(( Update : this interview was done in 2003, and is part of large import of writing from the now defunct octapod.org/jeanpoole, which covered live video and electronic art from 2001-2005. Mostly I’ve been publishing the posts with their original date, but this slipped through and has been linked to already. See the archives for more. ))
Satellites these days get so micro, you can practically zoom in on someone moving house and tell whether they’ve packed their underwear or not. Graham lost a nice pair of commodore 64 boxers once. You get this though, when relentlessly travelling around Europe to promote your UK-based audiovisual label, vj & TV production crew, Addictive TV. Coincidentally, they’ve released a DVD, ‘Spaced Out’ which has the likes of Cold Cut and EBN remixing 40 years of NASA space footage. They’d love some Aussie content for their acclaimed Mixmasters audiovisual DVD series, and some of this will be screened in a few months on SBS. Will review ‘Spaced Out‘ next week, and leave www.addictive.com 2u.
What was a turning point for your understanding of how audio and vision relate?
Lots really. As a kid, I watched a lot of musicals. Check out, say, old Fred Astaire movies and often the music and film action is completely synched. Even Fiddler on the Roof or the total trippyness of Bedknobs & Broomsticks have very musical audiovisual scenes – where the sound from the action you see is incorporated in the music. But with our own work, I remember watching people’s faces when we had a screening of Transambient back in ’98, they were completely fixated – that was a turning moment.
What’s the difference between your TV and club work?
With TV & DVD work, things have to work far more on a one-to-one basis between viewer and the TV. Repetition and loops can last much longer in a club than on TV, simply because people are maybe more focused on the music and experiencing the images in a less direct way. Similarly, some images work well on TV but look naff in a club. Also, a live performance is a one-off; so tends to be more spontaneous, which can also mean it’s less polished than recorded work, which has to stand up to being watched over and over.
What TV projects are you working on now?
Series 3 of Mixmasters for ITV1 over here – just started talking to labels, VJs, animators etc. As the series’ have gone on, they’re really reflecting the expanding global visuals scene, it’s great to see the really different work that comes out of say, Tokyo or Berlin. Mixmasters has always been a mixture of original audiovisual work and DJ/VJ mixes, but more AV artists are cropping up now so we’ll be seeing more of that. Should say by the way, that series 1 is on SBS this Spring.
How can aspiring OZ-VJs or audiovisualists submit for the Mixmasters series?
Send us examples – not just live mix tapes, but recorded work, promos, AV mixes, stuff they’ve put into festivals etc. Mixmasters is much more about VJs being visual recording artists than a “live DJ/VJ mix” project. Our postal address is on www.addictive.com and we’ll be all finished around July.
What bores you to tears about live video or videoclips?
Cameras on the DJ. The same short clips fired off a laptop all night. Old clips of breakdancers. Flying down tunnels. Endless spinning 3D objects.
What have you noticed about the evolution of the Mixmasters series?
How we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of AV and visuals being accepted globally, and how closed-minded so many broadcasters are around the world. It’s clear though that more and more people are getting into visuals – it’s really growing quite quickly. In some ways the whole thing might be growing too quickly. There aren’t enough media outlets for this and right now the entertainment industries (clubs, music, television and the wider media etc) aren’t supporting the whole ‘AV thang’ in all its guises enough to sustain a rapidly growing VJ / AV scene. Hopefully that’ll change in the coming years.
Audiovisual software & hardware stepping forward at the moment?
It’s good to see companies like Pioneer and Roland developing or making off-the-shelf gear now aimed at VJs. With software, there seems to be new stuff appearing every week! Also, I know someone creating work for some VJ gaming software for one of the games consuls, so someone thinks “there’s money in them there hills!”.
What’s Addictive.TV doing in 2010?
Running it’s own 24 hour channel – presuming the world’s not been reduced to a Mad Max style smallpox ridden wasteland by then, in which case we’ll be running an audiovisual club for mutants that still have eyes and ears.