SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Schlienz, Guenther

Guether Schlienz
German soundartist


Interview:10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

I learned to play the recorder as a child, but I never played it in front of any other people besides my family for Christmas. So you can’t say I was really motivated to do this. As a teenager I taught myself to play the acoustic guitar because I was really impressed by the songs of Bob Dylan. I was in a state of teenage depressions and his words blew me away, I felt the urge to write and sing songs like he does. So the motivation came more from the lyrics, not from the sounds.
When I think about this topic nowadays I have to say that I really made music for the first time with a radio receiver I built as a child. I ever was interested in electronics, and very soon, at the age of 8 or 9, I soldered my first circuits. This radio receiver was of course a very simple one, it never transmitted one station alone and detuned very fast, but I loved to detune it by simple holding a screwdriver or a small magnet near the coils. The sounds created during this process kept me away from sleep very often. Some foreign languages that came in and out, strange noises and beeps, all mixed together. In those times I was not really aware that you can call this “music”, but I loved to listen to it.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

I never have any real music education, but since a few years I’m working for the sound department at a big opera house. Therefore I’m every day surrounded by people with a very good musical education, and you get your information if you ask. The rest of the day I’m with my wife – no kids – at my 3-room-apartment near the centre of Stuttgart. You can call this a typical urban life, if you want.

3. Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?

About my profession I already answered. The context for making music is quite different from time to time. I play in different groups and projects, sometimes just rock music with a guitar and a few buddies, the next day perhaps experimental ambient with guitar and electronics, the other day I’m alone in my room in front of my diy modular synthesizer in search for the right sound that fits to my mood. And some nights in between my computer has to calculate a few strange field recordings.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

The one and only basic principle I have is that the created sound has to surprise me.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

Both depend on the project I’m working on. I play acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, my diy modular synthesizer. I still work with a cassette four track, I love the easy handling of it and the mistakes those kind of equipment is able to produce. But I’m not completely analog, if I’m in the mood for it I work with cubase and softsynths.
Generaly I like old and worn out equipment, old instruments and slow computers. They have a special kind of character, are not perfect

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

The new media led to a fundamental change in the whole music making/music consuming process. Everybody knows this which is in any kind involved in this process. The chances are of course the easy and cheap opportunity to produce music in astonishing quality and spread it very easy and very wide. I use those new opportunities very extensive. But like every revolution it offers chances but also offers problems you never thought of before this fundamental change. So it’s a very hard and time consuming work today to find your audience.

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

Nearly everything happens by do it yourself. I’m the lucky co-owner of a professional studio, therefore its very cheap for me to record and produce my sounds in a professional environment.

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?

I already mentioned that I do both, and I don’t want to miss any part of it. In a group you are a part of a synergetic process which leads to a sound you never really understand, and therefore it is able to surprise you. When you work alone you can concentrate more on yourself which lead to certain aspects of your soul that would otherwise not be uncovered.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?

Quite a lot and quite different: The krautrock movement in the early seventies with outfits like cluster. The diy culture of the punk rock movement, the “less is more” ethic of it. The “academic” minimalism of Terry Riley, Steve Reich. And a lot more I always forget to mention, this kind of question I will answer different next week, depending on my mood and my listening practise.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?

The dream: I’m a part of a big show with theatre, ballet and opera elements. The audience will never forget this show and tell their grandchildren of it.

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