MP3 Farces Wanna Mo - Calm Blue Ocean Calm Blue Ocean
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ELECTRONIC: Soundscapes, ROCK: Noise
FARCES WANNA MO Interviewed by Ciobin in 2003.
CIOBIN: Please provide a little history of Farces Wanna Mo.
DAVE: Hi, Iâm Dave and am handling this interview. Texas is the second largest state, measured by area, in the United States. Also, long distance telephone calls provide opportunity for limited types of interaction. These facts onspired in the following way: Farces Wanna Mo (FWM) found itself in Dallas, Texas in early 1990 with a far-off Texas girlfriend away at Texas A&M and an engineering job demanding of only a limited time commitment. Work and telephone calls filled up only part of the day. Farces Wanna Mo arose to occupy this idle breach of time. At first the band was simply Dave, a $76 Yamaha keyboard, pans, silverware, 45 by 45s (45 ounce bottles of Colt 45 malt liquor) and a couple jam boxes (very primitive multitracking!). After the first record was released at he end of March 1990, other FWM members were induced by his pathetic start to contribute material. FWM has never had members in the traditional sense -- the rule is that one becomes a permanent member simply by contributing material. Over the past 13 years the contributions of most members have been music, as opposed to lyrics. In the first decade of the band, a memberâs contribution was most often made by delivering a cassette of a song for finishing up. There has historically been little face-to-face interaction, except in the sense of, âHereâs your cassette, Dave -- itâll be interesting to see what you do to it.â No strict count has been kept of FWM members, but there are probably about 20, with widely varying degrees of participation over the years. Dave is a constant, with at least a co-writing contribution on practically all the songs. Farces Wanna Mo has never, ever played live, but we look forward to someday doing that. Nor has the band ever made any money (or tried to).
C: This is your first cd?
D: First, let me mention that the new LP is called âIf Not Why Not?â It is our best and our most hip-hop. FWM has released 15 records (LPs and EPs) from 1990 to 2003. Although most were originally cassette only releases, they are now all available in CD form for purchase over the Internet. In fact, for the time being, most FWM songs are also available for free downloading as MP3 files over the Internet!
C: Tell me something about hip-hop in your city.
D: Farces Wanna Mo is currently headquartered in a place called Wonder Valley, California. I hear that we have some old-time rockers, like Dick Dale and a Beach Boy, out here. I know of no hip-hop, probably because there are only a couple hundred people scattered thinly over many square miles, these people tending strongly to oldness and whiteness. Not a hip-hop demographic. I do live two and a half miles from a bar. I have never heard any hip-hop at the bar, unless you count country music as hip-hop.
C: Do you know something about hip-hop in Italy?
D: I hear that Europe generally is wildly enthusiastic about hip-hop. I sometimes wonder if hip-hop carries the same meaning in Europe as here in the U.S.
C: What do you think about mp3?
D: Short answer: amazing, thus-far-untapped, potential to revolutionize music. The first aspect of the untapped potential of the MP3 format is the potential for bandâs to distribute music at little cost to themselves and little or no cost to the consumer. At some point, an Internet album will be hailed as the best album of the year by a critical consensus. That album may be out there right now. Maybe it is even a Farces Wanna Mo album. However, as of right now there are two operative facts: (1) most of the free
music is crap; and (2) music critics do not really see it as their duty to wade through the crap. Fact (1) will not change, but Fact (2) will. It will only take a stellar album or two available only over the Internet. The migration of paid, commercially distributed music (e.g., i-Tunes) will help this to occur. As distribution costs go down, it will become clearer that record companies are bad gatekeepers of cred and credence. Enterprising and talented critic will be surrounded by a rising tide of crap and will begin to exercise the full scope of what should be their true responsibilities. No more piggybacking on the artistic judgments of the record companies! This means critics will need to work a lot harder, listening to great gobs of yucky music, but, for the talented ones, the rewards will be great. Nobody realizes this now, but there will be a revelation. What The Beatles did for the LP, some wonderful band will yet do for the MP3 release. It may or may not be a hip-hop band, but it will happen.
