Transcription: 0327 - Ruaridh Law

Released: May 24, 2020

Darwin: Okay. Today I have, an opportunity to speak to somebody that's new to me, although I don't know why - because, the kind of work that he does is really something that is like dead on my radar. His name is Ruaridh Law. And he came to me via Thorston Sideboard; I was like, "Hey, do you know somebody that I should be talking to?" And this guy came out of his mouth right away. And so that was clearly a sign that I needed to talk to him. And so here we are. So with no further ado, let's talk to Ruaridh. Hey man, how's it going?

Ruaridh Law: It's good things. Yeah. I'm great. How are you?

Darwin: All right. I hope I didn't butcher your name too badly!

Ruaridh: No, that was pretty much spot on, and it usually takes people a good run up to get to it. So I think you had that pretty much first time. That's good.

Darwin: Oh, fantastic. Well, good for me. That doesn't happen very often. So for people who out there who might not be aware of what you do - and I think sometimes your name isn't always attached to the stuff that you do. So you've been involved in the creation of this Further-in virtual festival. You do the Broken20, and for some reason now it's called Broken60, label - I'd like to hear the story behind that. You released work under the name TVO and you actually have a lot of stuff that you've been doing under different monikers, or maybe not with a lot of personal "pointing at me" stuff. So why don't you fill people in on the breadth of different things that represent your body of work?

Ruaridh: Of course. So I started off in a band, about 20 years ago, called the Marcia Blaine for Girls. It's sort of a very electronica-style band with two friends of mine. And we had, I suppose you call it, small to medium success with that. But branching out from that, I wanted to do things myself. So, I moved into the music area by myself as first of all The Village Orchestra, and then somebody pointed out to me that's a terrible name, which is, you know, I take that on the chin. And a label wanted to rebrand me because they thought the name was terrible and they don't want it on the center circle of the vinyl. I can understand that. And so just cut it down to TVO since then.

So I've been releasing records as TVO, and quite a lot of collaborative things as well and performing. But lately, I've been concentrating more on my label, Broken20, which also has a spinoff Broken60, which we can get to in a bit if you want. And so we sort of release, not just music, we do DVDs, film and sort of mixed media stuff. We've done prints and newspaper works and things like that. And yeah, at the moment I'm running Further_in, which is a streaming channel that's running every sort of three days a week, Thursday-Friday-Saturday, which I set up to try and support artists of all disciplines. So not just music. So musicians, DJs, spoken word, artists, dancers, anything you, you name it. Filmmakers is the thing that's getting the real interest, and we are three days a week screening performances or films or whatever in order to try and let people who have had their platform taken away from them because of what's going on in the world. Get an opportunity to show work that maybe they've produced for festivals or for gigs or tours or whatever. And at the same time I'm still working on music myself, but I'm also now more working in a sound art type stuff. So be that installation stuff and which I've just finished work on on something recently, or some more audio visual things, or performances that are based around quite specific parameters - as much as normal music now. So yeah, lots of irons in the fire.

Darwin: Yeah, I noticed that your work doing installation stuff started to pop up. But then also, this 44 Tarot thing - which you debuted on Further_in, it's one of these things that almost feels like a hybrid because there's very much a visual and a storytelling component to it. It has the sense of almost being installation-like except you perform it by using these cards. Could you explain for people a little bit more about that and how that represents where you're at right now?

Ruaridh: For sure. And you're right, you know, as a perfect summation of all the different things that I'm interested in at the moment. I started off at the end of last year where a friend of mine Sietse van Erve, a Dutch musician who runs a record label called Moving Furniture, had asked myself and a couple of other musicians to respond to 44 short pieces of music that he had written specifically for this purpose. So he sent me 44 44-second-long pieces of, I would hesitate to call it music, actually pieces of sound and basically wanted to see what I would do with them. And unfortunately the thing to me is that I go away and the idea always comes first. So I didn't even lessons to the sounds. I just went away and started mulling these things over.

