Art + Music + Technology


Performing Arts




July 2014
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As an electronic music-head, I've been using computers, DAW's, synths and other tech crap for decades now. However, one of my favorite software packages is a program that doesn't try to do everything - in fact, its creator steadfastly refuses to take one certain tasks that he doesn't feel belong in his bit of code.

That creator is Jim Coker, and the software is Numerology (found at I started using this at version 1, and it is now up to version 3 (with 4 right around the corner). In this podcast, I take the opportunity to corner Jim, talk to him about his background, his vision of the software/hardware combo, and his view of the future.

This is another case where I've known someone for a long time, but this is the longest conversation we've ever had. What's wrong with me? I need to spend more time with these people!!!


Direct download: podcast_038_JCoker.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 5:11 PM

Tom Hall is one of my ‘pocket’ favorite artists, and I’m pleased that he was willing to be interviewed. His music is a blend of many influences, but the end result is very particularly his own. We talk about his background growing up in Tasmania, touring off his MySpace connections and even his favorite guitar pedals (as a non-guitarist).

It all ends up quite a lot of fun, and informative as well. If you’ve not yet heard Tom’s work, the best place to start is at Try it out - I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Direct download: podcast_037_THall.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 7:05 AM

Brad Garton is the head of the CMC (Computer Music Center) at Columbia University, but he doesn't wear any of the pomp that such a position might imply. He's an engaging, fun and funny guy that is always up for a rousing chat. The weird thing is that, well, he doesn't think he is very interesting! How wrong could a guy be? We skate around his history coming up through the computer music ranks, talk about the current setup at Columbia, discuss the position of code as artistic content - and even get into the future of books. All of this in an hour - what a ride!

Even if you aren't into academics, you will find this to be a cool view of the world, and you can get a sense of how people help others to succeed. In fact, this is probably the thing that Brad excels at (beyond cutting code): he is able to help students, co-workers and collaborators focus on the thing they are best at, then helps them to acquire the tools necessary to nail it. Thats a skill that we should all seek.


Direct download: podcast_036_BGarton.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 7:43 PM

I've long been a fan of Robert Rich's, and we've gotten to know each other over the years - mainly through hang-outs at the NAMM trade show. But this is easily the longest conversation we've ever had, and it's a treat to have him share his background, his philosophy of art creation, and his views on community and sharing. Robert is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever known, and this podcast reveals some of the depth that makes Robert a special artist.

If you are looking for Hot New Modular tips, this might not be the interview for you. But if you struggle with releasing your work, or if you are wondering how to engage with others in our increasingly virtual world, you may find Robert's words both an inspiration and a comfort.

Damn, I'm going on a bit. Listen to the conversation and hopefully you'll find something to help you grow - just as I did.


Direct download: podcast_035_RRich.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 11:21 PM

This is an interview with Jeff Snyder (of Synderphonics), the creator of the Manta instrument interface, and a performer in several New York groups. Jeff shares his history with us, from a young Minnesotan learning about Elliot Sharp and John Zorn through his tenure at Columbia under Brad Garton and Douglas Reppeto. And, through all of this, he seemed bound and determined to create instruments that would allow him to move past the typical bracketing of the classical musical world.

This was an interesting and inspiring conversation, and one that's got me thinking about how I create the tools that I use. I hope it is equally inspiring to you. Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_034_JSnyder.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 6:32 PM

Les Stuck is one of my teachers - but he probably doesn't really know it. Everytime I speak with him, I find my mind expanded, and he subtly points me in directions I need to go. He has fulfilled this role for many others; at Mills College, he has helped many people find their way through the jungles of Media Art.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of ideas about doing media for dancers - one of Les' specialties. In talking about this, we also end up exploring the development process, what works in collaboration with dancers and choreographers, and how to prepare for performance. A great chat with a quiet but strong artist.


Direct download: podcast_033_LStuck.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:39 PM

I couldn't believe it. I got an email message from Todd Reynolds that he was coming to Denver and wanted to get together. I asked him if he'd be up for a podcast-chat, and he agreed enthusiastically. I met up with him and a friend for breakfast, then we retired to the work space at DU to have a chat. I've been wanting to corner him on some of his processes - as well as his background - and came away having completely enjoyed the morning.

I don't want to give away too much, but if you don't already know Todd's work, you should spend a little time tracking it down. It bridges the gaps between classical, experimental and electronic music, and is as influenced by world music as by Shostakovich. Todd is one of the best musicians I've ever seen play, and I consider it an honor to know him as a friend. I hope you enjoy this talk as much as I enjoyed having it!

Direct download: podcast_032_TReynolds.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 9:17 PM

I've been working with Mike Metlay, in some capacity, for almost two decades. Mike is one of the people that I know that represent a fount of knowledge about the history and current vector of electronic music. I've been wanting to record a conversation with him where we could talk about the history of the internet and early media arts. Mike was over to my home studio to do some research for Recording Magazine, we needed to take a break; we grabbed a recorder, hopped in my truck, and headed out for dinner.

Of course, the recorder (a Tascam DR-07 mk2 - now considered an offical EVIL DEVICE to me) gave me a lot of grief and provided some pretty poor audio. But we also get to capture Mike in full-on, ultra-opinionated, ultra-open mode. Once I pieced together all of the segments, we end up with almost an hour and a half of interview time, and fly all over the place. You see: Mike likes to talk, I like to remember, and the next thing you know we are in full-on 'old guy radio' mode.

During an early part of the conversation, I can't remember the name of a network that was an early online mechanism for discussions about the music profession. I can't believe I couldn't remember it, but I was thinking about the PAN network. You can find out more about PAN on a website that still maintains its existance on the web: Sheesh, I can't believe I couldn't remember that...


Direct download: podcast_031_MMetlay.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 6:32 PM

In my first two-person podcast, I meet with Pete Dowling and Matt Jackson of Surreal Machines ( Pete and Matt have just released a new MFL-based Live pack, and I hit them up for an explanation of the concept, a discussion about what it is like to collaborate on this kind of project, and how one might ever be satisfied with ones work. This is a revealing interview that provides insight on code-based collaborations.

If you haven't gotten a chance to test drive the Dubmachines Live pack, you should give it a try. The two devices are cool to work with, and have a very unique sound (and vibe) to them.


Direct download: podcast_030_DowlingJackson.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 8:53 PM

Reza Ali is someone that seems to have infected the brains of a lot of people I respect. His visual work as a solo artist is quite compelling, but he has also worked with many names (other artists as well as commercial companies) that you know very well. He was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule for a nice chat, and we ended up diving into interesting branches of art, creative coding and the art-tech life.

When working with visual artists, I like to be able to provide some links to their work. Here are things that Reza has available online:

His blog:

His Vimeo:

His most recent showing:


Direct download: podcast_029_RAli.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:43 PM