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THE TRANSLATOR

Interview with House of Wires


This interview was conducted electronically between Jordan of The Translator and Rob and Jon of House of Wires. What is house of wires (what are you as a band)?

Rob: The name House of Wires pretty much describes us and our working environment, Electronic music devices, and a ton of wires and cords which create our sound. A fitting name really.

Your debut release 'You Are Obsolete' is out on plastiq musiq from Tooth and Nail. What is the meaning of the album title?

Jon: Technology seemingly taking over. Mankind becomes lazy.

Rob: More or less a concern over the position of human value and where there seems to be a de-humanizing movement in todays society. Machines, material, etc. taking over and man becoming secondary.

Is plastiq musiq owned or run by Ronnie Martin (joy electric)? if so, what is your relationship with him?

Jon: Ronnie started and controls plastiq musiq. I'm not sure how he arranged the Tooth & Nail distribution deal.

It seems that the creation and arrangement of electronic music is different than that of a rock song. What goes into the writing of a House of Wires song?

Jon: I think we approach electronic music totally different than most electronic musicians. Everything is done the 'Hard way' and therefore sounds really unique. For instance, any drum samples on the album were actually burned on EPROM chips for an old Sequential Circuts drum machine (DRUMTRAKS). All other drum sounds (and sounds, for that matter) were either live acoustic, synthesized, or that brilliant orchestra module that Roland put out several years back. Actually, aside from 'Where is my mind', I think all drum loops were synthesized and sequenced to sound like a drum loop.

Rob: Yeah, pretty much doing it the hard way forces us to work harder and pull all of our creativity into the songs. We wouldn't want it any other way.

How did you get involved in electronic music, and then start Pivot Clowj?

Jon: I fell in love with synthesis at a very early age, I had posters of synths & keyboards on my walls all through elementary school and in 6th grade, I traded in an old Univox keyboard for a Roland Juno-60. All types of electronic music has influenced me - especially the music that was coming from labels like Illuminated, 4 a.d., Nettwerk, and Play it again Sam/WaxTrax in the late 80's. Prior to that, it was all about synth pop tunes (i.e. Howard Jones, Human League, Gary Numan, Thomas Dolby, etc.) I started to love the Goth/Industrial scene. Of coarse, this was also pre-Marilyn Manson and pre-NIN. I'm not really into any of that kind of industrial music. I've always preferred Portion Control, Xymox, Legendary Pink Dots, Fad Gadget, Minimal Compact, The Cure, Siouxsie - well you get the idea: (The list could go on & on)

Rob: My interest in electronic music started fairly early too but not as early as Jon's. It happened a short while after I had piano lessons when I was about 10 or so. I eventually went through a series of cheesy home keyboards and experimented with sounds and how to manipulate them. I later got into loop tapes and did experimental music with the limited gear I had. I was really into bands like Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire, Ultravox, Human league and many other bands that were prevalent in the electronic scene at that time.Jon and I met in college and soon became good friends, we both had similar tastes in music and ideas and we later formed Pivot Clowj in late 93 early 94 and then House of Wires was formed in late 97.

At Tomfest I was told that you were in a , pardon the cliche but, goth band before House of Wires. What brought the change from Pivot Clowj to House of Wires?

Jon: Although many people believe that one replaced the other, the truth is they still coincide. Pivot Clowj will just become more extreme into the Goth/Industrial (without power chords) and different from the dance/synthpop side of electronic music that House of Wires has become.

Rob: We needed two bands really. Basically because we needed an outlet for both sides of us.

I got to know you guys a little bit at Tomfest, how did you enjoy your time, on and off stage, at tomfest?

Jon: I only regret not bringing a tent and camping with all the cool people I met.

Rob: Yeah, me too - it would have been great to hang out longer with all the cool people we got to know. All in all it was a lot of fun on and off stage, hope to do it again next year.

During your set at Tomfest, Jon (you) would blow up balloons and let them fly out into the crowd. Is that simply for the show, or is there a little more purpose or significance to it?

Jon: Balloons equal fun. Party, Birthday, Happy Clown association.

Rob: I wonder if anyone caught any of those little parachute men we throw out into the crowd - unfortunately not all of them had their parachutes open. 'oh well'

How did you enjoy the Echoing Green concert at Tom (remember, we enjoyed the show near you guys?) did you get everything worked out okay with leaving your car lights on?

Jon: Our lights were off. It was weird ...what actually happened was that they threatened to tow away our car (via the note on the window) because of our parking choice. The truth is we were told it was ok to park there and had parked there two consecutive days (entire days) before they made it an issue. So we just moved the car. I was very disappointing in missing some of the Echoing Green.

Rob: I really liked the Echoing Green's set, I just wish we didn't miss some of it. On a lighter note ..Joey said it would be cool to include the announcement 'House of Wires please remove your vehicle' as a track from the live show and just call it House of Wires. Yeah, that would be great.


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