And as usual, just as I was falling asleep one night, the thought popped into my head that dealing the sounds randomly, which was rather like dealing cards and somehow that then escalated them to each one being represented by a card, which then because the Tarot deck has more than 44 cards, of course it's 78 cards, but in my head that it would be very well represented by Tarot cards. So then at that stage I was just thinking of maybe writing an audio interface that would essentially just shuffle these pieces of audio about, but things grew legs, as they tend to do. And I decided that I would make a Tarot around them, and add the additional sounds myself and to the mixto make up the 78 pieces.

And then when I got there, it's like when you get an idea, you have to see it through to its point of conclusion. So once I came up with the cards, I thought I need to have images for them. And then if the images were why shouldn't they be 44 short films, which would then multiply up to 78 short films. And the whole thing has then escalated into being a deck of cards, which you use with an interface which a friend and I had built using Arduino and Roli Lightblocks, which essentially acts as an interface to read what card it is. And then the computer will respond to what card that is with the audio and the video of the correspondence to the card. And then how you move your hands around on the interface will change the way that the audio and the video of the cards interact with each other.

So it was originally just supposed to be a performance interface for myself. But then the more I thought about it, I showed it to my children. And you know, they're 11 and 7 and they're very interested in things that they can play with and that they can touch and all the rest of it. And they really, really liked that. And I thought, wouldn't this be amazing as a way to get round the - I'm trying to think of what the right way of putting is... There's an austerity sometimes about new music interfaces that only the person who's created it can use, and there's a bit of a closed world, you know, "I don't want to show you how it works...". And I thought, wouldn't it be great if my friend who's an improvising musician has just as much of a chance of making something good with it as my 11 year old does, or in fact maybe the 11 year old will come up with something better because the cards, obviously Tarot cards have names associated with them and those represent archetypes that most people can put in their heads as representing people from their own lives or stories, essentially.

And then the other thing I found was that my boys really liked creating stories with them. They would do that with the Night of Cups, for instance; you know, he was a Night and then they would put down the Empress and so the night was going to see the Empress and so on and so on. And these stories that they made together, I thought - wouldn't this be amazing if this was set up as an installation, people would want to interact with the cards just on the basis of being able to make stories with them. And also then being able to make sounds, even if they don't really know how the things are happening, but they have complete control over what's going on. So that's a very long-winded way of sorta trying to explain it, but essentially it's a performance interface which either I or anybody else can use to generate these videos and make the sounds interact with each other.

Darwin: Sure. Well one of the things that really drew me into it was that it actually solves a number of problems simultaneously. So you do talk about the austerity of a user interfaces for a lot of new music tools. And I think that that's true and I think that that's hard not only for viewers who are trying to watch it, but also can be a trial for the performer themselves. I know I've started doing this thing with some of my performance interfaces where I'll put visualizers or visual stuff on it simply to occupy my mind. So I don't freak out during performance and just start being like, "Oh my God, this has been running too long! I have to switch something out!" You know, because you get such a time warp when you're performing that a lot of times you'll be playing something for four seconds and in your mind it feels like it's been playing for four hours.

And so the visuals help draw me away from self obsession and into an immersion into the work. But in your case with the 44 Tarot stuff, it also provides this beautiful visual interface for the viewers to watch. And you have these textual story maps that appear underneath the cards when they're played. That sort of takes this concept of the individual cards and it expands it so that it draws you into some storytelling in your mind. You know, I found, I kept on finding myself like weaving together, you know, two adjacent stories. You know, how would I get from here to there? I mean it's, it's a brilliant play.

Ruaridh: Part of it is slightly cynical, if I'm being honest about it, because when I was sort of working through the ideas in my head, I thought, "Hey, do I avoid people coming up?" So if it's a set up as an installation, how do I avoid people coming up and just putting down as many cards as they can to sort of work through them. "I don't like that one. Let's see what they all look like..." So you know, again, with with this sort of thing, it's important to try and capture the audience's attention. I think whether it be the audience for performance or an audience of a piece of art because otherwise exactly what you say, it just becomes sort of slightly self-obsessed. And you know, I think you should look at this for this X amount of time because you know, I think it's very important, but that's not, that's not how it should be.

It should be that is capturing people's imagination. The root of everything I've tried to do (say in the last maybe 10 years or so) is you've got to be able to - and this is not me being absolute just to by itself - but for me you've got to be able to sense the humanity underneath anything. So I can listen to very, very abstract, very obviously computer music if you like. And some I'll like and some I wouldn't; if I tried to explain to people why it is, if I can hear the spirit or the soul of the music inside there, if I can hear what the composer is actually doing, what they're input into is, then I can take something from it. And if I can't, then that leaves me cold. And it's the same if I walk into a room and there's an installation on, which is, you know, maybe a very abstract framework.

If it doesn't grab me and if I don't feel that I am connecting with the artist, then I'm probably not going to spend that much time with it. And so it important to me that I try and make sure that the audience is engaged. I think I have a responsibility to do that. And I know that obviously some performers and musicians and artists don't feel that - they feel that the work stands by itself and people either like or they don't. I don't think I could work that way. I've got to feel that there's a connection there.

Darwin: Sure. It's hard for me to consider wanting to be a performing artist and not be concerned about the people you're performing for. To each their own. So one of the things I like doing in my podcast is talking to people about their background and how they got to be the artist that they are. And especially with [you], it seems like not only that you work on many different kinds of artwork, but you sort of just love all kinds of artwork as well. And so I'm curious about where you're coming from, what your background is and what were the influences that turned you into the person with the interest and the kind of artistic expression that you have?

Ruaridh: Sure. I mean, I really liked the way that you put that. Because you know, sometimes people will say to me, "Oh, how do you manage to run a label?" And the answer is: I just things - I get very, very passionate about things, very excited about things. If somebody sends me something that I wasn't expecting... We're streaming on the streaming channel today, and somebody just messaged me out of the blue and said, "Hey, I have all these hacked Sega Genesis cartridges that I've made into films." And I watched that. And instantly I was like, "This needs to be out there! We need to be doing something with it." I get so excited about that and I like to - consume is maybe the wrong word because it has negative connotations - but I like to absorb. Maybe that's a better one.

Anything that tickles my brain, you know, that's the key thing. As long as it makes me feel something or think something, then it doesn't really matter what it is. I get very, very excited about it. And that's been the case since I was young. So I mean, I had a relatively musical education. I played in the concert band and studied music but just at a high school level, and I suppose that was mostly because that was the sort of thing that was expected if you were a reasonably well-achieving student - that you would probably show an interest in something creative. So I wouldn't say that I was doing it in that point cause I loved it. But I do remember studying music in high school, and my friend and I sitting in the class and we had the head of the music department was very, very conventional and it was very big on the romantic period, in the Baroque periods, of classical music.

But as part of the curriculum, he had to cover all areas of music. And I still remember very vividly him saying, "You know, we're going to cover that section now in 20th century composition. And to be honest, I think it's all a load of the rubbish, and I'm going to skim over it as quickly as possible. But you know, I still need to do it." And the very first thing that he played with Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood, and then he also played some Stockhausen and Schoenberg and like a greatest hits of 20th century composition, if you like. And around us people were literally outwardly making noises of how much they hated it. Oh, my friend and I just looked at each other as if to say, "Yeah, this is the good stuff!"

You know, this is what we like. So when I went to university, I got into clubbing and as obviously most people go to university, [they] go through a stage at that point. And at that stage it was the mid-nineties in Scotland. That was a very vibrant time to be into music and that kind of thing. Met a lot of people at university who were more into music, including a guy called Dave, who's the guy that I run the label with, and the streaming channel with, and is sort of my longest musical collaborators/sparring partner/inspiration. And he and I would go to techno nights and nights that would put on more odd experimental electronic music. So we'd see things like Panasonic quite early on in my life, which for somebody who likes going to clubs and listening to techno, it really wasn't that hard for me to draw a very, very strong line between Panasonic and that kind of thing.

