Monday, April 15, 2013

Interview: Hal Hutchinson


[PURESTENCH : When did you start getting into Noise/Industrial/PE music? ]

I can't remember exactly when but I think it was (and still is) a gradual process over time, whilst looking for new music that genuinely interests, stimulates and excites me.

[PURESTENCH : Hal Hutchinson, the project itself, has been around for quite some time. our later output seems to have a different sound and aesthetic than your older material. The main culprit seems to be metal/junk and found sounds, what is it that made you make a transition to this style? What is it about metallic sounds and textures that you find most appealing? ]

Hal Hutchinson is my real name.When I first started making sounds when I was a teenager I didn't even consider releasing anything, I was just experimenting with field recordings, synths, found objects,etc.The first few D.I.Y labels I got in touch with seemed suitable to release similar kinds of 'experiments', not as what you could call 'proper' releases (CDR,very small or 'private' editions of self dubbed tapes,etc) and that suited the approach at the time.

After a couple of years I gradually started recording more scrap metal objects,and sounds I could make from items I found,so they were unique.There were of course reasons for this : Sounds I wanted to hear as opposed to what I was hearing, and those I had heard before and wanted to incorporate,so trying to balance the lines of influence and imagination, so to speak.Also, to present some kind of progression within the work itself to provide a groundwork for future works.

What I find most appealing about metallic sounds and textures is the variety of sounds you can procure from them.You can convey a large palette of sounds with metal that range from sheer aggression to the more calculated and clinical and everything in between.It is also unpredictable in it's own way as a material.Depending on what you're doing with it and the nature of the particular pieces you're working with, it can be dangerous,it can be physically heavy,it can injure you, it can make you have to work very hard to achieve what you want from it,but the end result is very satisfying if you reach you're desired outcome, which sadly I never have.I think that it was and is the danger aspect of metal that attracts me to it most,and the risk of failure in what i'm trying to achieve.

[PURESTENCH : You termed your approach to some of your later releases as "Factory of Metal Sound", which was also the name of one of your releases, what does that mean? Do you have a special technique or method when it comes to the creation of your material? ]

'Factory Of Metal Sound', which was released by Banned Production was the first attempt I made at trying to re-add a form of structure to recording scrap metal sound,and to try and achieve the sound I wanted to with regard to presenting the element of progression to what had been done before by people like TNB, K2, Macronympha or Grunt, for example.

There has always been a very 'free form' approach to recording scrap metal sound and I wanted to add something new.I had heard other people working with scrap metal sound and there were sounds they were not getting that I wanted to hear.Other releases that used this approach were 'Corrupted Scrap' which was released by Freak Animal Records and 'Wreckage & Reconstruction' which was released by Unrest Productions.'Factory Of Metal Sound' is the name of the technique I developed to try and achieve this.

Sadly, it didn't come off and those recordings failed in their objective.I came close to getting what I wanted, but didn't. Since then however, I came very near to getting the sound I desired on some recordings I made entitled 'Wreckage Installations & Metalworks', of which there are seven parts.At the time of this writing they are unreleased but they should be available in the somewhat near future.

As for technique in general I try and do my best to achieve the sound I want to by working towards it in a sort of 'trial and error' process.In some respect, chance will work for you, but it does not always.If I have a particular idea for something in my head I usually know more often than not what I need to get it, but actually executing and getting what you want in terms of the actual process usually ends up a little differently to how you imagined it in the first place.

[PURESTENCH : How would you describe what you do to someone who doesn't listen to Noise/Industrial or have the slightest clue about these things? ]

I generally try to avoid that situation, but sometimes it's inevitable that someone who might not be aware of your particular interest wants to know more about it,they are curious, which is just human nature.I usually try and describe it as 'Soundtrack' type material, to cover all bases and to stop them asking more, but more often than not the person does want to know more and i'm often pleasantly surprised when they are actually more knowledgeable than you think.However, you do get plenty of ignorance, and this is what I assume at first. I usually find those kind of conversations very boring actually, so as I said I try to avoid the subject with some people all together if I can.At the same time I don't try to hide my interests from others.

[PURESTENCH : Junk metal abuse and acoustics seems to be a small "niche" which wouldn't come across as having a lot of potential for expansion and experimentation, yet each of your releases is different from the other and these changes and nuances are palpable when listening. Why is this?]

What one may call 'industrial' music has been using elements such as scrap metal since the start (and metal has found it's way into music in many other ways before that) but in my opinion, a great deal of what came in the years immediately afterwards was people trying to emulate and expand on what they had heard before which was someone trying to place (in this case metal), within a musical context, and trying to contribute that to part of a composition or audial narrative.Either that or they were simply doing what I sometimes do and were using all they could get their hands on at the time.

