Carl Stone: I like the physical connection with an audience.

Carl Stone
Foto: Samantha Gore

Amerikaans producer, componist, muzikant en teacher laveert tussen Los Angeles en Japan. Maar door de pandemie zit hij vanaf november min of meer vast in Japan waar hij lesgeeft in onderwerpen als audio vs. media. Muzikaal is hij niet voor één gat te vangen. Hij mixt verschillende genres tot dat er 1 geheel ontstaat. Voor liefhebbers van acts als Negativland, People like us of the Tape Beatles. We wisten hem te traceren op het digitale netwerk en het werd een lezenswaardig interview.

Hi Carl hope you’re ok! You have to excuse me I’m not as qualified as journalists from the great Wire so o have some basic questions for you..Where r u at the moment Japan or USA?

I am in Tokyo Japan, I’ve been here since November 3 2020.

Are you still able to teach and what exactly do you teach?

In Japan a lot of universities are teaching online or in combination with face-to-face sessions. My classes were completely online for most of 2020, but in 2021 it is expected they will be a combination once the new semester starts in April. Now we are on Spring break.

I teach inside the Media department in the School of Engineering at Chukyo University, specializing in digital audio. Because it is an engineering department, I don’t teach composition per se, but sound design, recording technology, programming for audio etc.

A few years ago you played in Rotterdam NL @ the garden festival unfortunately i was busy with my own festival but how was the reception?

It was a very nice and laid-back event, out in a garden behind De Player. 

Much audience participation ? What kind of people buy your output?

I don’t have actual statistical figures for my audience but over the years it has definitely trended younger, which I am happy about. In the past the venues who invited me to perform were mostly sit-down concert halls, galleries, universities etc. Now I also get invitations from clubs and music festivals. 

Me for instance.. Whats the difference musically between Japan and the USA? I think Japanese people are more into experimental music than USA kids.

I’m not sure I would agree. I think the breakdown might be closer than you think What is different though is that Japanese fans tend to be very vertical. By the I mean there are a lot of music lovers on Japan who go very deep into one specific style or even one or two specific artist, listen and learning everything they can. Japanese audiences are also more driven by critics and also the recommendations of uber-respected artists. If Sakamoto Ryuichi or Otomo Yoshihide drops someone’s name, even causally, it can be like gold.

Lets talk about your latest output how did you manage to create such a great mix between all kind of samples?
No problem with clearing it. Copy rights or something like that
How do you see the musicscene at the moment? still interesting stuff coming out? And the music press The Wire rules!

Glad you find it great! I don’t know, there isn’t a single process but it’s just I enjoy experimenting – with different samples, or with different processes, and if it seems the results are promising I go further and further in that direction until a track emerges.  I think of much of the music I make as an ironical and somewhat subversive look at popular music. In this way I see myself in the same general camp as Negativland or People Like Us. But I actually don’t listen to a lot of what’s going on in the music scene at the moment Perhaps I should listen more and I might be astounded, but I am in a sort of bubble, listening to a lot of ethnographic recordings from Africa, Asia etc, plus rock music from the sixties, to the exclusion of most other things. Which is why when I do hear something by random – like encountering Aqua’s Barbie Girl playing on a street corner near Alexanderplatz in Berlin 1996, it really catches my ear and inspires me!

And the most asked question at this time how do you cope with the pandemic. We all live a digital life. Still some plans for the future to make?

Well, the pandemic in 2020 forced me to cancel a lot of love shows I had scheduled in the US and Europe, but on the other hand I had a very productive period in the studio where I could compose a lot of the music of the Stolen Car album. But I am very keen to return to touring as soon as it becomes possible. I’m not so really happy with doing live streaming shows, although they are better than nothing. I like the physical connection with an audience.

Hope to see you somewhere on an European stage Worm rotterdam for instance and then we drink some beers. Ok thatz it take your time for answering hope you liked it or not greetz Wim

A meet up in Rotterdam would be fantastic and I would love to return to Worm, and have those beers with you. Soon I hope! Thanks for the questions – wishing you all the best!!

Carl S