And also then sort of weird electronic stuff like Zoviet France, who had a huge, huge inspiration on me, and Coil. And that kind of industrial sort of thing. And then as time went on, I just stayed loving all music from all those kinds of different electronic areas as well as the sort of post-rock and that kind of thing that was going on. And that's basically been it, you know, alongside all those other things is there's a very good art - what's the right word? - I wouldn't say community, but there are a lot of good galleries in Scotland and it's very easy to see really interesting new, modern art. And that was also something that got in my brain. So as I've gone on, it's just been something that I've continued to try and absorb. You know, that I'll buy music every week for also all sorts of areas. I still listen to every single demo that we get sent in for the label. I just try and absorb as much as possible because I still get excited about it. I think that's when I'll know that I'm a grown up: when I reached the stage of not being excited by that stuff anymore!

Darwin: Right, right. Well, let's hope you never grow up then. So one question is you get excited by, you know, everything from techno clubbing to Zoviet France, but how did that translate into you doing music? You know, it's one thing... there's a gap there that a lot of people never bridge, which is going from enjoying it to making it; what was the swing for you?

Ruaridh: It's hard to say because I started writing music when I was still at high school with the friend to where, you know, we're lessening the 20th century composition and we did that as much as much of a camaraderie kind of thing. You know, it was a way of friends spending time with each other, doing fun things. And as we added the third person into the, to the group, which was the guy that I met at university, it became as much about that. So musical expression was probably only 50% of the equation. Whereas having fun with my friends was, you know, the other 50%. But then I definitely, I think the problem is my brain is constantly filled with ideas, most of which are stupid or impractical or are never going to happen.

But even at that stage, the reason why I started to do my own thing - which was also while I was working with those two - was because my brain was filled with more ideas than I was able to realize within the confines of doing that. And actually as I've gone on for the next 20 years, then that is basically what it is. I will have ideas and I will try and realize them and if that means that it's setting up the label, that's one thing. I set up a streaming channel. That's one thing. Or if I think I would really like to take right wing websites and turn them into something meaningful (which is an idea that I had about two years ago) and then I thought, I'll do it. I'm just going to go into it. That's basically what it is. So it's the ideas that come before any musical expression, but the creative impulse is always there first. For sure.

Darwin: Yeah. Well, I know from reading some interviews about you, the extent to which the idea coming first is often influenced also by external work, particularly writing. So you talk about the thing where you did in the installation based off of trying to make something not horrible out of Breitbart articles. But also, you did the Red Night series, which is, Red Night and Red Night Variations, which are based off of it. It's funny because I'm a huge Burroughs fan, but I stopped just before the Red Night, so I might have to go back and crack those open. But anyway, you know, you were influenced by that writing. You did one piece that was We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, which was based off of a Philip K Dick story. It's clear that these influences are really a deep part of what compels you to make a make a piece. Right?

Ruaridh: Yeah. And I mean it's a difficult thing to talk about without sounding very pretentious. And actually I need to be honest: the Scottish psyche is very much based around not being pretentious. I actually have a fear of coming across as such. And that's why I try very hard to root things in as down-to-earth of a concept as I can, because I'm terrified of my peers, my invisible peers, wherever they are, the rest of the Scottish population that are standing over me saying, "No." I suppose the easiest way to say it is that I just like to link ideas in my head. So, you know, as a random example, as you mentioned it, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. I was approached by an arts group who said, we have this idea for an installation but we want to perform it live.

We'd love you to come and do the live music element of it. And the idea behind it was that they wanted to compare and contrast actual memory with [digital], which at this point - so it was about 10, 15 years ago. So it was a lot less prevalent. The idea of digital memory and that people consider their own memory to be better than the contents of memory sticks. But actually from a practical point of view, you know, memories change over time, but you know, memory sticks or whatever. And immediately when they said that, you know, that just set my brain going. And the first thing I thought of was about various different aspects of memory. And funnily enough, I've got since done two more things based on memory. I'm slightly obsessed with the idea that within memory, how it's locked in, but how it changes over time.

And that just seemed to me to be a natural leap onto something else that I'd read. Which in this case, yeah, it was the Philip K Dick story, but also lots of other things that addresses. So it's just being honest about your influences and being honest about where the ideas come from is really important. Rather than saying, you know, I'm a visionary who comes up with everything completely from scratch. It's a good thing to see in all of these other things that I've inspired and influenced inthe end to be honest about it, but to draw them together - that that is the most important thing, the drawing together. And that means that my rule is if I can relate to it, then other people should be able to relate to it too. Because I'm not a unique special snowflake that, you know, only I have these ideas. It's all a cultural stew to draw from. And that's basically what the idea is.

