Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Interview With Zach Hill

Interview by Brayden Bagnall

Tricked you. 
Well not actually, I am speaking to a 'Zach Hill' and he also happens to be behind a very neat noise project called 'Poète Maudit'. Here is an interview I did with him. Enjoy.

FBN: First of all, an introduction: what's your name, and the name of your project?
Zach: My name is Zach Hill, my project is named Poète Maudit. I create a variety of forms of noise and experimental music, including ambient noise, power electronics, and free improv.

FBN:  Apart from Poète Maudit, have you been involved in any other projects?
Zach: I started out playing in a lot of punk bands, they all failed. I'm currently trying to start an electric free improvisation/noise group. I also have a remix project, I work under the name Johnny 23. 

FBN: Poète Maudit is a name given to a poet living outside of society, and hence has some pretty transgressive connotations. Do you try and channel this concept through your music?
Zach: I certainly do to some extent. I would say that my pieces tend to be more influenced by the poems themselves though. If I ever get a live show, those elements will hopefully become more apparent.

FBN: What sort of equipment do you use to create your music?
Zach: I use handmade instruments, guitars, circuit bent toys, pedals, some basic synths/oscillators....also, staying true to my free improv interests, I use many found objects in some pieces. I've used everything from baseball bats to plungers to newspaper to wine glasses to Newton balls.
Also, I use an iPhone for making field recordings.

FBN: Speaking of field recordings, they are a big part of your composition process - what are some of the more interesting recordings you've used and how did you go about recording them?
Zach: Some of my favorite recordings are the ones I do in nature, such as crawling over a storm drain to catch rain sounds against metal or walking around the gardens/conservatory in Lincoln Park, Chicago, even though it became hard to isolate sounds from voices. Another was when I got sent to a piano shop for work and made tons of recordings of multiple pianos being played at once (the discordance was deafening and wonderful).

FBN: You've got a split coming out with Vomir soon! Do you have any plans to trump the seasoned noise maker?
Zach: I don't know if that's possible, but I did put a ton of work into my piece, and it's harsher than some of my recent stuff. There's field recordings of a lawnmower, a hydroelectric plant, and some nature sounds. There's a few vocal tracks, synth lines, and a bunch of noise tracks. So like I said, a ton of work. I'm really proud of the piece and I think it's beautiful. I don't think I've ever been this excited about a piece or a release, it's going to be a great tape.

FBN:  Your output is certainly prolific -  you've just put out your 20th release in half a year. What fuels you to put so much music out there?
Zach: It's rather simple. Making noise is something I love and enjoy, it's almost therapeutic for me. I stick to a schedule of sorts, and I almost never throw away tracks. I try to release an album a week (or rather, 4 a month).

FBN: What's your take on the whole analogue vs. digital debate that seems to be rife in the noise community? 
Zach: Personally, I don't see the point of the debate. Both can coexist quite easily and effectively. I personally use elements of both. I suppose I lean more toward analogue. I use digital techniques more as a processing tool, but it has become very important in my sound. I always use analogue when I use synths. I even use acoustic instruments quite often.

FBN: This is the part where I'd usually ask you what your top 3 noise releases of all time are - so, what are your top 3 ABBA songs?
Zach: My grandma is a huge ABBA fan, I used to (have to) listen to them in the car with her rather often.
1. "Thank You for the Music"
2. "Waterloo"
3. "Dancing Queen"

FBN: Because I can't think of anything else deep or meaningful to ask you: who'd win in a fistfight between Masami Akita and William Bennett? 
Oh, Akita for sure. Vegan power for the win! Also, it'd probably be hard for Bennett to throw a punch with his cut hands. Then again, he's probably into that kind of thing.

FBN: Finally, would you like to offer any encouraging words to the folks out there? Maybe thank some people, or give a shout-out? Or just shamelessly plug your musical pursuits?
Zach: First off, I'd like to encourage anyone who wants to start in the genre to just jump straight into noise. Don't hesitate or worry about gear or anything. It's a genre that's wonderful because anything can go in it, and as I said, it's a therapeutic experience for me.
I'd like to thank Brayden for this interview and my good friend William Shaw for being involved with some of my pieces and going to concerts with me all the time, I'd like to give a shout out to all the poets I've taken from and want to encourage people to read their works, and a big thanks to any person or artist who gives my stuff a listen and shows support.
Also, to be a bit shameless, I'm always looking for collaborations, remix requests, or splits, so anyone should feel free to contact me, I'm up for anything.

Thank you Zach! 
Mosey on over to the Poète Maudit bandcamp HERE where you'll find a heap of releases to sink your teeth in. Oh, and keep an eye out for that Vomir split - it'll be a doozy.
Hit Zach up at poetemauditnoise@gmail.com to arrange a split or collab

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