RFC Interview: Plastic Crimewave
As posted here yesterday, this Saturday WHPK and the U of C Film Center will be presenting Pictures and Sounds 2005. One of the musicians providing auditory accompaniment to the event will be Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave. He'll be performing solo guitar drenched with interstellar effects to the first Sci Fi film ever made, Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902). RFC recently caught up with Mr. Crimewave to learn more about his work and this upcoming performance... RFC: When hearing “Pictures and Sounds,” the first thing that comes to mind for me is a psychedelic aural and visual spectacle ala The Pink Floyd in 1967. However, the big differences here (besides the lack of LSD) are that: 1.Rather than random lights and slides, the music will be accompanied by complete video compositions and 2.The music will be improvised around the film rather than vice versa… Most people site The Floyd as being one of the innovators in bringing lights to live music, but who started the trend of improvising music around movies and film shorts? Plastic Crimewave: Well, shit-this feels like a quiz, but it would be impossible to gauge. Me thinks-since folks were twiddling along on piano without set scores to the very earliest films! RFC: This concept seems to be gaining popularity recently…(in the last few years, a couple of lounge/downtempo bands have released entire albums based on their improvising to old movies and locally, Califone did residency at Rodan last fall where they improvised to old films) …Is this your first gig like this? Or is it something that you’ve been experimenting with for a while? PC: My full band, Plastic Crimewave Sound did Pictures and Sounds a few years back to Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising. I've always been into the idea though, being a silent film buff, and seeing a great Knitting Factory show in maybe 1995, where avant garde types scored such films. RFC: So how do you prepare for a performance like this? I would assume you’re not going into it completely blind, and would have to have some ideas or themes planned? PC: Oh, i've practiced a little, keeping mental notes, like "spaceship taking off part" or "underwater sounds" or "crowd chaos part"...funny enough when PCWS scored Lucifer Rising, I was the only one who'd ever seen the film, and folks still asked how we managed to score it so tightly-ie-they thought we'd practiced it a lot and had distinct movements planned, when we never had! RFC: How or why did you choose Méliès' A Trip to the Moon for this performance? PC: It was actually chosen for me, but a fine choice indeed, that I OK'ed..... RFC: Anything else we should know about this performance? PC: I'll be utilizing treated guitar and electronics...and promise aural lift-off! also very excited that my ol pal Fur Saxa will be playing, she rules! RFC: Besides your performance at Pictures and Sounds, what else is on tap for Plastic Crimewave (and your band Plastic Crimewave Sound)? Future gigs? Album releases? International super-stardom? PC: This is going to be a sort of big year for me/us...Let's see- For PCWSound: a new double LP/CD due on Eclipse for summer; a split 12" w/Oneida on JagJaguwar; a track (and I did the artwork) on a UK 10" that is a tribute to "free-festivalers" Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, and the Edgar Broughton Band; a collaborative Lp w/Michael Yonkers; a west coast tour in May with the Ponys (also playing their record release show april 29 at the Double Door); also hoping to get to Europe/UK in the fall. On the personal front, I've been drawing a bunch of posters, ads and album covers, will have a new comic strip in the Reader, been writing for Stop Smiling and Arthur mags, and I will have a new double-sized Galactic Zoo Dossier magazine available in Summer on Drag City, also will have Million tongues festival #2 in fall at Empty bottle. whew.