SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Collins, William Fowler

William Fowler Collins

  • artist biography
  • —>

    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
    Pop Festival.

    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
    musical productions.

    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