Name: Sworn Virgins
Members: Craig Louis Higgins Jr, Quinn Whalley
Current release: Sworn Virgins new EP Strangers Hands is out via DEEWEE.
Recommendations: C. My favourite book growing up was Durango Street, I can’t shake it and would love to make it a movie for some weird reason. And also Shel Silverstien, the greatest.
Q. My favourite book growing up was a really obvious one: The Diceman. Hahahhahahahaha!
Visit Sworn Virgins on Instagram and Soundcloud to dive even deeper into their musical world.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
C. My first performance was playing an awful rendition of "Stairway to heaven" on a guitar when I was roughly 12 to my middle school class.
My first live show was James Brown in the 80s with the JB’s and after that I knew I wanted to be a musician. I remember seeing the drummer in my dad's band do a drum solo and kick his kit apart as he was doing it.
Q. I loved hearing the drums without any other musicians interfering and I thought it was coolest thing on the planet when he kicked everything apart. That was Bruce Mitchell from The Durutti Column.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
C. I’m at my absolute peak when music makes me feel like the guy that comes in on a motorcycle and steals the girl away from the jock at the end of the movie. If whatever I’m listening to does that or any similar type of circumstance, I’m happy.
Q. When my whole body is shaking itself apart from the bass I get quite happy.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
C. I’m an artist of the con kind therefore I never feel happy or content with my artistry or take it too serious. I don’t have the confidence in myself to fully sing like I'd want to sing but maybe one day!!
Q. I too am a charlatan! It’s all smoke & mirrors! For me, finding a personal voice / sound purely came from spending years and years in the studio making rubbish. Eventually even the most tone deaf of us stumble across a way to make music that sounds like you know what you’re doing.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
C. I identify as thon, as in that one over there, therefore I’m not really identifiable because I’m not really anyone or anything. As a listener I’d like to believe I'm as open minded as they come. Creative wise I’m happiest when I’m thinking the least if that makes sense.
Q. I try as much as possible to lose any “Quinn” in anything and bring out whoever I’m working with. It helps that I happen to work with a lot of insanely talented people!
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
C. Think less, feel more, be a good person and have fun while you’re breathing.
Q. I can’t add anything to that. Clams has nailed it.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
C. I’m 100% interested in the future of music and totally wrapped up in the past. It’s like a puzzle that I love trying to solve and it still to this day makes me so very happy to enjoy music. There is no such thing as original to me but innovation and creativity is what makes me happy. I love when I see / hear it!
Q. I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial when I say that perfection bores the sh*t of me.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
C. Probably life experiences and finding the balance of enjoying them and experiencing them while trying to maintain some kind of control over whatever it is I think I’m doing and figuring out how to be more selfless and less selfish.
Q. I think it was my dad showing me the ruler on the desk trick. I was totally engrossed with it. Working out how it made that sound, how you could change the sound / pitch. Also, the difference between the sound coming from the desk and the sound coming from the ruler. It’s a very “electronic” sound even though it’s made with a ruler and a desk.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
C. Way too boring to even begin to type.
Q. Wake up, cry. Do something stupid, regret it. Humiliate myself, cry again. Repeat.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
C. Everything starts with a chuckle and nothing ever gets finished without laughter.
Q. I’m lucky enough now to have spent years taking this all really seriously and learning everything I possibly could. That means that these days it’s all about having fun with whomever I’m with. As long as I remember to press record I hope that is what comes through on the finished piece. You can’t really fake that.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
C. I used to prefer being alone because I was too afraid to look stupid. Now I’m too old to care about what I look like and too dumb to remember what I was thinking. So in a nutshell I don’t like working alone anymore because there’s no fun in not being able to share the experience with someone.
Q. Same here. Although I do like to just sit there on my own screwing around with no intention of actually making anything. If I record that stuff, bits of it always seem to find a way into something.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
C. Everything I do is a direct result of my life and what is around me. My creativity is just a valve for all the things in my head that excite me and if you can’t get excited about something or someone every day than that is a real shame!
Q. When you’re doing music you’re trying to make people feel something. Even if you’re just trying to weird people out when they’re off their heads on the dance floor, that’s a very important thing for our society … I think!
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
C. Life is something I will never ever truly understand and that is what keeps me living! The music is just a way to make you feel good about it I guess.
Q. There’s no instruction manual on how to deal with these things. Art is our only guide, really.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
C. I think it's great. There should never be rules to how anyone should do things and science tells you there's no such thing as a soul. So if they can prove it let them. And if they can’t … well then so be it.
Q. There are mathematical relationships between notes and tones that induce certain feelings but I’m more interested in trying to conjure up weirder feelings these days than just happy, sad, angry etc. So all of that stuff can take a running jump.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
C. If I made coffee the way I make music, you would throw up essentially. There would be no thought to it and you’d have to just pour the grains down your throat and see what happens so to speak. I’m a thrill seeker type of person.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
C. Be good, not God I guess? Energy is everything.
Q. I have literally no idea. It’s insane. I would sound like an idiot if I tried to articulate it.