Mon, Dec 17 2018
Interview with: CURSOR CLUB
Date: August 2000
The Sonic Alchemy of Cursor Club: An Interview with Garrett Parks
The Cursor Club label, founded by Garrett Parks, has released a couple of mysterious EP’s with electronic music.
All are simply packaged and come under different guises such as Crown Invisible, CC: Dome and Giovanni Fibilini. These albums contain delicately shaped atmospheric music with strong minimal elements.
The outcome arises from just a few musical fragments that are refined, reshaped or transformed with each piece.
Garrett, can you first of all tell what The Cursor Club is all about, and how it came out so surprisingly out of the blue? Where do you fit in ? Are there already any goals set by the Cursor Club label?
The Cursor Club is a music collective, basically. A group of us got together to make music, pretty much all electronic.
We've done cds, music for dance, film scores, etc. We also do a little bit of graphic design through our graphic design wing, Studio 323. And we're a record label as well, of course.
As to why we came out so surprisingly strong out of the blue, I don't know.... We just got together and started putting out music and things started to happen.
It's not really that simple, but...... I'm glad you think so though, that we came so strong out of the blue I mean. I'm not really sure that's true, though. I would have liked us to be further along, sales and output wise, than we are now.
Regarding where I fit in: well, let's just say that all creative and business decisions go through me.... , I'm the visionary behind the label and/or its creative processes.
As far as our goals go, one of the main things I'd like to see is for us to have better distribution than we have now. That's probably our main goal at the moment. I'd like to see all our releases in major record stores throughout the world, which we don't have yet, by a long shot.
Right now we're available through catalogues like Backroads and Echodisc in the United States, Groove Unlimited and CD Services in Europe and Great Britain, Peopletree.com on-line, etc.
I like that, but I'd like to see us in the Towers and Virgins and things like that. It's a little complicated because we're putting out shorter form cds in sleeves, not jewel boxed full-length cds, and they're not as easy to market from the retailers standpoint, but the full-lengths are coming out soon and they'll be more marketable hopefully.
We'd also would just basically like to keep putting out good music, and have people like it enough to buy it and enable us to keep doing it.
What is the actual reason that Cursor Club and its products only wants to focus on the music, although their are different projects featured on it?
I'm not quite sure what this question means, but if you're asking why we try to stay as anonymous as possible through all this on a personal level, it's because we would really just like to keep the focus on the music as opposed to those making it.
The anonymity gives us the freedom to put out different projects in different genres, and it gives us a tremendous freedom as far as writing and producing, which is probably the most important aspect of it. It's also a kind of time saving thing as well.
It's a real pain in the ass doing the business and promotional end of things, and if we can keep things kind of anonymous personally, it let's us devote a little bit more time to what we really like to do, which is the music. The business end can be fun in and of itself though -- I'm kind of enjoying that aspect of it -- but it does get a little time consuming and, you know, you only have so many hours in the day and so it just helps us do what we want to do.
Until now, three different projects have been released: Crown Invisible, CC:Dome and Giovanni Fibilini. Can you tell me something more about them, what is their background, why aren't there any real track titles listed on the cds?
Well, let me see. So far, we have three releases by Crown Invisible, two by CC: Dome, and the Giovanni Fibilini. All the bands come out of the resources of the Cursor Club, the collective itself, with the exception, of course, of Fibilini, who, legend has it, is now living in a cave somewhere in the mountains of Italy, writing music on toy synthesizers powered by car batteries.
People can be kind of interchangeable, everybody steals or borrows from everybody else, etc., but all basically under one vision -- mine.
So, as far as background goes, that's about it.
As to why there aren't any real track titles, that's interesting because that's changing a little now. Basically we don't want any emotional baggage attached to the music, especially our emotional baggage. People can bring whatever they want, emotionally or otherwise, onto it.
There's no title that says, you know, Snow Falling on Cedars in Winter, which implies a very certain thing, something like that, so we just give the pieces letters and/or numbers, and let people put their own - what they want to bring to a piece of music, let them bring it without us telling them this is what it's about.
The Fibilini cd has titles like "Waltz" and "Polka" and the like on it, the others all have letters/number combinations. We are, however, starting to name them a bit now because it's getting to be a little confusing to us as we get more and more material, sometimes we can't remember which is "V14" or "V15", so now we're putting subtitles on some of them, and it makes them easier for us to remember what's what. The new CC:Dome has three or four subtitles on it, I think.