Darwin: Sure. But I think that there's two pieces there. First of all, I think it's really powerful to be open about your influences. If for no other reason, it gives people who are introduced to your work and might be drawn into it, it gives them someplace to explore. I think thatnow we have the opportunity to look up at anything in the world. Right? It's funny because in researching the Red Night series, I was like, "Oh, you know, that is a part of Burroughs writing that I didn't know anything about." So I go to Wikipedia, and the Wikipedia article on William S Burroughs is like better than any biography I've read, right? And it's just like there, all you have to do is type his name into a browser, right? There's so much detail available to us, but finding trails to get to interesting information - it's hard to know where do I go when I have infinite possibilities of paths. How do I know which path to take? So I think that what you do by talking about those influences is give people the opportunity to search out those paths, right?

Ruaridh: I actually think that is a good way of looking at it. I remember when I was 18, 19 and you know, the internet wasn't, it wasn't a thing. It's all really when I was 18 and 19, there was a book distributor in Scotland called AK press and they would publish this 40 or 50 page photocopied sheet of all the books that they would import from all over the world. And it would be things like, you know, City Lights and Loompanics and Research and all these different things. And I used to scour them and you know, spend my very, very limited funds on sort of picking out different ones. And I would say, these are the things that introduced me to everything from Burroughs to Throbbing Gristle to Gilbert and George to, you know, like the this just absolutely endless... And it's funny because right here in the here and now I think it's just as difficult exactly as you say to find the genuinely interesting stuff because it's the exact opposite. So instead of it being these tiny islands of interests that you have to seek out and find, now it's, there's information everywhere. And you know, finding the right path to it is definitely difficult.

Darwin: Well, the other thing though that I like that's interesting is as a listener, when I'm listening to something like We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, it gives me brain candy to work with. You talked about being like driven by anything that tickles your brain. Having this connection to a literary work - and also I had read about this having relationships to talking with your parents and others. It gave me the opportunity to just really engage my whole brain as I was listening to the piece. It was, it was a wonderful way to interact with your music.

Ruaridh: Wow. That's not a take on it that I've had before. And I actually, I like that as it shows that it's worked right - from my point of view.

Darwin: Sure. That's awesome. So, one of the things I wanted to ask you about is as an extension then is your label running because your, your work is very uniquely your own voice in your own vision. And it sort of... you talk about having a ton of ideas and wanting to run them out to their full course. How does that put you in a position to also help curate and work with other people's work? It seems like almost the extent to which your ideas occupying your mind would make it difficult to, I don't know, to be open to other people's work.

Ruaridh: Yes. I mean, you're right in a sense and that's why I run a label with two other people. So one of the great things about Dave, who's the guy that I've worked with for the...

Darwin: What's Dave's last name?

Ruaridh: Donnelley. He records as Production Unit and he set up the label with me in the first place. So he is the grounding part of this. He is good at turning down the wilder ideas. Sometimes having more of our rational way of looking at things I would say. And that's definitely in terms of the label, that's why he has been very, very helpful because he's able to look at things with a bit of a broader eye for releasing things on the label that are my things. I like to run them past him first because otherwise it can become quite dictatorial, you know, like, "No, no, I'm using up all the funds for that quadruple gatefold vinyl box..." whereas actually, you know, some of the things that we've done, I think I probably are tied to focus on my releases slightly less than some of the other things because once we started to uncover some of the things that were maybe not being released, which is what we like to try and do.

Sometimes I was getting more excited about it than the end musical result on my own stuff. I would say my stuff - especially at the moment - doesn't necessarily need to have an album release as an endpoint. I mean it's good to do that cause it's a good thing to be able to connect with people that way. But that's not always what the ultimate end point of my stuff is. But sometimes there's music that would be just really good for more people to hear. And that's basically what the ethos of what we try and do is.

