Saturday, January 5, 2013

Your Questions for Sam

Your Questions#1
Hi all. Sam from Black tape for a blue girl here. A week ago, I posted on Facebook: "Hey…. ask me some questions, so I have something to write my next blog about!" And here we are! You can email me your questions and I'll put them in the folder for next time….

Xerzzel Uln'Xeresy: what will it take for you to come to Denver?

Sam: A promoter with money! :) We live in Brooklyn. We need three plane tickets, a van, a hotel room, food, and a little something in our pockets. That quickly adds up. We can't pay for it out-of-pocket, which is why we need a local promoter who can find a venue, promote the show, and pay the expenses. I often get variations of this question, and the answer is the same. It's fantastic that you want us to come to your town, but we cannot pay our own way. There needs to be somebody local who is organized and can put it together.

Violet Karriker: When are you going to work with Nicki Jaine again?

Sam: Nicki no longer makes music, so (unfortunately) I fear the answer is, "never." If Nicki wants to make music again, then the answer will be "now." I love Nicki's voice and songwriting. She's one of my best friends, so I totally respect her decision to do what is best for herself.

Jack Champagne: Early black tape studio setups?

Sam: The Rope was recorded on a Tascam Portastudio. The gear was a Korg Poly-61, a Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-110 (and a Moog Concertmate MG-1 on "Memory, Uncaring Friend). I had one Boss delay/sampler foot-pedal at that time. For Mesmerized, Ashes, Lush Garden & Remnants, I used a Teac 1/2" 8-track, the 80-8 (it weighed about a ton!). Midi on track 8 controlled the synths. Which included the Poly-61, an ESQ1, and an EMU, the model of which improved over the course of time. Nowadays, I record on the computer with Sony Vegas, and my synth is an ESI4000 Turbo (which I've just learned hasn't been made in 13 years!). I don't use Midi, anymore. It's too big of a pain in the ass. I just play my synths live, and synch it up in the computer. I have an amazing microphone recommended to me by Byron Metcalf. I used it on 10 Neurotics, and the vocals sound like the singer is right there next to you in the room. If you make music, buy one: Mogami MXL V69

Robski Eindhoven: Just a big thank you for Remnants of a deeper purity Playing it a lot lately.

Sam: Thanks for that. It's nice to be appreciated. Remnants was the best-selling Blacktape album, and it's still the one that sells the most.I will be repressing the CD soon, and I am thinking of adding a new 30-minute mix of "With my Sorrows" to disc 2. For those of you who already own the album, you'll be able to get the new mix for free at Bandcamp.

 There is currently an 8-minute test mix available.

Oc Iel Mora: When are you coming to Mexico?

Sam: See earlier answer: When a promoter contacts me! :) We played once in Mexico City (October 25 1997 at Salon Mexico), and it was a wonderful experience. I would love to go again. But somebody has to make it happen.

Dave Peterson: Really enjoyed the Remnants reissue from a few years ago and wondered if there are any thoughts on doing the same for other albums. Chaos of Desire, Lush Garden, and maybe As One Aflame, for example.

Sam: No, I don't have plans for that. There's not a lot of extra material (and by that, I mean none, really) to go on a 2nd disc. Last year, I released the 25th anniversary 2-CD version of The Rope. If you don't have that, you might want to grab it. It is remastered and includes other artists performing the album on disc 2.
On the otherhand, there is a completely different mix of the Ashes in the brittle air album, which has a number of tracks that were cut and replaced, as well as different versions (you can hear "You tangle within me (original recording)" here). One very loyal fan has been trying to convince me to do a Kickstarter to raise the money to do a proper high quality transfer of the masters, remaster it, and put out a 2-CD deluxe edition. I dunno. Do you think I should do that? Input always appreciated.

Matilda Israel: Is your music inspired by life or vice versa? (Quite a philosophical question)

Sam: The music is inspired by life, definitely. I often create horrific fictional stories, that I'd never actually want to happen in real life. I've always thought of the lyrics as freeze-framing life, and then analyzing one detail a bit obsessively, and expanding on it, and trying to figure it out. But it does go to serious and painful places, and life doesn't need to be that way.

 My life is way less stressful and chaotic than my lyrics! Times change. Life is good.

Jeremy Alisauskas: Do you need a guitar player ever?

Sam: Yes, maybe. We should talk.

Jeremy Alisauskas: (I'm kidding... But only kinda)

Brian Viglione played the electric guitar on 10 Neurotics, and Valerie Gentile is my live electric and acoustic guitarist. But there's always special situations where I need a certain style that maybe someone new could provide.

Shush De Oso: "I wish you could smile." A favorite of mine, who was that for, or how did it come to you. That song is beyond amazing.

Sam: Ok. I am playing that song on my iTunes, right now, as it's been years since I've listened to it......... Let's see if I can remember… Ok, I'm sure that was written for Robin, who's on the cover of The rope and Chaos. I had dinner with her last month, when I was out in San Francisco reading from my novel, Rye.

Kristin Norman: What inspired the text included in the liner notes for Ashes in the Brittle Air for the instrumental songs?

