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Rosy Parlane

Rosy Parlane

Interviewed by
Chris Cudby
Thursday 20th June, 2013 3:03PM

Legendary Auckland-based sound artist Rosy Parlane will be making a rare live appearance this Saturday at the Audio Foundation, playing alongside sonic luminaries Rachel Shearer and Sean O'Reilly. With the new Willow 7” record via English label Touch under his belt, we sat down with the artist for a catch-up on what he's been up to...

Tell us about Willow

It’s out... finally! For a multitude of reasons it’s taken forever to be released. Both tracks are 3 or 4 years old now, which essentially makes it a historical document rather than a statement of current affairs. I’m pretty pleased with how it sounds though, and both pieces have had a solid presence in my live sets for the last few years, so it’s nice to finally get them out there.

How do you think your music practice has changed over time eg. from Thela (Parlane's early noise/drone trio with Dean Roberts and Dion Workman) to today?

I think in a lot of ways I’ve been fairly consistent in my methodology. I certainly put more time and effort into “finishing” things these days, and technological evolution obviously play a part, although I was never much of a gear-head to begin with.

Both of the Parmentier records (Parlane's duo with Dion Workman) and all of my early solo ones were essentially made with a couple of 4-track tape recorders and a guitar sampler pedal. These days I still use the computer in a fairly rudimentary way, with the same software I’ve had for years and years, but I’ve always quite liked the way that self-imposed restrictions force you to work a bit harder and be a bit more creative in how you approach putting something together.

Is there a theme with the names of your releases – Iris, Willow, Jessamine, etc? How do you title these works?

Naming records is like naming children… It’s one of those things that should be easy and enjoyable but the reality is just torturous and annoying. It’s my least favoured part of the whole process by quite some distance. Maybe if I made records with lyrics, or a narrative, or some sort of intended “message” it might be easier but I generally make long, slowly evolving instrumental music so ultimately any titles are just identifiers. There’s been quite a few “untitled” ones over the years but I do usually try to muddle out something that feels vaguely appropriate.

What stuff are you listening to right now?

I don’t listen to much recent music unless it’s sent to me or made by someone I know, and not much of what I do listen to would be termed “experimental”, mainly due to a lack of time to sit down and devote a decent amount of attention to it.

So listening selection becomes more of a comfort thing and I keep returning to the same bunch of obsessive mavericks I’ve been listening to for years… The Beach Boys, John Cale, Talk Talk, Michael Rother, Kraftwerk, John Fahey, Alice Coltrane, The Fall, Alex Chilton, Judee Sill, Neil Young, plus lashings of krautrock, folk, post-punk, Flying Nun records etc, etc.

I’ve been listening to quite a lot of the 80’s big studio records in recent times… Peter Gabriel, Scritti Politti, Trevor Horn productions, things like that. They’re made on an ambitious scale yet there’s an intense attention to detail happening in them which I really dig. But yeah, it changes day to day, like most people I’m sure. Last week it was the All Saints tracks that William Orbit produced, this week it’s Ulrich Schnauss.

Please tell us about your upcoming show with Rachel Shearer and Sean O'Reilly.

We’re all excellent, you should come. It’s on Saturday June 22nd at the Audio Foundation. There’s no particular reason behind it, but none of us play live very often so it’s nice to do so every now and again.

This is interview is proudly brought to you by The Audio Foundation.