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Interview With Step














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I first heard from Step ages ago, back in the very early days of the Nightwaves zine. This would have been around 1999. At the time, he was recording and releasing his own distinct brand of homemade electronics under the moniker Individual #6079. He sent me a copy of his CD "Lacklustre", and over the years I have enjoyed listening to it countless times. It is an engaging mix of flea market Casio keyboards and found sounds discovered on cassettes abandoned at the Salvation Army.

Recently I was compelled to try and track down this very creative young man and see what he is up to nowadays. I didn't have much hope that his almost decade old e-mail address would still be functioning, but lo and behold, it was! I was ecstatic to learn that Step is still keeping himself very busy with numerous musical projects.

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1. What process do you follow when you compose your pieces?

Set and setting are very important. I don't so much
compose as just "do". They say composition is just
improv in slow motion, and since all we have is the
now, why try to pretend otherwise?

2. When did you start making music?

The doctor spanked me when I was born. I cried. My
father pushed record on a tape recorder once and I
imitated his actions. That's about all I remember.

3. Do you still release material under the name Individual 6079?

Individual 6079 was an exercise in isolation and
loneliness. In some ways is was successful, but of
course the results could be described as disastrous.
Nowadays I write, record and perform, but the act of
polluting the world with more "stuff" and bits of
plastic makes me be very cautious.

4. I noticed that you use tapes and other sources
that you find at second-hand shops. Do you think a
"found sound" aesthetic is important for your sound?

I used to collect old tapes that people made of
themselves, recording themselves on Christmas or
children singing into recorders for the first time.

I think Found sound is really my attempt to increase
the unpredictable levels. More accidents means more
chance for the unknown to come through.

5. What gear/equipment do you use to create your music?

I just got a parabolic microphone that I am excited to
play with. Although I use digital for doing
recordings in the woods and such, I prefer tape when
it comes to recording at home. Something is truly
lacking in digital recording and you can hear it deep
within your soul. Like the whole vinyl versus CD debate,
you can try to hide it but it's still lacking life.
The music/electronics industry will convince
consumers to buy really expensive equipment and high
end audiophile gear to simulate warm sound, when all
your really buying is the illusion of something that is
naturally available in a regular old turntable.

6. What musical artists do you enjoy listening to?
Do you have any influences?

I love some music. Music and music history fascinates
me, I read a lot of biographies, but they all tend to
be about the same old artists, I have read enough
about Brian Wilson and the Stones, somebody please
write some books on like Alice Coltrane or Robbie
Basho.

7. Do you think there is enough support for
independent artists in Canada today, or would you
like to see more?

Canada is enslaved by a global economic machine that
hates art and imagination. The world is deceived by
money and the art-as-entertainment illusions in mass
media. There is also a huge mess of people creating
these entertainment products to get riches or power.
The artists who brand themselves as business will
always be more economically successful as their
motivations are money. Wading through all of this is
difficult. Canada as a society really has very little
support for artists in a meaningful and personally
affecting way. But, this lack of support is also what
make the purely authentic even better.

8. I understand you recently spent some time on the
east coast. How does life here differ from life on
the west coast?

Coffee. The chemical undercurrent of this refined
bean fuels the West coast. Aside from that I love the
East and want to spend more time there.

9. You mentioned that you will soon be starting
your own label. What lead you to do this?

I'm in the process of starting a label after doing a
radio show for a couple years.
I love music and want to support it however I can.

10. Would you say that you have a persistent need
to be creative, or do you ever experience creative
dry spells?

Creativity comes in waves, my desire to create is a
desire to live.

11. How would you describe your sound to someone
who has never heard your material?

"It is confusing and unlikable, you might enjoy it."

12. What else can we expect from you in the near
future?

I'm playing on and off with some great jazz influenced
dudes who I love to death. Too many people to name
but they know who they are.

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