GC: What is Granular Inverse, exactly?
Michael Weeks: Granular inverse is a collaborative live project of Christopher and myself. We get a bunch of gear in a room and record.
Christopher Jon: …And it is a distraction from the pressures that are our main projects.
GC: What do you think makes Granular Inverse unique?
Chris: Well, we don’t care about Granular Inverse, and I think that's what makes it wonderful. Granular Inverse is stress relief.
GC: It's wonderful because you don't care?
Chris: Yeah man, I stress myself out with I, Parasite. I agonize over every note.
Mike: It's a no pressure situation. 3/4's of the time we're not in control anyway, we rely on a lot of happy accidents with signal routing and odd combinations of effects/triggers/etc. We use it as a way to learn new gear, and to use gear we know in new ways.
Chris: Yeah, we force ourselves to use gear we don’t know as well, yet. We just tell the gear what to do and hope it listens. Sometimes one of us triggers the other’s gear, and you just have to react.
GC: This isn't either of your first projects, correct?
Mike: Not at all. I’m a schizophrenic with projects—The Wretch, Ivilion, Sythilix, Etherine, Darkfilter, and Zerodivided. My main project is The Wretch, which has been around since mid 2003. My second release, Ambulatory, was released in November, 2004, and my third album is in production as we speak.
Chris: My main thing is I, Parasite, which I've been doing since 1996. I have 3 releases, 2 of which are full length releases. I'm working on the third I, Parasite album now. I also have The Pseudomancer, which is long dead, and Scatter[verb], which I haven't done much with as of yet.
GC: You are in Android Lust's live band, as well, yes?
Chris: Yep, I'm Shikhee's live drummer.
GC: So how has the Granular Inverse project affected your work?
Mike: Granular Inverse has been extraordinarily influential in how I've been recording for the new Wretch. Taking the concept of the impromptu jam, recording it, and applying it to studio recordings.
Chris: Same with the new I, Parasite. It’s totally changed the way I work.
GC: It's changed how you work with the instruments, or how you record, period?
Chris: Both, I'd say. I mean nowadays we have disk space, so I just hit “Record,” and capture everything as audio. You’re capturing the LIVE playing, be it actual playing or tweaking a sequence. Whatever it may be, it’s capturing the moment.
GC: So for your personal projects, instead of trying to write a song straight out now, you are more comfortable to just sit and jam in the studio, then clip what you like?
Chris: I usually have a song base, then I jam over it for ideas. I usually start a song in a notebook.
Mike: I start with nothing. Just noise and synth sound—Programmed sequence.
GC: So how does Granular Inverse approach the music creation process?
Mike: We start with an idea. I start with my speakers blaring, and random sine waves being shaped into melodies. I use initialized programs on whatever I'm using and program on the fly, both sequences and sounds. So from the start it’s very minimal and over time it grows into textures and rhythms. We shoot cables out to gear, to sync his to mine.
Chris: We say like, "fast, slow, mellow, aggressive," just to come up with the mood, then we just go.
GC: So, you just let the concept build as it will?
Mike: Exactly-- responding to what Chris is doing.
Chris: Right. I usually let Mike start since he’s building most of the sequences. I tend to play the melodies and noise over his foundation. I do sometimes add more sequence stuff. Sometimes we re-wire mid jam.
GC: What environment do you guys jam in?
Mike: Either Chris' studio or mine, I set up on a small table in Chris’ studio or we set up on a bench at mine.
Chris: We take turns.
GC: What equipment do you use?
Chris: In theory it's everything in sight. We haven’t really been using software that much, very little, in fact.
Mike: For the sessions at Chris' studio I bring my Elektron Monomachine, Elektron Machinedrum, Metasonix TM-1, Moog Lowpass filter, and a powerbook running Ableton live and some libraries of sounds I’ve recorded. I'll be hopefully adding a future retro revolution and a Roland RS-09.
Chris: At my place I tend to switch between my Yamaha DX-200, Roland Juno-6, DSI Evolver, Troubled Variance Noiseswash, and Frostwave Resonator. Next time I'll be adding a Midfi Electronics Glitch Computer. We’ve only jammed at Mike’s once and that was pretty much all pedals.
GC: And how many times have you performed at your place?
Chris: We've jammed 3 times total, twice at my place and the jam at Mike’s.
Mike: So it's my turn, next.
GC: Your performances are broadcast live online, correct?
Chris: Yeah, we stream the jams live over the web along with a web-studio cam.
GC: What kind of response have you been getting?
Chris: Good. It’s grown. Every time we jam we have more people tuning in to hear us fuck up and make mistakes, that's really the only time to hear it raw like that.
GC: Are you recording these sessions?
Mike: We record everything.
Chris: Yeah, we multi-track it, then edit and mix it down into something more coherent for eventual release as an album of some sort.
GC: How long is your average performance?
Chris: The average jam is around 40-45 minutes.
GC: That’s 40-45 minutes pre or post editing?
Chris: Pre, like raw jam. We try to edit down to 10-15 minutes.
Mike: We have a bunch of material that's been edited. The editing is the second fun part of the project. It gives us a chance to reflect on the jam.
GC: Do you have any intention of ever releasing the unedited performances?
Chris: In theory we could release the full 45 minute jams, I’m sure it would be interesting to someone, but really it’s not digestible for everyone. I mean, even at 12 minutes they’re long tracks.
GC: What's the process you guys use for editing?
Chris: The editing is like learning to cut the fat away, to get to the core of the track—what makes it shine. What works and what doesn’t. It forces us to be critical.
Mike: We try and find the rhythm it falls into, and how to best let it build and die.
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