo slows down, to 2/3 of the original tempo every 8 bars (it jumps back to the original), and the beat goes from 8th notes to 8th note triplets in the second half, which modulates back. ie 8th notes triplets in the slower tempo are the same as 8th notes in the faster tempo, so it is quite hard to actually notice it. Sort of a Shepard-Risset tone but as tempo. A Risset rhythm but based on a triplet modulation, in 5/4.
The whole song just deals with that, in various forms, some more confusing, some section build to make it very obvious what's happening. The original idea came from an Autechre song that uses the Risset rhythm in 1:2 and also an album by my friend Markus Schmickler, Palace of Marvels, which has a lot of the Risset-tone.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I used to use a fair amount of drugs when composing, specially amphetamines, when finishing a song. Not so helpful when coming up with stuff. Ideally, just listening to a lot of music helps, of course in the genre, good and bad helps, sometimes hearing something not so to my liking will give me inspiration to create something very much NOT like that.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
Well doesn't apply here because there is no playing live with this stuff at the moment. I am pursuing some sort of live set but it is obviously going to be a lot different that what's on the albums.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
When I work with pitched sounds, timbre and EQ and overtones play a lot into the composition, sometimes I hear thirds in the overtone row when I move a filter that I didn't hear before ... As you might have noticed some of my stuff is quarter tonal. That is a big influence.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
My most intriguing connection was when my then-girlfriend blew me while the Deftones' "White Pony" was playing, loudly, and then - shortly after - broke up with me.
Apart from that, there are some movie soundtrack moments that are crazy, Especially when up-beat music is used in violent scenes, or scary music in peaceful scenes. I really like music videos that move with the song, like "Gantz Graf".
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I am a musician for music's sake, Though I listen to a lot of music that can be called "extreme" - I am doing so out of self-interest and dedication, not because of any other underlying social or political reasons. I barely listen to lyrics. My music is very much not to be understood in a political way. That said, literally all my colleagues and everybody I know is a liberal.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Music has been around for a long long time and it's not going to change much. It's crazy when you think about it that we ended up with tempered 12 notes here in the West. I am scared of what Spotify is going to do to us and our livelihood. They must die. It's a large threat.
I am lucky enough to make most my money from performing as a jazz drummer but I am afraid, funnelling literally all the profits to companies like Apple Amazon and Spotify is not going to create a very fruitful atmosphere for interesting music and dire times are ahead. Apart from that I think not much is going to change, I wished more than 2 channel audio would be available more or music. But it seems like it has almost gone away.