Community Artist Profile #3: Louis Haiman (a.k.a. fwdthought)
I first met Louis Haiman in August of 2005. I had just moved to San Diego and was looking to connect with other electronic musicians. In getting my musico-cultural bearings, I decided to use a website called meetup.com, to initiate a meeting of other like-minded folk. Our first meetup had a grand total of ONE electronic music fan (plus me). Louis was that fan. Little did I know what friendship, camaraderie and mentorship would come from that initial meeting. It is with great joy that I present to ShareSD readers this 3rd Community Artist Profile.
Morgan Sully: how did you get in to electronic music?
Louis Haiman: I had been formally trained in music on guitar from when I was 12 to about 21 years old. Eventually, in your development, you begin to hear other sounds and instruments creeping into your head. Bands like Art of Noise, Depeche Mode, Propaganda and The Pet Shop Boys always had interesting arrangements and melodies. They were my earliest “electronic” influences. They made me want to start “making music” rather than just playing a singular instrument. So, this steered me into getting my first keyboard set up in about 1987. A Kawai K4 synth and Q80 Sequencer. Solid hardware that served as my main rig until about 2005. Talk about being a late adapter.
MS: You’ve been one of my best friends and co-conspirators since (and when) I moved to San Diego. i always thought it was kind of cool that all of the dance tracks that I listen to, contained samples of the original tracks that you grew up listening too (Strings of Life, the “Amen Break“, various ‘chord stabs’). What do you think of the ‘new school’ of folks making electronic music – moving away from hardware and more towards software?
LH: I’m a TOTAL hardware purist. Though, a realist as well. Software has taken many artists, myself included, out of their home studios and into public spaces to share their music (or visual art!). What we did with ShareSD directly afforded me the opportunity to check out a lot of the latest software and most importantly, it gave me a reliable outlet to mold my live PA and build my confidence to actually take up some the invitations to play live that I’ve had in the past few years. Software has been a good solution: Creating music at home on hardware and migrating to software for live playback and remixing.
MS: Do you think any more original stuff can be made?
LH: Absolutely. However, I think listening to electronic music as a means unto itself is a problem. I’ve always listened to many types of music and through electronic means, I’ve only tried to emulate the things that I really love: 70s Rock, The Singer/ Songwriter Movement of the 70s, Funk, Disco, Electro, Nu-Wave, Euro from the 70s and 80s, Modern Classical Music. Jazz. There is so much inspiration to inject into our own electronic compositions. More so than any new “two-step-dub-clash-techno” that is being branded as “electronic music”.
MS: With such a lineage, where can originality come from – or is that besides the point?.
LH: Pretty much as stated above, but, really… Turn everything off and just play whatever and however. Improvisation, odd time signatures, atonality, arhythmic, juxtapositions, odd instruments, sound sculpting, circuit bending etc. All brave new terrain to make statements in.
MS: I did a search for you one day on the internet and it turned up loads of stuff and links to your music everywhere. You’ve been quietly at work for a while Mr. Haiman! Where do you see music going?
LH: I see genres are ending. It’s all music. I see a move back to craftsmanship. I hear a gorgeous, solemn violin shape shifting against a wall of controlled noise and feedback while a jazz drummer and stand up bass player keep everything rooted. I know we are ready for that as humans. We’re already communicating telepathically in a very primitive way, so why not?
MS: If things continue to get easier to create (or emulate) how will artists be able to support themselves if things are getting easier to duplicate and sample? I guess that perhaps leads back to the question of authenticity and originality…
LH: …yes, and it will!…but, I have no thoughts on that. No idea whatsoever. However, as an artist, you must continue to create. You must continue to step blindly and boldly forward, not knowing where you’ll end up. It’s an incredible time to be an artist and you cannot let something as miniscule as “making a living” keep you from doing God’s work.
MS: music is part of who you are…
LH: …like breathing, there’s never been a question, there’s never been a time that I didn’t have music/ beats going through my head. Always. We’ll be 90 years old, twittering away on some new fangled noise machine, breaking out the oldies from the 1990s.
More information about Louis, a.k.a. fwdthought can be found at his website: http://www.fwdthought.com