Tuesday 26 April 2011

Music Questionnaire No 25 - Liam Stefani

I can't quite remember the circumstances in which I met Liam Stefani, I think it started with a phone call some 13 or so years ago (before we used email and all that) when Liam contacted me to ask Ticklish to play a gig in Glasgow, which ended up being our first foray away from home turf. I've since met him a couple more times when I've been up to Glasgow to play. Then, as is the 21st century way, we remade contact via Facebook, where I've become aware of the extraordinary electronic music he's been making - editing and re-arranging field recordings and snippets of various instruments. As self-effacing as he is enthusiastic, I had a feeling Liam would come up with some interesting answers, both as a producer of music and a promoter....

Who are you?

An artist... particularly interested in sound. currently employed by Glasgow libraries
previously... vegan chef; concert promoter ('scatter' nights @13th Note basement & club; 'Baustelle' festival of new german experimental music @CCA 1999); 'scatter' record label.

Where are you based?

Glasgow, Scotland

What instruments do you play?

Sound recordings, stringed instruments, objects

What is your current musical project?


Name a record that had a big impact on you in your youth

Aside from cassettes made by listening to John Peel, Charles Fox (Jazz Today), Music in our Time & the 'Electronic Voice' series (radio3)...

The 7LP Deutsche Grammophon boxset of Stockhausen's "Aus den Seiben Tagen" (repeatedly borrowed from Newington library in Edinburgh during the late 1970s... transferred onto cassettes) was a definite influence and encouraged a curiosity in improvisation... which led to Incus Records and beyond via sections of "Music Outside: Contemporary Jazz in Britain" published 1973, by Latimer New Dimensions. ISBN 0-901539-25-2) by Ian Carr

What was the last music you bought?

there's always downloads, things in the post, exchanges, secondhand stuff but...

As purchases, most recently, a couple of cds picked up in paris; a harsh noise wall cd by french artist VOMIR (like examining a piece of slate, carefully, for 20+minutes) and a real joy of a 2CD compilation by David Toop called 'Not Necessarily "English Music"' which is a collection of (largely previously unreleased) experimental music from Great Britain 1960-1977...by post, a couple of discs of psycho-surreal, feral music featuring RITUALISTIC SCHOOL OF ERRORS which is a project by the fine chicago-based artist gregory jacobsen

List three records by artists we all should hear:

(selfishly), Derek Bailey "drop me off at 96th" is still, I think, my favourite Derek on cd.
It's a cd of two different sets of pieces; I fell in love with the first set (referencing a history in his playing, with personal tributes to past musicians) when i first heard them in the late 1980s; I always wanted to release them and was delighted when Derek said "yes", then proceeded to gift another set of pieces (minimal, elegant modernist; complete contrast) to complete the release.

I do have problems recommending music; it's normally a spontaneous response, often relating to a current conversation or particular interaction

There are lots of musicians i'd like to hear more of... (I guess that's why I wanted to run a label)

But, specific people are attracted to specific genres; I can't think of many records I think 'everyone' should hear.

Describe a live performance that had a big effect on you:

Many... hearing Andres Segovia, watching Pina Bausch in 'cafe muller', Beckett festival (films and plays), all at the Edinburgh Festival; the butoh performance which came annually during the 1980/90s Mayfests in Glasgow,..

alastair maclennan whenever I've seen him perform.

Your favourite live venue:

No real favourite. I think any venue can be good for someone... depends on space, sound, crowd, presentation...

I'd like to hear more music outside ...

What's the strangest place you have performed live?

A rubbish dump

Tell me about a great experience as a performer

I dislike my personal spectacle... my ideal would be a collision of sound and image without the physical presence (not achieved, as yet)

Is improvisation important to you?

Yes... in creating various artworks

I enjoy generating the setting, making oblique preparations, and being unable to predict what the end result will be...

Name three heroes/heroines:

There are many people whose work I admire... stuart brisley harold pinter, elfriede jelinek

Favourite city?


A couple of favourite books?

(recently), "Thelonious Monk, An american original" by R DG Kelley; "how late it was, how late" by James Kelman

A couple of favourite films?

(recently), "Read My Lips" ("sur mes levres" by Jacques Audiard), "Funny Games" (US version by Michael Haneke)

What makes you laugh?

My kids

Is there a pop song you feel sentimental about, and can you name it?

The Mekons "Where Were You" (Fast Product, 1978)

Thanks Liam!

The Music Questionnaires are an ongoing series


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