David Sylvian: To Blow the Heart Wide Open
DS: It isn't true to say that all of the additional material on these re-issues were present in the Weatherbox set. There's material on the re-issues that's available for the first time. As for the re-release of Weatherbox, this was something Virgin/EMI were interested in pursuing. I personally never thought it the right thing to do. Fortunately they couldn't find the original artwork, so that idea was put to rest. The re-issues were always on the cards independent of the boxed set. In fact, Virgin/EMI are still talking over the possibility of creating a new boxed edition.
AAJ: In relation to publishing out-of-print materials, the bootleg community is flooded with these materials, be it video or audio. Bands have been releasing stuff from their archives (live stuff, mostly) to prevent this. Do you plan to re-release any past material video/audio/books in near future? (This refers to stuff like Preparations, Steel Cathedrals, Trophies Vol.1, Polaroids, etc.)
DS: I don't like the idea of being forced to recycle material that has, to my mind, run its course just because the bootleg community are having a field day with it. However, if there's a demand, and if I still feel a connection of sorts with the material, then I wouldn't be adverse to re-issuing certain editions. No plans at present, though.
AAJ: In 2003 you founded your own label, Samadhisound. How has the label evolved from an idea to what it is today?
DS: Samadhisound came into being almost of its own volition. Running a label wasn't something I'd anticipated as being on the cards for myself, but I've enjoyed my involvement in Samadhisound quite considerably. There have been periods where I've fought for its survival because we'd come a fair way in establishing it on a fundamental basis, and it felt premature to let the enterprise go. Having said that, we can see that the business and media are changing rapidly and that sales are in decline. If it wasn't for the hard work of a few good people, the label couldn't possibly have continued to exist as a platform for as long as it has. With that firmly in mind, I only look to the year ahead. I believe 2010 will see more releases on the label than in any year prior. Rather than indicating the health of the industry or label, this simply reflects the number of projects that have reached my ears that I've wanted Samadhisound to be a part of. As frequently said in reference to my aspirations for the label, it's possible to plant an apple tree without harboring dreams of an orchard.
AAJ: How involved are you in Samadhi's day-to-day business?
DS: Currently I am very hands-on in every aspect of the business. I am the engine which drives it.
AAJ: What is the artistic direction/aim of Samadhi?
DS: Samadhisound is a place both real and virtual for the meeting of minds and shared creativity. It is local and it is global, a breeding ground for ideas and new directions in music and the arts. This is one possible future for the company. I tend to believe that Samadhisound has a life of its own, aspects of which are revealed to me as and when appropriate. I tend to intuit what the next step in its development might be. I may have a personal preference for the directions it may take, but ultimately I try to listen and follow.
AAJ: One of the artists who has released an album for Samadhi is David Toop. I'm interested; what do you make of his books like Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather or his other writings?
DS: David is one of the best writers on music that we have in this country. His works display an evolved awareness of the art of listening, which, accompanied by his breadth of knowledge of the history of different genres of music, sound art, noise, etc., informs much of what he's published. His works are never less than fascinating, and frequently filled with penetrative insight into the sound worlds with envelope and absorb us.
AAJ: What are the main difficulties that accompany an independent label entirely devoted to experimental music?
DS: Your assumption that the label will be entirely devoted to experimental music isn't correct. It's my intention to release music by artists working in a variety of different genres. The difficulties, however, tend to be the same regardless of the nature of the work: how do you notify the general public of the work's existence, and how do you get people interested enough to give it an hour of their time? If we managed to solve those issues to some extent, I think we'd be doing well.
AAJ: What have been the greatest rewards you have experienced running Samadhisound?
DS: Outside of my own work, creating the visuals for the respective releases with Chris Bigg. As art director, I locate the images and create the initial rough layout of the package. Chris then takes things a step further with the design element. Chris is a wonderfully collaborative designer. Enthusiastic, flexible, with multiple variations offered on any given idea or layout.