Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Interview Series #9: GX Jupitter-Larsen
Scheduled on February 17, 2019
I remember being in Denver with GX Jupitter-Larsen, and relating with him about how desolate some cities were in the 80s. For him, he talked of Denver and San Francisco, and how dead bodies would be left to decay completely underneath a bridge or inside of a viaduct, and this is how some of the robotic contraptions came to have animal components to them during his tenure in Survival Research Laboratories. To be clear, GX only did sound design for these performances of destructive robotic creatures, but sound is not what he is limited to. He's got a whole philosophy, language, and measurement system designed to explain his particular form of dadaism. One could be kept busy for a while in reading about his abstract terms such as "The Permawave", "The Polywave", or my favorite, "Xylowave".
Jupitter-Larsen has taken 7 inch records that are blank, and released them, advising people to scratch the surface themselves. Or he has released a blank cassette packed into a bag full of dirt. Lathe cut records made of cardboard, which will disintegrate upon playback, and an album that is played by having water poured on it. I have seen him perform with his project The Haters at least four times. Two of those times was during his "Loud Luggage" period, where he had radio transistors inside of briefcases, which were interrupted by microphone feedback. I have seen incredible sounds come out of the simple rubbing or pounding of these briefcases, not to mention when someone takes an angle grinder to them.
Personally, GX performed with Blood Rhythms once, when we were throwing around boxes of glass and taking belt sanders to sheet metal, and GX used the sheet metal as a reflective surface for sound, rather than banging on it or other obvious choices, when there was a missing belt sander. He was actually putting the metal up in the air as if to deflect sound. With the concept of radio art, he has been known to air recordings of broken transmitters (something I have also had the opportunity to record/do), or run tape loops through several different tape heads for a "seamless sound sculpture"... One of my favorite releases of his is a radio art installation that he did on my old radio show, which was four hours long. When I asked him if I could release it on DVD, he said no, because it was intended for radio only. On top of that we have done a split release and participated in another group live performance, and in short, he has always been a gracious and kind person, sitting through a lot of noise fests while many of us spent much more time outside, and working with lesser known young bucks when it suits him. I am not sure how I would go about a direct interview with him, but this format seems to work, and I'm honored to be able to partake! Thanks for everything!
Arvo Zylo: What types of things have you been getting into lately?
GX Jupitter-Larsen: Influencing Machine Records is releasing a double 10 inch for The Haters 40th Anniversary. A total of four sides, one for each decade. Each side will have an unreleased track from a different decade. The Thinking Ross Did for 1989; Untitled Title Shot for 1999; Audiothecary for 2009; and Totimorphous Ubiety Guide for 2019. The release also includes a flexi of AMK playing the records in his own very special way.
AZ: What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?
GX: The question should be, is what I do a career or a mission. Careers can make you money. Missions however always cost you. What I do has cost me dearly. Still, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
AZ: How would you describe what you do?
GX: My life. Just life. Nothing more. Nothing less.
AZ: How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?
GX: A phonograph record is just a noisy photograph. Likewise, a photograph is just a quiet phonograph.
AZ: How would you describe your philosophy?
GX: The nihilist would never fear the post office. He would embrace it as an extension of himself.
AZ: Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods? If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory.
GX: I do not believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods. Interestingly, the term “conspiracy theory” was invented by the CIA to discredit their critics while covering up their crimes in plain sight.
AZ: What would you say was your most definitive experience?
GX: When I was nine, I used to run into heavy traffic just for the fun of it. I never got hit. Came close a couple of times, but always timed it just right. Otherwise I was a perfectly quiet child who always kept to himself. Now, I had never done this type of thing again till some 26 years later on. While I was walking down a busy street in San Fransisco’s Mission district, in the middle of the afternoon I was suddenly attacked by members of a local gang. To escape I ran into traffic. The gang members freaked out and ran off. I found safety in the midst of all the rushing cars and trucks.
AZ: What is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?
GX: This is going to sound ridiculously unreasonable, but I find the speed of light infuriatingly slow. Even if we were standing next to each other, I’d still be seeing you as you were three namoseconds in the past. That’s too slow. The slowness of light is a pimple on the face of nature. I wish I could find something faster than light to see with.
AZ: Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?
GX: Chop Shop’s “Steel Plate” Double 10 inch, MSBR “Ultimate Ambience” LP, the “Euragine” CD by Anne Gillis, the “White Elephant” CD by Speculum Fight, "Somnambul" CD by Radiosonde, AMK’s “The Lonesome Echo” CD, and Small Cruel Party’s “Resin Parched Chthonic” LP.
AZ: What is the earliest childhood memory you can recall?
GX: My 5th birthday. My mother had baked me a cake. It was super surgery.
AZ: Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?
GX: No. While I can forgive most shortcomings, nobody is perfect, least of all me, I can not tolerate any degree of rudeness or impoliteness from anyone. I don’t care who you think you are or what you think you’ve achieved.
AZ: Do you have any heroes?
GX: Marcel Duchamp; mind you, these days I can’t help but think that he was probably somebody else’s readymade.
AZ: What would you like to have on your epitaph?
GX: "Death is no time to be practical."