Unless you are a fan of noise/power electronics and have been living under a rock, you are well aware of Harsh Noise Movement; the artist and label. Harsh Noise Movement is one of the most prolific acts and labels in the genre today. Here we have for you an interview with the mind behind HNM, Ade. Enjoy.
1. I know you’ve had to answer this before and I apologize for the boring question… but for the new readers, can you give a brief background on HNM, the project and the label?
Not a boring question at all. I have been making experimental sounds since around 1984 for my own personal pleasure. Messing around with tape loops, field recordings and noises. This eventually progressed both in the style and ferocity of the sounds. I had a few projects after those home made tapes, the names of which are irrevevant today and best left in the past. The HNM project started in early 2015. The name Harsh Noise Movement came from my wife, as a sarcastic joke which I remembered from when I first met her in 2011. I had told her about noise, the artists involved and how harsh the sound was at times. She jokingly teased “Oh so your part of the harsh noise movement then!”. That is how I got the name of the project. The HNM label was started because I wanted a label to put my own releases on. Eventually, a few artists wanted to have their work on the label and it has grown since then.
2. HNM is one of the most active, prolific projects and labels right now. Are there any particular works of HNM (the project, not the label) that you are especially pleased with?
I have quite a few Harsh Noise Movement works that I am really pleased with. Death Valley Jazz and Hard Bop are albums that I am really proud of. Both of these albums are harsh noise jazz. Since I love both styles, these albums are among my favourites of the HNM project. God is another album by HNM that I am really pleased with. I am also very happy with my Awkward Geisha ensemble project. I ask many talented artists if they would record improvisation works and send them to me. I put the sounds and music all together, along with my own contributions and the results are quite amazing. I am really proud of the Awkward Geisha project, it is a completely free form audio experience and styles can vary from track to track. I have to say, I am happy with all of my HNM work in different ways, maybe the earlier works don’t sound that good sometimes to me, but the memory of recording those early works makes it relevant and something to be proud of.
3. I know you’ve done some split releases, but have you ever experimented with other artists in other parts of the globe? What I mean is have to sent files back and forth via the net?
I have many, many split releases with many, many talented artists from all over the world. From Japan to Russia to Australia to India to Indonesia to France and so on and so on. Files are sent to me usually through various file transfer sites and then released on HNM. I always, encourage artists to release the full splits on their own platforms too.
4. Everyone is aware that Japan is one of the more well-known countries with noise artists both past and current. What are some of the more obscure areas of the globe where some good noise artists you know of; that is, which ones stand out and deserve more attention?
That’s a tough question because I don’t think of any artist from any country as being obscure. I just listen to the work and if I like it, then it is all very prominent to me. I get what you mean though, so I would have to say India and Egypt. SISTER is an amazing experimental noise artist from India and is deservedly getting some attention at the moment. Queer Insurgence is a great HNW project from Egypt and deserves more attention in my opinion.
5. I’ve argued that some of the reasons why people listen to noise as opposed to mainstream music is dynamics; highs vs. lows/abrasive vs. delicate/ etc. Is there anything you’d like to add regarding why people are attracted to listen to noise?
What drew you to noise in the first place?
I think the reason that people are attracted to listen to noise is because it has so many layers. Its’s like peeling an orange, discovering the rough textures underneath. Taking a bite, then discovering if it is sour or sweet. Also, noise is very much the opposite of all the sugar coated poppy bullshit that is constantly force fed into the minds of the young. People need something different sometimes and noise is a solution to the norm. You get so much more with noise. You can actually think about whats going on within the track instead of being a braindead sheep. Noise is fuel for the brain. I have always been drawn to abrasive sounds. From 70’s punk to hardcore to free jazz to noisecore etc etc. Each time, I want something harder, more brutal. Something to fuck my eardrums so hard that they end up needing to smoke a cigarette afterwards.
6. What’s next for HNM? How do you plan on pushing your own boundaries and those of the genre?
I will still continue to work with artists on splits, try to make my noise harder and more brutal. I like working with all sorts of musicians, not just the ones involved in the noise field. I like to experiment and add different things to my work too. So, I shall try and think of new ideas to put into my work.
7. How do you decide what setup are you going to use for recording or is it just spontaneous? How much is planned?
It depends. Sometime I like to be spontaneous and other times I like to plan it out carefully. It’s all about the theme and mood of the work at hand. I would have to say though, most of my work is planned and spontaneous at the same time. It makes sense to me.
8. What’s your experience been with live performances?
I used to perform live in the UK during the 1990’s under a different project name. All good experiences.
9. Why do you think you do so many Name Your Own Price releases? Do you find that this makes a significant difference in the number of people who download or buy your work?
Personally, I feel that an artist’s work is always worth something. I feel that if an artist has their work as a completely free download they are
under-valuing what they have produced and an artist should never do that. Most people like to support the artists and at least have an option to pay something if they want, just to show their support and appreciation. It does make a significant different in the number of people who can find your music. Free downloads are not listed among new release genres on bandcamp, so the pay more if you want option gives the artist more exposure as well as giving fans the choice to support too. That is just my opinion though. Each to their own
10. Many many years from now, decades maybe, a distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old house once owned by you. The box is labeled Harsh Noise Movement. Inside is a compilation of your work and something to play it on. Keeping in mind that noise/power electronics has changed dramatically by then, what do you want this relative to know about the mark you left?
I shall leave a note inside the box that reads: “This is how it used to be done. Enjoy the ride. You might like or you may not. If you like, that’s great. If not, fuck off because this box will explode in 5 minutes’ time. #HNMCares”.
Thanks for the interview!