k: "I also listen to my work while I drift off to sleep... (it's good for that.)" [Phyll wrote] i'm pretty agree with that, if i could introduce Yr Music as a dream, i'd tell about a mute running into sound, obscure rooms with brambles.. - Yr 'Shower Song' made me figure of a strange resounding cloud which always follows You.. where does Yr music use to drive You? Phyll Smith: while creating in the moment... and while listening to the sound after... it is a mix of places I am brought... to old memories of youth... haunted spaces... recollections... love lost (yet forever captured for a moment in song)... driving along dark roads at night... which I used to do a lot growing up in a town with not a lot to do but go driving and visit haunted land and houses...& Dreaming... k: Do You ever dream doing Music during Yr dreams? (i'd answer yes he he) Phyll: of course... most always there are sounds in my dreams that I don't always recall when I wake up... and even though I cannot remember the sounds to create them in waking life... I use the feelings I had while dreaming... to inspire the sounds I create while awake... so abstract thoughts/sounds in dreams... will more than likely create themselves in another form later. k: Tendentious question: do You feel a Dark Muse? Or is a Dark Muse who inspires You? Phyll: I do not follow any one path or Dark Muse... but I am inspired by most of them... like Hekaté, Kali, Lilith and other strong willed... intense women who inspire the Dark Muse in me. k: What Music/Bands do You like to play on Yr stereo? Phyll: So many... the old standards... like Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Dead can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Lycia, Swans, Jarboe, Joy Division, Chameleons UK... Faith & the Muse, Billy Holiday, This Ascension, Tom Waits, Sonic Youth (one of my fav's), Lustmord, Raison d'Etre, Slint, Loop, Chrome, Dome, My Bloody Valentine, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith... I am influenced by so many diverse sounds... A lot of experimental musicians... and underground artists on mp3... like: Sara Ayers, falling you, Artemis 23, Hoth(e), Mindspawn, Unto ashes, Beautiful Machine, Saint Dymphna, Soil Bleeds Black, Unwoman, encomiast, Mors Syphilitica, Changelings. . . and of course my husband's sounds Nihil Communication... without his inspiration... Dark Muse might still be only in my head. k: How is Yr world? How's a typical day of Yrs? Phyll: Not too interesting... wake up late... hug my cat Sassy, check email, make jewelry or shop for supplies, take pictures or paint when the mood strikes me... maybe set up the studio and create sounds... visit with my husband after he comes home from work... create jewels into the wee hours of the morning... go to bed when my husband gets up for work... (while listening to my work... I drift off to sleep to do what I love best... dream) k: What's the ever first dream been You can remember? Phyll: i can remember just about every dream I ever had... I'd say one of the most memorable... was when I was really young... I was a sleep with my mom in bed at my gramma's... I heard a noise... a fly was buzzing at the window trying to get out... it was still night... I awoke and watched it for awhile... then I just happened to look around the room in the dark... and sitting on top of my lamp was an outline of a real owl (made of night time color dots) as soon as it said 'whooo'... I screamed and screamed till my gramma came in and let me sleep with her... the whole night I slept under the covers at her feet... This actually wasn't a dream, I was awake... but the owl might have transfered over from dreaming to waking life. This type of waking/dream happened again in first grade when I awoke to a strange noise of vibration of the bed... and when my eyes could focus better in the darkness... I saw some wooden posts hooked up to my bed... attached was an old wooden seat like that on an old wagon... and sitting in it... was a scary looking witch who seemed to be driving my bed like a wagon or a stage coach... she turned around and stuck out her finger, pointed at me and said... " you'd better go back to sleep!" in almost a cackle... (she was also made up of color dots) I freaked out and tried to run out of my room... when I opened my door... 2 (color dot outlines) of lions were guarding/blocking outside my door... I tried to scream but couldn't... (again I was awake during this event...) this whole event probably stemmed from the book turned movie 'the lion the witch and the wardrobe' k: I like a lot the way You use the sounds of guitars, You don't exactly play them (You know, chords, riffs), but anyway You can obtain some wonderful alternated nervous/relaxed vulnerable mesmerizing trance/feedback together with the involving of the voices (i.e. White Lines).. Phyll: My brain doesn't work well to instruction and technique... I have always played using ears... and making patterns with my fingers... I just recently got a few new toys for the guitar... a capo, e-Bow which makes the chords sound like they are being bowed... and of course the 'Line 6' delay Modeler which created Delay/reverb effects and loops... which I also use on my voice and found object noise as well... (a good exampe if on the new track posted on mp3 'Queen of the World of Spirits'.) k: what's a T-Rodimba? What's its sound? Phyll: The T-Rodimba... is a unique instrument (and pretty big) created by an incredible experimental musician