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ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!


Improvijazzation Nation - Issue # 72

INTERVIEW with Arkay & Sebastiaan


Zzaj: We reviewed a "Various Artists" CD in issue # 71, called "The Unmoderated".  Since our friend Solispism was "in the thick of it" with that project, I decided I wanted to have an INTERVIEW done with the guys who were at the "core" of that CD, & that HE was the most appropriate one to do that... so, our HAT is OFF to Craig (Solispism) for taking the time to do this great INTERVIEW...



Craig:  Hello guys, first off can you give us some background info on yourselves, where you come from what instruments you play and what were your first experiences with music.

Arkay - I have lived in the Chicago area my whole life. I went to college for Music for a few years playing classical and jazz guitar although I have always sought the odd corners of the music world. While getting disenchanted by the limited views of the "Jazz or Classical" music program, I discovered recording. I then spent several years studying, Apprenticing, Seconding and Engineering. After finding out that Audio Engineers either become Label Bitches or Jingle Whores, I decided to work elsewhere so that the energy I spend on music can be put to the uses I choose.


Sebastiaan - Hi, I live in Arnhem, The Netherlands. I play guitar, piano and synths. For both instruments, piano and guitar, I've studied about 6 years on the classical instrument. As a child I listened to my uncle playing blues on the piano and I loved it. Later I discovered the blues, the rock and Arab music on my transistor radio. When I was about 15 years old I listened to all kinds of music: Jimi Hendrix, psychedelic music (especially Pink Floyd), (hard)rock, punk, blues and, of course, Frank Zappa. 


Craig:  Can you tell us how The Unmoderated project came about...who's idea it was in the first instance and how you went about turning the idea into a reality.

Arkay - White Person and Sebastiaan thought of the idea that there should be an FZ Forum Band. I thought of the idea to base it around Xenochrony. As FZ Forum members are from all over the world, a huge variety of sounds were sent to me for xenochronization.

Sebastiaan - When the FZ forum just started I met a guy there from the US who called himself White Person. We started to chat about our own musical activities and decided to exchange some of our own music. Quite exciting days, sending your own stuff to and receive music from someone in the US. We both liked what we did and started to think about a way to make music together, through internet. Around that time, April 2003, another forum friend, Arkay, started a thread about it. 'Help the Forum Band. You, yes you!' was it called. We just had to send him our own musical stuff and he would put it all together. He asked everyone at the forum to send him stuff, doesn't matter what and how. CD's, tapes... So he received guitar solos from Canada, the sound of broken glass from Belgium, screams from Chicago, Solipsism space sounds from Scotland, teenager compositions from Key West... etc etc. I sent him a lot. Like jams of my old band, easy to 'fill up' with other contributions. I sent him a full CD, also with some spacy music I did with Cubase on my computer.    

Craig:  How many different artists appeared on the disc, did the amount of different contributors help or hinder the project and do you have any plans to do more projects in a similar vein.

Sebastiaan - I think Arkay can better answer this question. He spent hours and hours of work in the project. I certainly would like to participate in a new project and would love to see much more contributions - which will happen anyhow I guess because a lot of people of the forum regretted afterwards about not participating on this CD. 

Arkay - There were somewhere around 60 people involved. I love variety. My palette as an editor is based around the amount of raw audio I can obtain. In that regard, it’s a great thing that we were able to get so much interest in the project. The hard part of having so many band members is the organization. Communication was The Land of Redundant, Misunderstood and Lost Messages. To do another project would probably reprise that situation, but it seems that is simply the price to be paid.

Craig:  What are your own musical backgrounds...tell us about about any bands you are in, bands you've been in or other musical works you've been involved in.

Arkay - I've worked with alot of bands, in several studios, also running live sound. One band in particular that I spent alot of time with was called D-Ray and although they broke up almost 10 years ago, hopefully some day the band will get all the attention it deserves. Overall, I consider my primary music discipline to be Editing. I did my first free-form edit in about 1992, leading up to The Unmoderated

Sebastiaan - When I studied classical guitar I started to learn electric guitar for myself, playing along all kind of records. Dead Kennedy's albums for instance, or Grand Funk Railroad, or Jimi Hendrix, Thin Lizzy. I started a band with bass player Stefan Schaminee, you can hear him on the Unmoderated CD also. We were 18 years old and wanted to play hard rock, but soon we were only jamming. We met a drummer with similar ideas and started to jam with him. That's what we loved and still love to do. We made tapes like 'jam in the night of full moon' etc. We still have our own 'vault' with all the tapes of our jam sessions. Our band was called Red Planet. The second track on the Unmoderated CD is a 13 minute Red Planet jam from the 'good old times'. Later we (Stefan and I) played in Emotional Toilet and Vulvasonic. Great bands, a little more symphonic, but with room for everyone to jam. Red Planet still exists and the main goal will be a release of a jam CD. Vulvasonic also still exists, waiting for gigs, which is too bad. Stefan and I are playing together now for 20 years.

Craig:  Now it was a common love and appreciation of the work of Frank Zappa that allowed this project to be born in the first instance. Tell us what the music of Frank Zappa means to you personally, how it's effected your life and importantly how you think it effected or influenced the content of The Unmoderated disc.

