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The Chaz Interviews - July, 2003
by Chaz and the artists

It was the summer of 2003 and's active message board community was heating up as well -- with flame wars. Along came Chaz Fanaro, looking to cut through the negative noise. He began to interview many of the musical artists who pitched a tent on the popular indie music forum. Others pitched in with questions of their own. July of 2003 could have turned ugly, but thanks to the interviews blanketing the forum, it became a home for insight and mutual respect. The forums were wiped clean by Vivendi in December, 2003. The interviews live on.

one blue nine

Artist description
one blue nine draws from a genre-busting palette of electronic, blues, hip-hop, dub, blues, funk, and even country influences -- performing recombinant musical gene-splicing with reckless disregard for fashion, good taste, or approbation.

Music Style
Roadhouse trip-hop, backwater downtempo jam, way-outside blues & country.

Musical Influences
From Big Youth to Buck Owens and everywhere in between...

Similar Artists
Beck Portishead G Love A3 Sneaker Pimps Fur Ones music postmodern roots blues trip hop long beach groove groovy downtempo down illbient deep frippenstein tk major lbc bluetrip

Artist History
Faint memories of strange swirling acid rock and endless days of dirt and sun and then punk and dub and later strange alienated electronic folk and then confusion and boredom and heavy drinking and bars and songs about waitresses and then a welcome plunge into the electronic abyss the cool ripples multiplying forever...

Orange Blossom Nightmare - OBN's new, official first album. KoLLekTeRZ iTemZ No. uNo - OBN's

Press Reviews
"[A] heady blend of electronic beats, blues riffs, and bizarre ramblings." --Listen.Com

Long Beach, CA - USA

Chaz the Spaz
How do you relate your music to your life's experiences?

one blue nine
It's all part of an organic hole. And that's not a mispelling. Sort of a compost kind of thing, y'know?

Chaz the Spaz
So, do you mean to imply that music is an outlet to release frustration from revolting events in ones life?

The Lord Dog Almighty
Where does all this stuff come from?
Do you know?
You have such a variety of musical expression, it's surprising, really.
Are you eclectic? Are you electric? Are you elephantine?
(Nevermind the last one. Unless you really want us to know).

one blue nine
So, do you mean to imply that music is an outlet to release frustration from revolting events in ones life?
I'm gonna have to think about that for a while...
When I first started playing I had just decided I was a failed college poet -- and it looked like the hippies with the guitars out on the quad were getting all the girls who weren't coming to the poetry readings... which was pretty much all the girls who weren't poets.
So, I guess the answer is yes...

Kim Riemer
I'm wondering what you use for recording medium?

one blue nine
"One blue nine, How did you learn all em BIG words and the fancy writing style?"
My secret weapon.
My other secret weapon.
My guru.

Grumpy Old Head Banger
I was wanting to know, where do you pull your inspiration from? I don't sense the typical "Poet House" duldrums in your music. The music is too alive to have that depressed poet vibe.

