Michele > On the backcover of Washing Machine there is an analog recorder in a
package, is this when you started making music through a digital machine? And are there any significant reason for making this choice? What has changed in your relationship with music?

Lee > It's much more recently that we've begun to make digital music--but then we don't make "digital music"--we make "music" and it happens to be packaged in different ways. Sound postcards. We use computers regularly now but also plenty analog---the sounds in our ears are changing---no vinly pop n click no more--sometimes but it's a vanishing trend---now music heard is lo fi MP3 thru computer spkrs and about something totally different that it was mid century.

Michele > Yes it's true; now music heard is mostly lo-fi MP3 but it's even alot available from all over the world, what do you think about?

Lee > It's a weird development---at once great because of the ease it allows music to be spread---I like the idea of the internet--both listening and downloading--as the equivalent of what we had here in the states in 60s and 70s--AM Radio---where you could hear the latest tunes before buying---I still like to buy and own the stuff I hear that I like, but it's great to be able to sample so many things w/o buying just to hear what's going on. The other side of this is that people are listening to very lo-fi music! In again (60s and 70s and beyond) we were all hep to have good stereos and hear all the fidelity we could---and now the record companies are releasing music in SA format for even higher fidelity but kids take these SA-CDs and burn em to MP3 for their iPods!!! It's weird. I think higher quality files will come along to alleviate this dilemma soon.....

Michele > After 'twenty' years CD is pension off and new higher-fi formats come in. We can just buy Super Audio CD, DVD Audio and HDCD and these supports have different characteristics, all advanced ones to the CD... what do you think about these new supports and what about DVD Audio: it will kill the stereophony? smile...

Lee > New formats means better sound and that's always good news, but formats are always in the service of the music, and I can listen to a cheap cassette (or MP3!) if I have to and still hear the music---by which I mean it's the music that counts more than the medium---we still listen with our human ears and they have not been upgraded for 40,000 years or so. And speaking of ears---yes we listen in stereo (2 ears) and therefore I don't think stereo mixes will ever vanish----I am into the surround aspect of 5.1, etc ---especially for the film-viewing environment, as in that situation it seems ideal to enhance the total surround environment. If I always sat in a dedicated room to listen to music I might like it there to but in general I find stereo sound more practical in most situations. For instance we have refused to mix the new SY record in 5.1---it's like doing the work twice and right now we don't have the heads for it---and I just mixed a new Text of Light record in Mono becuz it sounded better that way!

Michele > The sound of yr songs is structured on alternative tunings, what are you looking for when you build, every years, new tunings?

Lee > Beautiful sounds, new sounds, familiar sounds, surprising sounds, unheard sounds, old sounds, groovy sounds, comforting sounds, meloncholy sounds, fierce sounds, all encompassing knock you on the head sounds.........

Michele > Now, after many years of experiments, you know in advanced where looking for what you think? it's a never ending experimentation?

Lee > No there is still a lot of searching and looking for new things, but after so many years of experiments we have certain discoveries we've found that we return to again and again. Both are great fun---but it's ultimately the use of these tunings, findings, whatever, that is where it's at.

Michele > ..and about experiments and development, in witch way Jim contributes at the sound of SY?

Lee > He contributes as a 5th voice/sensibility/pair of ears. We are a collective and things rub off in all sorts of directions. We have developed a language of sorts amongst the 4 of us and now jim is a part of the conversation.

Michele > We hope that yr conversation will be forever!!
Thanks alot Lee for yr availability, it was really interesting;
my last question is about the new SY record 'Nurse': have you any news?

Lee > Our latest album, we're real proud of it--10 songs---the record is called & quot; sonic youth nurse& quot; not & quot; nurse& quot; ---when the cover paintings by richard prince are seen an understood the title will make more sense---the paintings are based on pulp novels each with 'nurse' in the title---i.e. 'surfing nurse', 'backdoor nurse', 'office nurse', etc.... There should be lots of info coming on our site about the album---it's due out june 8 and we will be touring everywhere, starting with australia in june...


I’ve realize this interview thru e-mails
Feb/Mar 2004 electricity-good friend!
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