Conversation with Matteo Fargion contd. 3 (Kevin Volans - Chris Newman)

Kevin Volans - Chris Newman

T: I wanna talk about though still... I mean how- your music's changed though, cos although you talk about not having any continuity it's like you're not- well, don't you think? Well, do you think it's changed?

M: (pause) Well I hope it's got better but sometimes I'm not even sure of that. Um, I still listen to those very first John Lennon songs and think that have I really moved on that much? I mean they were really such a surprise, um, for me, I mean it's literally the first thing- about the second thing I wrote. I consider it the first because it was the first thing that Kevin- For about six months I did nothing when Kevin first arrived, whatever, in 1982, and he completely you know threw a world upside down and er he was giving me all these ideas, you know, well you've studied with him, all the exercises, write a piece with line only, write this, and I tried to do these exercises, I found them completely un- I generated nothing, and then one day I found this book of poems and wrote a song a day for six days and then turned up with them, so it was obviously a result of all this... and that's the way, I mean that's still the way I work, because it is that thing of- that period where it seems I've got nowhere, the deadline's looming, then suddenly I write these things and I think, ooh, what was that? Where the hell did that come from? So I suppose that's what I mean. Has my music changed? Possibly, it's slightly more sophisticated now, but er- maybe...

T: And you were friendly, well you still are, with Chris Newman. Is that any influence? You played with Janet Smith. Did you?

M: Yeah I've known Chris, well, again through Kevin since probably 1981 or 82, 82 when I first went to Cologne, um, in fact Chris Newman I think was the first piece of new music I ever heard, I mean that was um, from what Kevin turned up and what he played me when he came from Cologne in 1982 to teach us, he played Sad Secrets I think by Chris Newman, and some of Gerald's music, um, Sur le Pointes, those kind of pieces, the line piece and stuff, the Kagel students, and those for me still now I think are very um, probably Chris Newman a bit less now, he's gone too conceptual for me, but um, you know the real kind of linchpins for me, idols, and they always were, um, er, and with Chris, getting back to him, I think I was influenced at the time, er I think like Feldman his ideas were very inspiring, and I always find especially more recently that the music let's me down anyway, the ideas are more interesting than the music. Um, but I think his way of thinking about music is very healthy and very inspiring, you know, getting away from, you know what he always says about think about music figuratively in that sense of- and trying to portray music in what you're doing, in other words to talk about music in conventional terms, um ,and he always has some kind of brilliant method, more I suppose in a Cage way, of how from to detach himself, distance himself from the material. Yeah I think his material is often so boring, I mean the music is just too ugly for me. And it's interesting that he's very close to Feldman too, I mean he claims to be much closer to Feldman than Cage in fact, then when you hear his music and hear his complete lack of in a way lack of interest in orchestrating and all those things, and in material, what it is, you know the notes... Feldman is much more passionate about sound I think. And Chris Newman isn't for instance, and I think I am. I did play with Janet Smith, oh God, dates again, um, probably from, no no, it's, I can work it out, it's eighty- eighty-six, it was a couple a years when I used to go to Cologne a lot and Chris and I were very close And I suppose I was influenced by him then and I wrote my- those, the Hungarian Songbook, I guess was like my Sad Secrets, um, pieces were- I tried but I think I'm much too conventional in that sense, you know, I could never let go of the material, I could never you know like Chris "oh the material doesn't matter, it's how you put it together", that stuff, I'm always much more involved in material... I think I'm good at finding material, it's just knowing what to do with it...