one blue nine
"Where does all this stuff come from?"
I grew up on old time R&B and rock & roll with a healthy dose of C&W (I liked the costumes)
and classical (I liked the Stravinsky/dinosaur part of Fantasia) but then I started
listening to jazz, bossa and folk; I fell in love with the Theremin and other electronic
instruments in 50s sci fi, bought my first really serious electronic music in '67 with
Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon, got mixed up with funk and other dance music starting
around 70 (Papa Was a Rolling Stone practically turned my life around and when I heard
Mayfield's Superfly stuff I was transformed forever. I was an early Bowie fan (Hunky Dory,
Man Who Sold the Earth) and got cynical before he had a hit, but I was still caught up in
the Bowie/T.Rex/Iggy/Sparks end of the glam spectrum. But all that seemed so fin de
siecle... but when I heard Patti Smith's Horses I sat bolt upright in my car and knew there
was something really new happening. From there it was just waiting around for punk to reach
a boil in 77... about that time I was in my first few bands... I'd been playing about 6
years and I wasn't, like, real good but I figured I could get through a band about the same
way I got through 3/4 of college -- bluffing with self-assured arrogance. My first band was
the Dean Corrl Band (named after an infamous Texas mass-murderer) which played extremely
angular all-improv art-damage punk funk outfit (when asked we described it simply as "dance
music"). I played bass (none too well and they had to threaten me to keep me from popping
and doing octave walks). Next I played bass in a wife-and-husband-run punk band (they:
guitar/voc and drums respectively; she wrote and sang and he tried to keep her and me in
time). Then I formed my own band with another singer-songwriter guitarist and a crazed but
soulful lead guitarist and a steroid monster ex-metal teenage drummer. I stayed in that band
after spending 2 months in the hospital following a pretty nasty motorcycle wreck but a
minor incident of violence against me while I was in a walker (perpetrated by the above
drummer) broke up the band and I decided to concentrate on recording... Let's see, where are
we. Oh... 1981. Hmmm. Then I went to recording school and was in a bunch of project bands
and produced or engineered a bunch of demos, some commercials, jingles, cable themes, a
handful of records (maybe about 10-15, 4 or 5 of them full length.) I got sick of watching
people get used by the industry (and coincidentally got burned on a punk compilation project
I put a fair bit of time into -- but, really, it was my empathy for other people getting
burned... ) After that I decided to go back on stage as a solo folkie and concentrate on
that for awhile. (I wrote a lot during that period.) I did that for a few years and, when I
realized I had a digital delay with almost 8 seconds on it started doing live improv
synth/echo loops stuff. That was around '91. I'd been using synths since being a synth lab
tutor at one of the community colleges I took recording classes at in the early 80s, but I'd
mostly been concentrating on rock and roots... as rock began to loose appeal to me at the
beginning of the 90s (I thought I was going to love 'grunge' and even spent some time in
Seatle [good beer] but I got really bored). I'd been listening to a lot of noise stuff like
Skinny Puppy and then-current Ministry and when I finally stopped and listened to Pretty
Hate Machine [it seemed so pop] I knew we'd made a turn into a new kind of pop. Then, when I
heard Beck's Loser (around '93 I guess), I felt like he -- or maybe more his production
partner, Karl Stephenson -- was about two steps ahead of where I was going. The next year
Portishead's Dummy seemed to finally come up with a viable pop approach to the dubby
post-acid jazz music that would be known as trip hop... probably the last musical eye opener
that really effected me was -- mostly because it seemed another fin de siecle kind of thing
and made me feel like I'd missed the window was R.L. Burnside's Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting
Down, it seemed to kind of tie a lot of stuff together in a neat little bow... Uh... Does
that answer your question, whatever it was?
Oh, yeah, on the elephantine front: While I'm not the scrawny hippie that got thrown back by the army after a disappointing (for them) pre-induction physical ("Gee, doc, I just can't keep any weight on no matter what I do." Couldn't possibly have been that diet soda fast...), I certainly wouldn't call myself elephantine. But definitely no longer skinny.)

I'm wondering what you use for recording medium?
I usually take a blank CD and hold it against my forehead and concentrate really, really hard... Then I throw it to the side for later ('cause it's always blank no matter how hard I concentrate) and get to work on my majestic P3-500 (but a well-tuned P3-500, with 140 GB of Fast-ATA HDs and a half GB of RAM) running XP (Home. The shame! It's okay for most, I guess but I've really needed the little extras in Pro, like an IIS server, etc. Lame, how could I have been so! Otherwise, I really like XP) I use Sonar 2 XL (love that 64-bit Timeworks EQ and compressor that came with XL). I have an Echo Mia (but between 1996 and 2001 I ran a dual ADAT/HD 8 in 8 out system). I haven't missed the i/o but it took a little getting used to mixing in the computer instead of through my Mackie SR24-4 and my myriad of FX boxes and compressors. I still use my preamps, of course, often an ART Tube PAC, sometimes my Joe Meek VC-3, and when I need stereo or a certain kind of warm clean, my Rolls tube preamp. And lately I've actually just been using the preamps in my Mackie board. I mostly use a Rode NT1 or my very flat (too flat, you can be too rich and too thin) Equitek II multi-pattern (good for back up vox cause you can put someone on either side in figure 8 mode... or twin fiddles but I haven't done that one yet.) My primary synths are an Alesis QS6 and I rely very heavily on the SoundFont synth built onto my SoundBlaster Live. I also have a Kawai K4 which I used in my ambient music/echo-loop act. Finally my primary guitars are a Japanese "Standard" Strat, a Norman dreadnaught, a 30-35 year old Yamaha G130A classical [so old it actually was a reasonably priced guitar with rosewood back and sides!], and, for everyday use, a $50 Angelica 3/4 classical from Sam Ashe (my second, they are expendable).
And finally...
I was wanting to know, where do you pull your inspiration from? I don't sense the typical "Poet House" duldrums in your music. The music is too alive to have that depressed poet vibe.
I was one of those guys who...
[CENSORED by author]
Well, there was plenty more but I think you get the idea.
One of the girls I was going out with once asked me: "Why are all your songs so depressing? Don't you have any love songs?" And I had to tell her: "These are my love songs."

