I was asked for writing reviews and interviews for the biggest alternative music magazine in Czech Republic Fullmoon Magazine thanks to my previous experience in writing to diy magazines and webzines like The Aardvark or Defekt. My focus is experimental music and I wrote interviews with artist and bands like Ben Frost, Mono, Broness or Ufomammut. I also contributed with reviews of Lollapalooza Berlin, Flying Lotus, Kanye West, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and more.Back on track
Interview with Ben Frost follows. It was taken before his first show in Prague on October 2007 shortly after he released his amazing album Theory Of Machines.
Why did you move from Australia to Iceland?
I’ve moved from Australia to Iceland because I was really happy to been on Iceland. It’s where I feel at home.
Can you describe the difference between being an artist or musician in Australia and Iceland?
Well, I think in Australia is very much to be an independent artist. Because you’re so separated from the rest of the world. Separated from Europe. It’s much easier to be musician on Iceland.
Do you think that Iceland culture or music is specific? How well the production of Sigur Rós, Múm, Slowbow or Mugison?
Yes, all these bands are my friends. But you know, there is much bigger community, there are a lot of bands in Iceland.
What is the main influence in the act of creating in Iceland?
I don’t know what it is in Iceland. But for me it’s a combination of thinks: people I work with, the environment of the country. It’s no only one think. I guess that the landscape and the environment is a big influence, but people are bigger.
Which Icelandic group or musician is the most interesting for you?
I think that there is an amazing classical music in Iceland, a lot of really interesting classical musicians. I can say that this is a great influence for me. And definitely, I’m really proud to be a part of Icelandic music community, because there are so many amazing people before me. Contemporary artists… There is an Icelandic cellist Hildur Gudnadottir and I think that she become my favourite.
Is there any discussion about the future of music and art?
No, I don’t think so. It’s not calculated, I’m that people just experiment. But it’s possible that Iceland is a little bit different, because it’s far away. People there have more opportunity to explore than another people.
What’s your opinion about the future of music? Which way of development is the best for you?
Well, I don’t know where it’s going. I mean that it’s very exciting to be a musician in this moment. To see where it can go next.
You have made a big tribute to Michael Gira on you last CD Theory of Machines. Has he influenced you a lot?
Yes, he has been an engine for me. Michael Gira is a really big influence to my music for the last, maybe, five years. The Theory of machines is very much influenced by him and his band The Swans.
Can you describe the cooperation with Valgeir Sigurdsson? Is his influence on your last CD strong?
He definitely has a big influence because he is a person that has if first listened. He always has really strong opinions about what I was doing. He was really honest. He knows what have happened in my music and we worked really hard on the sound. I mean that his biggest influence was in the mastering. I was really big deal.
There are a lot of noise guitars and long ambient passages on your last album. Is it the reason of the name Theory of Machines?
Theory of Machines came out because I was interested in trying to create something that sounded… I was really tired when I heard a lot of electronic music like ambient way, what can have some emotional impact, some kind of romance. A kind of ambient, very soft, because my favourite music is very hard and very aggressive. It was looking some kind of way like to make these two thinks happened in same time. I mean that can be extremely aggressive, extremely loud and violence, but in the same time, it can be very beautiful. That is what Theory of machines is about.
What do you think about the fusion of art and technology? About differences between acoustic and electronic music.
For me. I don’t see any lines. For me it’s an artwork for Theory of machines. It’s just same important for me as the music. It’s very much about the creating images in your head in front your eyes. It’s extremely…I studied an art school. So for me there is a blurred line between the visual and the audio.
What knid of place is the best for listening to your music?
Extremely small place with extremely loud and big system. That’s the best place.
There are emotions like in films of Michael Nyman, Badalamti or Cliff Martinez in your music. Do you like film music? Can you say something about video clip for your song by Sara Thurston?
I don’t even know her. She contacts me thru the internet. It’s totally unofficial. It’s funny. Yes, film is a big influence for me. I mean that a lot of film music is terrible, but people like Martinez. I mean that these guys are amazing for someone.
How often are you exchanged for the painter Ben Frost? Have you cooperated together? If so, in which way?
Yes, we worked together. I have produced an album in Australia for a band many years ago and he did the art works for the album, so both work together. But we don’t get mixed up anymore, because I live in Iceland. But when we live both in Australia, both in Melbourne. But I mean that our works are different.
What kind of music do you like?
What kind of music do I like? That’s a good question… I listen to a lot of different music. Every time I like punk, metal, classical music. I listen a lot of classical music, lot of metal and I listen to a lot of experimental electronic music. At the moment I mean that my favourite some early recording of Arvo Parth, the Estonian composer. I listen to these stuffs a lot. But also, at the same time I listen to a Birthday party, it’s an Australian band, Nick Caves band.
Do you think about resumption of School of emotion engineering? How this project started and what about is it?
School of emotional engineering is a really strange think. The reason why the School of emotional engineering started… I wanted to get away from being label of electronic or laptop musician. I want to make my music to precede more in the same way of people I was influenced by. I wanted more to be a Ben Frost, than to be a single person playing on a laptop. You immediately get put in the stuck, category where you become an electronic musician, you become like turning to a dance floor. And so I was trying to get away from that. I put that record out under the name of School of emotional engineering which is basically just me. I did all of it, I’ve made the whole records on my own. But after the record came on I need to perform it live, so I get the band together. The band has become a School of emotional engineering and further we started writing the new album and that’s some kind of still where we are. Writing a new album, it’s taking a long time, it’s taking two years to make a new album. It is very different than what I do. It’s very, very aggressive, it’s nothing like my music even I’ve wrote it. It’s completely different.
Do you work on something now?
Yes, I’m making a new album, Ben Frost’s album. That’s the main. It’s no finished, it’s on the way.