Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview: Moljebka Pvlse

From Moljebka Pvlse's website: "moljebka pvlse is an experimental music group based in stockholm, sweden. the group works with both electronic and acoustic instruments making hypnotic meditative music. over the years moljebka pvlse has performed live in canada, finland, the netherlands, sweden and the u.s."

Will that do for an introduction? This interview is with Moljebka Pvlse's creator, Matthias.

Can you give us a short history of Moljebka Pulse, if you don't mind? How long has your project/band been in existence, and what other musical projects have you taken part in? Has it only been Moljebka Pulse, from the beginning? Is there any kind of pertinent or important meaning behind the name? Feel free to just cut and paste your biography (if you have one prepared) here if you don't feel like answering this boring, prosaic question by way of an introduction...

I started Moljebka Pvlse in 1999 when I had a track on a compilation on the Swedish label Cold Meat Industry. Before that I played in some other bands, mainly an ambient band called Lykaion Eclipse, but since I was working alone on the track on that compilation I wanted it to be a separate project and came up with the name Moljebka Pvlse. I was really into U.F.Os and aliens at that time and Moljebka is the name of a village and UFO hot spot in Russia. Since the track on that compilation I have to this day made three full length releases as Moljebka Pvlse.

Besides releasing records I really enjoy to perform live. A year after my first full length was released I went on a US tour together with Mikael Stavöstrand and Brent Gutzeit, which was great and I have also performed around Europe in Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. Performing live is something I would really like to do more.

In the past few years I have started to collaborate with other composers as well, under different names and projects. I really like that and have for example released an album as Negru Pvlse together with Peter Nyström from the band Negru Voda.

What separates Moljebka Pulse from other experimental, ambient, or noise bands? What makes it special? Are there specific goals you have in mind for this project? Are there certain things that you feel Moljebka Pulse brings to this type of music that other bands do not? If so, can you give examples?

I have a really hard time comparing my own stuff to other bands that I like myself. I mean there is so much good music out there, how can I compare my music with that? I have a daytime job as a software engineer and make music in my spare time. Saying that makes it sound that making music is not important to me, that is not the case, it is really important to me, but I am not sure that just because it is important for me if it will be interesting for others to listen to. I was extremely happy when I had two tracks on a compilation on the label "Evolved as One" next to some of my favorite bands. It was a confirmation of my music and that it can be compared to my favorite artists and are qualified to be on the compilation next to their music. I of course get confirmation other times as well; after shows, when releasing and album or ending up on someone's top ten list of records of the year. I am very grateful that my hobby can be as rewarding as it has been.

I have had specific goals with Moljebka Pvlse and still do. My first goal was to release a track. Once I did that I wanted to release a full-length album. Then I wanted to perform live and after that perform abroad. I have been lucky to be able to accomplish what I have set out to do so far. At the moment my goals are more abstract, I want to find my own "voice" or style with Moljebka Pvlse and keep on releasing albums. Some of the albums that I have released are planned to be a series of albums and a goal is to complete these series.

Related to the question above: I know that you use certain techniques or technologies (especially on the release of yours that I reviewed, Duhka) that are not exactly "standard" or widely used in the noise scene, can you elaborate on those? I believe that release was formed basically from samples of guitar sounds processed by computer editing software? Do you use similar techniques on your other releases, or have you evolved different methods to employ different sounds that you want or need on each project?

For all my releases so far the foundation and main source for sound material have been guitar sounds. I record the guitar and then manipulate the sound just as you say with computer programs and outboard effects. I like the combination with guitar and computer and feel that the guitar adds an organic feel to the music, which I think can be missing or hard to accomplish if only computers and synthesizers are used. I think that many people use the computer as a tool today when they make music, but maybe I use it in a different way compared to others as I do not only use it to record and edit. I use it for composition and sound generation with programming languages such as Max/msp and SuperCollider, something that is more common in computer music and laptop genres such as minimal techno and glitch music.

On the first full length I only used sounds from guitars as material. On the other two I have used both guitar and other sounds such as computer generated sounds or synthesized sounds. I feel that in the future I might make a record where I only use computer generated sounds or only field recordings, which I am getting into at the moment.