spike of R.Orphan
Obn, I always had this feeling we shot through the same musical pipeline- Eno-ssification and other parallels. Then personally, I heard the Latin Playboys and Robbie Robertsons "Contact with the Underworld of Redboy" and "Red Road" and I heard that "neat lil' bow". Brilliant musicians and producers takin up the ole' skool toys..
**Dave Hidalgo's(Latin Playboys/Los Lobos) voice is phenomenal!
***BTW being from Cali have you ever seen the Paladins?And, the old 'X' and the Blasters are in town next coupla weeks.

one blue nine
For sure... then again there ain't too many musical pipelines I haven't crawled through. I was pretty far into the whole Roxy crowd and it spilled over to Fripp (who I saw doing his Frippertronics lecture around '79 or '80) and of course, 801. Eno was pretty much the center of it for me. Most of the references to a character named Baby in my songs are a tip of the hat to Baby's On Fire. Most of my ideas about syhtesizers were original filtered through him. And, of course, for years I had an all improv synth act called Frippenstein built around one or more Eno-style echo-loops.
I've always respected Los Lobos a lot but the Playboys are a little more my style (although I like the more rootsy stuff from Los Lobos a lot... mostly just the rock I never warmed up to.) I like Hidalgo's voice more in Spanish than English, where his vocal timbre and some inflection reminds me of Eric Clapton, which is problematic.
I have seen the Paladins, though it was in my drinking days and the recollection is hazy. I do think I remember that they wore costumes. Costume bands are difficult for me, no matter what other merits they have. But the San Diego band I really despised was Rocket from the Crypt. I couldn't believe it when they got the push. I thought the were incredibly lame; very plastic. Lame horn section, crappy songs. But I digress. Now the San Diego band I thought really was cool was The Unknowns, with Bruce Joyner.
[Addendum... spurred by my own enthusiasm above, I just went to where I'm a subscriber and DL'd a collection of Bruce Joyner & the Unknowns... You know, the early 80s was an island in time... not that I didn't still like the one song I heard just now, but its combination of frantic verbed out surf guitar and bug-eyed pschebilly singing is definitely a thing of its time.]
X was one of the second generation LA punk bands, like the Alleycats (who I did some demos for and became pals with. I met them when a band I was in opened for them in 79). I saw X around 7 times, they were real favorites. The Blasters are Downey-Long Beach guys. Phil still teaches math at CSU Long Beach. I used to see Dave and/or Phil at this funky biker bar where I played a few times around 76 or so. I was often one of the few people in the joint with short hair. James Harmon was one of the others. He had a modest pompadour back then and was doing solo guitar blues (if I recall correctly). But when Phil (or was it Dave?) would walk in with a pompadour that stuck out into space about 3 inches, even I had to stop and take notice. [Now, mind you, there were a small handful of anglos in LB who kept pompadours even through the flower power era... but they were usually so junked up they had no idea what era it was and would almost never end up in a bar... junkies didn't go to bars in those days.] And, of course, Dave ended up playing with John Doe from X (and with X, too, come to think of it) a lot. Phil still tours the Blasters, but I think Dave ended up being deepest of them all. His songwriting is superbly shaded at its best, heartbreakingly evocative with an economy that is almost zen-like. And his singing has grown way past what it was in Blasters days... I much prefer his relaxed, country voice. Plus, he can be just a fine, fine guitarist when he's lose and warmed up. I've seen him be so graceful and then turn around and totally kick backside -- intelligently.
I like Robbie Robertson a lot sometimes, but I really thought The Band was brilliant when they were originally all together. But I think, clearly, he was the most well-rounded and self-contained artist. Some of his Native American themed stuff is just a bit, um, earnest for my sensibilities and whenever pop people use that beat it makes me think of Paul Revere and the Raider's Indian Nation (an interesting song in its own way but not exactly sophisticated). But J.R.'s got a special place in my heart and The Band was probably one of the smartest, most knowing rock bands of its era. Now they were plenty sophisticated. Brilliant.
BTW, some other Cali bands that had a big affect were the Avengers and the Dils from the bay area, the Plugz/Cruzados (who I was producer of record for on some demos that got them signed to their first major label... in fact demos for a couple songs they did later in From Dusk 'til Dawn) and the Fibonaccis from LA, and the Minutemen, Suburban Lawns, and Mnemonic Devices from LB/San Pedro. I also really liked the moody, almost Magazine-like side of Orange County's Middle Class.

