Transcription: 0337 - Paul Dickow

Released: August 30, 2020

Darwin: All right today, I get a chance to speak to someone that's new to me. He was introduced by my friend, Joshua Kit Clayton, his name's Paul Dickow. And when I first started interacting with him, I was actually really surprised at the number of different projects that he was involved in. The more I learned, the more intrigued I was. And so it was really great for us to open a conversation about having this talk. And so here we are. So with no further ado, let's talk to Paul. Hey, Paul, how's it going?

Paul Dickow: Good. Thank you. How are you?

Darwin: I'm all right. Thanks a lot for taking time on a Sunday afternoon to have a chat with me. This is a great opportunity for me to learn more about what you're up to. So for people who might not be familiar with your work, I'll first say that that, where I knew you from before the introduction from Joshua is as your artist's name: Strategy. That was actually on my radar back at the time. But beyond that, you've done an awful lot of other things. So why don't you fill people in with both your work as Strategy, as well as your other other work with labels and community efforts?

Paul: Yeah, so, I've been recording and performing music as Strategy for a little over 20 years now. And, it was always an adjunct to being part of group projects as well. It was never completely something that I did in a bubble, but it was always the fallback as projects would come and go. So I'm in a number of what you might call more like bands, I guess, or you know, long running collaboration projects. And they tend to come and go; different ones are active at different times, or none of them are going full on all the time. And it allows me to keep involvement in a lot of diverse activities. And I think part of the reason I've always done that is, when I'm sick of doing something by myself, or I'm in a creative rut, I can toggle to something collaborative where the interaction with other people gives me something I wouldn't get working in isolation.

So I'm part of a group called Wild Card. That's a trio with, two other various established, solo artists, Marcus Fischer, and William Selman. That was a project that grew out of an idea about merging live improvisation and electronic music, and sort of being purposeful about functioning as a live band, you know, in an era when rehearsal space and time are at a premium. And, also all of us are getting older and having families and so forth, it seemed increasingly necessary to do something sort of an old fashioned way of where you get together and you kind of jam ideas out. So that's probably my main other project. I'm also currently involved in a group called Fontenelle that I've been part of for almost 20 years, I think, or about 20 years this year. Although we haven't been active all the time, we're finishing an album now and I play keyboards in that group. I'm part of a duo called The Sound People with Jesse Johnson from Gulls. And that's also very focused on improvisation. So, you know, Strategy has been kind of a where I think, more of the kind of programmed music happens, whereas these other projects are more about live.

Darwin: Sure. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And then, one of the first email I shared with you had a group of links at the bottom, and I kind of followed each link and each one seemed like another root mass going in a different direction. So you have something called Community Library. There's something else called The Common Language, which looks like it's a label kind of thing. And let's see. So what are some of the other things, I mean, it's a pretty heady bunch of stuff that that you're involved in. I'm especially curious about the Community Library effort, because it looks like it's something that goes beyond the typical label or even group collective thing. And I'm just curious, what is that and what that means to you?

Paul: So I'm trying to think of where to begin, how to describe it. So Community Library started life as actually an event series. It was a monthly event at a kind of speakeasy underground bar in Portland that no longer exists, and we would have DJs and usually one live performer. And the hook was that the DJ sets would have to be all music about or dealing with a specific theme. So, for example, all songs about crime or all songs about body parts, and my partner in the event series, David Chandler, who records music as Solenoid and DJ Broken Window. He he actually taught me how to DJ and he and I had a kind of musicological approach to it where I think we saw the act of deejaying as kind of a historical research activity that you're, as a DJ...

And I think a lot of DJs do this though, the level to which they articulate. It may not always have the same intention around it, but you're always doing juxtapositions or telling a story about some theme or idea. And I find myself doing it unconsciously, like recently did a streaming DJ set for Holoscene. And I played a lot of protest tracks and, you know, trying to capture the Black Lives Matter moment in music that I cared about that evoked that for me. And that was sort of the idea of that event series. And I really wanted to do a label, and I sort of thought that having a label that did it wasn't necessarily dogmatically, formatically driven around thematic ideas like that, but that might allow us to have a curatorial attitude that was similarly broad, you know, saying, okay, here's all these unalike things, but here's the ways in which they are tied together.