The second aspect of untapped potential is the potential for increased remote collaboration between co-writers of song. This is highly familiar turf for FWM -- we never had any problem merely mailing cassettes of partially-finished
songs from, say Palo Alto to Cincinnati. However, many bands consider that kind of thing to be a pain. Lazy, lazy! Digital distribution will get people working together on songwriting in more ephemeral and geographically diffuse ways. On the latest record âIf Not Why Not?â many of the instruments were delivered over the Internet. Things like T-Racks (an Italian mastering program), AcidWav, Hammerhead Rhythm and Internet Audio Mix.
Frankly, the results of this new kind of digital songwriting collaboration have been less than overwhelming to me so far. Public Enemyâs album of fan mixes simply doesnât compare to âIt Takes A Nation . . .â Professor Lessig is very good about citing digital songwriting collaborations on his blog, but so far nothing earthshaking. Once, again, it will just take one great album to change everybodyâs perceptions in this area. I canât wait!
C: And about women in hip-hop?
D: As far as women in music, I have always thought that women were fairly proportionately involved in performance, but not songwriting. I think this holds true in hip-hop. There are always lots of Madonnaâs and Whitneyâs and Beyonceâs -- you know, performance. However, the Jagger/Richardâs, Strummer/Jonesâs, Ren/Cube/Eâs usually seem to be dudes. Not to knock performance, performance is a creative and artistic pursuit. However, good songwriting is what really interests me personally and this seems to be the area where women are really underrepresented, whether it be rock, jazz or hip-hop. To try to single out a couple of women who have made contributions to hip-hop songwriting, Anne Dudley springs foremost to mind. The Art Of Noise is not just an early, great hip-hop band, they are one of the best bandâs ever IMHO. Anne Dudley shows up in the co-writing credits and was clearly an essential part of the band. More recently, Le Tigre has impressed me and I
have to guess that women write their songs. I wonder if they have a woman producer -- their production is great!
Looking at more mainstreamish hip-hop, I am impressed by the songwriting that goes into Missy Elliotâs songs. Maybe she writes or co-writes -- I kind of hope so -- I always like it when the songwriting face and the public face of
an act are one and the same.
C: Have you performed live?
D: Not with Farces Wanna Mo. I have sang live for obscure bands Slept On It! and The DubOnicS.
C: Who is the artist you like most and why?
D: The Fall. They have more great songs than anybody else.
On a related note, I recently conducted a Farces Wanna Mo band poll to see which album the band liked better: (a) Public Enemy âIt Takes A Nation . . .â (hip-hop); or (b) The Replacements âLet It Beâ (non-hip-hop). The contest ended in a tie. This probably reflects the fact that FWM has a strong hip-hop strand, but is not really a hip-hop band in toto.
C: Do you think that hip-hop videos represent the real hip-hop?
D: Maybe in the case of the Beastie Boys. Usually if a band has enough commercial pull to get videos made then their
songs are crap, or at least admirable performances without inventive songwriting. It is fun to watch Beyonce dance, but give me that pathetic-looking escalator video for âMagicâs Wandâ any day.
C: In which way you live hip-hop?
D: Probably pretty clear now, as a writer. The rapper cramming verses into a worn notebook, the programmer painstakingly tweaking his loops and dropping samples down onto the graph. These are the images I relate to.
C: Tell me something about clubs and radios in your city.
D: They donât exist.
C: Future projects
D: The next record will be called âCalm Blue Ocean, Calm Blue Ocean.â [Ed.: NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT CDBABAY!] Tentative song titles include: âAgatha Christieâs Last Apple,â âCrying On The MLK Freeway,â and âMrs. Charles Rice Goff.â [Ed.: none of these made it on to the album tho!]
C: Thanks and hello to:
D: Some of the other FWM who could not be around for this interview: MVM, Laux, Alva, Eudean, Dick Whiskey, The Insecticides crew, Ron, Gareth Egerton, Mr. Abrams, Mr. Brillinger, Mr. Meidav and all the rest who have worn the shared the songwriterâs hat with me over the years.
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