You mix genres like a skilled bartender mixes drinks. Have you ever or often heard these concoctions in their complete state before going to print?
Do you have any theories on what the music industry via internet will be like in the next 7 years?
one blue nine
Well... I used to drink a lot. Not sure I exactly understand your question. If you're asking if I visualize them in their complete states I'd have to say generally not. I usually know the feel I want... but from there it's kind of rooting around in the dark 'til I find it. I often do have a notion of some defining element that I visualize, but that, too, is subject to mutation in the process. I'm a bit like those post-DADA sculptors who just keep throwing things on to their assemblage until the start yanking things off in disgust. Someplace in between I either end up with something I like or I'm too fatigued to go on.

Thanks, that's what I suspected but one never knows.
I suppose I should reiderate the second question: Since you uploaded your first song in 1995 (I believe I read that somewhere) did you invision things to be like they are now? (any disappointments/amazements), and where could it possibly go in the next 7 years?
And here's a recording question: Do you use external synths and drums or do you combine with soundfonts etc? Favorite softwares and those on the wish list? You've probably posted your recording setup before. Could you run that by just one more time?
Oh and... does music play a role in your sobriety?
Thanks again

one blue nine
The thing I uploaded (in November of '95 if I recall) was a 17 second (or was that 7?) clip that I'd reduced in freq to 11k sampe rate and 8 bit depth (it sounded truly awful)... can't remember how big it was but I guarantee it took a while to DL on a 14.4 modem.
I'm very pleased with my own DSL connection, but it seems a shame that the end of the internet biz bubble put the kibosh on the about-to-explode broadband expansion that seems more like molasses spread on the floor on a cool fall day now...
I was also disappointed by the disregard by typical fans for the rights of artists... but in retrospect it shouldn't have been surprising. (Don't get me wrong, I really, really hate the labels. All of them, pretty much, big and small.) But as a database app designer and an online musician -- everything I do is ones and zeroes... Anyhow, I give away all my music (so far) for free (and have no plans to do otherwise, since you can legally get really great albums for pennies a piece at Emusic, where I seem to live when I'm not here -- in fact, Emusic is the best thing that's happened to me online. It's not for everyone, there's little mainstream pop product, but I love it for jazz and folk classics, and it also has a lot of "bubbling under" stuff.)
I grew up patching synths with real patch cords (kind of like how Reason looks), twisting real knobs on real modular tone gen and filter modules. But, in the early/mid 90s when I was building my equipment base, the affordable stuff was all wavetable (the shame!). I have a Kawai K4 and an Alesis QS6, as well as an Alesis Nanobass and a DM5 drum module. But lately I've been using the hell out of SoundFonts (love that!) in my $35 SoundBlaster Live [my main card is an Echo Mia but I used to run an 8 in 8 out rig using my old ADATs as converters]. I really love Sound Fonts. Vienna may not offer complete atomic control over every aspect of sample pb but it's a huge improvement over the wavetable param editing built into my synths, for sure.) These days I use Sonar 2XL for tracking AND mastering. (XL came with 64 bit EQ and Compression plug ins from Timeworks that I really like. They're smooth, easy to use, and quite effective.) I have a pair of Event 20/20bas NFMs that I really like. I used to use NS10m's and NEVER got a mix right with them... I also have a Mackie 24-4 (which is pretty much overkill now that I do almost everything in the computer; my primary preamps are an ART Tube PAC [currently ill with a bad tube, I think], a Joe Meek VC3 (both of those with built in compressors) and a Rolls tube stereo pre. I also use the pres in the Mackie, depending on what I'm doing. I used to do radio doc production work and I always used the Mackie pre's for V.O.s.
Well, music plays a big part in all my life, just like before I quit drinking. Probably the biggest change is that I used to write a lot of songs when hung over. Also, since alcohol allowed me to con myself so well, it kept certain illusions alive that actually spurred some writing. But, frankly, when I quit drinking I was already depressed and had been creatively inactive for a while, so the "magic" of alcohol had evaporated, anyhow. It was a good choice. But I do miss those hangovers... (not the headaches but the imposed "amnesia" -- kind of like what I imagine electro-convulsive (shock) therapy must be like.

one blue nine
I know I often leave you scratching your head, Carol.
Being a cultural provocateur isn't always easy, of course, but it's satisfying work and now that I'm not out drinking in clubs every night I'm actually kind of enjoying it, in a winding-down-to-dotage kind of way.

gray martin
I'm a fan of your music & your songwriting. Many of your lyrics have a poetic flare & I'm wondering, do you come up with your lyrics first or music?

Chaz the Spaz
What are your goals and what do you have planned for your music?


  -- Rick Munarriz

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