XperimentS ... M station
Recorded Delivery - an interview with Janek Schaefer,
# new projects
> MR: Are there any other new projects that you are working on at the moment?
> JS: The latest thing is my FatCat LP. For the last two years I've been working on it, making stuff, improvising with my turntable and everything... We did a gig on a boat on the River Seine, on the "Batofar" boat in Paris [for Fat Cat records], and decided we were going to get on with it, and so I went back to all the original material and I remade every single track from scratch. So its a studio album. But most of the sounds are all kind of electroacoustic things... I went on a massive holiday on Feb-March this year with my girlfriend, to North and South America, so I did hours and hours and hours of minidisc-ing all over... So I got some incredible sounds in America, and so a lot of the tracks on the Fat Cat LP are from concrete sources.
> MR: what sort of sounds?
> JS: The first one - my father was born in Canada and I was visiting his sister, and they had a nice little bungalow place, and they had this organ in it, really naff you know, really old wheezy organ, and my Dad used to play it when he was alive over there and stuff.. So they're all downstairs in the TV room, they had this like 50 inch TV or something, and I was upstairs and so I just did these drones on it, wheezy drones, and then i processed them back here... I think the most amazing sound - I mean I think its a bit of a cliché but it was amazing, was in Las Vegas, the last track. We were waiting for the bus to go to the Strip, and this lamp post came on next to me, buzzing ferociously, and I thought - well, that is the sound of Las Vegas, isn't it? you know, electricity! So I was sticking a contact mic on there to get serious, proper Las Vegas electricity! a lot of that... and when you go into the casino, its just a wealth of the machines playing their little tunes "dingadingadingading" all those machines and all the cash flowing out. I think thats a bit of a cliché but it was amazing! So you alter those and you do a collage of them and out comes this mammoth electrical field piece...
> MR: And how do you alter the sounds?
> JS: My studio works in two ways - I've got my live kit over there, and I've got my computer over here. So I would stick a minidisc on, and first of all it would go through a Shermann filter bank, and all my standard effects boxes, and eq-ing and all that, and then it would come out onto the Mac... I don't do a lot of processing on the Mac, but thats where i do all the layering.
> MR: What programs are you using for that?
> JS: Uhhh... its a very lowly version of Sound Edit 16!! which is all it is, is a collage program, all I can do is a bit of eq, or get rid of something on it, or stretch, or something like that.
> MR: I guess you don't want to overly alter some of your found sources either?
> JS: Well, it depends what it is really - whether it's clichéd or not... And I've got a minidisc player, a home hi-fi one that can play things back at kind of you know, 1/4 speed or something, which is very useful.
# the US tour
> MR: And you are about to tour the US in October, also with Robert Hampson, under the name "Comae"?
> JS: Yes, this is it! We're doing an American tour!... We get on in the studio really well, we made our debut album that's coming out in October. We made it in last bl**dy August, you know, it takes ages. God, it took one week, we went in the studio and he said "let's just go for it" and I said "can we just talk about what we're going to do" and he said "no, we're just going to get on with it" and I said "alright" and we just played, did stuff, it came out - it took another week to process it - but we just got on, there was no ego, no nothing, it was just purely two people on the same wavelength working together, which was wonderful.
> MR: and that would capture some of the feeling of your live performance as well then?
> JS: Yep. You record stuff and then you take it into a program and you construct from that, you know, but the initial week's recording was all "just do it" and we just did it! A lot of it was prepared already individually, though...
So we've got an album coming out, we get on really well performance-wise and everything else, and we've got our first gig in New York! Its just Oh my God! what a dream! We haven't done a gig in England or anywhere before, and we've got two weeks to go and we've still got to do all the work for it. We're playing at Subtonic, and at the Knitting Factory in New York, and those are our first gigs! We're doing a gig with God Speed Ye Black Emperor and we've got a couple of festivals in Canada and stuff...
I'd have to say I was just totally stunned by the success of email and the internet in that respect - you know, a couple of years ago it wouldnt have happened, cos I didn't know anyone in America, but come the beginning of August I didn't know anyone in America either, and then I said "right".. we've got an invite to go to the Send and Receive festival in Winnipeg, and they were paying for our flights, and we're doing an installation and an extremely wonderful organisiation which is forking money out for us, and he said "Why not do some dates in America?" - "Ohh yeah yeah yeah!!" and so I jumped on the email, found out other people like myself been doing a tour of America so I looked at where some other people had been playing, found out the names of the venues, emailed them all, said "This is who we are, are you interested?" and they all got back and said "Yes", and we put them all into place and they're all paying us and there you go! We've got a tour, just like that! >From not knowing anyone in a week, we did it all in a week!
> MR: Thats fantastic! Congratulations!
Thank you very much, and best wishes with your tour too.
> JS: Thank you.
Comae Tour 2000
Oct 6th: New York City - Subtonic
Oct 7th: New York City - The Knitting Factory [Knit Active]
Oct 9th: Pittsburgh - Carnegie Mellon University
[supporting Godspeed You Black Emperor]
Oct 10th: Cleveland - Speak In Tongues
Oct 11th: Chicago - The Empty Bottle
Oct 12th: Chicago - Chicago Arts Institute
Oct 14th: Detroit - Detroit Contemporary Gallery
Oct 15th: Toronto - Music Gallery
Oct 16th: Montreal - Ex-Centris FCMM Festival
Oct 20th: Winnipeg - Send & Receive Festival [performance and Installation]
Oct 25th: Brussels - 'Vacant City/Music&Architecture' Brussels 2000
Janek Schaefer has recently been invited to do a second version of the Recorded Delivery piece. This time it's called Return To Sender and is a stereo version with the left channel being him travelling to the gallery, and the right channel returning home.
This is taking place at:
From The Outside In: An exhibition of sonic installations 23rd October - 20th December 2000 Presented by Light House as part of Metapod.expo in Wolverhampton
An exclusive track by Janek Schaefer will appear on The Wire Tapper Special Edition CD on the cover of October's Wire edition, available world wide to subscribers and on all UK news stands.
Janek Schaefer's recordings are available from: