William Basinski interview for 06:00am

06. Could you describe your work for the people that haven't experienced it?

In a nutshell it is an attempt to transcend time and space through the use of analogue tape loops and feedback loops, drones and random chance interventions.

06. What is your favorite insult?

That's the silliest question I've ever been asked. Hmmm. well, in the Southern United States when talking about someone with "problems" they say, "..well you know old Billy, bless his heart....i swear i smelled beer on his breath the other day....yep, i did. not that i would know the smell of beer, but mmm-hmm, something wasn't right and he smokes too, bless his heart!..."

06. How are you like when you write music?

Usually puttering around the studio wired up in a cloud of smoke with plenty of Corona's in the fridge.

06. What is normality? What does it mean "being normal"?

I wouldn't know.

06. Can music save the world?

I think it can help...the only way i can fight the corruption in the world is through my work...try to create something that resonates on a different frequency...hopefully a higher one.

06. Do you have order and program or a kind of discipline in your life?

I try. I go through periods of very intense work, then i have to rest for a while..especially after touring and long flights.

06. Is this due to your mother or your father?

My mother instilled in me discipline and attention to detail, from my father i received tenderness, nurturing, help understanding mathematics and physics and personal responsibility and tact. I have found them to be amazing people.

06. What is it that makes you constantly create?

It's my job, my responsibility to fulfill my mission here, so I try to show up for work..sometimes amazing things happen.

06. What time do you usually wake up in the morning?

Depends, but usually mid morning. I tend to stay up late sometimes.

06. Do you like to live well, with lots of comforts?

Of course, who doesn't, but I find that simple comforts ( a comfortable bed with nice linens), order (papers filed and things put away...if only I could get into that frame of mind right now, you should see my office...a disaster!!!) and not too much stuff (another constant battle) create the best working environment. My partner James Elaine, is a wonderful artist and world renowned curator of emerging art so we have a lovely small collection of wonderful art pieces in our little house we rent here in Los Angeles. I like to entertain at home from time to time so I like to have the house looking nice and comfortable for guests. my garden here is my sanctuary. After living in NY for 30 years it is heaven to have plants and trees and birds and butterflies all around me. I live on the patio.

06. What do you like the most when you stay at a good hotel?

A comfortable bed, clean room and well stocked minibar. I hate it when I get to a hotel and the minibar is empty! That really sucks.

06. Do you think that you can critique negatively the work of your friends?

I usually don't critique work, but when asked, I try to be positive...with friends one asks about choices to try to understand...sometime it takes me a while to understand a decision, so I try to reserve judgement and find the resonance. luckily for me most of my friends work I really like.

06. Do you think you can gain something from receiving negative criticism?

I think it depends on how it is delivered, but in the right context certainly although it may sting at first.

06. When do you believe that music took a central position in your life?

I was raised in the Catholic Church in a huge European style gothic cathedral in Houston, Texas, Saint Anne's, so my earliest memories are the Latin mass. I think it made a profound effect on me from my earliest childhood. I was lucky my parents put us all into the great music programs we had then in the schools and made us practice. I got very into it. It kept me out of trouble and away from the bullies who used to like to beat me up a lot...i was a tad flamboyant for those types, but they got theirs...

06. Do you have the tendency to work many hours without a break?

I do but then I'll take a break for a week or so.

06. Which record of yours of you love the most?

That's like asking someone which child they love the most...I love them all in their own way, but The River is one of my early favorites..it still blows my mind.

06. Are you a man of action or a man of philosophy and thought?

I think I've got one of each of those roller-skates on..it goes through cycles, left foot right foot..left brain..right brain....

06. What does your family say really about your music?

They are very proud.

06. Are you strict / hard on yourself?

Lately I' ve been taking a break from an intense year of work, but i should probably get the flogger back out soon!

06. Do you believe that places influence our thinking?

Of course.

06. What book (books) do you read these days?

I just received the most beautiful book called "The Other Audubon" about a brilliant woman from late 19th century Ohio who made a beautiful book with hand painted life-size plates of the nests and eggs of the birds of Ohio. It was only printed in an edition of 100 and has been rediscovered and reprinted beautifully in this new volume with history on the artist and her family who helped her make the book to help her recover from her depression after being disallowed to marry the man she loved because of his drinking. also on the nightstand, "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross, and "Form Follows Nature" by Rudolf Finsterwalder among other things.

06. Is life a matter of endurance?

It can seem that way at times.

06. Does silence have sound?

Ask John Cage.

06. Does negative critique bother you?

I suppose I've been very lucky but nevertheless there is always that feeling of putting your head in the guillotine when you release something new, but one must do it. sometimes the blade doesn't fall and that's always a blessing.

06. What matters more, choices or influences?

Naturally influences are very important. They are our programming from earliest experience, but we have to make choices to keep or reprogram these data as we grow into ourselves.

06. What does one loses when she/he grows up?

Well, that's a choice each has to make. grow up or not grow up?...lose negative programming or hold onto it? reprogram the bio-computer of drive full speed with tunnel vision into oblivion? I think "growing up" is a process of becoming the selves that we were meant to be. but unfortunately, the human childhood experience is widely varied and depending upon the level of nurturing and love and positive or negative programming we receive a children from parents, schools, friends, we have a hand of cards we must play. certain cards must be discarded. I was lucky to have been given the frame of mind to be able to transform my childhood woes into my work. I think this is the way we grow up. Everyone has a story. our past is our material we have been given to work with. we are intrinsically creative beings. one must learn how to work with the cards one is dealt. mistakes will be made but we learn the most from our mistakes

06. Would you like to send us an image, of you or of something else, that best describes your current state of mind so that we post it along with your answers?

I'm sending you a very fragrant rose from an old bush in my garden...a one-off oddball very beautiful hybrid.

(click on image for full view)

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