D: When she showed up she was wearing normal
clothes and her tap shoes. At first people thought she was just some weird
tap dancing narcissist. Then we had rhythm that resembled her tap-dancing
and we did a little duet. It was fun! We did it at Other
Music the next day too.
M: Yeah, some people gave her a little bit of an evil
eye. Like, who the hell is this person? But I think they figured
it out when we started playing with her. But like I said we hadn’t
prepared anything particularly.
So I guess that worked out
M: Yeah, worked out great!
D: Well that’s what a performance should be about.
There has to be a bit of risk, and a little bit of romance like what’s
gonna happen next? Or there’s really no point.
I think a lot of big artists
have all that stuff planned and rehearsed. It’s really boring to
watch actually. There’s no room for error.
D: Yeah it’s weird. I understand the temptation
to do it, cause if you ever play a really shitty show, there’s no
worse corner of shame. You feel like you've just pissed on the floor or
something. So I can see why people want to protect themselves from it,
but you can over do the safety plaster...
I think a shitty show can sometimes be more exciting. I mean, I’ve
been to Catpower
shows that were pretty white knuckle hell rides of stress, but they were
way more memorable than an adequately professional show.
So I hear
you guys are now teaching. Is that new for you?
M: It’s new for me. It’s not so new for Drew
who had been teaching at UC Berkeley for a while. I taught a 12-year-old
before and for ten years I've been working at the San
Francisco Art Institute, in the New Genres Department, where
we're teaching and torturing people, but it’s different from teaching
a classroom full of people.
What is the course that you're teaching?
D: It’s called Theory and Practice.
Martin practices and I’m the theory.
And how are your classes, are they bursting
with knowledge hungry students?
D: We had a lot of interests at first. But we tried to
scare off as many people as possible.
M: By simply making it clear to them that you should
only be in college if you are actually interested and want to be there,
because there are too many people eluding the guilt they would feel from
mommy and daddy if they didn’t go to collage. They are just kinda
like- you know- jerking off with no real purpose.
Do you find that a lot at San
Francisco Art Institute?
D: That makes the education now. I mean, I think there’s
a very cynical generation coming through the collages of America. And
they know that the market place that’s going to consume them doesn’t
give a shit what they think or say in their essay about Beowulf,
FDR, Chicano literature, or anything
like that. It’s sort of tipping of your hat -it’s the last
time in your life that you pretend culture matters, and then after you
graduate you buckle under to the market place of the economy. Now there’s
much more of a sense of “Yeah I’m just treading water for
three years because I have to have a piece of paper before I can get paid,”
you know. So it’s pretty fucking cynical. Luckily art schools are
filled with more people that are, I think, generally of the crazy optimistic
sub-species of that generation, where they want to be a sort of an exceptional
person that makes a living off making fine art. You know, which is such
a crazy dream at this point, that I actually kind of admire anyone that
would go to art school for sheer balls. So yeah, I like teaching at art
school… that’s my long answer. (Wiki: San
Francisco Art Institute, Beowulf,
You guys were recently guest artist on
display at Yerba
Buena Center for the Arts’ Four in a Row exhibition
(11/04). Was that new experience for you guys too?
D: Yeah totally, I mean we are not visual artists you know. We had a piece
at Whitney’s Bitstreams
show in 2001 that was sort of our first dipping our toe in the art world.
That was pretty much a sound piece you listened to on headphones. Work
Work Work, the piece we did here at Yerba Buena
was truly an installation. Not in a sense of object making that people
come and look at, rather it was sort of a combination of a performance
and a time based conceptual piece. Every morning the first person who
walk in the door I would interview, make a song about their life, and
burn it on to a CD and give it to them by noon. I ended up making 17 portrait
songs and Martin tape curated a lot of
3 mp3s from Yerba Buena Songs
1. Matmos and Coelacanth
and Tooth 7.5mb
2. Matmos and Sagan
will not deny, though my memory
3. Matmos and Sagan
the Rose Panther 3.2mb (Edited)
(download the rest of the mp3s in this series
conversations every day. We were there for
a total of 97 hours, you know, continuously, whenever the museum was in
operation we were there with all of our studio equipment. It was a way
to bring people in to the process and show them how it’s made. It
was cool, we have gotten letters now from people saying, “Oh, you
know after I saw your installation I started making music,” and
they sent us their tracks. They weren’t musicians before they walked
in, so I guess we demystified it a little bit. And I think that’s
a good thing because too much of the electronic music people have a tendency
to act as if they’re splitting a fucking atom or something when
they’re really just making beats -like come off of it!
So you really inspired some museum goers!
D: One woman sent us a stylophone.
You play it by moving this little metal dial across the plate. It produces
different tones in different parts of the plate. It was a very popular
novelty in Britain. (Wiki: stylophone)
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