William Fowler Collins
Interview : 10 questions
1. When did you start making music, what is/was your
motivation to do it?
I began making music in 1988, when I was 14 years old.
I had always enjoyed music as a child, but the
specific motivation for playing the guitar came from
seeing the footage of Jimi Hendrix playing at the Monterey
2. Tell me something about your living environment and
the musical education.
I grew up in rural western Massachusetts where I took
guitar lessons that focused on Blues and Jazz styles.
I moved to San Francisco in 1992 to attend the San
Francisco Art Institute and receive my BFA in
Interdisciplinary Studies. I later attended Mills
College from 2002-2004 and received my MFA in
Electronic Music and Recording Media. I recently moved
to the high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
3. Is making music your profession? What is the
context in which you practice music nowadays?
Music is my main creative interest. I perform live and
produce my own recordings. As far as making a living
goes, I work as a Visual Designer for web-based
4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have
you certain principles, use certain styles, etc?
The process is different each time, but in general I
compose my pieces in my home recording studio. I’ll
record myself on guitar(acoustic, electric, lap steel)
and/or electronics(laptop) and then develop the piece
through the mixing process.
5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical
equipment or tools you use?
As far as instruments go, I play the electric,
acoustic and lap steel guitar. On my laptop, I use a
text-based audio synthesis software called
SuperCollider 2 to process my recordings or create
electronic sounds. I record using Pro Tools LE and my
favorite new microphone these days is a Shure KSM32.
6. What are the chances of New Media for the music
production in general and you personally?
I think audio recording software enables more people
to produce and release their own musical/sound
projects. It certainly has enabled me to do so.
7. How about producing and financing your musical
Aside from the compilations or recordings produced by
my collaborative partners I produce and finance my own
8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist
or in a group or collaborative?
I do both.
If you have experience in both, what is the
difference, what do you prefer?
Working individually has its obvious benefits such as
being able to control the project’s direction and the
ability to develop one’s own timeline. Working with a
group can be just as profound an experience as making
music on my own, but it can be trickier as far as
getting people together at the same time, getting
everyone to agree on the direction of the group’s
sound, etc. Each person is going to have their own
goals, priorities, tastes and schedules. It depends on
who I am working with. Some group experiences are more
productive than others.
9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement
which has a lasting influence on making music?
There is no one particular influence. Before
incorporating laptop/electronics into my work, I was
primarily focused on the guitar and the influences
ranged from Hendrix, Neil Young, Black Sabbath, the
Stooges, Pink Floyd, and the Velvet Underground to
Minor Threat, Sonic Youth, the Melvins, and Slayer. At
Mills I was opened up to a whole new world of sound.
There I discovered the work of AMM and also composers
such as Morton Feldman, Penderecki, Scelsi, Henry
Cowell, Schoenberg, Webern, Ruth Crawford Seeger, John
Cage, etc. I was also turned on to the electronic
music of David Tudor, Gordon Mumma, Stockhausen, and
Xenakis. Native American, Indian and Indonesian musics
were also explored. The list could go on and on and my
interests are constantly changing and expanding.
Lately I’ve been into some of Phil Spector’s “Wall of
Sound” productions, Rhys Chatam’s electric guitar
orchestras, and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”, among
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a
soundartist or musician?
I would like to continue recording and performing my
own music as well as collaborating with other artists
both here(US) and abroad.
Can works of yours experienced online besides on
SoundLAB? Where? List some links & resources