[ interviews ]

Interview for Loop (Chile) Summer 2003
Loop: Which are the most interesting spaces where you like to perform?

Francisco López: I can tell you first which ones are the worst: music clubs. Probably a paradox caused by social behavior and its rampant non-respect for a non-utilitarian approach to music. It seems that a lot of people like to have some kind of "music" as a background for their activities, especially the ones that have to do with nightlife. Not that they care much for what they're listening to, but rather just one more element of the "decoration" of many places. Music clubs -even the ones featuring live music- have generally the worst sound systems. Systems designed to blast and overcompete the chattering of crowds; systems designed for traditional electronic instruments like guitars and amplified drums; systems designed for the traditional presentation of frontal sound coming from a frontal stage. Then it's the absurd separation between the ones producing the music on stage (the band or the artist) and the one controlling (the sound guy) what the band is listening on stage -through monitors- and what the audience is really hearing -through the main speakers, so the band never really knows what's actually happening with what they're doing, at least at a phenomenological level. This is an historically more or less direct translation from the tradition of opera/ theater onto rock/pop culture and then onto electronic culture (laptops/DJs on stage). And then it's the bar, which is obviously great for drinks, hanging out and chattering with friends, but too bad for music, at least the kind of music I'm interested in creating live.
Now, where can you find (or be able to get) a non-crappy, non-frontal sound system, a quiet dry environment, with flexibility for the set up and -what's even more essential- a focused mood in the audience?: modern theaters. Paradox again: the translation of theater conditions into music-devoted spaces gives rise to the worst conditions, whereas the incursion of music into the realm of modern theaters (meaning an open large space with flexible organization of the sound system and the audience) offers the best possibilities. To be sure, this is a very subjective perspective, based on my personal endeavour to create intense, rich, immersive experiences in sound, which optimally require surround systems, darkness, quietness and comfortable seats/matresses for the audience. This kind of flexible environment offers also the opportunity (although very few take advantage of it) of overcoming the classical separation of stage/sound board, by simply being in the middle of the sonic field, with the audience.

Loop: What is the difference between the quiet sounds and the more extreme ones? Do they have a conceptual explanation?

Francisco López: Quiet sounds are also "extreme". At least that's my finding with the reactions of a lot of people to very quiet or subtle sonic material. Since we live in a world overwhelmingly filled with noise and music-as-noise, subtle things produce more flabbergasted reactions -even aggresive ones- than harsh loud sound. For reasons unknown to me, this leads to a common misinterpretation of silence and quiet sonic events as having some kind of hidden "conceptual" content. It is my belief that this has to do with the limited conception of narrow dynamics in most music standards. This applies to many sound creative frameworks such as the volume dynamics, the frequecy range, the timbral palette and the pace of unfolding for sonic events. When music is a commodity for background "ambience", for dance, for radio broadcast, for big live shows with crowds, and so on, the constrains (mostly unnoticed) keep holding a strong grip on us. When music is a world in itself, the territories are vast and thrilling. We can go from -60dB to 0 dB and feel all what is happening, we can endure deserts and oceans of 10 minutes of silence, we can flow in mountain and abyss crescendos of 40 minutes, we can walk on thin shreds of thin air or be smashed by dense waterfalls and things like that, which I do in my pieces. There's nothing conceptual on this, but rather an immense spiritual universe of open possibilities, or at least this is what I forcefully try to create.

Loop: What motivation[s] do you had when you started producing music?

Francisco López: I think this is an impossible question for any real musician or" sonicist" (which I prefer as a term). The "motivation" has to be intuitively in your blood. Otherwise, you can always learn how to play an instrument or how to develop sound software but you'll never be able to play and live with the sonic beast.

Loop: I guess your music represents different moods depending on the places/spaces you play it?

Francisco López: I have no interest in "representing" anything specific with my music. I actually have a strong commitment to do just the opposite; that is, to develop a sonic world that is so devoid of meaning and purpose that it can be completely open for individual experience. A blank phenomenological terrain where everyone is compelled to create and move through.

Loop: What kinds of musical ideas/projects would you like to develop?

Francisco López: I want to touch layers of spirit that are normally dormant. I like to get lost in a confusing world with blurred horizons. I want to be flowing inside the sound instead of listening to it. I want to be constantly devoured by a multiform sonic beast that gives me life and death.