INTERVIEW R. STEVIE MOORE
Monday 11 June 2012 at 11:29 am
We talked to the hardest working man in the music business, the godfather of home-recording, R. Stevie Moore about playing vs. working.
He’s called ‘the godfather of home-recording’, ‘a veteran progressive popster’ and the ‘Pope of lo-fi’, to name just a few of his nicknames. Whatever you call him, R Stevie Moore is probably the hardest working man in the business. Since the early ’70s he’s continuously produced and self-distributed more than 400 recordings. The album Phonography (1976) was named one of the fifty most significant indie records by Rolling Stone magazine. Still he remains virtually anonymous, despite being ‘the one and only original gangsta composer!’ Mr Moore was so kind as to make some time in his busy touring schedule to reply to our questionnaire about playing vs. working.
‘Play is such hard work.’
Questionnaire by Brenda Bosma
Photos shot in Nashville by -max- of nyc
1) You probably give new meaning to the proverb ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. What kind of boy are you?
a. A Harry Potter in his late twenties
b. The boy who from a distance watches the other boys play marbles and listens to the sound of the little balls rolling over the tiles and falling into the holes, all while winding up loose cassette tape with a pencil
c. Other: me? A work hater! A Harry Potter hater, too. Anyone who dares to call me dull must work a shift at my store. A long shift. Clean and spotless. But answer ‘b’ sounds a lot like me, yeah.
2) Do you feel that what you’re doing is hard labour or is it more like an extended office lunch break with chitchats about the weather and nice hot cacao?
a. It feels like a regular day job, but one where there’s no pension plan
b. It has aspects of labour involved – especially when it comes to the administration – but everything else is a doozy, really
c. Other: this is for me again? Okay, let me see. I hate work. That said, ‘b’ is the correct answer.
3) I read you’ve written songs inspired by masturbation or an ironic sandwich. What kind of sandwich might that be?
a. Anything with a hint of mustard on it
b. I meant a cynical sandwich
c. Other: Me? Mustard? Love my mustard, but not during masturbation. Irony is cynicism? Eight days a week? Surely there must be mayonaise. Songs are inspired by everything. Am I alone on this?
4) I can also imagine you find ideas in silence and the air being blue. Do you want to tell us a bit about where your ideas come from?
a. Do you have a minute?
b. It’s everywhere, it’s in the glance of the sandwich-bar employee when being asked if I want mustard on my bun, to the sound of a faucet leaking
c. Other: I assume you are asking me, never fully certain about this. My song ideas come from everywhere. Turn around, see that? That’s me back there, stealing another new song idea from behind you! I’m the one and only original gangsta composer.
5) You play an incredible array of styles. What kind of music would you never want to make?
a. I’d play anything, I’m an omnivore
b. This hipster thing called relaxwave or something
c. Other: best answer is a+b. It has been scientifically determined that rsm embraces all styles, a peculiar habit which has sadly gone extinct in the modern era. Life is a mixtape, or die. File under diversity wave. But… it’s really not that complicated!
6) You’ve recording over 400 albums. Do you have a number in your head that you wish to tackle?
a. The first ten were quite tough, the rest came to me as a gift
b. I feel I could do another 400
c. Other: surely you jest, you can’t be referring to me. Yeah? Yeah! Let’s choose answer b. I have over 400 b/c I’ve been taping sound diaries since 1066, do the math. Take the bad with the good. Pfftt, numerical predictions frankly are pointless though, agreed? Fishing tackle can be complicated. Rocket science for some.
7) One album is called The Future is Worst than the Past from 1999. Do you in the meantime think the future is looking brighter for you?
a. Yes, I see the world as my playground
b. I see some dark clouds coming ahead every once in a while, but most of the time I’m too old and too distracted to worry about such a thing
c. Other: b. Days change. Still, I’m 10,000 years old. 2012 Is turning out +97% pure gold days. Worry is wasted on the young. How is your future turning out today?
8) As you do everything yourself, from the recording and the making of the home videos to the mailorders, do you ever get out of your bedroom?
a. I have a toilet in my room as well
b. Only for touring
c. Other: doc says I must take daily walks and stretches, preferred outdoors. I like to stay home, but… it’s really not that complicated!
9) What would be a perfect non-work related activity? Is there even one?
a. Everything I do is play so I can’t think of any
b. Because of my tight touring schedule, spending time with my family feels like a job sometimes. But I like watching Scandinavian detective series with my wife
c. Other: I forget. Play is such hard work.
10) What does the ‘R’ in your name stand for?
b. I got the letter ‘R’ from Ariel Pink as a birthday gift, you know like Jonny Greenwood got Thom Yorke an ‘H’
c. Other: roadkill! Or rebecca black history month or rihanna roosevelt reacharound rotisserie rosenberg religious rectal rimjob rapefest recordings. Survived by the seat of my pants, the skin of my teeth, and have hung on by the barest thread. Catch me.
R Stevie Moore plays on 14 June at WORM in Rotterdam and on 16 June at Bitterzoet in Amsterdam. Both shows are free for Subbacultcha! members.