JAMES TWIG HARPER JOHNSTON
James Twig Harper Johnston is a performer and electronic sound artist (among other things). He was raised first in Florida, then in Michigan, where began playing guerrilla- and punk-style shows with Scheme, Mini-Systems and Nautical Almanac in the milleu of Wolf Eyes, Andrew W.K. and others. Moving first to Chicago and then to Baltimore, he toured widely in the US (five multi-month tours) and Europe (twice) with Carly Ptak and others. With Ptak, he released many recordings, his own and others' on various formats, on their HereSee imprint and co-founded the influential Tarantula Hill venue-compound. Since the fire at Tarantula Hill which devastated Harper and Ptak's day-to-day living situation, he has continued to travel widely and has intermittantly release music.
His music and performances have been characterized generally by an incredible sense of trickery and playfulness - even foolishness - but in earnest and with careful consideration.
Q: When I first interviewed you five years ago, you said that your motto was "remember how it feels not to be able to play music." How does it feel not to be able to play music?
A: Feeling to not remember--- It is great--- While I don't condone sticking to any one motto for too long--- having a base to work from is essential if you want to build a dialog within a multi-verse, so from a learned unknown it extends. In the past I had put blocks within my intellect on using the Self for deciding the course of my action/ability, but knowing that you exist within an field of illusion doesn't make it dissappear: I had to learn solid processes within a non-solid world. Sound is vibrations and Everything is sound, so one cannot stop making music if you decide not to enclose what termanology in a bracket or prison wall.
Q: I know that playing music makes you happy some kind of way, but when does it happen - what's the payoff?
A: For me the happiness is not obviously the goal, emotional response from said entergauger is one layer within the whole... This is diffucult to write, I had written answers to your questions a few days ago and right before I sent them the computer went blank (and it was of course not saved), this is a common event, yes?, instead of saying 'oh well, that sucks' I choose to look beyond the curtain and see why things work this way.... There were things I was writing that should not be revealed at this moment or not in that way. My house caught fire eariler this year because of certain types of methods and the responses from an ever-shifting and maleable reality pallet that have chosen me to workwithin it. So to answer it plainly, if my methods cause seemingly non-related events to lock together, peel back, or show hidden things... it makes a difference for all who experience any semi-related event shattering off it. But this sentence: " YOUR WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME" will do the same thing, yes?
Q: When you release music - on any format - is the release-process the best part or is the idea of people listening to it better
A: I guess this depends on where you are sitting and from what angle you are dealing with things. I cannot speak for anyone, I can hardly speak for myself- I try to approach things on the whole----and I enjoy making things that will collapse compartmentalized experience. One small example/// Ok: so I have cut records were the grooves play forward (outside-in) into grooves that are cut backwards (inside-out), So if your sitting there you are listening to a standard playing (beyond sound) record and then then the record groove locks because it ran into the inside-out groove.... ok maybe after a while you pick up the needle and put it just past the locked section and then it plays for a bit then goes right back to the point where the two points meet again..... now how many times will it take for someone to figure out what is happening?? Everyone's responses are different. Do people even question the process that makes sound being held on a record? Or is it a center altar disc? By questioning the shell that holds the spirit does that make us any more real?
Q: There's a sensibility in your recordings and performances which I don't hear in your antecedents; fuckers like Throbbing Gristle and Caroliner who try to mess with people, don't have the gentleness of spirit and gracious spirituality that you do, in my opinion. Is inclusiveness something you want to get across particularly, or am I just missing the boat on the
A: Hey I am not Charon--
I have no choice I accept my fate
Q: What's the peak of your personal technology at the moment?
A: You can access the secert history of the multi-verse in your DNA in your
DREAMS = DNA
totally fucking true.