SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Beuter, Marcus

Marcus Beuter
German sound artist


Interview:10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
In 2001 I started to work professionally as a sound artist. I was always interested in recording the environment, but never thought of performing in the public until a friend asked me to do a sound installation for his galery.
I am interested to free sounds of their origin. Original place, original meaning. To musicalise sounds we know everyday, to bring them into a new context and how people react to it is very fascinating.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.
For the last 15 years I liked to live in a wooden hut in the forest. Nature is just around, the cultural urban life is not too far. Another important part is travelling abroad, searching for different cultures and unknown sounds. I am not musically educated. I was always listening to music, sound art. Searching for artists who can change my way of listening. This was my way of learning.

3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
I would say making sound art is my profession. Even if it is not possible to live on it.
Today I work in different contexts: I do sound installations , work with film makers, theaters and perform live. The live music is always improvised, based on my field recordings.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?
First of all there is the procedure of collecting sounds. Going out and listening to the world.
Then there are actually two very different ways of working: one is doing a fixed media (e.g. for an installation). In this case I start to think on the theme, which sounds could fit and how I will be able to express a certain mood with them. After that I can start with the arrangement, which always means that I have to change a lot of my previous idea, because the theory might be great, but it does not sound well in reality. I like a concept, but it is more important that I can transport the deeper meaning of the composition than a theoretical aspect.
The second way is performing live. Herefore I prepare my software with different samples, all based on my own field recordings, which can be worked on by fx or just be let natural. Prepared like this I can freely improvise by using all samples and change them live.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?
I am working with a laptop, using mainly Ableton Live for arranging and especially for performing, because you are free of timelines.

6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general
and you personally?

New Media changed just everything. As often quoted it made a lot of arts more democratic, because much more people are able to produce, to express.
For me personally New Media just made possible what I would like to create. It has been possible to do taped fixed media, but it has been very hard work and slowed down the creative process. And especially working with field recordings in a totally free and improvising manner was just impossible. Now I can create new sounds and combine sounds in real time, which you hardly where possible to get known to just a few decades ago. And we are just at the very beginning.
New Media also gives you the possibility to get in touch with other artists all around the world, the exchange is intercultural. And it is possible to work with them, even if you never will have a chance to meet them. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t like to work with people living just around…

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
Well, actually money has to come and it goes to easy. Once I have a little money left, it is hard to decide if I should buy some new equipment or go for a travel.
But the bigger problem is the time you loose by trying to finance your life and your art instead of being creative.

8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?
If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
Both. I work a lot on my own, preparing my samples, my installations or live sets. But I also play together in two sound art trios and always like to try something new with someone who is also open minded.
And both ways are very important. On the one hand I can concentrate on my own expression, on the other hand I learn a lot and keep open minded myself.
I would not say that I prefer something. It is great to get lost in a work back home, hardly going outside to meet someone until you get finished. But when I have not performed for a while something very important is missing. Performing live, especially with other improvisers is just like a total cleaning up of your mind and soul. You feel very much refreshed and open for everything new coming to your live.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?
Oh, too many. I think one of the first had been the early Einstürzende Neubauten. Cage for sure. Free Jazz and improvised music, Studio Akustische Kunst, Willem Schulz, … Sorry to everyone very important I just missed now. I was always open for different styles and the music I listen to always changed in my life. Everyone who could show me another world just influenced me…

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?
In general to do it at least for the next forty years, getting in touch with loads of interesting people, learning and be creative all the time.
Right now I want to start a long-time project called dreaming your place. I want to do sound collages on different spots in the world, including the sounds of the places and the dreams of the people living there. Their dreams at night and the dreams about their live and city. The whole thing shoul be more surrealistc and dreamlike and presented at that place and on a map in the internet. (Well, this was a very rough description, as always).
I would like to travel more and work already on my travels, having the time to connect with artist and to focus on my work.

out of competition:
Can works of yours experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where?
List some links & resources