Tuesday, 25th September 2018. 9:26:53am ET
Interviews Noise Interview- Granular Inverse
Band: Granular Inverse
Interviewer: Shaun Phelps
Date: 04-05-2005

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.

Mike: Exactly.

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?

Mike: Yeah.

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.

GC: How many pieces have you edited, now?

Chris: Well, we have one edit from jam 3. I have another to do, and Mike edited like two or three from jam 2. I need to edit jam 1 but we didn’t multi-track that one, so it’s harder to clip cleanly. I can do it, though.

Mike: There are some great moments in it that will stand well, it’s just going to be a bit more finicky in getting the mix right.

GC: So are you taking turns editing these, or?

Chris: Well, whoever records it edits it.

Mike: Whoever's studio it was recorded in gets to do the primary edit.

Chris: It’s like, “Edit it, I trust you, do whatever.” We don’t stress or worry about it. If he clips something I like, whatever. I mean, I have the long form jam, too. I can listen to that, so I don’t worry.

Mike: Right, discussion tends to be, "Dude - that sounds freaking awesome."

GC: So, if you like a part he missed, it doesn’t matter because you still have your own copy?

Chris: We don’t care about Granular Inverse. In a way, that's what makes it wonderful.

Mike: Right. It's a no pressure situation.

Chris: yeah and honestly, it’s no big deal. I can be anal retentive with I, Parasite. With Granular Inverse it's like, "Yeah it sounds great."

GC: So this really is a stress-free set-up, then.

Chris: Totally, he edits, I edit. Eventually we have an instant album.

GC: So are you concerned that editing these down for album release will eventually remove the stress-free element?

Chris: Nope.

Mike: It hasn’t so far.

Chris: Once we've edited 70 or so minutes of music we’ll quickly get a track order, then master, press, and release it.

GC: So will you be self releasing?

Chris: Unless we get an offer we’ll be releasing on DARKVISIONMEDIA, which is my label.

Mike: We've got packaging ideas already, agreed upon and ready to go.

Chris: Yeah, simple, no frills.

Mike: We are also looking to maybe do some releases of the long formats.

GC: Oh, so there is a chance of the full session being released, then?

Mike: A series, or even a box set of all 500 CDs from the first year! Make your own with cut out templates!

Chris: Maybe. They’re for the more…um…collector types…People who want the whole deal, which would be HOURS of music to sort through…Like, sometimes things repeat for like 5 minutes with minor changes, because we're talking to each other in the studio. Some people will love it, but some people will want us to get to the point. That’s what the edit CD is for. It's "the point."

GC: So you would potentially be making a CD for everyone?

Mike: We're all about giving the people what they want.

Chris: Yeah. Specifically, though, the "songs." If we can also release the raw jams, they’re for the people who want it.

GC: Was this the original intent, or has it kind of grown with the project concept?

Mike: This is pretty much what we intended, but I think it's turned out much more successful than either of us had planned.

Chris: I don’t know if we had any intent other than to "make sound."

GC: How often do you record? Or is there a set schedule?

Chris: Whenever we can. The Wretch and I, Parasite are still more important.

Mike: We try to keep it somewhat regular, but with both of us working on our album projects, it’s tough to schedule. Plus with the band rehearsals for the IP live sets

Chris: Oh yeah, Mike's in I, Parasite’s live band now. I’m also in the live Wretch. It’s like incest.

GC: How did you guys wind up working together?

Mike: We met through a forum - Chris heard a track I posted for the first Wretch album, Cyst, and we started talking remix. This also led to me doing a one off gig with him in Pittsburgh doing keyboards.

Chris: Yeah, so we started emailing and Mike did a remix for me, then we went back to doing our own things. Eventually we started talking more again and jamming.

GC: Was it anyone's idea to do a project, or how did that come about?

Chris: Well, I kinda started it. See, I do this thing called HostSessions. There are three of them now. The first one is me doing Merzbow meets Download style powernoise, called The Pseudomancer. Also, back when Justin was in I, Parasite, we did a jam right before the Incest2000 tour, so that was v2. I wanted to do a third one and jam with other people, see what happens. So, I had talked to Mike several times about jamming. I had some ideas, and then one day we actually got around to doing it. Really, our first jam was HostSessions v3, but we liked it enough to keep going. So we named the project and kept going.

GC: Where did the name Granular Inverse come from?

Mike: Random word association during a chat.

GC: Do you happen to remember what words you were associating?

Chris: Well, partially…See, we were kind of returning to industrial roots, taking a more old school approach in some ways, so one of us said “it’s the ‘additive inverse of the way industrial is made now.’”

GC: How can people find out about upcoming jam sessions?

Mike: it's posted in the DVM forums! Http://www.forums.darkvisionmedia.org, in the “other projects” category.

GC: Do you have an official webpage?

Mike: Http://www.myspace.com/granularinverse, which is updated whenever there’s a jam coming up, and there are audio samples there as well.

Chris: It's our only web page at the moment but this will change when I have some time.

GC: Do you have any of your edited tracks on Myspace?

Chris: Yes.

GC: Anything to add?

Chris: We figure we'll be jamming more in the coming months. And I’d like to have an actual album out maybe by the end of the year or early next year.

Mike: We'll post updates when anything new happens.

GC: Alright, thanks a lot!

Original, condensed version available on Chain D.L.K.


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