When I first heard Black Tape For A Blue Girl and later various Project Records’ releases about 20 years ago, I was astonished by a beautiful, romantic, a little bit cold, dark, but very emotional music. This aesthesis still leaves me fascinated every time I listen again to Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Now I am happy to present this interview with Sam Rosenthal himself.
You worked with a plethora of artists over the years. What collaborations were/are the most interesting and important to You and why?
The most important collaboration is the recent one I am working on, because it's the most immediate and the most exciting. I moved to Portland, OR, a bit over a year ago; and I've started working on new Black Tape For A Blue Girl music. I plan to work again with the vocalists from the last album – Athan and Laurie. But I'm also excited about working with some local players I have met, to bring back the strings!
Can You tell me, in short the main ideas are behind Your music? Could You name Your favorite Your compositions / albums / collaborations?
With my music, it's always been about creating the sounds I want to hear, that nobody else has created. So for me, it's about making interesting music that I enjoy. I imagine the new album will be more ethereal and dark ambient; it will be different from the Dark Cabaret / Rock sound of the last couple of albums. I feel 10 Neurotics was really successful in that sound, and I'm never interested in making the same album twice. I want to explore emotional and more textural sides of what I do.
The sound is magic. You‘ve proved it. But, what ends, when there‘s no sound?
Well, it sounds like this question is about the meaning of life? What is there when there is no sound? I think there are the memories of sound, and the anticipation of the future sounds. But if we are no longer of this life, then will there be sounds when we return to being part of the energy of the universe? That is a good question, but I don't know if I have a very good answer to that.
What is and what is not a Sound Art?
For me personally, I am interested in melody. I am not so excited by noise or music that has nothing that my brain can latch on to. That said, something like Fripp & Eno is very melodic and catchy, so you can tell my opinion is not within the mainstream. Then again, I don't assume that my opinion is very important, or should have any influence on the what is / what is not art discussion.
What do You think about relations between the old art and computer art? Are they compatible?
Yes, they are compatible. Computers are a tool. And like any tool, it is a question of the quality of the person who uses the tool. I love recording with a computer, because it opens up so many more possibilities; I can do thing I could never do on my analog 1/2" 8-track. So for me, the computer is a great tool to help me better realize my art.
What do You think about thousands of neofolk/industrial/ambient/tribal/electroacoustic/avangarde etc. bands/projects? Is it a kind of trend, o just a tendency forwards better music?
Well, that must be a European-based question. I don't know about thousands of bands like that here in America. Is it a problem for you?
What do You know about Lithuania? What Lithuanian and foreign musicians do You value most?
I am not very familiar with musicians from Lithuania. Of course I know Lithuania is one of the Baltic countries, and returned to independence after long-time Russian rule. I guess I would say that I worry for all the countries in your region. I worry if Russia has ideas about those free countries. I don't have a lot to go by, to make any educated comment on this topic.
Could You tell, please, some words about my initiative to print the first book about experimental music / Sound Art (i call it postmusic or postmusica) of Lithuania (and, at least, Eastern Europe)?
This is an exciting idea. It is good that there are still people who want to communicate and educate through physical objects, such as books. There is more than the internet!
What inspires You most?
In the early days, my art was inspired by angst, and longing, and passion. I think I have less angst these days; my son gives me a lot of excitement and happiness. But there's definitely still longing and passion. I think people are generally very isolated, and rather sad. And that is something that I wish I could overcome. For people in general, and for myself in specific.
Thanks for the interview. Music can be streamed here:
And I'm doing this, too: https://www.patreon.com/samrosenthal.