Interview with Hugo Paquete

1. Which was the first sound you heard? 

This is a question that can only be philosophically addressed. Because the ear is a very primitive organ and unlike the eye does not close. Therefore, the first sound I heard can only be accessed by a memory that will have nothing of truth or concretism. Any idea of the primordial sound I have heard will always be a conclusion mediated by memory and a poetical attempt to describe an effect and secondary quality of the experience. Therefore, I can say that the first sound I heard was not felt as a sound but as a vibration that crossed the body as a membrane and where the ear was another mechanism at the service of cognition in a nexus of dermal and tympanic vibrations in the absence of pictures. This sound was a vibration and a ghost in my cognition recreated by the memory.

2. When did you begin to play/compose and explore music?

I have always been interested in sound and musical phenomena since very early. I remember between my 16 and 18 years old experimenting with radios and vinyl records, cutting and changing their rotations. Integrating stickers, and other elements such as cuts and plastic objects on the vinyl surface. As well as filtering with a guitar-destroying effects pedal the sound of radios and statics. In those years I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t have any historical or formal conditioning. These were experiences that came up with the relationship I had with this equipment and the availability to change them. Let’s say that there was a relationship between the materiality of these objects and the possibility of using them in sound and performance experiments. As I have always had a fascination for radios and processes of reproduction and sound recording I think that my interest developed around these ideas, where radio as object and instrument allowed access to statistic emissions from distant geographies, technologically mediated territories. These ideas came to be explored in my first sound pieces in the context of performance and installation. Later with time I was researching and knowing more about acousmatic/concrete music and noise. Knowing authors, aesthetics and schools. But I have always had a parallel connection with the most popular expressions of music such as industrial music and the post-punk movement that reflected the ways in which electronic music technologies have been democratized in society. Technologies, methods and formal models have been aesthetically transformed. Today my concerns in musical and formal terms still maintain some of these principles and foundations related to a freer attitude to understand the phenomenon of music production as a set of philosophical, social, technological and symbolic relations of the author. Therefore, it was an option to follow a path in the context of my training in the plastic arts and new media, excluding the possibility of studying music in a more academic and formal way. I have always had a relationship as I mentioned with the materiality of analog or digital devices, whether radio or software the way I entered contemporary music has always been mediated by the democratization of technologies and their free and more democratized access. Like when using fast-tracker to explore some songwriting and sound ideas. It really didn’t revise me, nor do I review myself within an academic background in music. My interest has always been the intersection of sound with the plastic arts and new media, the sound generated by visual artists in their practice. Recently in terms of training I chose to study music sciences in the context of my PhD to establish links with my artistic practice and the concept of post-digital and the way contemporary artists reflect these modes of production in their works where many of them do not have a traditional/academic musical background. But their works circulate in festivals and events where they are historically inscribed as pertinent and object of study. Many other things could be said but I think I have already answered the question.

3. Which work/album of yours do you think it’s the best or represents well all your work? 

Striping Strings and Broken Objects (2011)

Dispersive velocity of the masses (2011)

USC (Unpredictable systems and collapse) (2013)

Uneveness (2015)

Zoe: Actant (2017)

4. What would you do if capitalism and money stopped existing? 

First of all I would like to mention that money may not exist without being the fault of capitalism. So in the evidence of money ceasing to exist, I would seek to find other modes of existence without capital. I might try that the new post-capitalist system would give me everything I need. But I don’t really believe in these political and organizational utopias or dystopias because everything in life comes at a price even if it’s not monetary. The thing that seems most basic to me would be to satisfy my most basic needs and those closer to me in an apocalyptic world where the law of the fittest is to compose music wouldn’t really be important. Only in the context of new rituals, war or other events. more community-related. Because in such a world beauty is either controlled by the state and aesthetically standardized by the political regime or is forgotten in detention of more important and mundane things like eating the next meal in a happy meal of human flesh or some other extreme possibility. Radically posing the question! Capitalism and liberalism, contrary to popular belief, is a symptom of individual freedom, choice, the capacity for personal, corporate organization and collectiveness. Freedom comes at a price when it’s in the hands of citizens and demands accountability. I personally prefer to be responsible and free to choose and express myself without being conditioned by the state in a communist regime that would tell me what to do professionally, what to wear, eat and control my personal desires and mobility. I couldn’t live on this island of utopia. That is why I reject the island and accept the state of disharmony, social violence of the capital of the mega corporations that control the political power. I don’t mean by this that I am not opposed. It is a kind of denial and struggle that I live in this system where I am still free and can exercise my choices with critical ability. Finally, in the absence of money, life would continue to exist and new freedoms or conditions would emerge from the horizon to be overcome.