So it might be that all the artists had a deconstructive approach in common, but be working in completely different genre spaces. And so we did a label, we still do it. However, we release things much more seldom than at the beginning, we were kind of like a P & D of a distributor. Like we were sort of married to a distribution outfit that didn't really work out as well for us. So we became an independent label and that's worked out quite well. We just, I think where we were kind of in adulthood, we had to slow down our output just due to lack of time. We also had a couple of big projects, like reissue projects, that really became our focus. One of them is going to be released this year, finally, after a lot of hemming and hawing. So the reissue projects, I think we'll probably eventually move away from that once this last one is completed.

You know, there really are a lot of labels doing that. And I think we were interested in returning back to contemporary artists and working with people who are active now and thinking about it as the music that's worth reissuing tomorrow. Common Language is sort of a sidebar label, kind of an offshoot where we really wanted to get back to where we had originally started, which is in releasing 12-inch singles, which in spite of the rising costs and the changes in the market and so forth, it's actually still possible to do this depending on how you do it. It is still possible to do affordably and to get the records affordably to fans. And so I think that's where we're gonna refocus our efforts. After this reissue record is done, I think we'll be focused on getting back to the 12-inch single format and actually maybe working more on some of our own music. For a long time, we had kind of an unwritten rule that we wouldn't release much of our own music because, you know, if the problems of being one's own editor.

Darwin: Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Paul: I mean, I just don't finish things if there's not external pressure, to be quite honest, or I'm not apt to finish them - I guess is a better thing to say.

Darwin: Well, I was actually curious about that because when I was diving into one of the ways I really liked digging into the work of people in research here is just like going live in their Bandcamp world for a while. And I jumped into your Bandcamp and like your most recent release, which was done in April of this year, was actually recorded like in 2015. And then I was like, "Well, that's weird." And so then I went to the previous release and it was also like, there was like several years gap between when things were recorded. And when you got around to releasing them, what is it about it that - I mean, do you have to allow things to sorta like percolate for a while? Or is it that you just didn't have a pressing need to release it, or maybe it just wasn't the right time for an artistic statement? What led you to like some of these delay delay points?

Paul: I think it's different in different cases, but the most common would be that I start unraveling some thread and I maybe generate three or five ideas, but not enough for a release. And then maybe some years later I'll return to it and complete the idea after letting it percolate. In other cases, I think I made music that was interesting to me, but that there was no kind of label interest for. And so I would have sent out demos and had them rejected and then had them accepted again much later. So there was a record that came out on a label called The Night Owl Diner year before last. And it consists of a lot of music from like 2012, 2013 and 2014. And, I had sent that same music out, I think, to a couple dozen labels, but it was working on kind of breakbeat sampling and stuff like that.

And that just wasn't in vogue at that time. And now, yeah. So I think that happens to me a lot that I think my interests tend to be a little bit ahead of the trend. And I actually like and embrace trends. I think they're part of an interesting conversation about cultural interests, but I think I tend to, my interests tend to come at like just slightly off the wrong time. So that's a factor. And I think the other thing is that I, with album length material, I think I just become a perfectionist. And if I get hung up on details, I'll sometimes just put it aside out of frustration. So I have an album now that I think I might try and finish, this is a record label asking for it. And some of the music on it goes back to 2008. And it's just still there. Hopefully my hard drive that it's on is fine. Knock on wood.

Darwin: So I have got a whole bunch of stuff I want to ask you about this, but before we get there, one of the things I like doing is talking to people about their background, how they got to be the artists that they are. In your case, it's really interesting because you have a real compelling musicianship and kind of producer role that you fulfill, but also you have this very serious approach to DJ in which I find really interesting. And you also seem, just from reading the different things online that I have, you also seem to actually really be involved in community and the politics of community engagement and stuff like that. I'm curious. So where are you coming from? What's your background that kind of brings all of those pieces together into a single artist?

Paul: Well, let me think about that. So I think that, you know, I was exposed to music at an extremely young age because my dad was a music professor until he retired, and he taught and he played professionally and symphonies and things like that. He was a French horn virtuoso really. And he was a composer and he taught composition, counterpoint music theory, and electronic music and French horn. And so I was exposed really early. You know, I had some pretty amazing experiences. I don't think I've come to appreciate until I've been an adult about being in concerts of what at the time people were still calling new music, I guess, modern composition. And, you know, there was a kind of a salon thing in our living room when Pauline Oliveros came to the university where my dad taught and he, we hosted kind of a talk thing with her in our living room.

