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Supersonic 2012: Ben Chasny Q & A
Ned Raggett , October 2nd, 2012 04:41

Our man in Orange County, Ca, Ned Raggett talks to the Six Organs Of Admittance guitar savant

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Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance has been a semi-regular interviewee for The Quietus for a while, so we were happy to have some quick thoughts from him on his upcoming appearance at Supersonic as well as his latest slew of live and studio efforts and collaborations, including another typically striking Six Organs effort from a couple of months ago, Ascent. More of a group effort than some of his recent work under the Six Organs name, it starts with the fierce 'Waswasa' as a statement of intent but unsurprisingly explores a wide variety of approaches over its eight songs.

Ascent's received reactions about how it's something of a Comets on Fire reunion in part due to the various players on the album, though it actually feels fairly contiguous with your recent Six Organs work if often a little more frenetic. Was that the key energy this time around?

Ben Chasny: I think the key energy was just getting back together with a group of friends that hadn't all played music together in quite some time. The fact that we were all in Comets is sort of secondary to the fact that we have all played music for a long time and toured hard and knew each other pretty well sonically. It's definitely not a Comets reunion. I mean, I don't really think we've ever broken up. There has never been a point where Comets said, "We are done." We've just been concentrating on other things for a while.

When we last talked for the Quietus we discussed your continuing creative associations and collaborations and if anything that seems to have multiplied even further now. Is it hard to find time for 'yourself' as an artist in all this, or is that always there regardless as you work? How did that play out with the latest Six Organs in particular?

BC: I don't really conceive of the 'self' as the alone aspect of being. I think the social aspect is as much the 'self' as the private so in that way collaborations are time for 'myself' as well. I don't favour the private over the social when it comes to making music. It just seems to move in cycles. Last year I toured alone with my acoustic guitar for months. The record I was touring off of, Asleep On The Floodplain, was a mostly solo affair. So It just seems to be time for the cycle to move toward playing with other people now.

Besides the new Six Organs album there's also of course a new Rangda release, Formerly Extinct, and recently a live performance you did with Rangda compatriot Chris Corsano as a duo gained some attention as well. What's the best way you can describe your particular collaboration with him - do you find you become more rhythmic, that he becomes more melodic, or something else entirely?

BC: After playing together in Rangda I think we have a closer musical relationship now. It's not so much a something that can be exactly pinned down as it is a more subconscious way of acting and reacting with each other. The same goes for the guys in Comets. I think as any group of people play music with each other they start to understand the space that they operate in more and more in relationship to each other.

You've done a variety of special performances and events at festivals over time - is there anything particular planned for Supersonic?

BC: For Supersonic we will be a trio with Ben Flashman and Utrillo Kushner who play in on the record. I don't know if anyone would consider that special, but it will be fun.

And is there anyone on the bill for Supersonic that you're most interested in seeing?

BC: Yeah. Body/Head, Dylan Carlson, KK Null, Ufomammut, Merzbow, too many to mention really.

For more details check the Supersonic website