you know how there are those moments when i put the pencil down (and stop drawing drawings) and pick the pencil up again to write song lyrics? the group i’m in is called svelte, and the larger group umbrella (or group of composers) is called the immersion composition society. our particular branch of the ICS (in the east bay) is called the wig lodge.
now. you might be thinking ‘what are you doing up at 3:10 am, michael?’ (someone screamed outside our bedroom window at 2 am, i got up with a flashlight to check it out). you might also ask ‘i thought you were an illustrator. how does making music relate?’
well, they’re both really fun. i’ve learned a ton about the creative process from working with steven on svelte. the idea is that everyone in the lodge chooses a day out of every month (although i’ve been horribly remiss lately and have created exactly nada in the way of music, since illustration work has been wildly busy) and dedicate that day t’ making music. we get together, steven and i, (or sometimes andy and i, or sometimes just me on my own) and make as much music as we possibly can in the daytime hours. there is no editing allowed. if it has a track number, it is a song. then we get together (the night of the day we all compose) and listen to everyone’s output.
i just noticed that i used the word ‘fun’ above to describe the art/musicmaking. you know, sometimes the creative process isn’t fun. sometimes it’s not supposed to be fun. sometimes it’s hard work, and your brain is highly engaged in a state of creative concentration. that’s not necessarily a light airy feeling – a fun feel – but the output is usually something you’d want to look at (or listen to) more than once. anyhoo.
so. svelte got name-checked alongside such amazing folks as nicholas dobson, darking freakhead and sleepytime gorilla museum in a very nice article in the east bay express about the ics. it’s worth a look.
you can listen to some of svelte’s work here. did i mention that i’ve been making music with steven since 1986? he (for my birthday) handed me a DVD with 6 hours of the ‘compleat svelte’. wow. the very first song is called ‘ointy pointy’ (i won’t make you listen to it right now) and it was created after a night of (erm) partying at steven’s house in fremont where we both grew up. fast forward to 1991, and we’re messing around with a four-track cassette recorder and primitive sounding loops and playing gigs in punk rock queer clubs. fast forward to 2000, and ICS is happening, and our output expands from a song a month to twenty songs in a single session.
you can see eye eye sailor (the sock puppet pop opera that steven an’ i composed and i did the sets and puppets for) here.
the rest of the wig lodge is here.
here’s a hilarious picture of michael and nicholas (the founders) along with steven, the other half of svelte, from the east bay express.