Garrett, can you, by any chance, explain what is the musical difference between Crown Invisible (CI) and CC:Dome, their initial approachtowards music?
Yes, I can. There was a -- much too cerebral -- review that called CC:Dome's music "episodic impressionism at it's best". My immediate reaction was, you know, this person has entirely too much time on their hands; but after thinking about it a while, I thought, well, that's really not that bad of a description.
The music is episodic, rather minimal, a little more adventurous than the Crown Invisible, with very slight Middle Eastern elements, more drones, etc.
The Crown Invisible is kind of a combination between Tangerine Dream and Percy Faith, which is kind of a wild combo. It's pretty melodic. Percy Faith was the guy who did Theme From a Summer Place -- (and other instrumental hits) back in the 1950's -- very lush string melodies, etc.
The Fibilini is the most eclectic, harder to describe, kind of like lo-fi Italian film music. "The Waltz" being a little bit of an exception on that cd. "The Waltz" is actually quite an old piece.
Are their any plans for the label itself? Will there be more projects next to Crown Invisible and CC: Dome? Are there any specific rules before one might fit into the Cursor Club-concept (if something like this should exist)?
As to the first part of the question, "are their any plans for the label itself?" Yes, lots. Get better distribution and put out lots more records are the biggest priorities.
"Will there be projects next like Crown Invisible and CC Dome?" Again, lots, hopefully. There's a brand new project in the works, called This Maiden Sorrow.; it's pretty cool.
It's almost all written and it's kind of - I don't know how to describe it exactly except to say it's ambient/gothic music. It's coming out pretty well so far, we like it a lot.
There's also a project called Station 3 that might come along. Station 3 seems to be a one hit wonder at present. The song might go on an Odds and Ends/Sampler type cd sometime in the future, or maybe an MP3 or downloadable free song, etc
We also have another project that we haven't been able to really make work yet, called Cracks a Noble Heart, It's really harsh/out there backgrounds with beautiful melodies on top, a real yin/yang, beautiful/ugly project and it hasn't - it really hasn't worked yet.
I don't know, we may have to go more one way or the other with it. It started out being screaming feedback with these beautiful melodies over it, but it just - it's not working, so that's another project that might come along.
There are some other things coming out soon. One will be our first full-length release, Best of the Cursor Club, which will have the best one or two cuts from all the six previously released cds. And so far I'm really proud of this. I look back on this and it's like: Geez, this is some really good work here.
There also soon will be a full-length Crown Invisible, which will have all the cuts on the first two Crown Invisibles and maybe one or two of the remixes, as well as some new material, and all the previous stuff will be redone. For example, "V-1", the first piece on the first Crown Invisible is now twice as long and it's an almost totally different piece. And the ones that won't change that much, "V3" , "V8", "V13", etc., they'll be remixed at least, as we get better at doing that, and our equipment gets better.
Hopefully the results will just be bigger and better versions of the previous cuts as well as lots of new material, and that will be a full-length. The next CC:Dome is also partially done. It might turn into a full length, a la the Crown Invisible, or just be another ep.
There may not be much more Giovanni Fibilini. It got such a strong reaction, which is great -- people really liked it or really hated it. We got some really nice reviews, but it just died commercially.
So I don't know whether we'll be doing anything more with Fibilini at the moment. Sales aren't everything, however, so if the material warrants it, we'll do another one. But I don't want anyone to hold their breath.
As long as we're talking about releases, I want very soon - we are in the middle of getting our website up and running -- to be able to release music pretty much instantly on the web. There is a process now that literally takes months to get something from the studio out into the radio stations and the public's hands. I would very much like for us to be able to write and produce a song and get it out on the web in the next day or so, available for downloading. That would be great and is something that we hope to have happening sometime in the future.
Oh, you say also, Are there any specific rules before one might fit into the Cursor Club concept, if something like this should exist ? It really doesn't exist, but so far, with the possible exception of the Fibilini, all the releases have been pretty much in the same electronic, ambient mode.
Can you explain why Crown Invisible and Dome have decided to both start with cd singles and why Crown Invisible recently came out with a complete cd with only several remixes of two tracks? What is the actual meaning to produce more than one version of the same tracks so and so?
