BANDSPEAK, Interview, Upcoming Boston Hassle Shows

A chat w/ Floating Shapes ahead of their stream on the BH Instagram Live TONIGHT 12/2 @ 8pm

Floating Shapes have hijacked Abdul Sherzai's Hassle IG Live stream TONIGHT 12/2*. TUNE IN @ 8pm!! *It's OK he's in the group.

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Dan Shea:
I was going to ask if you’ve been getting together with any of your ensembles, but it looks like we’ll be getting a Floating Shapes set for this stream? How’s the whole process of actually playing in the same space with others been? Is this the first time you’re doing so since the pandemic hit?

Joseph Bastardo:
This is my first collaborative jam since the pandemic. I’m generally a bit of a hermit to begin with, but 10 months into quarantine and I had begun hitting brick walls with my own creative output. You can’t do everything in isolation forever. You need friends with other creative perspectives to pull you through on your journey. A little bit of novelty goes a long way, even if it’s just hanging at a friend’s space for the evening.

Mickey O’Hara:
Playing with Abdul and Joe was great, although I got excited and drank way too much. Plenty of space in the Arc and basically zero foot traffic. This was our first time playing since COVID-19, but Lean’s been playing since the summer.

Abdul Sherzai:
This is the first time I’ve played music probably since doing a Floating Shapes stream, with Non-Event, in May. They’re also kind enough to let me create videos with them under their At-Home streaming series. I work in a pretty open studio with a high ceiling. We wear masks, stay at a distance, and I make sure there aren’t more than 5 people total on the entire floor. It’s not easy, but in the face of adversity and all that…

DS:
Are we moving toward the darkness, or toward the light?

JB:
No matter how you look at it, we are unquestionably moving towards the darkness.

MO:
You mean with COVID? Probably more darkness, because people are gonna get together over the holidays, which means more positive cases. Or you mean in general, with humanity? I’m reminded of the movie Aniara…

It’s gonna be a tough winter, so let’s be extra nice to each other. Mail something to your friends.

AS:
Both. Always. Mickey’s got it right, though. Snail mail your friends.

DS:
Could you describe to us your favorite piece of musical equipment at the moment?

JB:
The guitar my wife got for me, paired with this new pedal from Hologram Electronics. Inversely, I’ve been using a hardware tracker to fully-sequence tracks. Two setups that feel like using two different hemispheres of the brain.

MO:
The granulator software EmissionControl2 has been great. Hits a sweet spot between ease of use and having lots of features. It’s also free and cross-platform. When Curtis Roads says “it is the ultimate granulator,” I imagine him saying it in a funny deep voice like the movie trailer guy.

AS:
At the moment? I got this old-ass Kawai R-100. It belonged to Kevin Oliver (granny frost, mike piss), who is an excellent song writer. It was passed on to Jamie Buckmaster (the terribles, styk) who, soon thereafter, moved away and loaned it to me. Out-of-date tech is always a big love of mine. Very happy to be it’s caretaker. Extra bonus cuz it’s been in the hands of two really underrated and talented people.

DS:
Any inspiration you’ve felt as of late that you’d care to speak to?

JB:
Jamming with the boys might have been the largest dose of inspiration I’ve felt in months. Getting out of the house is huge. And as I watch Worcester crumble at the feet of gentrification, I am cherishing these weird DIY spaces now more than ever.

MO:
Not looking at a computer and sleeping a lot (or trying to). Also this quote from E.M. Cioran (via Kevin Drumm):

“A zoologist who observed gorillas in their native habitat was amazed by the uniformity of their life and their vast idleness. Hours and hours without doing anything. Was boredom unknown to them? This is indeed a question raised by a human, a busy ape. Far from fleeing monotony, animals crave it, and what they most dread is to see it end. For it ends, only to be replaced by fear, the cause of all activity. Inaction is divine; yet it is against inaction that man has rebelled. Man alone, in nature, is incapable of enduring monotony, man alone wants something to happen at all costs—something, anything…. Thereby he shows himself unworthy of his ancestor: the need for novelty is the characteristic of an alienated gorilla.”

AS:
Just before the pandemic, I went solo to the Whitney in NYC. Felt like an aural recharge, which was then quickly drained by pandemic anxieties. Reaching that peak was much needed, though. Also have to agree with Joe, hanging out with him and Mickey is always inspiring.

DS:
Worcester report? & What can we expect from the stream on wednesday???

JB:
I think we’re just doing the same thing we’ve been up to for the past decade: Having fun making weird sounds together.

MO:
Yeah, Worcester city officials are trying to gentrify — I just hope they fail as they have in decades past. Maybe the pandemic’s side effects will drain budgets and damper these efforts. Don’t move here if you’re not a punk.

As for the stream? Not a lot of context necessary to enjoy it, hopefully. Just listen and look if you like.

AS:
Worcester’s making the same mistakes it always has. It’s sweeping the poor under the rug, while trying it’s damndest to become a new Boston suburb. Shame on the builders, property owners, and city officials with green in their eyes. When you up the poor you create viable strength, which then builds its own infrastructure. The people don’t need a fucking minor league baseball stadium. We need housing security, good education, proper health care, and free access to the internet. As for the stream… chill out and check it out. <3

 

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