Interview with Daniel Menche by Wojciech Mszyca Jr., December 2006.
Q: The name of your blog is "What does blood sound like?". Are you trying to answer that question with your music?
DM: Well no, not really... I like confusing questions and strange sentences that provokes curiosity. The questions that really cannot be answered that is, but with some imagination new fictitious answers can be created. The title is really a light minded metaphor of sorts.
Q: Why is blood so important to you?
DM: I like the symbol of blood: "LIFE". I am not a fan of death really. So my music is very full of life and energy. I wish to have sound be as alive as possible and when performing I wish for the sound to rush out of the speakers like a tidal wave of blood. Submerge the listener in blood. I do not see blood as any connection to death or violence at all. Quit the opposite really.
Q: Your discography looks really impressive. If someone not familiar with your music would like to get to know it, where should one start? Are there any albums that you consider crucial, more important than the others?
DM: Well I hope that anyone can begin anywhere with one of my recordings and enjoy them equally. Yet the most recent recordings are most exciting to myself. I enjoy confusing the listener with my diversity of recording styles and even more confusing with my performing because that is very different from my recordings too. Being constantly ever changing and diverse is important for my music. I do not find any of my recordings more "important" than another. Every single one of my recordings have been very focused and much work put into it. So for anyone to pick one of my recordings they will get a recording that much blood and sweat was put into it.
Q: I would like you to tell us something about the differences in your approach to playing live and recording albums. It seems that your live shows are totally different from your records.
DM: Yes that is true and again it confuses many audiences and thats good I think. To perform music in an unorthodox manner that the audience may expect to be from past or future recordings. Replicating songs or music live is very boring because there is no surprises or nothing shocking. Much like watching a circus acrobat performing with safety nets and cables... that's not exciting for the audience. But performing completely unexpectedly and without "artistic safety nets" of replicating songs is exciting. None of my performances have been recreated from past or future recordings. So its always a bit unique and one of a kind experience and ideally artistically "dangerous"... meaning no artistic safety net. Live is live and no two performance are a like. I really do not wish to have my concerts recorded for future recording releases because I believe in the live experience being intimate to the audience and a one of a kind unique experience. Mostly its a good experience but I have had a good amount of bad performances too: but again thats part of the "danger" of live performances. No artistic safety nets of say "Oh, he performed that song from that one album very good" It more like "What the hell was that! I was not expecting that at all!". I have been told by some audiences that they cannot listen to my recordings after seeing me live because the live experience was so powerful and intimate that a recording cannot compare. That is a good compliment actually! But there is some few cases of the opposite: "Did not like your performance but I love your recordings" is what few have said before. That's ok. Audiences personal perception is not something to compete with. You just give it your best and strongest and hopefully a good performance will occur. I do perform two different manners: Sit down style where I simply mix and manipulate sounds in a traditional manner with subtle physical voice and body sounds. Then there are the very intense wild physical performances where its my body as a percussion instrument and my voice. This type of performance is what most people know me for: The wild man noise preacher!
DM: Most concerts of other electronic/experimental musicians throughout the 90s of were very conservative and very "safe" to watch and also to listen. So when I would perform along with conservative style musicians I would be rather physically unrestrained when performing and shock audiences how I would nearly kill myself on stage because I really wanted to express my music as lively and energetically as possible. I have and still do perform very emotional and intensely spiritual rather than intellectual or "safe". But its true now that most other younger electronic /experimental concerts is mostly physical now! And thats good to see. Its funny to say that now that I prefer to perform conservative and not very extremely physical and watch the the young ones kill themselves on stage instead. Its true that spiritual intensity is dominating and the intellectual music is going away and thats good to see. I protest intellectualism in art and music. Music is used to create soul. Intellectualism just prevents achieving that goal: Shut the mind off and just listen. It is about feeling and not about thinking. The whirling dervishes of the Sufis or the southern snake handling preachers are a good example of this in a strange way. There's a comparison to them and myself when I perform but without the dogma religion.
Q: You music is very serious, while you have a lot of distance to yourself.
DM: I do believe in what the great writer Hubert Selby Jr once said: "The writer has no right to be there in the work. I don't have any right to impose myself between the people I'm creating on the page and the reader... and that, the responsibility of the artist is to transcend the human ego". - Hubert Selby Jr. I share that same belief and I do believe in dropping all of my "self" when performing so that all that exits is sound and energy. When the ego gets mixed with any art it becomes contaminated. Its so often that people use music to simply "amplify their egos" and really should be about amplifying blood... amplifying life... amplifying soul.
Q: Does humor belong to music?
DM: Of course! Anything can belong in music. Yet comedy is much like beauty. When someone says something is beautiful or comedic; that is contained in their own personal senses and not contained in the art itself. Beauty and or comedy lives in our circuitry of our minds.
Q: Reading you blog, looking at your albums' names and listening to your music, I got an impression that you are inspired by the power of wild nature. Am I right?
DM: Yes very much! I have always lived here in the Pacific Northwest of America. The land here is dominated by nature and I spend much time in forests and gardens. Urban cities are far from appealing to me. Its difficult to get inspiration from the ugly man made world.
Q: To record "Animality", you have used the drum made by Native Americans. Is it just about it's sound or is there some story behind it? Are you - generally speaking - interested in primal, tribal or so called "primitive" music?
DM: Native American drums are superb for rich resonating sounds due to the animal skin used. For Animality I used a large drum with moose skin for powerful deep bass sounds and then also a elk skin drum for penetrating mid sounds. Much of the higher sounds are from "residue" noise of these drums. Much like how Native Americans use ALL of the animals skin, bones, fur and meat. Even tho there is killing involved there is an devout appreciation and divine gratitude to nature. All of the possible sounds I could create with these drums I used for Animality. There is also some of my voice sounds in there too.
Q: What can we expect from you in the near future?
DM: Collaborating with other musicians is my primary focus and I am very much looking forward to the outcome of these various collaborations. I cannot properly name the musicians of these collaborations because its always uncertain whether anything will eventually exist and that is a fun challenge actually. Maybe it will work... maybe it won't. But I have faith all of them will see the light and will be exciting recordings. Also I enjoy collaborating live and I hope to do that more often in the future with other musicians. With so many solo recording I hope to step over to film and music and hopefully start releasing DVDs. Multimedia may be a new road to walk down for myself. We'll see about that.