named Tom Nunn... he doesn't use any effects on his sounds... but his instruments tend to reverberate sounds like effects... The T-Rodimba is made of wood, screws, nails, coils & strings... it stands upright and has a pick-up on it that can be fed into an amp... you can bow the strings/screws, pound on the board, tap the screws with rubber mallets or whatever you can find... it's a pretty amazing piece... My husband primarily uses it in his sound work. I used it on tracks like 'Sound Decay', and 'Speckled Twinklings' which I did add effects to the sound... k: And what about Yr lyrics? Phyll: My lyrics come from everywhere... (most times you can't tell what I'm singing...) but I write from memories of important events, depression, loss, happiness, lust, family, politics, spirits... etc... Most times they are full stories... poems I wrote in a café like 'White Lines' which is about watching people out the window making patterns in the snow with their feet... sometimes my words are just phrases or pieces of things I hear or think... sometimes they are patches of dreams I wrote from my dream journal... k: who is Yr Music for? Phyll: My music has always been for myself... I enjoy creating jewelry... in fact I love it... but music is my passion.. when I sing... I put all of my emotions and body into it... sometimes I want to cry when I hit cetain notes... Creating sound has always been very private for me... I finally decided to post on mp3 after I started Dark Muse... Because I felt if someone listened to my work... and maybe felt the way I did when I created it... maybe it takes them on a journey, or they meditate, or make love to it... or dream with it... then I felt it would be worth turning other people on to it. k: what about Yr first solo performance? How's been? Were You all alone on the stage? Playing what? [Phyll played Her first live concert when i first got in touch with Her - k's note] Phyll: Yes, I played my first solo performance... all by myself... The sounds I created were improvisational/experimental and lush... and although it felt right and came across well... (had a nice group of people come out)... the show was a little messed up by the over all sound/feedback and fuzz... that was coming maybe from the inhouse mixer... not sure... I really had no time to find the source... so I made do... was so nervous... even began to shake a little... once I started to get into it... it felt really nice... and the people were so receptive and gracious.. and tried not to focus on the fuzz in the speakers... I played my electric guitar with capo, and e-Bow, bowed a cymbal, bells, small sculptural instr. (made by Tom Nunn)... other found objects, a Russian table string piano, and my 'Line 6' with added effects and vocals. I look forward to performing again. k: What's happiness for You? What's sadness? Phyll: Happiness is huggin my cat, kissing my Hus., having some cake, making jewelry, being acknowledged for my craft, collecting stones and odd things, painting, drawing, shooting video of experimental music then editing it with color/movement/and visual artistry, creating music... & dreaming. Sadness... is not having creating music for so many years... losing someone young... never seeing friends again, people who only think of themselves..regret... and not having any cake! k: Do You consider Yr music happy or melancholic? Phyll: I consider it Somber for the most part...reflective, haunting... it all depends on your mood in the moment... I am happy when I create it... even if life around me is sad... I think for the listener... whatever energy you put into it... is what you'll get out of it. k: What about the Fossil Dungeon rec? Phyll: Michael Riddick from the Fossil Dungeon... also has a project 'the Soil Bleeds Black' which I enjoy... I am lucky he has decided to help promote my sound... it is a kind of honor or acknowledgement in a sense... that he likes my work enough to have approached me and to release a cd of my work. We are hoping it will be released in the next month or so... it will be a lot of new tracks not previously on mp3 and a few of my first tracks... also 'Queen of the world...' will be on it as well... The Fossil Dungeon is still pretty new... and has it's hands full in promoting and releasing other unsigned artists in the Ethereal, dark ambient, industrial realms... as well, it is putting togther a compilation cd of some ther mp3 artists. k: Do You want to say anything about Eyescream Jewelry, - You look also a very skilled Jewel creator.. Phyll: I am self taught... and have had many a trial and error to figure things out. I feel adorning oneself is an extension of one's creative self expression... I view most pieces I create as Totem creations... which is why I tend to do a lot of insects or flying creatures... my jewels are not necessarily impulse purchases, people save up for them, or they just have to have them... (like they speak to them) I feel most pieces were almost made for the person who gets them... (even if I have never seen them before... kind of like my music... it is created for me in the moment... then someone else hears it... connects with it... thus it was created for them)...
(ps. k: hmmm, what's a 'capo'? I don't know it. Phyll: a Capo is something you press down on your strings like a clamp of some kind that changes the tone/pitch of your strings...)
interview done in agoust 2oo1 by paolo miceli, appeared on komakino#8
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