Greg Sabo (Savant Trigger) lässt heute bei der Roböxotica-Eröffnung die 8bits krachen. Ich habe mit ihm über seine Musik und seine low tech Internetpräsenz gesprochen.
What brought you to Vienna?
For a musician, I think that's pretty clear. There's such a strong history of musical culture here, with so many innovations and innovators, that I just wanted to participate in that tradition. I think it may have worked, too, because while I've been here my writing has improved immensely. That's especially clear when you look at TERMINAL, an album I released just before I left, and the Electro.Vienna EP, which of course I'm working on while I'm here.
What was the concept behind "Terminal," and how will "Electro.Vienna" be different?
When I told a friend of mine that I was naming the album TERMINAL, he retorted that the title was either very geeky or very morbid. That was, of course, exactly what I had in mind. Most of the stories told by those songs depict people having run-ins with death from machines or computers. In the end I guess my goal was to depict how humans relate emotionally to their technology. In some ways, I think I succeeded, especially with "Milwaukee's Not For Dreamers" and "Volatile Memory," but on other tracks, such as "When the Stars Come Out", I ended up piling on too many layers of metaphor and I forgot that, first and foremost, the music should be fun to listen to.
I think that's what's different about my approach to the Electro.Vienna EP which I'm releasing this month. Instead of focusing on literary devices, I'm striving to maximize the joy of listening. Besides that, the length is less ambitious (5 tracks instead of 11) and there will be far less vocals. Many of the tracks are evocative of "Diabetes", which was the most well-recieved track on the last album.
Savant Trigger has a rather eccentric website. WTF?
Right after I registered the domain, I knew I wanted to do something more with it than a simple artist's bio page and some downloads. So I went back to Web 1.0. I decided to have a labyrinth of poorly designed raw HTML with animated GIF's and embedded music files - all Savant Trigger music, by the way. I was hugely influenced by the amazing Paper Rad website, but what I copied the most from was Geocities, which was one of the top webhosts back in the day that people had personal websites (a function now supplanted by myspace and facebook profiles). Shockingly, many of these pages, which haven't been touched in a decade, are still available, and browsing through the directory is an amusing blast from the past.
So even though some new-fangled stuff appears on savanttrigger.com, like Processing, embedding YouTube as it wasn't intended, and some new Safari-only CSS tricks, what I really wanted was to evoke the nostalgic Web.
And of course only after I did all that someone tell me that Radiohead has done the same thing several times and, I might add, with a higher degree of artistic integrity. Well, I guess the same could be said for any music I might come up with, as well.
What is your approach to sampling?
That's something that I'm always conflicted about. One one hand, it seems that those artists who sample and sample very well are consistently greeted with considerable critical acclaim. At the same time others draw relentless abuse-and of course legal action-but to me sampling expresses the postmodern situation too strongly to not experiment with it. Anyway, I guess most people inexplicably get away with it, so I expect I won't draw much attention. For me, making sample-based tracks is an exercise in discovery. For every sample that sounds really good, there are hundreds that just don't, and composing with samples is a rather tedious and time-consuming process. Additionally, I usually restrict my samples to tracks that are more rare or unpopular, like thrift store finds. Despite all this, the end result can be quite stunning, and totally unlike anything I would have come up with alone.
Can you talk a bit about the track you've made for Roböxotica?
The track is called PIN-0xE0. The title is a play on the word Pinocchio, a story that has been retold many times in the sci-fi paradigm already. My track proposes that the transformation into a "real boy" would be some kind of mechanical-sexual experience. "Baby/I want to want your body/so I can just be somebody/so I can just make my body right."
That, of course, begs the question: what makes the sexual impulse different, and supposedly more right, than a machine's hard-wired behaviors? I guess either we teach our robots how to be human or they teach us how to be robots.