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Interview with Upcoming EMF Artist Jherek Bischoff


Jherek Bischoff will be headlining the first Ecstatic Music Festival concert of 2012, with guest vocalists David Byrne, Craig Wedren, Greg Saunier, Mirah, Zac Pennington and more! He was kind enough to submit to some email questioning...

  • What’s it like to work with David Byrne?

The coolest guy ever. He has inspired me so much through my life. His openness to collaboration and all kinds of creativity is something I will always aspire to.

When I received his vocal track for the record, I had just woken up. I put the song on headphones quietly and I actually woke up my girlfriend from my body temperature rising so high! It was a life changing moment to hear that collaboration come to fruition.

  • What’s it like to work with Wordless Music Orchestra?

Exciting! Terrifying!  I have always put together my own orchestra, each member handpicked and usually a close friend so this is a little different, but I am looking forward to making a bunch of new friends!

David Byrne, Wordless Music Orchestra

  • Tell us about your new album.

"Composed" is by far the most ambitious project I have ever worked on. All of the pieces started out on Ukulele (my composition instrument of choice) and I then expanded on these pieces and arranged them for full orchestra. I recorded the record myself with one microphone, a laptop and the first edition MBox. I have an incredible group of friends here in Seattle that play every instrument imaginable and I decided to take full advantage of that. I recorded each instrument, one at a time, creating layers and layers.... and layers. Sometimes having the violinist stack up to 30 of the exact same part on top of each other to create my own pieced together orchestra. I recorded each of the 25 collaborators in their own homes and would bike ride from one musician’s house to the next during the summer. It was great!

Going into this project, I wanted to really think of everything I have learned through my years of making music. I have learned at this point what excites me, what I feel I am good at, and what I dread in the process. Until now, I have always plowed through all of these feelings in order to gain this knowledge of myself, and this is the first time I have capitalized on all of this.

Two of the things I really don't enjoy are writing lyrics and singing. When I was composing these pieces, I was hearing very distinct voices in my head singing these songs, but never in a million years thought I would actually get to work with them. Fortunately, I had some friends willing to approach some of these singers for me, and for this I am eternally grateful. And to my amazement they all agreed. This is really an amazing honor, because only a few of these singers knew who I was, so the fact that they believed in the music enough to stick their neck out, is just so beautiful and inspiring.

  • What music or works of art do you turn to for inspiration?

John Jacob Niles, Kate Bush, Bjork, Prince, Arvo Part, Tony Williams, Alfred Schnittke, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke… and all the folks that played/sang on my record!

  • Best time/location to compose music?

Walking... anywhere.

  • My favorite city in the world is: Berlin

  • How do you feel about the term “alt classical” being used to categorize classical and indie music collaborations?

It's fine by me. Is that me?

  • Secret guilty pleasure?

Cooking shows. I love them. Reality ones, Educational ones, quality, terrible. It really doesn't matter. I love ALL cooking shows.

Collaborations that re-define music for the post-classical generation