Thomas Park has many projects, one is Mystified. So many more.
The new album comes out in July but something has started, why wait? Here are his words, with me playing the role of Q.
Music, for me, has become a way of life. I write most days, and in fact, it is a chief pastime. That being said, I can’t be sure how the lightning of ideas strikes the inorganic molecule and brings it life. Inspiration remains a mystery. I can suggest that it has helped a great deal to follow my instincts and intuitions, given that they tend to take my music into more fruitful and less-predictable places.
It has been said that all music is rhythm, or percussion. If this is true, then I hope to help musicians and listeners alike realize that they can be free of militant or precise rhythms, as I feel that the West has a sort of craze with rhythmic precision that is far from ideal.
I would add music is a virtue that tends to be human. And I want to add that I love music, even traditional music, and would suggest to no one that they throw out their recordings. What generative enables us to see is that humans can also systematically PLAN music, in some ways. In other words, we can enable the computer certain possibilities, which it then enacts– and often, then, we can and do curate the results.
That being said, music remains a mystery in many ways. Especially interesting to me are the ways that certain tones sound good together, and the existence of harmonics– a documented phenomenon that shows what happens as key frequencies unite.
The act of listening– we open our ears, and invite music into our minds. We allow it to create its effects. And I feel that we can open our ears and minds more or less according to our inclination(s). For example, Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” makes me weep with emotion every time I listen closely, so I tend to avoid listening to it except for at certain times.
I try to amass a substantially-sized batch of sounds that I think will work together. These have to be iterable– they have to work with themselves and one another, in pretty much any combination. It is helpful, for example, if they are already in tune with one another, and don’t contain sonic elements that are silly or offensive or might stick out from the rest. The second level happens with each track, and that is where I use my Python to index the larger set and randomly make extractions from it, then treating the extractions in ways that make them more musical in a loop-based mixing context.
Q How did your own parents introduce music to you growing up?
They were great lovers of music. They played their records all of the time, including especially The Beatles and The Beach Boys. My father was, secretly, very talented, and could play banjo, ukelele and piano. I always imagined he could have become a musician, if he had wanted.
Q If a youngster was interested in making music, how would you advise her?
I am afraid the good old, it’s going to take a number of years and please stick with it, remains the best advice. It might be some time before the music even feels personal or relevant. Stick with it, and sooner or later, I believe it will. And as a young person makes the music more and more their own, so do they progress, until their relationship with music becomes an impassioned commitment.
Q How would you explain your creative process to a youngster who is curious about life’s possibilities?
There will be times, I would suggest, when life seems to restrict a person, to limit their range of choices. I would reassure the young person that music, and art, in general, have a way of re-opening these closed pathways, and restoring creativity and free expression to one’s life.
Q What is it about the sound that attracts you to your unique work?
All I can say is that I like what certain music(s) do to my mind. And I am amazed at the chance to help others feel the same way.
Q I close my eyes when listening to your music and find myself traveling to strange worlds I have never seen before, does your visual side influence your music?
It is absolutely great to hear. I often think of my music as a means, in part, for a clean, drug-free trip. I want people to let it take them places, to imagine those places, Using music in this way a creative catalyst has been really important to me. It is more than an escape– it helps to actually cultivate certain types of innovative thinking and behaviour.
Q What would you like to try that you have not tried yet?
It certainly would be a thrill to have a church’s pipe organ to play.
Q Where do you dream of going? (vacation, tour, exploration, by time machine, etc.)
Portland is already a favorite destination, though my wife and I have only been once. We actually plan to move there when we retire. I like the idea of setting down that close to the Pacific Ocean.
TO BE CONTINUED