Arkay - I would probably do FZ a disservice to highlight one portion of his output as the best, or most important to me. I'd rather leave it just saying that I appreciate his pursuit of excellence. Most people don't give a shit about being excellent and it shows. I may not be excellent, but its what I shoot for. I don't mean "awesome" or "cool", I mean having a concept for a finished product and doing whatever it takes to realize it as best you can. There was alot of pressure from the members of the Forum to "just put out the music", and I had to endlessly tell people that it wasn't done yet, that I would rather have it take longer and end up with something we could be proud of.

Sebastiaan - For me Frank Zappa is the ultimate in everything in music. There's no band or artist that even comes close to what Frank Zappa did. The mix of rock, jazz, improvisations, classical music, blues, freak music, his intelligent humor, his cynical view on society and the human race in general, his complex compositions, and let's not forget his guitarsolos... all these elements together created a musical universe on it's own that still fascinates me. I think it effects my life in a way I share his views on society and people. More than any other guitarist he influenced my guitarsound. I kept buying effects in trying to immitate his sounds, haha. I still can be amazed by listening to a concertboot. All of his bands were incredible. As for The Unmoderated CD: the freak-level, the humor (listen for example to White Persons contributions) and of course the Xenochrony technique that was used are the main connections with the music of Frank Zappa. But we never quoted him, nor his music or his lyrics.      

Craig:  What sort of effect do you think the internet will have on the future of music, will it become an integral force or will it forever be on the fringes.

Arkay - It seems that even the geek-clowns who are constantly making predictions about these things regularly miss the mark. There aren't alot of good fortunetellers out there. That said, I only consider music created on, through, or distributed by the internet as "fringe" now because the big record labels still have big pockets to control so much of the market. That dynamic is already changing... and we all know that it’s not really about the market anyway.

Sebastiaan -  think this Unmoderated CD project is a good example of how it will be in the future. With increasing internet speed there will be more of these releases. People from all over the world can make music together and internet is the right place and a quick way to find your kindred spirits. Promising and a huge threat for record companies. Most of them are full of shit anyway so they won't be missed. Not by me.

Craig:  Who came up with the title The Unmoderated.

Sebastiaan - In the 'Help the Forumband' thread we asked people to come up with names. And I totally forgot who came up with this name. I've got to read the thread back but there are more than 60 pages to read at the moment... Eh... Arkay?

Arkay - Swiftkicknow

Craig:  Now i know Zappa's concept of xenochrony played a big part in this album, can you explain for the readers exactly what the term xenochrony means.

Arkay - Xenochrony is the simultaneous playback of two or more recordings that were each made without any knowledge of the other. This leads to unplanned-for rhythmic results or as the name literally translates as "strange time". This project has become a study in Xenochrony for me, I could go on all day about it.

Sebastiaan - Arkay explains the main theory in his Xenochrony Manifesto that comes along with the CD. Let me give you a good example: It's about 'Stucco Homes', a guitarpiece FZ did for his album 'Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar'. Frank asked his guitarplayer Warren Cuccurullo to play along a live recording of the song 'Inca Roads'. So he did and after that FZ took a drumpart that Vinnie Colaiuta had played on a complete different song, took Warren's guitartrack that he just played and layed it over Vinnies drumpart. Than FZ plugged his 'black widow' guitar in the mixing console and played the solo. I was quite amazed when I heard the story, recently told by Warren on Noneradio, because I always thought 'Stucco Homes' was a jam with the band but the vamp is clearly a mix of two tracks that had nothing to do with each other.

Craig: Now i know that the ZFT (zappa family trust) were aware of this disc and that some famous people made guest appearances on it. What were your dealings with the ZFT like and who were the big names.

Arkay - *** still dealing with GZ... probably shouldn't comment at this time***

Sebastiaan - Some guys wanted to build a website around our project and asked Gail Zappa permission to make it look like the FZ forum. She didn't want that but liked the idea of the project very much and offered a temporarily link on the official website which was great. She had also listened to the first four pieces that were ready and told us she liked them. That caused a huge sensation over here, Gail had actually  listened to me noodling on an acoustic guitar and even liked it! Another 'participator', a guy who calls himself 'swiftkicknow', felt the same excitement, haha. That was cool.

Craig:  Finally, if you were to do another project in a similar vein, is there anything that you would change to smooth out the process or do you think this was a good template for things to come.

Arkay - I think it was a great template. I learned alot about Xenochrony and look forward to learning more. But, I'm also open to other techniques being used on future releases, such as the sequential recording techniques used on Z-Road to Nowhere, in which the original composition was made in Illinois, then sent to The Netherlands for overdubs, then to Pennsylvania, then finally to me. Its not necessarily xenochrony, but it is a great method. One of my favorite phrases is 'No Rules Audio'. I love exploring the possibilities of audio and generally will go wherever an interesting idea will take me, no matter how difficult or how long it takes.

Sebastiaan - I think the template is ok. I think I would send some more 'empty' jams of my bands that could be filled up with solos and sounds from other forumers. But I would also send some solostuff, like guitar, vocals, keys or just sounds. Streetsounds from Holland, whatever, that kind of stuff. I also hope more people will participate but I'm not worried about that. I also think I've met some great musicians, thanks to this project, with whom I will make more music in the future.





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