Sam: Oh, no. Now I have to get the CD off the shelf… (walks back from the shelf, a second later) Oh, now I have to get out a magnifying glass, because that type is so small (laughs)… Ok… I just read it and ...... Hell if I know what that's about! (laughs). It feels familiar. And yet, I have no recollection of writing it. I have a special skill at blurring and forgetting things like that. Too much has happened in my life, since that time. I hope you weren't hoping for a more profound answer?

Glen Eisenhuth: Are you coming to Australia anytime soon? Also, what has been your worst eating experience?

Sam: Yeah, see earlier answer: When a promoter contacts me, and can cover our costs, then we will come to Australia! :)  

Hmmm, worst eating experience? I cannot remember one, really. I seem pretty lucky to have picked totally fine places to eat. Though it was probably somewhere in the middle of America, where the food had absolutely no flavor at all. Like a Mexican place in Kansas City in 1989, or something. The oddest eating experience was a taco salad in the Czech Republic in around 2002. It was a salad, and when I dug down through all the lettuce and vegetables, there were completely made tacos laying on their sides under there. Like a prize for you, after all your work! The tacos had massive chunks of uncooked garlic, which came as a surprise. Fun!

William Kilby: What bands inspire you nowadays? What do you like about living in Brooklyn? If you weren't living in Brooklyn where could you see yourself living?

Sam: I have friends down in Baltimore & Washington D.C., it seems more friendly and liberal and interwoven down there. At least to me, as an outsider. Bands that inspire me? I don't know. I don't really think 
I listen to music for inspiration. What do I like about Brooklyn? I like that I can walk everywhere. It's 1.2 miles to Projekt from my apartment, and my son's school is halfway there. I walk him to school and then continue to work. That's nice. And healthy. And I see my neighborhood changing. There almost done rebuilding the playground we walk past. They've done a lot of work this winter! We have a lot of time to talk about dragons and come up with jokes.

Arr Cee: What made you go from purely ethereal/ambient music to cabaret.

Sam: It's fun to do different things.

Gemini Reich: What are u dreaming today?

I will cheat and use a dream from a few days ago: My music dreams are always about being on stage after not performing for a year, and not remembering any of my pieces, and then realizing I don't even have the right keyboard in front of me. In the most recent one, David Bowie was showing me how to use some old synthie; it was 1977, and we were about to perform the Low album!

Asgath Uá Niáll: What do you see your music as accomplishing to you in your personal walk of life? Also, how connected or disconnected do you see yourself to the "music community" as your project gains a wide audience?

Sam: I don't honestly know if I feel my music has much to do with my personal life. If you mean, "what does your music do for you, personally?" In the old days, it served as a release valve, a way to deal with stress, desire, pain, confusion. It was a needed outlet. I think that changed at some point, when I started working out my shit in my head... And them music became something I sort of enjoy doing, that I am sort of good at. Really, it's a bit obsessive making art. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the need for it, as I feel pretty good in myself about myself. And where I am.  

As far as the music community, I am in touch with many many people via email, but we don't see each other very often. So I don't know if I feel very connected to the music community, in that way.

Pam Bernecker Kennedy: Why "10" Neurotics when there are 13 of them on the album? I've been tortured by that since the day it was released! 

Sam: That is absolutely perfect, Pam! :) Tortured by my intentional inaccuracy. The "10" comes from it being the 10th Black Tape For A Blue Girl studio album. And I think it sounds better than "Thirteen Neurotics." There is also a possibility that some of the characters occur more than once, so there might be a sort of overlap. But I'd have to pull the album out and re-read the lyrics to see if that's true.

Vasco Paiva: What are the albums that changed your life, and how did your taste change as time went by?

Sam: I really don't think there's an album that changed my life. There are albums I loved... In 1979, my faves were No Pussy Footing by Fripp & Eno, Songs From the Wood by Jethro Tull and Q: Are We Not Men by Devo. What a weirdo, huh? (laughs) In 1986, it was probably Victorialand by Cocteau Twins, It'll End in Tears by This Mortal Coil and Torment & Toreros by Marc Almond. Man, it could take a long time to remember all of this, huh? Let's jump to today. (Favorite albums, not on Projekt:) Q: Are we Not Men, DEVO. ( ) or Takk by Sigor Ros. Hunky Dory by David Bowie. I honestly don't listen to that much "new music" that's not somehow related to Projekt. But I did love Marc Almond's Varieté.

Christopher C. Wingate: Why are the gods so capricious?

Sam: The gods are not capricious. The universe (which is god, if you ask me) is about love. The problem is us humans getting in the way of love with our ego and need to control things. Don't blame the gods for man's folly.

Sam R: Hey, Sam, what else would you like to link to?

Sam: There are stlll some tshirts left on my Tshirt sale (a few 90s shirts from Blacktape), and you can download Mesmerized by the sirens for free at Bandcamp. And in the next few weeks, I am going to be taking pre-orders on the TENDEROTICS album, which will be available February 12.
Let's do this again, soon.

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