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Interviews: Moldover

Moldover: Interview
May 2007
By: Lauren Jonik

In the same way that there are many ways to view a painting or appreciate the architecture of a building, there are many ways to not only hear, but to listen to a song. Sound collage artist Moldover challenges listeners to do just this. By combining often familiar tunes in varied and diverse ways, Moldover uses technology to push boundaries and enhance the experience of music itself.

By encompassing music of many styles, Moldover's work defies genre categorizations and while continually stretching the limits of his own creativity, carries the theme of making music more accessible and interactive. When asked about the instruments he uses, photo of Moldover copyright Lauren Jonikhe explains, "I play guitars and computers." Having studied computer music and composition at Berklee, much of Moldover's work focuses on the art of live performance. After realizing that there weren't many appropriate forums for other DJs and electronic artists to share their talents in front of an audience in NYC, Moldover, along with DJ Shakey (aka Julie Covello), began holding monthly events called Warper over a year ago. Now held at The Delancey, Moldover says that "Warper is an open forum for artists to do live electronic performance. It's inclusive which means that it builds community and it fosters creativity. There's less of a division between the performers and the audience. It attracts artists of all levels." While the styles of music vary, it is technology-oriented. In addition, Warper also includes video artists, educational workshops and artists of other disciplines," Moldover continues. "It's a community of artists coming together to build something that's not a consumer product. It's a place for people to create and have fun." At Warper, Moldover has used his own talents to blend everything from Bach with The Police to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with The Beastie Boys, all completely cohesively. Sometimes termed live-remashing or live remixing, Moldover describes it as "chopping up and spitting out my favorite bits of music live."

On the importance of performing live, Moldover deeply values the significance of sharing one's creations with others in the moment. He says, " I had a misconception for a long time that music is only a recorded thing. That's really just an outgrowth of the music industry and the necessity to sell a product to support the art. But, live music is the way it happens . It's not supposed to be a piece of perfection that you crystallize on vinyl or plastic. It's a connection and communication. It's a moment that's instantaneous and happens once. That's what real music is and why performance is important to me. It's a powerful thing."

Taking the philosophy that at its best, music is interactive, available and fun to a new level, Moldover has created the Octamasher, which allows eight people (even non-musicians) to simultaneously play with different sounds using controllers that are tied into one database that has hundreds of sounds and that coordinates all of the tracks to be in sync with each other. "The Octamasher is like a game. It was inspired from being at Burning Man where there's a lot of interactive art and art that brings people together and helps them to express and facilitate their own creativity." The Octamasher has appeared across the country and can be installed for private parties, special events, clubs and festivals and will appear at The Bergen County Teen Arts Festival on June 1st. Moldover also lends his DJ skills to entertaining and engaging audiences at a variety of events.

In the process of creating a solo album, Moldover has been turning his attention to drawing on the same huge palette of influences that has shaped his live sound collage work and using it to make an original creation. "It's got a lot of electronic elements because that's where a lot of my skills lie. It's trying to make the machines do human things. I love things that evolve continuously. I love layers. It's all really dense complex music. It's brought me back to what I love about music."

Connection, creativity and communication: these are the key elements that drive Moldover's work. "At the heart of what I want is to make music that people can understand and to make music that perpetuates music. Making it accessible is a part of that. The desire is there to educate and elevate and bring people up - not just mystify them with something weird or placate them with something they can easily consume."

Interview originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY (Issue #23 May 2007). Photo by Lauren Jonik. Reprinted with permission.