THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Friday, March 26, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH SQUARES ON BOTH SIDES
Good things come unexpected they say. So it happened that on a cold night (it wasn’t at all but that sounds more romantic) that I decided to go to see Squares On Both Sides live. No, never heard from them before either but from the very first note I sat with open ears (and at times open mouth) hearing what this young Berliner Squares On Both Sides aka Daniel Buerkner. After the gig I asked if he wanted to do an interview with me and he said “yes, of course”….here is what we’re talking about….
HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC THEN?
Hello. I’ve been recording music under the name squares on both sides for about nine years now. I record by myself, arranging song structures with guitars, pianos and vocals with other things I find, field recordings, toy instruments, etc. I guess you could call it all very minimalist.
LET’S START WITH A VERY STUPID QUESTION….WHY NAME SQUARES ON BOTH SIDES, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE OBSESSED WITH MATHS OR SO?
It’s a line from William Burroughs’s novel “Naked Lunch”. Doesn’t have to do that much with my music actually. It’s about drug dealers. However, Burroughs used the technique of “cut-up”. He cut up texts and assembled them to form new texts. So there you might have a connection to my music, collage is an important method.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE GERMAN SCENE, DANIEL?
I started off with the label “hausmusik”, which was quite influential in the German music scene at its time. In the beginning, American mailorders labelled my music as a “Notwist-side-project” for that reason, which might have been a false but helpful thing. But beyond that, I can only say that I have friends in Berlin and Munich who make really good music. But that doesn’t mean that I am part of some scene. Also, I prefer seeing squares on both sides not as a specifically German project. Working with Own Records from Luxemburg or Japanese musicians like Yasuhiko Fukuzono really meets this approach.
I GUESS MANY PEOPLE WILL SEE YOUR MUSIC AS QUITE SERIOUS, EVEN HUMOURLESS AT TIMES. DO YOU THINK THAT REFLECTS YOUR PERSONALITY OR NOT?
Oh, that sounds horrible! To begin with, I don’t consider my music as being too serious. There are a lot of collaged, playful elements. I sampled beats from the “Super Mario Paint” sequenzer. However, there’s a certain form I chose which might appear “serious” or “sad” to some people. However, I see it more as a way of being very focussed. And it’s important to confront this focus with playful elements. But this is an abstract level, my personality is another thing. I like to have a laugh, you know.
YOU HAVE TWO ALBUMS OUT IF I’M RIGHT, ARE THEY SELF-RELEASED OR ON SOME LABEL?
Actually, three records appeared on “hausmusik” and a fourth, the most recent one, on “own records”.
I ALWAYS THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE A PERFECT ARTIST FOR TOMLAB. AGREE OR DISAGREE?
Tomlab is a very good label and I have huge respect The Books or Final Fantasy. But I’m pretty happy with own records. No need to send a head-hunter…
DIDN’T FOUND THAT MUCH ABOUT THE BAND ON THE WEB BUT I SAW THAT EVERY ONE COMPAZRED YOU WITH SOMEONE ELSE. FOR ME, YOU WERE LIKE SOME LO-FI PAVEMENT….THROUGH THE VOICE I GUESS, CAN YOU SEE THAT?
Actually I don’t know, because Pavement have a very lose style. It’s like a rope swinging about in the wind. So I don’t know if my music is very much like theirs. But it’s a nice thing to hear because I really like them.
YOU DID JUST AN EXCELLENT GIG IN GENT, WAS THAT A TOUR OR SO AND HOW WENT EVERYTHING?
Thank you. It was a mini-tour through Luxembourg and Belgium. It went pretty nice in fact. People from Benelux have proven before to be very appreciating and open for more silent music.
YOU ARE ON STAGE ALONE WITH VERY FRAGILE MUSIC, ISN’T THAT SCARY?
It is. But that’s already part of it, I guess.
BY WHAT ARE YOU INSPIRED : MOODS OR THE SOUND FROM OTHER BANDS?
I listened to a lot of Japanese music while making my last record “indication”, so you might hear the influence. But I don’t consider music the best inspiration to make music. After all there’s food, travelling, animals, people, images, architecture... About moods – well I try to make very un-moody music. It’s not about moods.
I KNOW IT’S A STUPID QUESTION BUT INTERESTING THOUGH : DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR OWN MUSIC?
Well at some point I have to, you want to know what’s coming out after all. But surely not in the bathtub or during breakfast. When it’s finished and everything works it’s not for me to listen to it. That would be kind of perverted after all.
HOW DIFFICULT IT MIGHT BE TO ANSWER….WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO ACHIEVE WITH YOUR MUSIC?
In the first instance, making good music. Very basic but hard enough. All the other things are part of that.
CONFESS US SOMETHING….WHAT’S THE MOST ROCK ‘N ROLL-THING YOU DID IN YOUR LIFE?
Rolling down a hill without a shirt? Lots of thornbushes.
LAST QUESTIONS ARE QUESTIONS I ALWAYS ASK, I CALL IT THE TRADITIONAL ORIGINAL SIN-QUESTIONS… WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND WHY?
I don’t have too many all-time-fave things, actually, because I think it’s constantly changing. But “a river ain’t too much to love” by Smog is pretty close though.
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND BEING STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?
Elevators are always horrible, no matter who you’re with. Yet, there’s the splendid elevator up the TV-Tower of Riga, it doesn’t go up straight but diagonally. I would love to be stuck there with no matter who.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM SQUARES ON BOTH SIDES IN THE FUTURE?
I just finished a new album, which will shall be released around september on own records.
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