Branner Griswell [BG]
5Qs / 5As
Back in early 2017, Branner Griswell sent me over a link to some music files he thought I might dig, from a musical cohort. Appended with a tantilising description (which I sadly cant find), and knowing BG's knowledge and passion for music, I was excited.
I listened, and I listened some more. And some more. I was slowly mesmerised by zlg's atmospheres. I kept returning to that version of zillagramiwches' IDIOT LP over several months, and over that time it well and truly snared me. Soon after, we began working on the release.
So then, massive thanks, BG. Totally instrumental in the zillagramwiches release coming together, and what a great thing, it's been an amazing experience, and I'm massively greatful to him for sending those files.
And not least, to ZLG for creating such an engaging, fascinating sound world and making the whole thing such an enjoyable and inspiring collaborative process...
Who better then, to tease out a few details, ideas and reveal some of that vapor-beat-magic behind the Z-to-the-LG, than BG...
OK so I'm going hit you with some hopefully-not-overwrought musical questions, so bear with me. This will be more like a conversational thing since I can't take you out for some well deserved pints. This will have to be for those people who have the rare gift of "attention". Like your music, I think it's worthy of attention. First off, props on a great album. Secondly, lets clink e-pints and get on with the heady shit, like beer foam, or a morning cigarette.
OK, so, for me part of the excitement for listening to music from an artist is hearing a development or evolution in time. Now, I also feel like, as anyone who decides to make something, what comes out is what comes out - it doesn't necessarily have to be conscious, you know what I'm saying? Shit comes from the ether, delivered from whatever you want to call it - the Universe, the Mothership, non-recreational drugs. Sometimes it's best left at that... but... do you feel like you are approaching songs differently than say 5 years ago or a year ago perhaps? Or last week, fuck... what's goin' awn in your life mate?
Haha, shits going on in my life and it definitely has an effect on the way that I choose to make music now compared to 5 years ago. Back then I would spend days on the same track, endlessly tinkering and experimenting with what options I had to change the elements of the track. Now I tend to go in with a much more constructed idea in my head, often with a title and a theme I want to express in the track. Sometimes I have an idea of how many seperate elements I want to use to fill the entire song. For example just using one synth to create 3 or 4 percussive sounds and a couple melodies, then leave it at that. But really its just whatever I'm feeling. Usually I find myself wanting to switch it up as much as possible. Overall my main aim is to enjoy the creation process whilst maintaining the ability to enjoy listening after the fact. So nowadays I wouldn't spend more than 3 or 4 hours in the first sitting on a track. After that I generally leave it for a bit. Long enough to kind of forget making it and come back with a fresh set of ears. Really helps me get in the zone.
Seems like today music has atomized into a trillion particles and a lot can get lost in the digital online ocean. Are there any bands/artists you are listening to past or present that have been criminally under-listened to? Anyone rock your boat like, why the fuck is this person not breaking through from beneath the crusty top layer of the world... wide... web?
- chroma_nap or
- Global Sleep Crisis or
- Light Polution is a Crime Against Humanity ( I dont know which name they go by but its amazing stuff )
- probably loads more
I know your music is partly concept driven and story oriented. Is that fair to say? Can you talk about Idiot and some of the threads going on there that bind it together?
Yeah I think that is pretty true. When I was making the tracks for idiot I was often trying to musically capture an idea or an emotional state that I was feeling. Sometimes I was just messing around but just fell into something I liked. The title 'idiot' is in a way referring to my inner idiot. Learning how to work with that part of my brain. Accepting it and playing to my strengths. Im not the greatest pianist but I know a bit about synthesisers. I like to manually play melodies in and create my own sounds and textures to build up percussion and atmosphere. With idiot I wanted to see if I could make a whole album without sampling instruments or melodies from other sources. I do really enjoy sampling and it's something I had been doing alot up to that point. Mostly from game music or sound track stuff. But for idiot I felt I should keep the sampling to an absolute minimum. I liked the idea of trying to recreate that sample based feeling synthetically.
I know you use a ton of musical ac·cou·tre·ments, (that's French for accoutrement) but what does the Prophet mean to you? Your music to me is certainly... ah fuck... see... I really don't want to throw around the terms, man. The D word, the O word. Digital vs. organic sounding. Whatever. Who gives a fuck right? How much do you love the Prophet though?
Man... I love the prophet so much. But I also love the MS20-Mini and Minilogue... And the SP-404. SO MUCH...
I agree also that my music is often a cross section between digital and analogue, which is why I think Digi/Analog hybrid synths like the prophet suit me so well. I love the depth and power of generating a sound with an analog signal and keeping the digital treatments to a minimum. I also do thouroughly enjoy the benefits of using digital synths, though idiot has zero of them (all hardware synths). life-bits is packed with digital and analog synth combinations.
Here's a would you rather: would you rather live a life where every time you sat down to play the Prophet, a small alien bored its way out of your chest creating a gaping, festering wound that smelled like a four-day old Boardwalk fish and chips that were shit out of a seagull with degenerative ulcerative colitis.... OR... only make music with rectangles on a computer, but the computer also supplies you with a syrupy substance from this kind of - you know those sippy bottle things hamsters drink out of - that is like food, it completely sustains you, and there is no need to get up and go to the bathroom or anything because your body uses every bit. Just to add, the alien also has a slime that re-generatively heals you so you don't die. I mean people just can't be around you for a few days because of the stench. Please keep your response to under 100 words, typed, single spaced, 12pt font of your choosing.
I would be happy in both of those situations as long as I could play games along side of making music. Alternatively I could go on living exactly the same in situation #1 as long as I only use the prophet sparingly when I'm happy with being stank as fuck.
OK so this one is a bit of a personal interest and you don't have to reveal your secrets if you don't want... but... where did you get that (spanish, mexican?) sample in space interrupter, mate? Because, it's one of my favorite things and it hit me in a great way - completely unexpected but works so well. I can go on really, City Roa, this is a current favorite, on repeat. I love the zithery guitar in there, cuts through sublimely. Its all sounding full, and mature in terms of a sound to me.
This is a good question for my guy crooked crossed. The sample hit me in the same way when he dropped it in the project. Fully shat all over myself. Too deep in a juju to tell you where it came from or whether it's Spanish or Mexican. Sorry...
OK so those are my five questions. Thanks for indulging me. I really look forward to the future releases and much love and respect from across the pond. Enjoy the upcoming shows, give the people what they want. Hopefully we will catch up one day in person. Best of luck with the release and the forthcoming. Annyeong, sir.
Thank you so much my man. I have thoroughly enjoyed answering these questions. Appreciate the love. Really miss you big styles cant wait to see you again my dude, I hope it isnt too long before we clink irl-pints. Best of luck to you as well.
Get familiar with more of zillagramwiches and branner griswell...
BG's remix of zillagramwiches' hat disc is streaming now, accompanied by remixes from Elsa Hewitt, Atomico, Proprio, mariolenard + crooked crossed, to complete the spacious 95min tape release.
You can catch more of ZLG's fine record choices over on the Filtered Listening 18 radioshow, and if you haven't already, sit back and get haunted by Branner's remarkable, Versus LP. All here. >>>