Darwin: Got it. Well I was wondering too, how as your artistic voice changes to include things like visuals and particularly performance and installation, how that ends up getting supported by a label? That seems like there would be a point at which it would be difficult to wedge one into the other.

Ruaridh: Yeah, I agree with you and it's something that I'm trying to think about as I go. I mean the more performance/installation/"art" stuff has been more of my interest for the last couple of years. But what I've always tried to do is make sure that part of it is able to be released. Because in my head I'm still at heart a musician, you know, that's what I'm doing and that's what I suppose, in slightly shallow way, I still aspire to that. Everyone wants to have the record sleeve with their name on it or the cassette with your name on the spine and you know, for me there's something quite important about documenting it in that way, but it's definitely becoming increasingly difficult. I think everything that I've done has had a release of some kind once I've done it, but it's not always particularly true to it. Something that I did last year was a film piece, which as it played ot generated the sound, which then degraded over time with me adjusting it and it really worked best as a performance.

We released it as a digital release with a piece of writing and the film. But that didn't really encapsulate what it was like to actually be there to see it. So I am having to think about it a bit more. I'm lucky enough to have these different people - not just from our label, but the other people who I've worked with are quite open to trying to do different things, but as an interesting thing to try and do. There's a guy called Graham Dunning, who manages to both be a musician who he releases records, but also the things that he does in person are very, very physical. And I'm quite impressed by the way that he marries the two things together and that I'm trying to use that as a bit of a touchstone for how I can try and navigate where it was just going to happen.

Darwin: Sure. Okay. That makes sense. I was wondering if any of that had to do with the name alteration from Broken20 to Broken60 or if that's something else?

Ruaridh: No. So the Broken20 Broken60 thing - and we're actually, when it comes to things like, you know, social media marketing and things like that, we're reasonably good at it but not very good at it. So Broken20 is still the label but Broken60 is the cassette spinoff. Why we chose to have a cassette sub label but not a sub-label for all the other formats we've put out - actually I can't remember. You know, there's definitely a reason for it. At the time I think we thought we might do quite a lot more cassettes than we've done it, but actually the next release on the label, which is out tomorrow digitally. It's coming out on cassette and so we've brought it back out. But that's the only difference; at the time we were doing it like so any of these things you think, "Oh, what would I say?"

I think this seems nice without thinking of the fact that it's a marketing nightmare to change label names part way through releasing things. So, yeah...

Darwin: I would also say that you're like the King of night of a marketing nightmares. I mean going from the name "The Village Orchestra" - and I'll tell you when I think of something called The Village Orchestra, what I actually think of is like some kind of a German/Frankfurt band, you know, the band picture would be like in, in a beer garden somewhere with people with lederhosen, tubas and stuff. Right? So whoever, whoever waved you off of that name, good on them. I think that that was probably a smart move. But I mean the name change thing is something that you've had to embrace a little bit. But now you're starting to actually show up a little more under your own name as well. I noticed that in interviews, but also a lot in your installation work that's done under your name rather than TVO. In your mind, is that sort of how the things differentiate or are you just transitioning into just using your name?

Ruaridh: It's a really difficult question because we're, we're back to not wanting to seem pretentious. For me, the hallmark of an artist losing it completely is when they stop using the nice artistic name they'd been using for years and they go to their own first and second name, you know - that's game over. That means that they consider themselves to be "serious artists" and they have to wear berets and wear monocles, go to our openings, that kind of thing. And they've lost touch with their roots. So, it's just in a way that it's worked.

So far AAA in San Francisco this year, what was supposed to be happening there now unfortunately was canceled, and I was going to be presenting [Tarot] 44 is an installation - I noticed I've been billed on the lineup - because I was going to be giving a talk as well, which I was looking forward to. It was also very anxious about it cause that's totally out of my comfort zone. And I had been billed under my own name, whereas last year I performed at, at by performed under my artistic name. And I did ask myself, "Is this, you know, the big transition for me?" I didn't even realize...