And yeah, so I had this, but it was also a really small town. My only access to youth culture was through the top 40 radio. And then later through the, the college radio that city Moscow, Idaho is blessed with a kind of phenomenal free form college radio station. And I actually was a DJ there in a high school. They would let a certain number of community members participate that weren't part of the college. And they had an expansive library going back to the sixties. So I also was an avid consumer kind of, you know, so you could never go to a concert. You can never go to a club where I grew up. But we had, MTV, you know, I really loved like 120 minutes and Yo MTV Raps.

I loved all forms of electronic music. We had a synthesizer in the house. My dad had a Yamaha DX-7 and Dr. T's for Commodore Amiga. And he also programmed music using, I think forth or some kind of programming language. And then he later got into Kyma in the nineties. And so I was exposed to that, but I wasn't very computer literate. I'm still not particularly computer literate. I got into music primarily as kind of record collector. Like I just loved any electronic sounding music that was on the radio. So this would have been - I'm in my mid forties. So you can imagine that I started buying tapes and records in the mid-eighties. And so all the classics of the time, you know, New Order and Run DMC and just whatever I could get my hands on that had machine rhythms.

That was my take. And so I had this blend of being exposed to classical and folk music at home. And then I was in a high school band. So there was this kind of brew, but I didn't really consider myself a musician. I consider myself a music fan. And I think I've realized in the last few years and close friends disagree with how I characterize myself this way. But I think of myself as a record collector first, a DJ second, and a musician third, and that I kind of fell into playing music as a way of trying to understand the music that I was hunting for and the crate digging and the, and the deejaying was sort of a thing that came after the record collecting as a way to make value to others over this thing. Aside from just pure accumulation or collector collectivism, I don't know what the word for it is, but that there was a way to participate in a bigger conversation by sharing the music with others in a recreational way when I make music, it's usually because I'm trying to, when I have an idea of music that I think should be made, I usually go out and see if I can figure out whether somebody did it first.

If I discovered that it hasn't happened, then I try and make it because it's if I thought that it should have been made, my imagination arrived at thinking that a music like that should exist and it doesn't, then it becomes worthwhile to try doing it

Darwin: Right. Well, and then even if it does, if some form of it existed, you can also spend a time to decide if you personally would be able to extend the conversation or not.

Paul: Yes, indeed. And I try to be sensitive about that because it gets into all kinds of tricky things about cultural appropriation, but I do think that's what most art is always doing. Is that kind of, it's like the Talmud, there's something it's like, the commentary is the art, or is the thing, you know, it's like the running debate or the running conversation between pieces of art and generations. And that's how I got really into sampling, which I would consider kind of one of my main creative modes is that, and one of my main interests as far as music that I collect is that the constant recontextualization of existing sound just doesn't ever stop fascinating me. And I think for those of us in generation X, who kind of grew up in the eighties when that technology was emerging, it literally shaped the way we consumed music. I mean, and the advent of the compact disc and which I think people underestimate as far as its impact on how we experience music, you know, because it's not a popular format at the moment. So I predict a comeback, I guess. I do think of music as a continuum, pieces of art as being in a continuum together. And that's kind of why my music creation is tied so closely to this life as a record hunter.

Darwin: Yeah. Now that, that actually brings me to one of the points I was going to ask you about based on having listened to some of your music, again, primarily your work under your own name as Strategy. First of all, very eclectic. I noticed that, even within individual releases, a lot of times the kind of stylistic swings will be pretty huge, but especially if you just randomly select any two releases, they might be very, very different in terms of whether some will be very ambient texture-oriented things. Some will be heavily polyrhythmic, some will be, almost poppy. So first of all, it's kind of surprising to me that you would do that all under a single artist identifier instead of trying to split that up into, you know, different identities. But now it makes a little more sense when I think of this idea of almost taking a sociological view of kind of combining your record collection with your interest in making things and your interest in sharing, it ends up making a lot more sense from that standpoint,

Paul: I would say, I think because I was exposed to electronic music in this kind of isolated way where I didn't have the cultural context of what the music was being made for. So I would, for instance, I would be buying music by The Orb or Aphex Twin and not have any contextual understanding of what a rave was. And when I think about the artists that I was an early fan of, like Brian Eno or Laurie Anderson, or even someone like George Clinton, right. If you've listened to all of George Clinton's projects, there's kind of these different umbrellas, but mainly there's just George Clinton. But the idea that someone's overall work was sort of multimodal seemed natural to me. Or I just thought that was like a normal thing that people just normally did. However, I came to understand that in the world of marketing music and how people consume, it's not that common. And so it has actually been kind of an impediment to me, to some extent, because I never have been able to really engage labels and concert promoters and other sort of industry apparatus in a way, because they don't know. They're like, "Well, we don't want to engage you because we don't know what you're going to do." And I said, "Well, you have to commission what you want." And that was just not, that's just not the way the business is done. I think.

