10 Questions: Graham Brinkert

01. How long have you been making music?
about 15 years.

02. When did you start using electronics in your music making?  
When I was about 16.  I began hanging out with a lot of hip-hop producers and a good friend of mine mostly used a Korg Karma.  I loved the sound of the Karma, but it was way too deep and overwhelming for me at the time. Lucky for me, he also had an MS-2000 that just kinda sat there since he bought the Karma. The MS-2000 was something I could wrap my head around, and I used to love visiting his studio and creating patches and learning the basics of synthesis.  Good times…

03. Are you an electronic purist?
Not in the least. I’ve just always been more captivated by the idea of blending the acoustic, analog, and digital into a cohesive fabric (to varying degrees of success.)  I like to think that I have philosophical reasons, i.e. I feel like it represents the times in which we live – and not merely just that we live in the age of technology, but also the conflict, confusion, the intermingling of the world’s cultures, the dichotomy of tradition and progress, etc. etc.  But perhaps it’s really just a preference, and I’m trying to justify my preferences intellectually.

04. What is your current favorite piece of hardware? Software?
Hardware – hmm… Currently, it’s my iPad.  I just love having so much power in a small, mobile solution.  It’s become my new swiss army knife.  I can construct new sounds, provide a backbeat for a impromptu jam, sample things wherever I go, study harmonic theory, or just goof around inside something like Figure or iKaossilator.
Similarly, my new favorite bits of software are Samplr and iPolySix, which are both iOS apps.  Thor is a longtime favorite of mine, and it’s great to have it on the go now also.

05. Do you use canned loops or samples? Why/Why not?   
Yes, almost in every song.  I think it’s my hip-hop background again.  And while I most often mangle them and reshape them into something completely different from it’s initial state, sometimes I just love a great loop.

06. Do you use iPad/iPhone or other mobile computing devices in your music making?
See question 4.

07. Was there a moment of inspiration… a certain track or artist, that ignited your passion for electronic music? 
The bass line to Flashlight by Parliament.  Instantly I knew I wanted to do two things: play funk and play synths.

08. How does visual art/photography inform your music making?
When I was a young boy, I had this book which depicted dinosaurs roaming through full-color landscapes, with volcanoes and wildlife and all that.  I used to open the book to a random page and then place the book on the piano and begin banging out what I thought the picture sounded like.  I was trying reading the music of the picture, though I couldn’t read music and had no formal training and it is likely the reason my parents sold the piano at a yard sale.  However, I still use this method for inspiration sometimes.
Also, I tend to develop instrumental song structures with a visual story as a guide.  The entire Lascivious Limbs album was developed out of a story I wrote in fragmented bits. Each song was based around a different event in the storyline.  Essentially, I created 9 little vignettes in my head, and then wrote the soundtrack to them.  I always wanted to work with an artist to create a graphic novel or even a comic book based around it, but time moves on and so does my focus.

09. Has the internet/Social Media changed the way you make music?
Not really.  The internet has been there since I started making music.  And social media probably just reduced my musical output by way of distracting me.

10. What is your favorite artist or track of all time?
I don’t know how to answer this question.  I could barrage you with a list names, all of which would have belonged to an individual who was – at one time in the past – my “favorite” artist… but alas, I am unable to answer that confidently.  I might just go ahead and say Philip Jeck.  But tomorrow the answer would be different.

However, I can say with the utmost confidence that if I had to choose one band to listen to for the rest of time, it would be Parliament. Easy.

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