Okay. We started with singles, or Ep's basically, 20 to 30 minute long, three to five pieces on each cd. They were basically feelers and that's also why they were signed, numbered limited editions.
We figured if they were successful then we would put out a full-length. They were actually more successful than we thought they would be, and we're a little slower than we thought we'd be, that's why we don't have full-length CC Dome's and Crown Invisible's out yet. So they were done basically to see if there was any interest in what we were doing. We also didn't have a lot of money, they're cheaper to put out this way, they're cheaper for people to buy, etc. So it was done for those reasons really, as well as the fact that we can get product out more quickly by releasing ep's as opposed to full lengths.
As far as the remix cd goes (if I had it to do over again I'd probably take two of the longer remixes off the cd), the remix tracks were just so different from the originals -- they had different drum tracks, vocal samples, all this stuff that the originals didn't have, and they were really good and viable in their own right, so we decided to put them out. They were basically at first put out for disc jockeys and radio -- it gives the disc jockeys and music directors a little more freedom to fit it into their formats, but people seemed to like the cd a real lot and we've sold quite a few - it's probably one of our biggest seller so far, actually.
Is there a reason why all cds are limited and numbered? In my opinion it seems a contradiction towards the individual music of both CC and Dome it might even be harder to get the music…
Yeah, well, like I said before, they were just put out as feelers and it made them a little more interesting, we thought, to sign them and put them out as limited editions and if there was interest we'd just pop out a full-length. Well, it wasn't as - we were slower in that than we thought, but there will be full-lengths of both out soon and the music will be out there for everyone (hopefully) pretty soon.
Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview, maybe things we haven't talked about, but you think is important to put forward to the listeners?
Well first, we'd like to thank everybody for their support. It's a really great aspect of the whole process to have people that really like what we do, and we really like hearing from everybody. It's a very validating and just plain nice experience.
I know this is kind of a generalization, but the people who like this kind of music and contact us seem to be very bright and interesting. Another great aspect of it all is the other great musicians and composers that have contacted us and become friends and acquaintances throughout this whole process. So thanks once again to everybody for the
The new release of CC:Dome is not a cd-single but an ep of almost 30 minutes. What kind of progress can be heard on it? (to me it still sounds very lush, adventurous, some slight approach like Art of Noise's "Moments in Love", but with a nice twist)
Yeah, thanks. It pretty much a continuation of what was started on the first CC:Dome cd, with a lot of growth I think (I hope). I really like a couple cuts on this cd, really like them a lot, actually.
"The Glistenings" are really great. (There's another Glistening, Glistening III, that is not out on anything yet -- it will probably be on the next CC:Dome. It's a really cool piece of music).
I love the noise in "The Glistening II". In both
"The Glistenings, One and Two", I like the slight dissonances and the off key tones and chimes way in the background, etc. I don't know, I just like those pieces- I like the cd (I love Art of Noise, by the way, and always have).
The subtitle to Crown Invisible's "V13" has always been "Homage" to us, because that cut really reminded us, unintentionally, of "Moments in Love".
The music of CC:Dome seems so easily done, but is also difficult to produce. It sounds very cyclic, a little minimal as it keeps turning around on one theme in an original way. Is that done with any purpose, is that a typical way of how CC:Dome makes music?
Yes, very much so, and rather observant of you, by the way. It is rather cyclic/episodic. Things come up, they go out, they come up again, melodies come up and go out and another melody is introduced and then the two get intertwined together, things like that. It is part of CC:Dome's "modus operandi".
That's a nice complement, that it seems so easily done -- thanks but it's really not and if it sounds that way then that's great.
* Crown Invisible (CDEPCD02) Limited edition of 1000 cps -1999-
* Crown Invisible II (CCEPCD03) Limited edition of 1000 cps -1999-
* Remixes (CCDEPCD04) Limited edition of 1500 cps -1999-
* CI 4: Cinema CCDEPCD07) Limited edition of 1500 cps
* Dome (CCEPCD1) Limited edition of 1000 cps -1999-
* Dream Furious (CDEPCD06) Limited edition of 1500 cps -2000-
Fibilini (CDEPCD05) -1999-
Contact Cursor Club/Garrett Parks through:
P.O. Box 3327, Hollywood, CA 90078 USA
© Bert Strolenberg
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