Darwin: Well, right. It's interesting to hear that, because I mean, even the way labels are now, unless people are running their own label with their own stuff. And you already pointed out that there's the editor's problem with that kind of approach - labels have a tenet. You know, when I talk to people who do a lot of releases, it's like every label, every release they do is on a different label just because that's the nature of how labels work. But I imagine that for performance, that's where it has to be really difficult because people who are putting on a show or putting on a festival or something like that, they're sort of doing a curator's job and it's gotta be kind of hard for them to understand how to curate your work.

Paul: Yeah. I think it really is. And I try and be appreciative of the challenge. So I had had multiple conversations with MuTech before I finally went out to join them. And I can't remember if that was 2015 or 2016. I had talked to them a few times in advance where they tried to understand the struggle with that about not knowing where to put me, because they didn't know where I was at any given moment. I just said, well, I think you should tell me what of my work you appreciate the most. And if you could pick one thread or one sort of way that I might appear do that, and we'll work to the expectation because I like the challenge. And that's when it did finally come together and they kind of knew, they sort of knew which version of me they wanted, you know, it just took some negotiation and having them explore kind of my working styles to arrive at the right fit.

Darwin: Right. Okay. That makes a lot of sense to me. Now, you mentioned as we were talking about this, that your father has this background doing electronic music and composition and working with the computer and stuff like that, but you're just not tied into the computer that much. So what is the tooling that you use to create your music? Because here's the thing I'll say is I listened to it and, some of the sound design is gorgeous, but what I really like is when you start playing with rhythms; a lot of your work seems to be really polyrhythmic or layered rhythms in a way that I find really compelling. Generally speaking, people attack those things by having software that has a lot of assistance in terms helping things match or mismatch creatively. I'm curious, what is it that you use to make the music that you do? Because I find that part of your music really, it really speaks to me and I find it really inspiring myself.

Paul: I mainly use samplers as my main work bench, but I have a lot of different ones. And sometimes people give me old samplers because they know I'm interested and I kind of tinker around with, DIY electronics projects and building kits and repairs and things. So I, you know, I don't know, I switched pretty fluidly between software and hardware. And there's a few kind of core things that are the mainstay of my composition. There's the EMU sampler, the Emax. I have a couple of different Emax's: I have the 16 bit one and the 12 bit one

Darwin: I love those things, because they're like the size of an aircraft carrier. They're just fabulous.

Paul: So wonderful. Yeah. And once you know the EMU operating system, you can kind of dive into all the versions. So I've kind of picked up a couple other versions that I'm starting to explore. I used the Elektron Analog Rytm as my main live box and, because it does handle poly rhythms really well. I, I have the old version, so you have to load the samples over USB, which is not fun. The software I use for sound creation and design - I use Audiomulch. I'm still a really avid Audiomulch user - I know it's kind of a cult classic. Now. I actually am a huge proponent of it still, because I think it's actually a great tool for people that are just getting into it. Or maybe you have a slender means as far as being able to what they can invest in. It's still, I think, $180 for a forever license. And it's just a phenomenal tool that is deceptively simple on its skin, but every object within it can take you to the full breadth of every different synthesis approach, basically. So wonderful, wonderful platform, I think. And I still use it quite a bit. I have a really old Kyma system. It's an ancient, it's not even a Capybara - a 320.

It's like a real, real clunker. My computer is from 2008. My Kyma is like from 1997 and it's ridiculous. I'm kind of a, I just see it as being an extension of my hardware world. I use a really, really old version of Ableton 7 or something to do tracking. So I just use it as like a four track. I use it for some MIDI tracking, so that's kind of the core of the setup - there's samplers and drum machines. But really, you know, where a lot of the tricks and sounds are coming from is I have a whole lot of like weird guitar pedals that I've built or sound effect makers and odd ball things that I can sample and use to process the sound and actually a surprising amount of what you hear when you listen to my music is actually that secondary layer of looping stuff or using tape loops and noisemakers, and kind of this live over-dubbing of different treatments.

