I remember Dan Deacon once telling me email is the most primitive and inefficient form of human communication in the world. He might not have been wrong. More often than not, email correspondence is a slog. Sooooo… how do we actually make it fun and substantial?
Having written a whole book in Rotterdam Goddamn, I realized communicating through written words often triggers different ideas and thoughts than verbal exchange. With this new series called Untethered Conduits, I approach artists within my own network with emailed questions, only to take these questions out and leaving only their side of the correspondence intact in the form of quotes.
The idea is to show an unprocessed extension of the individuals that are featured and to (hopefully) amplify their voice in some meaningful way. Having interviewed many musicians over the years, I often feel conflicted about tainting the artist’s sensibility with my own words in an intrusive way. Untethered Conduits is an experiment to circumvent that quandary, and to see how much substance remains intact without my active interference. To indeed act as more of a conduit between subjects.
That also means that the previous interviewee will actively inform questions for the next person featured, to sort of pass this unspoken energy along, almost like a journalistic Chinese whisper of some sort. The thrill is always in the unknown, and it’s anybody’s guess how it will unfold.
Conversely, Untethered Conduits also provides an opportunity for artists to show other disciplines they harness. A musician is rarely just a musician, but a practitioner of multiple artforms. Interspersing that with the words creates an honest extension of who the person is, and what preoccupies their work.
Episode #1 features my friend Kat Kalkman, who performs in Neighbours Burning Neighbours, Nagasaki Swim, and maushaund. Their words were not only inspiring in and of themselves but helped me shape this very format in a meaningful way. We’re off to a good start if I do say so myself!