The sounds of machinery & mechanics are things we encounter everyday.They bury themselves in the unconscious.When these sounds are remembered,unlocked and articulated they manifest themselves in different ways,depending on what the recordist is attempting to achieve.

Other recordists that appeared later wanted to break down these structural barriers and present (metal) in a somewhat more 'free form' or what one might call an ordered chaotic state, and what I have tried to do is bring both approaches together in some way,to have the structure incorporated (for example in the form of crushing mechanized sounding loops) with more 'illustrational' parts additional to that.This is just one way I have approached the problem of trying to present something new.As for each release being different from one another, that depends on the sound I am looking to achieve at any one given time,and at the same time trying to progress in some way from previous efforts.

[PURESTENCH : Do you play live shows? If so how many have you done and is there a difference in how you play live as opposed to recording? ]

It's very rare that I play live.I have not done many shows.Yes, there is a difference.In the studio you have the benefit of being able to re-wind,edit and erase,etc but when playing live different things count so I try and make live shows more primitive with regard to equipment.However, as I get more confident I want to work more elements into the live approach.

[PURESTENCH : You have put out material on several different formats such as CD/CDr and tape. What do you feel is the best medium/format for your music? ]

In an ideal world I would prefer vinyl & pro format CD, but all formats serve their purposes.Many frown upon CDR for example...It depends, if something is well presented and the material is good, I do not see a problem.As I said though, I have my personal preferences.

[PURESTENCH : If I am not mistaken you run the label Der Bunker. What made you start your own label? What are some of the things which you enjoy or do not enjoy about having your own label and releasing you own material as opposed to making it for another label?]

I decided to end Der Bunker in 2011.I may revive it for specific project plans, but only if it is deemed fit for purpose.I have issued a couple of tapes under the release platform / moniker of 'Savage Discharge', and worked on a recording project of the same name.It remains to be decided if I will continue with that.There are of course good and bad points to releasing things yourself, obviously the issue of time and money is first and foremost but the benefit of releasing things yourself is that you have 100% creative control over anything you do.Also, if you know someone who acts as   a reliable distributor you can approach them to help you achieve your goals.Doing things myself this way has taught me many valuable lessons in how to , and how not to do things with regards to business affairs, but sometimes it's good to learn the hard way.Once bitten,twice shy.Sometimes releasing things yourself can be very satisfying if your find success, but it can be a very disheartening process if you don't get what you want.However, success should only be defined by ones own terms.

Promoting things yourself in this way is fine, but with the sheer amount of people out there just releasing anything and everything you have to work very hard to push through and get to where you want to be.There is so much dirge out there.The material you release has to be as good as you can make it.You must do your best to kill the competition.Music is war.

[PURESTENCH : Is there a need for a consumer or audience in order for you to feel "complete" about your work, or do you think you would still do this even if no one would ever hear it or record it? ]

I do what I do first and foremost for me,and for my own satisfaction.Presenting what i've done to a 'consumer' or any audience is neither an essential or necessary part of the process at all.Anything i've done has already served it's own purposes, even if it remains unreleased.I certainly don't release everything I do.This would put me in danger of releasing things for the sake of it and those works becoming a commodity.I would feel the same about what i've done if only I ever heard it and I don't do what I do with other people in mind.There is something very satisfying about keeping recorded material clandestine from others, even if it is kept out of nothing but genuine spite towards the so called 'underground' music scene and the torpid cunts that haunt it.

[PURESTENCH : What are your personal favorite releases that you have put out and why? ]

The upcoming collaboration with Shift , entitled "Full Weight Of The Opposition" is something I am particularly proud of.The collaboration work with Mania came out very well.There are a few I like very much.

[PURESTENCH : Are there any consistent themes which run through your work? What type of ideas, emotions or subjects do you want to convey to the listener through your "music", if any?]

I try and present to the listener things that involve me and excite me, but mixed together with an element of obscurity that blurs any easy answers.

[PURESTENCH : What are the plans this year (2013) for Hal Hutchinson? ]

There are two live shows planned: One in Prague with Shift, S.T.A.B Electronics and Iron Fist Of The Sun,and one in London with Consumer Electronics.The Prague show will also be the launch show of the Shift / Hal Hutchinson collaboration 10'' entitled 'Full Weight Of The Opposition'.There are other new releases planned along with a re-issue of some collaborative material on CD.I have also been thinking about doing some private edition releases along with working on other projects but details remain to be decided.Stay tuned.

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