When I am jamming with other people, they motivate me and kinda help focus what I am doing.
So, I am always bouncing ideas back-and-forth with them, trying to see where their talents and interests are.
If half of the group is into a specific style of music, that gives me a vague reference to work from.
I know what will work and what won’t.
My improvisational skills are kinda crappy, I admit, though.
Ironically, I need people to get out of my way and let me work alone when I am writing original music.
Cutting & pasting jam sessions into songs kinda works.
If I have no one to work with at all, I am kind of at a loss.
The music can go in all sorts of different directions.
So, finding my own “sound” can be difficult sometimes.
I am trying to shape what I do into a cohesive sound of my own, without tying my hands too much.
I would like to maintain the freedom to play whatever that I want.
Near as I can figure it, I guess that I kinda sound a little like Beck with a weird bass setup and tapes, maybe.
My working process, and limited resources, probably have more to do with any style that I may have than anything else.
I don’t have a drummer.
So, for percussion I must rely on drum machines, keyboard sounds, and whatever found objects that I can bang on.
I do not have other band members.
So, I rely on recordings of myself on guitars, noises, and assorted samples, to fill out the sound.
Compositionally, I like the cut & paste approach of artists like Magma, Cardiacs, Omoide Hatoba, Boredoms, Melvins, Ruins, Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, John Zorn, Carl Stalling, etc. and “mixtape style” of the Butthole Surfers, Ween, Faith No More, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.
I like a mixture of Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi in recordings = Mid-Fi!
But, I prefer a specific squashed compression sound found on early Primus, Ween, and Butthole Surfers records.
I was able to ask guitarist / producer Paul Leary once about how he achieved that sound for the Butthole Surfers.
He said it was due to cheap tape recorders, and only having one microphone.
So, I think they recorded directly from their preamps a lot.
I know that Primus did.
That works great for me, since I only have shitty cheap microphones anyway.
Vocally, I have a kinda nasally high-pitched voice that I never liked.
Kind of a bit like Neil Young, Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Curt & Chris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), Marc Bolan (T. Rex), etc.
Although, I try to give it a little bit of a Tom Waits-like growl on the lower end.
I guess that I compensate for my voice with cheap microphones and whatever vocal effects that are available, trying to bury it.
Visually, of course, everything is very cheap by necessity.
I like papier-mâché and cardboard props and sets.
Puppets and miniatures can be very useful, too.
Green screen, data-bending, and other cheap effects.
My mixed-media paintings and artwork kinda have a cheapniz aesthetic, too, I suppose.
I use stuff from thrift stores, hardware stores, dollar stores, and found materials a lot.
I tend to visualize the exterior world, the “real” world, in black & white colors.
A cold, decaying, dying, world.
The interior world, the world of the mind and imagination, by contrast, is warmer and more colorful.
It is vast and endless.
I will probably post more about my gear setup & playing techniques later.