Where Is This - Your Mouth is a Locked Groove by sstn noise
The Noise Series this week features a good example of extreme noise by Dublin-based noisnik Where is This, a.k.a. Mark Ward. Mark also makes more subtle tracks that are well worth a listen on his Virb page. He has this to say for himself and his music:
What are your reasons / motives for making music, and how you arrived at this style?
WiT: For a long time, I was just someone who wrote, then I became a lyricist, and a singer. I’ve always been utterly obsessed with music, and it was during my time in my first band, that I decided to start making my own. It wasn’t very good for a long time, but it gave me something to noodle away to. It was after the bands ended, and I got Cubase that Where is This started to take off for me. For a long time, I was making mostly electronica (with vocals), but I was also making more “experimental” music. Over the course of a few years, the noise-based stuff started to take more of a hold until it eventually became the focus of the project last year. And of course, as my interest grew, so did my taste in noise, as well as my output.
As for style, that can be a tricky one, but basically, I ended up with the style I have, because of what equipment I have (read: not much), which I’m sure is the case of a lot of noise musicians (especially those starting out/new to the scene). I would say I have two styles that work well together, and occasionally overlap; digital noise, using AbletonLive and programs like it, and countless VST to mangle samples into tracks; and analogue noise using microphones, amps, pedals and lots and lots of feedback. This forms a huge part of my noise. I tend to do a lot of improv sessions, and then work with the results; editing, modifying and layering them. However, I have been doing a lot of digital based noise lately, which can be great for creating thick wall noise. And of course, each record (I tend to think/operate in records, as opposed to tracks) has its own style: industrial, experimental (a la Coil), noise, harsh noise, wall noise, ambient, electronic, percussive-based, etc. I find that my style changes quite a bit, sometimes almost like “ok, I’ve done that ‘sound’ – what’s next?”
Also, making music, especially noise music, is extraordinarily cathartic. The more noise I make, the harsher it seems to get. It seems, to me at least, in a lot of ways that ambient music and harsh noise are just flip sides of the same coin; in wall noise, for example, it’s the small sounds and shifts in the tone that are most noticeable, and in ambient music, that’s usually that’s all there is. A good example of someone who can do both is one of my musical heroes, Kevin Drumm, who did noise on Sheer Hellish Miasma and ambience on Imperial Distortion.
What sort of environment it is intended for, and what is the intended effect on listener (if any)?
WiT: Mostly; headphones. I listen to 95% of music through headphones, and I find that my recorded tracks are best suited to them. I just want people to engage with the tracks. I gave a record to a friend of mine, who for some reason I thought would hate it, and she described it as “a paean to a lonely bleak cityscape” which I loved.
I find that a lot of instrumental music and noise can produce a much wider emotional response than something with lyrics. The intended effect I’m aiming for differs from track to track, but I don’t always have one in mind. Most of the time, I’m just making sounds, and fashioning into something coherent and listenable. Some tracks definitely have a style and agenda behind them. For example, I have a track called Float which is one tone that’s been duplicated about eight times and as the track continues, another duplicate is added to the track. All that was done for that track was to adjust the pan and volume. And it ended up sounding like the tones were coming from inside your head, which I was quite happy about. Others don’t have an intended effect, they just are. The track above was one of my earliest HNW tracks and personally, I find it quite soothing. Funnily enough, sometimes I get so into making a track, such as the one above, that I can’t remember the in-and-outs of making it and if I was asked, I’d have to go back to the source file and see! The recording and editing process can be a very instinctual thing.
What sort of equipment you use (e.g. computer, hardware, home made gear, circuit bent stuff etc.) do you use to make your sounds?
WiT: Anything and everything really. As well as what I’ve detailed above, I’ve got a Roland EM-15, a Squier Jazz Bass (that I cannot for the life of me play), and my newest acquisition; a pro-circuit bent Casio MT-100 which I’m still getting to grips with and hoping to break in soon. I do find myself, when jamming, picking up anything and everything and shaking it into a distorted mic and seeing what happens.
Any memorable noise-related incidents/ interesting gig anecdotes?
WiT: I suppose inspired by Richard Ramirez’s sheet metal escapades, at one jam session with my friend Aimee (for our new project, Feedback Sonata) I decided that I simply must break out her tinfoil and incorporate it into my setup that day. She tried to warn me that it wouldn’t end well, but I had to try, and got a very nasty electric shock for my trouble. Still, it sounded good…
Info on upcoming gigs, preferred web address, releases etc.
WiT: I’ve a bunch of releases out soon:
Fucker (3”cdr on Hoarse Records – noise, drone, rhythmic)
Barry Burton’s Burly Bear Burlesque (3”cdr, Hoarse Records, as part of their Resident Evil-themed Wall Noise series)
Karaoke Cemetery (3”cdr on my own Bored Bear Recordings, microphone noise)
Split with Timothy A.D. (3”cdr, BBR, Ambient)
Stab, You’re Dead – A Split with This Box is Empty (3”cdr, BBR, Electronica)
Where is This (Cdr on Deadline Noise Recordings – harsh noise)
I’m looking for gigs at the moment, and I’ve a couple more records that I’m looking for good homes for. To get in contact with me, email email@example.com and to hear more music and be kept up-to-date with news, visit my Virb page: http://www.virb.com/whereisthismusicyouspeakof