Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview / Contest: Dustin Wong

Dustin Wong
Dustin Wong's Infinite Love is out on Thrill Jockey next week, and is up for pre order now. A select number of folks who order the album will have a "golden ticket" within the record's packaging that will grant access to a special one-on-one concert with Dustin via video chat to be called Infi-NET Love.

Dustin Wong and Thrill Jockey were kind enough to give us a golden ticket to give away. Send an email to with INFI-NET LOVE in the subject line telling us why you should get the ticket, and we'll pick a winner.

I recently had the pleasure of asking Dustin about the concept of his new solo album, psychedelic experiences, the LP's accompanying DVD, bands, and more...

BMI: Infinite Love is two tracks that both start and end in the same place, but each take their own course in getting there. Tell us about the ideas behind this concept?

DW: There is definitely an idea of fate and choice, but I'm also interested in the idea of conditioning.  Ideally I'm hoping that when one switches from a version to the other an effect similar to a malfunctioned escalator would occur.  If you've ever gone down or up a stopped escalator its so strange and its kind of a shock, the stairs looks like its actually moving and you end up stumbling.  It happens to almost everybody.  I want that shift in the listening ear.

With this new double LP the listener is meant to choose their own course, what advice would you give listeners when they make these choices?

My advice is not to alternate the 2 versions at first, I would get situated with one version.  Stay with it for a while and if you feel like you got a lot out of it switch to the 2nd version.  I think that shift will happen once you change.

The name of the album, Infinite Love, is a reference to a psychedelic experience of yours. Would you care to tell us about that experience?

I ate a good amount of mushrooms on my birthday last year.  It started fine and fun but after a while the trip started get really dark and heavy.  Me and my partner started to chant and sway around, Then I decided that I had to lye down.  I think I said something like, "I'm going to give birth".  So I was on my bed pushing like a pregnant mom would, flexing, then it was just peace, and I felt the love.  I kept on repeatedly saying, "infinite love, infinite love... ".  It felt like I could do anything, it was amazing.  I experimented with salvia for a month or two this year and that has been really insightful as well, very interesting stuff.

A handful of folks who purchase your album will receive a one-on-one show from you via Skype, was this your idea? If so, what gave you this idea?

It was my idea, yeah, I've actually played for my friends via Skype before, for friends that are too far away to see me play.  Its just a really nice experience, you talk about the music or not even, we can talk about anything.

Do you think your music is meant to be connected on a more intimate level than other projects you've been involved in?

Its definitely a lot more intimate I think.  I am sitting down and the audience sits down too sometimes.  With ponytail, we liked to have the audience react physically, by dancing and bouncing but I think with my solo music its about dancing in your mind, like that Raincoats song.

While these are personal concerts you'll be giving, the audience and you will only be connected via technology. Is their any significance to this barrier? Do you feel that you'll be connecting with listeners in other ways?

I'm not too sure yet since i haven't done it with people who I have never met yet, but I think it would be wonderful if in the future we run into each other randomly.  We might become friends, who knows?

On your first solo record, Seasons, you noted on the back of the sleeve that it may take 7-9 other people to play the songs live. What was the process like learning to play these ideas in front of an audience?

The songs from Seasons are still unplayable, and I don't think I will ever play them.  I think the beauty of it is that the songs are literally forgotten how to play.  I think forgetting (especially ideas) is a way to give back to the aether.  The process for the music I've been playing live has been a slow development through Ecstatic Sunshine and Ponytail.  These were the bands that I started collecting effects pedals.  I think I might of started with a delay pedal and then I got a distortion pedal and an octave pedal.  Getting the loop pedal was a huge thing for me actually.  With a loop pedal you get to see different aspects of yourself musically, like a room full of mirrors.  So for a few years I would play with the loop pedal as a more therapeutic thing, then Andrew Laumann from Dope Body asked me to play a show, so I started writing actual song.

Infinite Love will be accompanied by a DVD with a music video for the entire piece. What kind of visuals and themes can we expect from this portion of the release? How was the video constructed?

I think you can expect some abstraction and a bit of a narrative.  There are some layering happening just like how  the music is.  The video was constructed with my friend Andrew Shenker.  We have been making videos for a few years now.  He had paper bags full of video tapes when we first began making these pieces.  Throughout the years we have accumulated hours and hours of footage and have been approaching them as found footage.  As we were constructing the video for the album, I think around the half way point I decided that there should be a narrative aspect.  We shot new footage for the narrative portion.  I'm really looking forward to hear what people's interpretations.

It seems you have a busy Fall season planned, what are some of the things you are most excited for?

I'm really excited to tour in November!  I'm gonna be touring with Avocado Happy Hour and Holy Ghost Party, so it should be really great.  I really love their music and I feel like they are one of the many awesome young musicians representing a new Baltimore sound.

What Baltimore bands are you digging right now?

Projects like Each Others, Run DMT, Winks, and Dope Body are all really fantastic.  I also feel like Matt Papich from Ecstatic Sunshine is doing some really refreshing stuff, his next record should be incredible.  Also my band-mate from Ponytail, Ken Seeno's solo music is really beautiful, I think he's wrapping it up soon so we'll probably hear about it soon :)

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