Darwin: Yeah. I did notice the use of a lot of looping and what sounded like, I mean, one of the releases actually mentions playing around with cassette tape loops, but there are loops of all different lengths and all different kinds of quality level and stuff. Do you use a lot of hardware loopers or do you depend on software for that or do you literally do tape loops? So what is the looping angle for you?

Paul: Well, you know what's funny is I've never really owned a fully featured modern looper. I do a lot of it in the samplers. I did use a four track tape deck with cassette tape samples with cassette tape loops for a long time, although I've kind of moved away from that. In fact, I don't even have a four track tape deck right now is the last one I had was too complicated. If a tool lacks immediacy, I basically get rid of it, because I partly, cause I'm not as technically minded as one might imagine, but also because as I've become, you know, I have a day job and all these things and I just have limited time to do music. And so it becomes a very, as to be a thing, I have to be able to make a piece of music in an hour.

So cassette tape loops, the loop is inside the cassette. And so you really limited to like 11.7 seconds or something, right? But using the four track, you can kind of elongate, you can have multiple loops per tape. And I was pretty intrigued by that. I recently got a digital looping pedal called Monico and it was a broken one from the early two thousands that I re refurbished. And it's a clone of the Electro-Harmonix 16-Second Delay. And so I recently did a lot of music using that and it still has some hiccups and bugs in it, but I just kind of roll with it. But also a lot of, I use Audiomulch's looping capability, and I also use Kyma's live looping capability. So I sort of will pick the tool based on the timbre that I want to achieve. Do I want a darker tone with degradation or do I want something crystalline and 24-bit, and my mood is always changing or maybe some times I want both. And so I'll combine.

Darwin: Yeah. So when you say that you have lots of samplers, I mean, besides the Emax, are you talking about like having, you know, Akai racks and stuff like that laying around too, or is it really focused?

Paul: Yeah, it's always changing up. So, I have, one of my collaborators, actually from another project I failed to mention earlier called the East Side Ancients, which is like a industrial beats project I do with a friend who has really similar tastes and sense of humor. That music we really have used, like we found this older Akai S700, that's like really gnarly. And I use that and, I have one called Akai S612. That was actually my dad's. And that's really like one of the earliest samplers. And it's amazing, you know, you can kind of destroy the sample with these start and end point adjustment controls. I've used that on literally every record I've ever made, I think. And, you know, I'm always updating them. There's some that I haven't played with. So Kevin from East Side Ancients gave me an Ensonic Mirage that I still have to explore. And I'm always finding stuff on Craigslist. Like I found an EMU E-5000 that I'm just starting to learn. So there really is something everything laying around, you know, and I'll just keep trying things depending on how I think it can add some color, but I've never gotten into the MPCs. I just never learned that, the OS seems hard to me.

Darwin: Oh, that's actually really interesting because that's kind of one of my passion points. And when I hear that you're willing to use the Analog Rytm. And, some of the functionality of that does, does kind of make allowances for polyrhythms that the MPC tends to want to not allow you to do so that's, that's kind of cool. Now I'm curious. So you said "If a tool lacks immediacy, I abandoned it." I have to say that that really resonated with me. There are some things where I've had them in my studio and I've actually loved them, but I couldn't have them because... So, I recently had had a chance to get something I'd been fascinated by, because I, too, I kinda love samplers, especially ones that are a little quirky in their operating.

And especially if they're, they make some allowances for interesting live recording or live play. Right. And so, I got a chance to get my hands on a Korg Microsampler. They look cool in the house and functions where it's sort of like, you know, you start the sampling process and start whacking keys and then it'll do auto-mapping. And it was, there was a lot of fun to it, but there was also this thing where it was just just enough sort of shift-key combinations or special key combinations, or you did something, but you're never going to be able to tell what's there so that, you know, even if I did find a way to save it, when I'd come back the next day, it would be like completely opaque to me. And it was everything about it. Just everything about what it could do spoke to me, everything that happened when my hands were on, it made me have to have to let it go. And it's funny when that happens, because it really does show the folly of trying to decide the tools that you're going to use based on a specification sheet. Right?