Darwin: Yeah. Oh, that's hilarious. Well, it's funny you say that because clearly... so I'm from the US Midwest and there's also this sort of thing, you know - it's the land of farmers and Swedes, right? So it's mostly like, "Who do you think you are to talk about yourself?" Right there is there, there's a heavy vein of that in,in the society here. So I totally understand where you're coming from on that. That's pretty hilarious. But, you know, moving on from the label to the Further_in thing, I think it's actually interesting that you, you pulled that together at a time that really needs it. I mean, I was unable to go to the, Algorithmic Arts Assembly last year, but so many of my coworkers at Cycling '74 did go and were blown away. Everybody came out of that saying, this is the most exciting thing we've been to in the whole year. You know, so people were really deflated when the virus comes along and we're not able to do that - or frankly anything. A lot of people that I've talked to are suffering almost depression from having what was a full and exciting performance schedule or whatever [going down] to nothing.

The, the psychological hit that comes with that is, is pretty tough. And so what I've seen is like a million and a half people now each doing their own live stream of whatever their thing is and we're back to this thing of like, how do I even get attention for the thing that I'm doing? And it seems like Further_in has done that by has garnered some attention by first of all, again, not being self-focused, but being other-focused (which I think is really great) but also by really being broad in your perception of what it is that you're going to present.

Ruaridh: Yeah, this is exactly right. Obviously I've been thinking about this. I've been thinking about the sort of broader philosophical issues of all of this as we've been doing it. So you know, we've only been running it for seven weeks. I would say the reason why it's doing well - and it is doing well, it's far exceeding my expectations in terms of how many people are actually watching it. It's because of the permanency of it because it's not one steam that happens in a Wednesday afternoon at three o'clock and you watch it for an hour and then that's it. And the fact that we have stuck to our schedule first, people didn't really notice that because we didn't make a big deal about it. It's every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But now seven weeks on, we definitely have people who are watching, not because of what's on, but because it's a Thursday night and they know that they will see something if they watch it.

And that was exactly what the point of it was because I don't want - or didn't want - it to become personality focused. The last thing I wanted was for it to be all about us, the people who were running it. And that was exactly how we set up. And actually that goes back to what you said earlier on about how you can sort of let go of the process a little bit with the label. Well in this case I have let go even more. And even in the sense of, I mean we haven't put on anything that I actually don't like. I would struggle to sort of commission something I really, really didn't like at all or that didn't fit. But there're definitely things which I might not necessarily have watched myself but which I still really think are worthwhile for the artist, because there's an audience for them and I think that's quite important to try and take the ego out of it.

So we've tried to be fairly broad with it. I think, you know, that there is a resistance to the idea of streaming. I've seen a lot of interesting debate about this online and Matt Dryhurst on Twitter has been the most vocal person who has said that this isn't the right way to support the music industry. And I think he's right on that front, you know, I agree with him on that. But I also think that there is something important for artists to feel that they are able to still have a platform for what they're doing. There's an element of catharsis about it and if it means that people are setting in their houses when they're not able to go out and do what they normally would still wanting to create, but then thinking, "Well, what's the point of it?"

Well, you know, we're giving them a point a little bit, or if they have stopped working on something because they think, well, you know, I'm not going to [be able to] screen this anymore. Then hopefully this is an impetus to kind of keep working. And partially that was for my own benefit because I had prepared an enormous amount of work for for Algorithm Art Assembly this year, which then was just going to be left at the side. And I thought, "No, I'm going to give myself a deadline to perform it on this channel." And that way I'm keeping myself disciplined, you know, mentally disciplined if you like, so not getting bogged down and unhappiness about it and keeping to routine and all the rest of it. And I think that's quite important is, I mean I think to me it's so polarizing, you know, a lot of the musicians - especially those who I've approached to say, "Hey, you know, we're going to give you a free platform, we'll do all the work for you. You just need to say up in play."

Musicians especially are very suspicious of it. I'm not sure whether they think that streaming is an invalidation of the way that they want to do it. I know that there's certainly people who are used to performing in larger spaces with very bespoke, maybe speaker setups or screen setups and you know, they're very, very suspicious of it. And on the other side, it's the people who work in film and installation who are not people who I really had that much of a connection to who are saying, even before the lockdown and whatever else, "We had no opportunity to show some of this work. There was no venue." And it blew my mind and I was speaking to an artist Amy Cutler last weekend who performed as part of a AV show but we're also going to screen her films next week.

