Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Moldover

This Sunday at Waffle Frolic, Ithaca Underground presents the Ithaca return of Moldover, the godfather of controlerism, once again in collaboration with our friends in Deep beatZ.  DB's Laika was able to track down the Godfather mid-tour to discuss said tour, the controllers, his jack-of-all-trades approach to his varying live performances, and of course, world domination. 

Laika: Last time, you really "rocked" Ithaca, if you don't mind my saying so. How much of your performance is improvisational and how much is prepared beforehand?

M: It varies depending on the type of show.  For bigger venues and festivals I do a mostly prepared thing.  For more intimate/underground shows I stretch out a bit more and do about 50% prepared, 50% improvised.  More improv usually means more fun for me :-)

Laika: Last time, you unveiled a pretty sick controller.  Can you talk a little about the controllers you use during performance and what they do?

M: The last time I played in Ithaca I was using a seldom-seen prototype of my custom "Mojo" controller.  For the show this weekend I will be playing the finished production-ready Mojo.  I use The Mojo to dub-mix and remix the songs from my album, and do various controllerism tricks.  I compliment the controller work with live guitar and effected vocal parts.

Laika: When you start building or hacking a controller, what features do you take into consideration?  Are you aiming for a specific sound, e.g.: supreme mash-ability?  Or is it more important for the controller to integrate seamlessly with the software?

M: I've been hacking and building controllers for many years now, so I take a lot of things into consideration.  I think a lot about general instrument design concepts like ergonomics, functionality, and build quality.  I also look at practical issues like portability, how easy it will be to repair, and the cost of parts and labor.  It's hard to balance all those factors, but in the end I believe I'm creating instruments that are musical, intuitive, and simply fun to play.

Laika: In addition to your live performance, you also design controllers for installations, so that anyone can make music or jam with others.  How did you get involved with this effort?  Is this part of a not-so-secret Moldovian agenda to inspire future controllerists and take over the world?

M: I draw a lot of inspiration from events like Burning Man, where the majority of the art and music is created by participants.  I love being on stage and performing for audiences, but I also love creating things that flip those roles and put the tools of creation into the hands of everyone, and this is why I started making multi-player instruments like The Octamasher.  This has turned out to be a popular concept, and the demand for these kinds of instruments has kept me busy building and touring with these gizmos for several years now.  Yes, I think this kind of inspiration and multiverse domination go hand in hand ;-)

Laika: You perform live, you Dj, and you set up sound installations, all in a number of venues, from house parties to big-name festivals.  Do you find more support for one activity over another?  Where do you think electronic music is going in the United States?

M: I have no idea where electronic music is going in the United States, but it's going to kick ass when it gets to Mars.  I've always been sort of a "Jack of All Trades".  I think it's part of my personality.  Sometimes I feel a little scattered and schizophrenic, but usually it turns out that the different projects feed into one another, keep things fresh, and help me grow as an artist.  My friends and fans seem to enjoy and support all the things I do, so I plan to keep on doing all of them. 

Laika: We are so excited to have you back again, here in Ithaca.  Where else are you going and what's new for this northeast tour?  Any plans for the future?

M: I've been all over the north east US in the last three weeks.  This is the last leg of the tour, so after Ithaca I'll be in NYC, Phily, Boston and then I fly back home to San Francisco.  I'm excited for April because I'll be releasing a new pocket-sized USB-memory version of my Light-Theremin circuit board album.  It has a full-length video from a festival I played in the UK, and a bunch of source-sounds from the album which you can use to make your own music, or use as ring-tones for your mobile phone.  Besides that, I'm excited to plan another tour in the near future and come back to Ithaca.  I miss you guys!

Don't miss MOLDOVER live this Sunday with David Ezra Brown and Paper Armies at Waffle Frolic on the commons (146 E State St), Ithaca, NY 14850 | 7PM | $5 | All ages