Shotguns is a musician who hangs out on IDM Forums. His interview has been split into four installments.
Obscure Robot: Taking a step back - who do you consider to be your biggest influences?
Shotguns: Oh, wow.. That is a tough one to answer, but ultimately I am a sum of what I like. As asinine as it might sounds - I basically took what I liked as a kid and ran with it. I grew up playing a lot of old school game consoles. I also grew up listening to hip hop tapes, so I guess that's where sampling and the appreciation of our musical roots came from. Then when I figured out that my guitar pedals would work with any input - that was another ground breaking thing in my life... Then later in my life, I found out that people actually exploit all these things in their musical endeavors. I already did these things, but the 8-bit music scene, more alternative hip hop producers and the noise scene showed me that there were people out there already doing what I did and I found not one, but several places to belong.
As I got older, all these scenes kept going further and further, the 8-bit scene experienced numerous new break-throughs in terms of software (LSDJ for Gameboy, MidiNes for NES, MSSIAH for Commodore 64). The Hip Hop scene got more extreme and alternative with the introduction of software and the noise scene merged into bands and got it even closer to home for me.
Obscure Robot: Are there any specific games, artists, or technologies you'd like to call out as influential?
Shotguns: If I were to state the most influential entities in each of these areas, it'd be the SID chip for Commodore 64, Rick Rubin completely changing the face of Rock Music in 1984 by making Run DMC sound heavier than most other "real" bands out there by sampling rock music and this one band called The Locust. They are my favorite band of all time, because they started out like a scrappy, noisy punk band, but turned into something very special that just makes perfect sense to me; 40 seconds barrage of rhythmical changes, excellent musicianship and constant sonic destruction.
I don't know, the fact that Kraftwerk pulled their "you know what? You've been watching robots "play" music for 2 hours, we've been in the crowd all along hanging out with you guys and you didn't even notice"-stunt almost 30 years ago and we're still at a stage where "Guns & Roses" can disappoint crowds every single night just kind of makes me die a bit inside to be honest. I don't want to call for a revolution or anything - but something needs to happen.
Hopefully, the fact that production and distribution are both so accessible these days will help.. But then again, the filter is gone, so you have to weed through A LOT of absolute junk in order to get the golden nuggets.
Obscure Robot: Is it that we need a revolution, or we already got one?
Shotguns: Yes, the ease of everything these days could be considered a revolution, but something needs to happen with the mindset of the mainstream. People are still very into tabloids and celebrities.
Obscure Robot: I wonder if the G&R problem is because they can rely on studio production for their albums, but playing that stuff live is hard. whereas with Kraftwerk, they were playing a recording (more or less).
Shotguns: Well, with G&R it's mostly about Axl being a complete prima-donna douchebag/insane person. His band left 15 years ago - just hang it up, you clown.
The sad part is that he's still selling out arenas. He can't sing, no one knows what band members he brings and he walks up on stage at least an hour late every single night. The fact that such disrespect is accepted whereas people did groundbreaking things in the early 80's makes me think that the ease of technology makes lazy people lazier.
Obscure Robot: I'm also thinking of when I saw Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden. Sound quality was far worse than with a Pearl Jam CD in my old dorm-room stereo.
Shotguns: Well, at least Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam. To my knowledge, it's not the absolute spectacle/freak roadshow that "The Axl Extravaganza" is. Also, let's skip the whole "14 years to make an album and still only debut at #2 thing" :)
The fact that dinosaurs like Axl still exist is purely up to the general public. If people stopped supporting him - he would stop. Anyone with an internet connection can get thousands of pieces of evidence that it's simply not going to be worth going to see him live - but they still keep going.
Obscure Robot: I think you are talking about personality issues, while I'm talking about the disconnect between studio recording quality and live quality - which can be very venue dependent. Both may be factors in the failure of traditional music.
Shotguns: Yes, definitely. I only chose G&R because of the reason of him disappointing people in 2010 vs. ground breaking things happening 30 years ago. I am fully aware of the differences between live and studio quality and it should be expected.
Then again, sound quality was always a big problem for me when playing live. It still actually kind of sort of is. Especially in more intimate settings.
I mean, unless you can bring your own PA and sound person on tour - it's going to sound different every single night. I've even tried bringing a sound person and outputting stems from my main rig - but could still end up sounding ridiculously bad some nights.