Over on Tumblr, monsterquill interviewed me for a project, and I figured hey, let’s post it here too. Particularly since yep, still busy! monsterquill is in bold italic; I’m in regular text. Enjoy.

Why do you do fan music, what do you like about it?

Oh, well, mostly, because it’s fun. I mean, sure, I’m not going to lie; it gets attention, because you have a pre-existing audience to leverage, and all that. But I was coming up with fan music when there wasn’t a receptive audience for that kind of thing, I just wasn’t recording it – just because it’s a way to do fandom.

How did you get into it?

Same way as people get into fan fiction or fan art or anything else fannish (to use an older term) – THIS IS AWESOME I’M GONNA DO A THING! And then I did a thing. I also drew some fairly terrible (and some halfway decent) comic art and wrote fanfic. Music is just another aspect of that.

How are you involved in fan music community, & how would you describe it?

Well, I started nwcMUSIC, a geekmusic festival held as part of Norwescon, and ran that for six years – this immediate past year was the first one they ran after I handed it off, and I think they learned some things, and will continue to improve next year.

Describe it? Jeez, that’s a bit of a question. There are so many different such communities – the chiptunes crowd and the nerdcore crowd definitely overlap, and they talk to each other a lot across geographic regions. There’s an older folk tradition called “filk music” which was the first really organised geek or (”fannish,” in the old language) music community, and they started releasing audiocassettes in the 1980s. (Look up Off Centaur Publications and go from there if you want to dig into that part of the history.)

There are a fair number of differences in specifics, but it’s funny how the patterns repeat. Like, nerdcore people get together in the hiphop tradition and do improvised/freestyle rapping over beats, which tend to come from chiptunes, and it’s at homes and sometimes at events and everybody’s just getting together to do stuff, right? These are called cyphers. But filk started doing almost exactly the same thing a few decades before, but folk-music-y, and called them “housefilks.” Chiptunes people have a name for their improv/workshop/fun playing get togethers too, but I don’t remember what they’re called at the moment.

How do consuming a fannish thing and producing your own work relate for you?

Well… in both cases, I guess, I’m playing to the same audience, which is to say, me. And also people who like the same things as me, at least, within a certain range.

What genres of music do you tend toward, & what subjects, & do those affect each other, & do you use different ones?

There is very little geek metal out there, and while I’m playing acoustic instruments most of the time, what I’m really writing a lot of the time is metal. Early metal, rather than more modern metal, but still – that’s why the most common comparison by far that I hear is to Led Zeppelin. (Occasionally I’m thrown in as folkpunk, and get comparisons to The Pogues. But most of the time, it’s Led Zeppelin.)

My personal background is a mash of Newfoundland folk, metal, and electronica. In released material, I mostly hang out in the folk/metal arena, but I’ll drop a rock track once in a while. Pretty much always, I just go where the song says I need to go.

Like, when I did my first released fannish track – which was really an exercise in how to use a digital audio workstation – it was straight-up rock and roll, because the song required it. There’s a cult classic film called The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, and it’s an odd, odd film, and I really like it. Part of the shtick is that Buckaroo Banzai is a brain surgeon, physicist, and! leader of a rock band called The Hong Kong Cavaliers, and successful at all three at the same time. (And also, he’s a pulp adventurer, but I digress.)

Given all that, it bugged me that they never got to do a whole song in the film. They start a couple, but plot happens, and they’re interrupted. Soooooo… a bunch of new lyrics, some additional instruments, and a zillion edits later, I’d scraped off every note out of the film and finished that song.

And it’s called The Diesel-Driven Eight Dimensional Jet Car Blues, and it’s on my fan-music page, http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/free to this day. 😀

What’s your songwriting process like? What inspires you to do a song?

The problem with a day job is that you have a day job. The advantage of a day job – at least, one that doesn’t eat your life, and I note that I didn’t do any music while I was a software developer in the industry – is that you can really pick and choose.

But even without that option – everybody writes for the same reasons, be it writing fiction or drawing artwork or making music. It’s all the same answer. I guess for musicians, it’s “I want to say a thing about a thing, but with a good beat.”

I heard a good analogy the other day – artwork is how we decorate our space, but music is how we decorate our time. I really like that. I also think – while not at all asserting there’s no overlap, because of course there is – that art is how we write down what we see, writing is how we write down what we think, and music is how we write down what we feel. Music is transcription of emotions, and lyrics add thoughts to give specific context.

Or that’s how I look at it, anyway.