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An interview with Annie Gosfield
Annie Gosfield poses in front of her hats

Annie Gosfield poses in front of her hats. (Photo: Philip Blackburn)



Audio Listen to the interview (50:36s)

MPR: Who are you and why do you do what you do?

ANNIE GOSFIELD: I'm Annie Gosfield, and I do it because the voices in my head tell me to.

All at the same time, or separately?

Well, you know it just all depends on how my feelings are aligned that day.

Like the Partridge Family episode where they couldn't rehearse properly because Danny's filling was receiving FM?

I don't remember that.

What is your vital daily ritual?

Well, there's no one ritual that I go through every day, but I guess over all it has to involve coffee. Hopefully, early in the day. I tend to be kind of a late riser, but there's that pure…like virgin wool or virgin olive oil…that's the virgin time of the day. If I can just get out of bed and get working and get composing immediately before anybody calls, before I have deal with anybody else, I would say that tends to be my most productive time. Not necessarily, but it's that and it's that very important cup of coffee and I'd say that's the closest thing I have to a daily ritual.

How is your music influenced by caffeine?

Well, perhaps in the morning, pre-caffeine it's more relaxed. Afterwards it's somewhat more accelerated. I don't think there's a real correlation. I think there's just a basic need to have it at some point in the early hours of the day.

And the rhythmic jerkiness of some of your structures…are they related to jitters?

No, not too related to caffeine.

How do you spoil yourself?

Well, when I first moved to New York about ten years ago, I swore to myself I would not start wearing what we referred to as an East Village T-shirt which is a black T-shirt that has been washed so many times, it's gray or possibly dark green. So, I went on a kind of a de-shabification at some point and bought myself some nice clothes. Then I realize no one is going to see these for a long time. I'm a composer/performer, but I spent a lot more time composing, so silk pajamas became kind of a special treat for me after I finished a piece or when I got a commission. Silk pajamas maybe a silk dressing gown. It was kind of a surprise to me that I spent so little time out of doors, but I've kind of had to accept this fact and treat myself to something I might actually use.

So silk pajamas are the reward at the end of a piece, or do they make the making of a piece more comfortable along with the coffee?

I think the silk pajamas come with a little extra income. And that usually comes towards the end of the piece. A lot of the piece is often written in a comfortable T-shirt.

If you weren't making music, you would be…

If I weren't making music I would probably be making hats. When I first moved to New York again about ten years ago, I supplemented my income as a composer by being a milliner. It was kind of a funny thing for me because my mother is from New York, my dad was born in New York, my grandparents came here as Jewish-Russian immigrants, so here I am moving back to the lower East Side. It was kind of the move back to my immigrant roots, setting up my own sweatshop, making my own hats. I really enjoyed doing it, but as soon as music started paying the rent, I was not too sorry to put that work aside.

How are your hats like your music?

My hats are like my music because well…I would say that one need that making music fulfilled that making hats fulfilled was enjoying doing something that was very …very…with a lot of attention to small details. So, when I would make a hat, there would be a lot of attention to small details, what a lot of people would consider tedious work. A lot of just little fiddly bits and putting everything in line, and manufacturing it perfectly. When I get to the end of writing a piece now, I really enjoy putting a score together. I never enjoyed putting a score together while I was still making hats, but I think I still have this need to do some slightly mindless tedious work and just create something that comes out perfect and looks beautiful.

Hats need hat wearers, and music needs audiences. Do you think there's any similarity in those activities…finding an audience for a hat…people don't wear hats so often these days…people don't listen to new music that often.

Well, I think being a composer and being a milliner are probably both considered archaic professions. And again, professions with much attention to detail and almost kind of archaic. When you make hats, if you have a good retail store, you can just pass it off to. It's a lot easier than finding individual commissions. So that part is not necessarily related.

Is there any relationship between making things like hats and your interest in industrial sounds, culture, and factories?

Yeah, in a way there is actually a contrast between my making hats and industrial sound. I mean, I think there's a lot of tactile work involved in something that's very quiet. On the industrial side, it's a much more noisy process. I think the idea of putting things together that are diverse elements and just a need to create something, are what those two elements have in common more.

What attracts you to industrial sounds? What are you trying to say when you create with them?

Well, a lot of my music is influenced by unconventional sounds, and unconventional influences. So I'm as influenced by the sound a deteriorating instrument as any composer. If people say to me, "Who are your great influences?" Well, I would say in a way, a more perfect question would be, "What are your great influences?" A lot of my influences are more utilitarian sounds. I love the way, in a factory, it'll first appears to be these rhythmic repeats, but if you stop and listen, you hear layers of all different kinds of sound. Nothing repeats exactly. It's the way sounds in nature never repeat. It's the same thing in these industrial situations.

So what does it mean when you take a factory sound out of context either in a sampler or a keyboard, and play it back in a concert? Or play it back in a factory?

I think it doesn't necessarily have to mean anything. I think just thinking of it purely as a sound source is important to me. I think that there is a lot of context that goes with these industrial sounds, but when you take it out of context, part of what's fascinating is the idea of just considering the sound. So you're there, and you hear the sound, but you don't smell welding. You know, you don't have the heat of the factory; you don't have (pause) Let me start with that idea again. Okay. I think when you take the sound of a factory and bring it out of context; it exists more as sound itself. It's not always recognizable as a factory sound. So if you take it out of the context of hot stinky factory, it's kind of fascinating to go deeper into the sound itself.

