Continuing the theme of shameless hero worship established in last week’s post, the past two days have seen interviews with two of the masters of electronic music. I read and thoroughly enjoyed both of these, and thought I’d share my favorite bits.

This chat with Aaron Funk (of Venetian Snares) has some great quotes about staying real and keeping in touch with what inspires you. He also talks a lot about musical technique and such, and it’s all fascinating, but these quotes are my takeaways:

I just find inspiration in myself, have never cared about genres or what is supposed to be fashionable at the moment … emotion, energies, personal experience – these things are truly far more inspiring to draw from than trying to be a part of some aesthetic, I can’t even relate to that.

Also:

…it’s fucking ridiculous to limit yourself to only creating angry or sad music or only doing silly funny music. The whole spectrum is there … I have known people that limit themselves to making only dark music. That to me is so narrow and unfulfilling. If something is bleak, it should be bleak for a real reason, not out of some aesthetic. Fucking posers.

Then in this interview, there are these these words of wisdom from Tom “Squarepusher” Jenkinson:

… any musician that’s not self indulgent, I can’t imagine that they’d be any good, to be honest. Any musician that puts himself primarily at the service of his audience is likely to quite rapidly become a self-repeating machine … There’s always this tension where you’re trying to create the creative process afresh, to give yourself the best chance of giving something to your audience that they’re really going to love, and actually show them something new. And that entails sometimes pissing them off … I would say: Yes, I am self-indulgent, but it’s a good thing.

Once in a while, I play this game where I try to analyze what the commonalities are between the people whose lives and work I’ve found really inspiring. I’d noticed that most of them are iconoclasts, but I think in that interview, Jenkinson gives it a new formulation that I like better: all my heroes are self-indulgent, in the best possible way. This means putting out into the world the best work you can possibly do, regardless of what you’ve been asked for or what’s expected. It takes courage and a certain amount of hubris, but in the end it’s the only way to go, really.