Paul: Yeah. That's why Octatrack couldn't last for me, it's really like loads of all my friends and colleagues use it and it's really popular in the Portland local scene and there's all these experts. I just couldn't, I just could never figure it out. And if I stepped away from it for too long, I'd have to relearn it. So yeah, I've experienced that a lot. The other tools I'm using right now, you know, in the band Wild Card with Mark and Bill, part of the original concept of the group was that we each have a modular synthesizer set up and we would connect them together, but we really focused on sampling and live sampling as opposed to pure synthesis, which Bill probably does the most actual synthesis out of any of us. Whereas Mark and I are using various modular sampling options.

And I think that's actually where some of the most exciting development is happening. So for that I was using Nebulae. And, again, I was stymied by the fact that the first version of it, you couldn't actually sample right on the unit. You had to plug in a USB. But I really liked it. And then, so I'll probably get the new version at some point. And then, I use the Bitbox and Mark has the ER-301, I think it's called the Music Computer. And so I think that's actually, I had gotten into Eurorack stuff in the early 2000's. I just had a really small setup that I used with kind of drum sounds and things like, and I just always kept it around because I could do things flexibly with it. But I always daydreamed of a kind of sampler with CV patch points. I just thought, why isn't anybody doing this? So when it finally arrived, I got really into it. I mean, I just like, that was a dream come true.

Darwin: Yeah, I am such, I am such a fan of the Bitbox. It's not even funny. I love that thing.

Paul: Yeah. It is really fun. I saw they're even coming out with new versions and there's a Blackbox and stuff I don't even know about, but, and I haven't even updated to the newest firmware, but what's funny about it is that because I've sort of focused the use of that around Wild Card and our live performance set. I haven't really done any solo music using those tools or not very much so. So sometimes with the different tools, I'll slot particular, particular tools individually into the needs of a specific, specific collaborative project, even to where there's just gear that stays at the band practice space. And I just use for that one purpose.

Darwin: Yeah. So when you, when you're doing these collaborative, especially performative collaborations, how much do you do like mechanical or electronic synchronization and how much are you doing everything fly by wire. I mean, are you sending sync signals around? Are you sending shared MIDI clocks? Are you some somehow doing some kind of a hardware synchronization or is everybody just like jumping in and out on their own devices?

Paul: Well, that's a good question. So it depends on the project. So East Side Ancients, we just plug in over MIDI and bang out loud beats. I mean, it's like as sort of direct as you can get. With Wild Card, I think it really varies. Sometimes it's a blend between free sort of playing by hand and sequenced or clocked elements. And other times it's very clocked and kind of built around that. And other times it's like just a completely freeform sort of live music concrete approach. And typically how it will work is we'll kind of decide on almost like a game we want to play or a experiment we want to try. And so the interconnectivity or the process will depend greatly between different work sessions. So we'll kind of meet up, we'll say, "Okay, well for next time, let's try and do something ultra minimal using field recordings and no sequencer."

And if you use any sounds, they have to be in the key of A, you know, whatever, some modal scale or something. And then other times it'll be like, Oh no, let's have a centralized clock, but then let's try. And each of us have some voltage we can feed into it that messes it up. And so it's kind of almost a very conceptual driven project where we're, we've even been pondering doing stuff when we can't get together in the pandemic where we maybe we just do like a, you know, an exquisite corpse exercise, swapping sound files, or we use a graphical score. Or we have some way of assembling unexpected improvisations together into kind of a collage. You know, we haven't done this yet, but it's been in the group chat, we've put out a few ideas. And I think that that concept driven way of working translates well to when you can't get together.

Darwin: Right. Yeah. I was actually going to ask, given that so much of what you like to seems to be the antithesis of what our current lockdown situation is allowing. I was wondering how you approach that. I mean, even deejaying is a thing that happens in social spaces. It's not something that you, you know, you generally do in the corner of your basement or something. Well, maybe it is...

Paul: I think actually... So before I was into deejaying, I was really into making mix tapes and some of the first experiences of deejaying I had were actually consuming DJ mixes...

Darwin: Hence it's got a little different resonance for you. Yeah. Okay.