What kind of responses did you get back from the international music community regarding "Duhka"? Did you feel that people, on the whole, understood that release and liked it, or do you feel it hasn't found its proper audience yet? How would you describe that album to people who didn't exactly understand what you were trying to do with your music? What do you wish people to find in your music? What main ideas do you think you are trying to communicate?

The responses I have got have been very positive and people seem to like the record. But I do not think that that many people have picked it up yet, so hopefully the audience will grow, slowly but steadily. I want "Duhka" to be a vehicle for the listener where they can take a journey and "travel" and really go into the music. I hope the listeners can go places in their imagination while listening to it and that it is an interesting experience. One of my main goals and ideas behind the music is that the listener can find some inner peace.

You utilized an original form of packaging with that release, with the handmade paper and plastic sleeve, etc. What exactly were the ideas or goals behind this kind of production? Were you just trying to make your CD stand out from others, or was there something more profound involved? Was the packaging the result of your work or was it made by someone else?

I wanted the release to be special as it was my first release on my own label called Isoramara. I started the label to release some of my music in small quantities with special packages that I felt would be hard to release on other labels. I felt that a handmade cover would make each record truly unique and after experimenting with different packaging I settled for the handmade paper as I liked the way it turned out. So the result of the packaging is my own work, I painted the picture on the CD itself and made and colored the paper.

Can you give us some idea of other composers or artists who you feel to be worth listening to, whose work you have learned from or who you would like to point to if one were attempting to trace your "influences"? Who do you admire as far as composition goes, and whose work inspires you, or has inspired you in the past?

Two of my absolute favorite bands are Main and Troum, which I think you might hear in my music. When I listen to their stuff I can sit and analyze the sounds and try to figure out or imagine how they do it. A couple of years ago I played at the same festival as Troum in the Netherlands which I enjoyed very much. Other stuff that I really like is the minimalism of Thomas Köner and the monolithic pieces of Nurse With Wound. I think "Soliloquy for Lilith" is the best ambient record ever. But recently I have been getting into Rafael Toral, the Portuguese guitarist, that I think is awesome.

In what way do you think ambient and/or noise music must evolve in the future in order to stay relevant and exciting, or meaningful both to its audience and its creators? What parts of the current noise scene attract you, and what do you dislike? Do you feel noise artists have more freedom today in terms of what they compose and how they regard their own art, or is noise music becoming more restricted, more restrained?

I think that all music must evolve to stay interesting. When I make music I try to avoid repeating myself as I fear it will sound boring, something that is very hard. It is always easy to do things the same way that you have done them before. That's why I enjoy experimental music and try to work from that as a starting point with many parameters that are random and many things that can happen by chance.

I like that the noise sound can be really physical where you have really a wall of sound. But something that I do not like, and this is not just for noise bands but for any type of band, is when the focus is put on the concept of the band or image. For me it is always the music that is the most important, and I feel that when someone focuses more on their style or how they look, then they are less concerned with how they sound. I think that this will always result in that they sound less interesting.

Do you feel that some sort of classical training in more "traditional" forms of music is important for noise composers, or that they should approach their own art without any preconceptions or prior expectations? Do you believe it's important to "know the rules before you can break them", as the old cliche goes? Does it just depend on the individual artist and what he finds to be inspirational?

I think you can come a long way as a noise composer without classical training, but instead rely on interesting musical ideas and ingenuity. Perhaps you can go farther as a noise composer than in other genres. But I think that you can benefit from classical training and also the craftsmanship as you evolve, to keep you from making the same release over and over again.

Please tell us what the future has in store for Moljebka Pulse and what you are working on right now. What can we look forward to hearing from you next? Thank you for answering this short interview...

I have two new releases planned at the moment. The first release is called "Tamon" and will be on the Swedish label called Segerhuva and this is harsher than my earlier releases. I am looking forward to this release as it is quite different to what I have done earlier and I am curious to what people will think about it. I guess it will be my first "noise" release, but I am not sure if you can call it that. The second release is called "Koan - revisited" and will be on the label "Evolved as One" from the Netherlands. On this release I have returned to the concept that I used when recording my first album called Koan where I only used guitar as sound material.

I also have a couple of shows planned. The first is in Stockholm, Sweden on the 26th of April where I will play on a Segerhuva label night and the second is in Turku, Finland on the 8th of May. On that night I will perform with Nergu Pvlse for the first time, which will be great fun.

Finally, I am working on and recording new material for other future releases.