MARTIN REV (SUICIDE): We have never played the States.


Oktober 5th, 2011 | 0 Kommentare ...  

MARTIN REV (SUICIDE): We have never played the States.

Von

Ahead of his solo show at White Trash, Dorfdisco caught up with Martin Rev, one half of legendary proto-electropunks Suicide. We shot the breeze about his solo projects, New York then and now, Artaud and all that (avant-garde) jazz.

Dorfdisco
You’re concentrating on solo material these days……

Martin Rev
The last few years more and more, I work continually it’s just making music and sounds and eventually it just makes sense to put it together. Usually by the time it comes out it’s a year or two. Sometimes there is another album ready by the time the first one comes out. They all find their own path, there own little place. It’s just something I work on continually. It can take anywhere from a year to two to three years depending on the record and by that time you have already explored another record.

Dorfdisco
Your style seems to vary a lot……

Martin Rev
It varies continually. You find sometimes things work and sometimes things don’t. It varies each time, it’s a blank canvass although sometimes I find myself repeating ideas that come from the last work, they overlap. They just get you going. They are just the colours that you throw on the canvass to get something there – to have something to work with but then I can’t go back, I’d love to sometimes but I just can’t repeat myself. Sometimes I come out of a record like Clouds of Glory and I find myself starting from where I left off but its just the very first line and I find I can’t repeat myself, its just a starting point, I’m in a new space and I just have to find something that works in this new space.

Dorfdisco
So tell us about your collaborations.

Martin Rev
Occasionally I do get asked but not that often I don’t find it that productive. It can be fine but it takes time and it takes me out of where my ears are headed. I don’t do much production either. I don’t like to do things quickly and just throw them out. Everything takes time. Time is something that I am very narcissistically desiring of for my own work. Every day is like a carving out of the time necessary to do what you do ….. for the music you want to make, from the realities of life.

Dorfdisco
What are your influences?

Martin Rev
It’s difficult for rock today, or electronic music today, to be an influence because its too close, its part of the world I am already in. It doesn’t really challenge me. The stuff that always interested me was stuff that wasn’t really presented to me. Stuff that I had to dig for. Maybe I loved it straight away but in order to master it I would have to spend time and listen to it again and again. Certain things, like rock and roll were just with me from the beginning, that I can still listen endlessly but I try not to. There is certain rock and roll and certain jazz that I could just listen continuously but I try not to.

Dorfdisco
You started with jazz before Suicide?

Martin Rev
I grew up with rock and roll and with jazz, at that time it was a very viable, very cutting edge music, revolutionary and modern. Avant-garde and free jazz was a living thing, really strong.  Later, when I started with Suicide, Alan would tell me about groups like Can and Kraftwerk but I hadn’t heard them. It was good that they existed but at that time, although I was a young guy, I had been doing music committedly for many years already and when I got into electronics or whatever I heard it the way I heard it. It was good to know that there were other groups in the world that were doing it but it wasn’t somewhere I could go to look for ideas.

Dorfdisco
Were you aware of the downtown minimal scene, Palestine, LaMonte Young, Apples etc and their experiments with electronics.

Martin Rev
I saw their concerts advertised in the papers and I was aware of what they were doing because at that time I was very versed in the avant-garde jazz scene. I was aware of it as an extension of improvised music, of avant-garde jazz with a classical presentation but it wasn’t a direct influence. Although all things that were in the in the environment had some value.

Dorfdisco
Did the minimalism of Suicide arise from technical limitations?

Martin Rev
I was thinking about this only this morning. When I first started working with Alan we had a guitar player who was an artist who left us after the first few shows – he went into filmmaking – we were carving out a music that was a new form, not yet a vocal form. Jazz is a very sophisticated music, you have to learn the language it’s very harmonically sophisticated and overlaps back and forth with classical. But coming back to rock and roll, which was my main orientation, I was just thinking about what could work. Alan started out playing trumpet but I pushed him to concentrate on the vocal.

I used to go into the university at NYU, at that time you could just walk in, and lock yourself into a practice room and just use the keyboards. One day I just went down there and straight away I had the two notes that became Rocket USA. When I did that I heard all of rock and roll that made sense to me but I also saw all the imagery, when I was a kind I used to put up pictures of cowboys, Americana. I hit those notes and I heard how it all worked continuously, I saw all of those images and I threw Ghost Rider right on top of that and Alan just fell right into that.

Dorfdisco
Suicide were always very confrontational live, was performance art an influence?

Martin Rev
It was in the air, rock was a young enough art form. Jazz was already mature but whatever you called it with rock you could do it because the stage was open. One of the things that hadn’t yet been explored, or needed further exploration was theatre. In the 70’s you had Iggy and Alice Cooper who were exploring theatre – it was in the air, the whole idea of total theatre, of Artuad. People had started reading Rimbaud again, Baudelaire.

