Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seven questions... with Cousin Silas

The first seven question interview is with my dear friend Cousin Silas. Enjoy. Tx


1) Who are you and what do you do?

I am Cousin Silas, and I do what I like to call sound alchemy. Stripping away all the fancy names, I basically try and create moods from an audio perspective. A cliche, but music for imaginary films. Audio photographs?

2) What are you working on at the moment?

I have nothing in the pipeline, as such, but I do, when the mood takes me, drift away with the ol' Silas machine.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

There are quite a few, for a variety of reasons. As I have often said before, Brian Eno and JG Ballard are perhaps the biggest inspirations. I am a massive fan of SF, especially late 50s, 60s and 70s books. The strange thing is, that it's only ever been Ballard who touched something truly special in me. Ballard was superb at creating isolation.

Other writers who have inspired include Clark Ashton Smith, HP Lovecraft, M.R. James, Brian Aldiss, and Michael Moorcock. It's almost always the landscapes they use that inspire me. Whilst I truly enjoy art by John Atkinson Grimshaw, Edward Hopper, and obviously Dali, I can't say they have inspired me, as such. Same with most musicians... there's a big difference between being inspired, and enjoyment.

- Name place that has inspired you.

There are many places that have, and do, inspire me. It's always invariably somewhere quiet, sometimes lonely, or isolated. Lincolnshire has been the source of many a piece of music. I can, though, get inspiration from Ordnance Survey maps. Tracks like Barrow Hill, Northcotes Point, Sawney Hill, Whitefield Pits, Friars Ridge and Cloudberry Moor are all taken from OS maps. And, as you well know, when a photograph captures that something special, it captures me as well.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

See above.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

I don't honestly know. I simply enjoy creating these sound/moodscapes, it is a hobby I suppose. The added beauty is that occasionally other people enjoy the results.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

Not sure I want or indeed have any values to express with the music. Can you have values with instrumental music? I just like to think that the listener simply enjoys the result.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

Well... seeing as though I get inspired by isolation, desolation, abandonned landscapes/buildings, etc, etc, I would say community plays very little in what I do.

7) What is next for what you do?

I never really plan the way forward, although I want to fiddle about with my ol' guitar. I am actually more familiar with the guitar than the keyboard (chord-wise). Over the years there's been the odd piece I've done where I have thought that a subtle bit of slow lead work would blend really well. Up until about a week ago, that was only a dream. However, I think I might have cracked it. I'm not going to drench everything in guitar. I still think that the world of software synths and vst is leagues more expressive (for me) than anything a guitar could do (at my level of playing anyway).

Because I am always trying new techniques, discovering new sounds, recording, and experimenting with vst's, I think this is what keeps everything fresh and new. The spark hasn't been allowed to fizzle out yet. Plus, I only really do Silas when the mood takes me. Me and spontaneity have always got on well together, so to actually have any concrete plans for any future developments would kind of spoil it slightly. It would take away the surprises!


My thanks to Cousin Silas. His most recent album :: Complex Silence 9 - Fresh Landscapes :: is available via Treetrunk Records and details of his full discography is available here. He also features on the mixcloud from Phantom Circuit.

Come back on Thursday for the next instalment.


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