5. Do you believe that microtonality is necessary for musicians and listeners anymore? 

The concept of microtonalism in music is as important as it is unnecessary. It always depends on how we understand the interval between the notes and their duration. Imagine that this interval lasts for 4:33 and we have a cultural reference that brings us to a composition that explores what we could call interval with a duration. Then other cultural discourses of the way we understand music emerge around the concept of silence. When silence is simply a fantasy very close to what we consider absence linked to visual centrism. The impossibility of silence, as it was, of reason to the interval that arises as a simulation of a continuous process of listening in time. A directed and reflected listening to the sound object, musical instrument, performance or notation where the break emerges in a constant noisy background. Therefore, the range of microtonalism is important and is not at the same time, depending on how we understand its progression, duration and background elements such as reverb. I don’t really attach much importance to these concepts in my writing processes. Partly because I can’t dissociate music from language. Because it’s the way music and the sounds I hear gain meaning in my cognition that shapes my taste and options of the temporal progression that I explore more or less tonally. It doesn’t matter because of the meaning we take away. What we hear is cultural profoundness and all this talk about these concepts is rooted in a Western tradition that excludes and attempts to promote itself through the formal models it presents and theorizes conceptually through language. And since music is more than notes to me I don’t want to waste time on crossword puzzles and notation.

6. Do you believe that free improv is fundamental?

Yes! Improvising is important as a working method because it is associated in my opinion with an idea of methodological experimentation. Which is critical in all areas of knowledge to explore phenomena that deal with trial and error in the multiple configurations and approaches we make in art. But perhaps the word improvise today is used in a more democratized way and unrelated to previous work of experimentation that develops knowledge. Perhaps improvising today in some contexts of noise and electronic music is yet another moment of exploration near a happening of movement flows. Anything that does not repeat itself and has no rules, no origin, no formal conditioning. In short, improvising and experimenting is critical in any creative process that involves trial and error.

7. What’s your opinion about John Cage? 

My opinion is that John Cage existed and was instrumental in promoting new musical ideas. But he wasn’t the only one. He was the result of a series of historical and aesthetic revolutions that preceded him. Revolutions that contextualized him around a mystical discourse, ecologized with mushrooms, cactus and silence that do not exist and wrapped in an American artistic promotion of the media machine that needed artists to promote a new emerging society disconnected from European tradition. But we know that he was influenced by a lot of Europe’s avant garde production. Suffice it to understand that the first piece entirely composed of silence was In Futurum (1919) by Erwin Schulhoff and also Funeral March for the Burial of a Great Deaf Man (1897) by Alphonse Allais. Thus we understand that in 4:33 (1952), we can find origins in other authors and ideas. Because history is always a process of unraveling and hiding information, it is a discipline of making it appear.

8. Tell me some of your fav artists (from all arts) and philosophers. 

They’re many. In some of my writings I have unveiled some and hidden others. I prefer that people who read this interview look in my sound and theoretical work for references.

9. What’s your main goal in your art/life? What message do you want to send through your art? 

My goal in life is to live and supplant a mere existence. In my art I have no purpose. It is an activity deeply linked to my humanity and where I share ideas, concerns, artistic social concepts/ways of seeing the world and understanding art. Or any remaining concerns that arise. Perhaps my artistic production would like to present these ideas addresses notions such as space, noise, error, and glitch. I critically analyze the related subjects of sound art in sound studies and in digital art that contribute to the post-digital aesthetics. And the regimes of perception mediated by technology. Or maybe not, because I don’t like the tyranny of concepts at all and the absence of critical freedom. Perhaps all these words are to pacify the confrontations I have with the world and my self, with art, markets and society. The aim may be to remove people from normalization through noise as a model of leakage and failure.

10. What advice do you want to give to young/new musicians and listeners?

Musician Advice: Find your way to work and mediated by your intuitions.
For listeners: Maintain the freedom to listen to the unknown. Knowing that listening is always contaminating cultural patterns already assimilated in music 
and in memory.

11. End this interview however you want. 

Fuck the music! Because you only fuck what you really love.
Thanks for the opportunity of this interview Prog Geo. Continue to congratulate us on your schedule and work. The underground world of subculture thanks you for your effort and heart.

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Author: George Miskedakis

I'm a sono/artphile from Athens, Greece!

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