Alan was a visual artist, he went to one of Iggy’s first shows in Queens and when he saw that show he said it changed his life. He realized that he didn’t want to be an artist unless it went into performing and music. The electronics gave a whole new dimension to the stage and to the theatrically possibilities as well. Once you are on stage, even if you just play an instrument it’s theatre. Iggy came right out of the Living Theatre. That was a big influence on him, the idea of breaking the barrier with the audience, of using the stage, that was in our minds and their minds as well.

Dorfdisco
Were you surprised by the hostility of the audience?

Martin Rev
No. I wasn’t expecting it necessarily. I have always been basically a narcissist.

Dorfdisco
Now the audience is more respectful.

Martin Rev
It doesn’t really change anything. In a way it’s nice, I mean everybody wants to be liked but the audience is still very expressive. On the stage you hear everything as sound so if you hear 5000, we did a gig with The Cars and played to 15000, people booing at the same time or yelling and loving you at the same time, I hear it as sound. It’s an incredible energy whether they are booing or yelling and I play into it. You have a very false sense of your own reality when you are on stage. Maybe there are 15000 people hating you, yelling for your blood but you just play right into like you are taking them on. It’s a beautiful illusion of theatre, they are giving you their energy, their feedback.

Dorfdisco
Art always seems to have been important to you

Martin Rev
Music has always been visual to me. Art and music always went hand in hand for me. My wife did all of the covers for the solo albums. She was an artist in her very essence.

Dorfdisco
Your music seems inseparable from New York

Martin Rev
Oh it used to be great, just the best place when I was growing up I was really into jazz. All the great jazz musicians lived there, the Lower East Side was the most exciting place. You would hear great musicians practicing, playing on the street. Some of the more well to do ones lived on the upper west side, or if they doing OK they moved to Queens like Coltrane. The artists were also there, all of the painters that came after abstract expressionism – it was a great place.

Dorfdisco
Was the scene around Max’s Kansas City important for you?

Martin Rev
Many times if I lined up to get into Max’s they wouldn’t let me in. Max’s was a very elite pop art scene at the time. We were from the street, the next movement, a little to funky. The guy than ran Max’s at the time was a socialite and he attracted all the most flashy  crowd, the Andy Warhol crowd and we weren’t part of that – we couldn’t afford to be part of that. I already had a wife and kids at a very early age and the reality of that and of being an artist and surviving on the streets was a different reality to what pop was saying, the luxuriousness of pop, the all night parties. It was a different scene. We eventually got a showcase at Max’s toward the time it was closing, the first Max’s that is, it had been taken over from Mickey Rustin – it went back into the hands of a Brooklyn, Queens Jewish, Italian syndicate and it went back into being a more street level sensibility – Tommy Dee was the proprietor and he hired Peter Crowley to book the bands and between them and CBGBs they created a scene.

Dorfdisco
……and before that there was the Mercer art Centre.

Martin Rev
The Mercer was earlier than both, the guy who ran it owned an air-conditioning company and he was cool about everything. He saw us come in to the office and we would sit there with our chains and our hats, the theatre guy that did the booking would try and get rid of us but Alan put his foot in the door. The air-conditioning guy saw this and said let them in and half an hour later he was back with a contract and gave us four weeks – he loved us, he said that we reminded him of his ancestors when they first came off the boat. The great thing about the Mercer was they had like five or six theatres in the one complex – different kinds of spaces, different kind of stages and they would have all these different kind of shows happening at the same time. So sometimes we played parallel to the New York Dolls.

The Dolls scene was so incredibly sexy and what happened was they would be playing in the theatre and we would be playing at the same time in the blue room, which was like this blue lit bar which was a central corridor, their crowd would come running out and we were like an attack on that beautiful party but David (Johannsen) was great, he just took out his autoharp and started playing with us.

Dorfdisco
How has the city changed?

Martin Rev
Well the cost of living is much higher now, the way the world is going in general. There was an attempt at a scene a few years ago with groups like Degeneration but punk was really the last organic scene in many ways. Electronics was important but it wasn’t so much of a performing scene. It’s really not fertile ground for art or music anymore because no one can afford to live there anymore. I thought about the idea of moving to Europe but the reality is that a major undertaking. These days I just live in my studio and travel. I love the idea of going to different places.

Dorfdisco
So is there anything in the German music scene that interests you at the moment?

Martin Rev
Well I like Chicks on Speed and one of the guy’s from Panasonic I think is still living here…….

Dorfdisco
Do you know Apparat, they’re on Mute..

Martin Rev
No but that’s ironic. We were on Mute and Mute bought the label back from EMI but Suicide were the only act that EMI didn’t want to give back because of the M.I.A thing ( a sample of Ghost Rider is used on M.I.A’s Born Free) so we end up being on a major label and we have never been on a major label in our life. Who knows how long they will keep us.

Dorfdisco
Any plans for a new Suicide record?

Martin Rev
There are no plans but we are still gigging. In actual fact we are playing North Carolina which is a first for us. We have never played the States. We were warned to never go anywhere between the East and the West Coast, to stay away from the south and the Mid West. In around 2002 we went to Austin and we haven’t been back since.

 

Find Martin Rev on the Internet via http://www.martinrev.com



Kommentare sind geschlossen.