John Frusciante, November 2020, by Kathryn Vetter Miller
Interviews

Interview for Libération: “Sound is the Truth of Music”

Another John interview has arrived, this time it’s for the French newspaper, Libération. In fact, it was published a couple of days before the Italian one, but we have been struggling to get the translation done. In an unexpected turn of events, the author has allowed us to publish the original interview in English, pre-translation. Many thanks to Guillaume Gendron for this – and for having conducted a great interview with the maestro himself; and many thanks to OSMOSE who has arranged this. It’s an honour!

In the interview, John talks about the release of Maya, his history of interest and eventually creation of electronic music, what is he trying to achieve with it as opposed to what people did before him and – this one will interest the folks who (still) reject his non-rock endeavours – the differences and similarities between playing guitar in Red Hot Chili Peppers and being a “guitar hero” and being an electronic musician. He reveals what he composed during the lockdown and how he sees himself as a musician.

This has got to be the best interview since 2009 or so.

Here are some great statements:

I’m trying to apply a new spirit to some old ideas. There are people who are great at recreating old Hardcore and Jungle and I’m not one of them. Jungle is my favorite music to listen to, but I try to chop it up and re-contextualize it in a way that’s fresh. My beats go further into abstract territory than is normal for Jungle, and the things I do with synths are also outside of that box. Some have said that Maya is closer to IDM, and though the intention was to make a modern version of Jungle, I wouldn’t disagree with that.

I’ve used music to escape reality since as far back as I can remember. My music has always been a celebration of unreality, and my ignorance and disconnection from the so-called real world has always been the basis for my artistic perspective.

To me, all ambitious music is about pushing the boundaries of sound. Sound has always been the true reality of music. Notes and rhythms are only symbols. If you’re going to say something new with music you’re going to say it with sound, so I like working in electronic music where the artist’s expression is what comes out of the speakers, with no one except the ghosts in the machines in between.

My means of expression has kept changing, but I’m really just a person who loves music and wants to be a part of it, and that stays consistent.

I always played guitar, even when I stopped using it in my music. I used to spend a lot of time writing songs with lyrics, and about ten years ago, making music on machines replaced that. But since rejoining the band I’ve been contributing to the songwriting process in the same way that I always did with them, while continuing to make electronic music as well.

To read the entire interview in our soon-to-be-fixed press archive, click here.

The photograph used for this news item is the same one used with the original article and it was taken in Calabas, California by Kathryn Vetter Miller, November 01st. See more work from the artist at katie-miller.net (warning: not safe for work).

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