Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Quickie Interview: citation:obsolete

Formed last September, citation : obsolete is a new electro project from local digital artist Christian Ryan...err, make that "christian.ryan" and DePaul instructor Robin James. With a "lineage in warehouse parties, new wave staccato and continental ideas" the duo released a Creative Commons EP titled Series One last year and are now looking to tackle the local live circuit in 2006, beginning with a show tomorrow night at Betty's Blue Star Lounge. How did the band get started? christian: Unlike the typical band-creation myths where a couple of dudes meet at a liberal arts college, citation : obsolete came about from a more constructed and intentional motivation. From about 1998 to early 2004, I worked in a blissbeat solo project. Eventually, I got tired of writing material that was drenched in privileged earnestness, so around April 2004, I formatted the hard drive with all my unfinished work, and started to radically rethink my approach to my music practice. Around the same period in 2004, I met Robin and setup a back-alley studio in Andersonville. Isn't electro music "obsolete" these days? Robin: Isn't rock music obsolete these days? Hasn't rock - both mainstream and indie - just been recycling various periods (the Strokes were garage, Interpol was post-punk, now the Editors are nouveau U2) in its history? Indeed, hasn't white rock post 1968 been a re-hashing of a supposedly more "authentic" past (e.g., the Rolling Stones trying to repeat the Delta Blues in Britain)? The way we see it, rock is a conservative genre: it is interested in preserving a tradition that has already exhausted itself. So, if you want to say that electro is 'obsolete' in light of indie rock's conservatism, yeah, sure, it is, because it's been a long time since the indie mainstream (so to speak) has cared about the now, the new, and the next. Our version of electro is not interested in preserving or conserving. What's the story with Betty's? It's always been known as a late-night dance club, but now it seems like they're booking bands on a somewhat regular basis? christian: I've noticed a lot of clubs are updating their house systems and stages so that they can be more multi-purpose performance venues (see Betty's, Darkroom, etc.) I'd imagine that gives artists more opportunities to perform, and it's certainly better for the audience with new and updated sound systems. These new spaces also seem to take more chances and have more variety with the kinds of acts they book. Robin: I'd imagine it's mostly economics - they can probably get more people in the door buying drinks when they come to see a band perform. What kind of show can we expect on Thursday? christian: We're gonna bring the beat, and motherfuckers will shake it. Tell us about your "Creative Commons" recording. christian: We chose to release our first EP, Series One, as a CD-quality free download under a Creative Commons license. That allows our listeners to download, trade, and share our music freely. It's more important to us that our work be heard and contribute to the greater culture at large, rather than be shrink-wrapped and sold for $18.99 at some store in the mall. In an environment where our rights are increasingly restricted through the use of DRM and the DMCA, it's important, as an artist, to say "We don't want our audience to be treated as criminals just because they want to listen to our work." We don't want young kids, grandparents, students, single-parents to be sued by the RIAA because they may or may not have traded music over P2P. That's bullshit. Releasing our work on a Creative Commons allows us to tell audiences that if they want to share and trade our work, they can do that without worrying about being sued by a group of lawyers who've never heard of the concept of free culture. I highly encourage RFC readers to check out the "Free Culture" wikipage to learn more about this.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Robin said...

I'm not at U of C, I'm at DePaul. They don't do continental philosophy in HP.
-- Robin.

6/14/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Brad K said...

sorry about the mix-up...text is changed

6/15/2006 01:37:00 AM  

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