Paul: So I would argue that deejaying has, and also because I was involved with the radio as a radio DJ, so I would argue that deejaying has more modes than we've acknowledged. The club heroism obviously is this sort of [one of the] great mythologies, but actually if you look at the history of deejaying, a lot of it has been about these other kinds of ways of communicating music too. So I consume a lot of deejaying online and I always have, because my day job necessitates a lot of writing and graphic design where I need to tune out my cube mates and just focus on a task. So can I digest a lot of continuous mixes as downloads or YouTube or whatever. And so when the idea of - I did get invited to stream a DJ mix, and I physically went to a local club where I've been a participant at a lot of events and I was in an empty club except for their socially distance tech people.

And they streamed my set. It was quite natural, I thought and cathartic actually to just have the sound system to myself in a way. But I think that because of my day to day life, as it already was before the pandemic, like I'm very apt to consume DJs. And I follow a lot of DJs really avidly. I just, I'm actually a little bit obsessed with collecting DJ mixes, kind of a side hobby. As far as how I consume digital music is really built around that. And I listened to a lot of online radio shows too, like on Dublab and, you know, NTS and all these kinds of places - they do online radio. So that's how I find out about a lot of new music that I want to buy. So that seemed natural to me. I think that, to your earlier question, how is it with the collaboration process during the pandemic?

It's actually taken me a long time to react because I was sick with presumptive COVID in March and a little bit of April, and I've had a really slow recovery as we've discussed offline, you know, with a limited ability to get out and kind of respiratory compromises and stuff. So even months and months kind of after the actual virus was over. I'm one of those cases you read about, so I don't even know, like I'm just still adjusting to kind of like working remotely. And even though we're now in whatever month of the pandemic, I'm feel like I'm still in a process of adapting. So because people's lives and livelihoods have been so disrupted, there just hasn't been much chance to start the collaborations. I have been trading music back and forth with an old friend. Chris Herbert, who's an ambient computer music artist from Birmingham, UK, who's actually one of my oldest friends.

We met on Usenet, like rec,music.marketplace.vinyl, or something in the early nineties trading tapes. There's there were a lot of people on there who would make tape copies. You know, if you couldn't swap music in the mail, buying vinyl, you could often get people to copy their records. And, Chris and I traded tapes for years and visited back and forth and have been egging each other on in our music activities. And we've kind of dabbled - he actually got me into Audiomulch. Yeah. He's a computer programmer, and took quickly to those. We've always kind of pushed each other forward and we'd always kinda messed around a little bit with collaborating, but we've taken advantage of the pandemic to like really kind of hone in on doing some music together. So that's been the main thing I've tried together. And what's interesting about that is it might have been what we had done anyways, because of the great geographic distance, but the pandemic created this sort of, well, I'm not going to be going to band practice or I'm not going to be commuting for two hours a day as I was doing almost two hours. So that's two hours extra of time. So it, it maybe didn't change the working mode or the methodology, but it did create more time to do it.

Darwin: Right? Sure. Well, Paul, unfortunately our time is up, but before I let you go, what do you have in the hopper or in the laboratory or on your work bench that you might have coming out shortly? You've got so many different things going on. I'm just curious what, what has been your most recent efforts in, and when can we see some of your next releases?

Paul: Well, Community Library's next release is a reissue of two artists that I really have followed for for many years. Jan Steel and Janet Sherburne, really interesting, kind of very British minimalist kind of music. And we're reissuing an anthology of their 70's and 80's music. And I've struggled with completing parts of it because of being a perfectionist and having adult life things get in the way of completing it. But we're, we're now really in the final phases of finishing up. So I'm very excited for that.

Darwin: Got it. That sounds great. And how about you personally coming out with any releases? Do you have anything in there that you're, you're going to be releasing either under strategy or else in some of these collaborations

Paul: Strategy has a lot of music that needs to be finished. And a lot of conversations of people pestering me like, "Hey, where's that music you said you were working on?" And so I don't have anything planned coming out. But I have a lot of things I'm, you know, unfinished business that I'm going to try and finish up. But I just, in the last few days, my project Sound People, we've kind of confirmed a release of our next music on cassette in October through Beacon Sound. So that'll be great. That's music that goes back almost 10 years and we just very casually been working on it. And so I'm pretty excited about that because we really only have a couple of things to, to tweak on it and then it's really done. So that's probably the next project that folks can look forward to.

Darwin: Awesome. All right. Well, Hey man, I want to thank you for taking the time to have this chat. It was really great getting to know more about you and getting caught up on all the different things that you're doing.

Paul: Thank you so much. Bye.

Copyright 2020 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.