FLYER Q&A: Exploring Soundscapes – An interview with Andrew Weathers

Andrew Weathers (Courtesy)

Trillium Salon Series continues its free gallery concerts series at Crystal Bridges Museum with Texas-based improviser Andrew Weathers. Field recordings, prepared guitar, minimalist composition and surrealist soundscapes all come together in Weathers’ meditative ambient sound.

You can check out his substantial discography at Bandcamp. Ahead of his July 14 show we caught up with him about why he was drawn to improvisation, what he’ll be playing at the museum and learn about his earliest musical memory, which involves singing in a boys’ choir and a rather unexpected story surrounding one particular performance.

I love that you’re drawn to improvisation for its collective practice and as a vessel of discovery! Could you tell us more about that?

A work of art that is complete at the moment of its creation is unique to improvisation, music and sound are uniquely primed to work towards that end. That sort of immediacy barely exists in other media. Improvisation opens up an avenue to create collective creative situations without any structure or premeditation, a vessel of discovery and exploration. For me, music is about fun and connection improvisation is the most direct path towards that.

What will you be playing for your set at Crystal Bridges?

To that end, I’ll be improvising on a lap steel guitar responding to field recordings and generative modular synthesis. While it’s obviously a different approach to improvising with other musicians, I design my electronics systems to have a level of unpredictability that spur dynamic improvisational approaches. I gather field recordings from various locations: swamps in North Carolina, New Mexico and West Texas deserts, markets in Valparaiso Chile, and listen to these all together in order to create surreal, fantastical acoustic environments.

You’ve been seminal in record labels – tell me more about why you’re drawn to that work and what the power of a label is?

Initially, we started Full Spectrum as a means to release our own work and aesthetically related artists we admired. It’s grown to be a way to cultivate community and bring together artists working with similar goals across aesthetics. Beyond that, labels provide unique curatorial approaches in an era dominated by algorithmically-generated playlist listening approaches that are bland and impersonal. Beyond being thieves and bloodsuckers, streaming services (especially Spotify) are enemies to broad and deep listening practices. They seek to homogenize our creative interests, not promote all of the creative and unique music that exists in this world.

What’s your earliest musical memory?

The first thing that comes to mind is my first memory of performing. I haven’t really talked about it publicly much, but when I was a kid I was a member of the North Carolina Boy’s Choir. It was a proper organization, we went on an east coast tour and everything. At one point on that tour, we’re performing in a church somewhere and the boy in the row behind me got nervous and vomited all over the back of my legs. He got pulled out, but I kept on singing. Despite all of the touring and noise shows, that remains the only time that I’ve been vomited on in a performance.

What are you listening to these days?

I’ve been spending a lot of time with the debut record from the LA black metal band Agriculture. Iit’s ecstatic, uplifting, and heavy music that brings tears to my eyes every time. A group of New Mexico improvisers, Barry Chabala, Clara Byom, and David Forlano have been releasing recordings on Bandcamp and they’ve all been fantastic. I’m biased because I mixed and mastered the record, but the upcoming –___—__ (Seth Graham and More Eaze) album that’ll be out in August is game-changing future music. I’ve also been deeply into everything released on the labels Sawyer Editions, Kvieto, and Falt.