And her exact words were, "There is nowhere for me to screen these online apart from putting up on YouTube and it'll just be lost in a sea of similar kinds of things." So even just simply having a screening through a date, that is more than, you know, we were able to get. So, you know, I'm feeling quite positive about that, how long we keep it going for is another matter, cause it's an enormous, enormous amount of work. And I sort of hadn't thought about that - as usual with me. You know, the idea comes first. So I jumped into it with both feet, knew nothing about streaming software, about even something as basic as what sort of a fiber connection I need to have in my flat.

All these kinds of things jumped into both feet to do it. We stuck it out and I will have to go back to my day job at some point in the future but not for awhile. So I'm looking at how far we continue it for. I've managed to find a small number of people who get very excited about doing it. We've managed to find a very large number of people who are really excited about watching it, but I need to meet in the middle a little bit better there and get in a broader range of people who will come in and perform or do streams wherever. I'm quite excited. You know, we've got some really interesting things. We've got dance performances coming up next week, which is something that's a bit different. You know, you wouldn't see, I'm trying to think of what the equivalent might be like a Boiler Room or Red Bull Music Academy.

I'm quite pleased that we can have a day where we've got a sound art piece. We've got some films and we've got Butoh dance later on in the evening. I think that it's quite a nice line up. And even then, you know, we've got Thorsten, who you mentioned before is curating in his second evening. He's done one already where he's got to sort of algorithm musicians but he's also got Tom Hall from Cycling '74 coming to show-and-tell. And that is exactly the sort of thing, you know, if I'd had to write an advance what the sort of thing I wanted to do, this is exactly it. So you tune in the music but then you stay for the coding demonstration or vice versa; you come to the sound piece and then you see some dance that will interest you. And that was the whole point of it. And just think juxtapositions.

Darwin: Yeah. Well, and again, that's one of those things where you're opening threads of inquiry for people that they might not otherwise know to follow.

Ruaridh: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Darwin: Cool. So unfortunately, really our time is just about up. But before I let you go, I'm curious, what is it that you have on your bench that you're working on now? I mean, you said you have a release coming out tomorrow on the label, but what other stuff have you got in the hopper or, or is Further_in just eating up so much of your time that you're focused on that.

Ruaridh: I mean, there's an element of that. Actually, personally, the 44 Tarot still needs a lot of work. I want it to be a web presence that's better that the one that there is at the moment. At the moment, there is a site which has the cards and the descriptions online. And I'm going to break that down into separate pages for each card, with the audio into it. So it becomes a bit more all encompassing. So I want to finish that off. But for my own thing I've got a list of ideas but I haven't started work on a number of them. That is one thing which is probably next on our list, which is a film about the city of Glasgow, about falling out of love with it and falling in love with it again and a connection to relationships.

So I think that's probably next on the list and that would be more almost like a straight film, not an additive-driven film and a visually-adriven film. But that's something that's a bit definite again, but it's one of these things that's been burning around in my head for the last couple of years. And I think I'm going to probably make a start on it next. Label-wise, we have lots of stuff coming up. We've got lots of releases planned, we've got some CDs coming out and tapes coming out tomorrow. And then further down the line, a couple more impractical ideas, but we'll wait to see if they happen. But yeah, Further_in. It's definitely taking up the majority of my time at the moment. Which is good, you know, it's a good thing. I'm getting to see and hear music and visual things that I never would have done, but it's been nice having that as a thing to work on to distract me from what's going on outside the window sort of thing.

Darwin: Right on. Well, I thank you for putting the time in on that because it definitely is worth it. I've run across some really neat stuff checking out the streams that have been made available. So, thank you for your work on that and for having this interview. It was great to get to know you and to cast into some of the way that your brain works. I really appreciate it.

Ruaridh: It's no problem. It was an absolute pleasure. It was good to speak to you. Thank you very much!

Copyright 2020 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.