Have you ever played your music for factory workers, and do they have any reaction to it?

I had a concert in Nuremberg a couple of years ago that was in a factory and it was largely based on sounds that were created by listening to this factory and sampling the sounds and beating on the metal there. The audience reaction was really fascinating because it was not only the workers who worked in the factory there, but also CEO's from the corporation and the local arts officer and the government, and the local anarchist contingent and artists. Nuremberg is not a town where there is a lot of new music, so it was very new to everybody there. It was very gratifying because a lot of the people who worked in the factory came up to me afterwards and said, you know, "I never thought of what it really sounds like in here, and it's really changed my mind. It's really showed me something that I never even considered before."

Is the orchestra a factory?

I'd like the orchestra to be more factory. I guess in a way it is a factory of standard orchestral music. I think there are lots of ways to use the orchestra that people don't necessarily take advantage of. I think it is very much like a factory in the way it has many parts that interact. It's a little difficult to redesign this factory because it's been used to create the same kind of music for a very long time. But, I think as music evolves, that an orchestra should evolve as well.

Do you think it can be re-purposed, or just bypassed in the future?

I think there's still promise in orchestral forms. I think it's ossified. I think there has to be a lot of rethinking about what gets programmed. Sometimes you look at the program of an orchestra and you say to yourself, " Did somebody program this and say let's do something really boring?" But I don't think there's somebody out there intending to create boring orchestral programs, and I think there still is some exciting orchestral music being written, but the question is will it get performed? I don't know.

What are your three desert island discs and why?

Well, if I was on a desert island and I could only bring three discs, I think one of them would have to be New Orleans's Piano by Professor Longhair because I could listen to it endlessly. He's been an important influence on me, just good basic New Orleans boogie-woogie, a little jazz influence, and a good solid piano player. Second would probably be "The Wayward" by Harry Partch because he'd never really feel at home on a desert island, would you? You'd probably always feel just a little displaced and you'd want to hear about hobo's and traveling, and what it would be like to see the rest of the world. And if it were truly a desert island, the third disc would have to be Sounds of the Junkyard from Folkways, one of the old Moses Ash recordings, because I think you'd honestly learn to miss all those sounds of heavy machinery. Now, I live in New York City, I don't live in a junkyard, but this is a recording that has really amazing sounds on it.

Have you ever lived in the country or a rural area far from industrial world?

Oddly enough, I was raised in Fort Washington, PA, which was kind of rural when I grew up outside of Philadelphia. Now it's more suburban, but it's just a stone's throw from Fort Washington Industrial Park so, I guess that would kind of mean "No'.

How are you like your music? Can you describe your music and how you are and see if there is any relation?

Maybe we should go on to another question, go back to that one.

What is your greatest fear?

These are all the easy ones.

Ya, right.

No, now I can think about my greatest fear. Ahh…maybe my greatest fear is dying alone. Eating cat food and dying alone, I think.

Eating cat food as a means of suicide or…

No, as a means of support.

What's the most mind-altering work of art?

Well, several years ago, I did a lot of work with the artist, Manuel Acompa, a young Philippino painter who now lives in the Bay area. He used these incredibly blasphemous images and juxtaposed them a lot of, you know, really beautiful religious images, and then these kind of hideous, blasphemous images and a lot of cartoons and just this idea of being able to put any element together and do it just so beautifully and so beautifully crafted was a very big influence on me, and mind altering in some ways as well.

Do you do anything blasphemous in your work?

Well, it's harder to state what's actually blasphemous with music because it's much less narrative, you know. If I write a piece, it's not going to be obvious and evoke a chicken with the head of Jesus on it, for instance. Maybe if I add some text, I could do that, but in some ways, yes, maybe some of it is blasphemous. Not against religion, but against more conventional forms.

Do you consider yourself a maverick composer?

I think it's hard to actually call yourself a maverick. I think if you set out to be a maverick, maybe you're not going to be a maverick. I think if you set out to do what's really important for you to do and what's different, that's what makes a maverick.

What's your most memorable or inspirational performance and why?

Do you mean a performance by me, or one I went to?

Both.

For me, the most memorable performance that I've done was quite recently. This was when I was invited to Warsaw to perform at Warsaw Autumn and basically restaged this piece that had been a sight specific composition that was written for performance in a factory. But in Warsaw, we mounted this in Derelict Factory that was actually known as an industrial museum. However, it was just this ancient factory with holes in the ceiling and machinery falling apart. We got to use any possible piece of equipment as a percussion instrument. We could move things and light them as exactly we needed and adapt this existing piece I wrote called EWA7 for performance there. It was one of the few sold out performances in the festival. The festival is this very respected festival that has been going on for decades that has survived all kinds of financial hardship, that has brought together Eastern and Western music in times when it was almost impossible. Frankly, I was a little bit worried about performing there because what else is on the program…Schönberg, you know, just classics of 20th century music. The kind of music I do, you really have to sometimes take a chance and you have to accept the fact that not every audience is going to accept what you're doing. The performance that we did is 45 minutes with no break, so it's a little bit hard to actually read the audience. So you've got to kind of push through to the end of this piece and then see at the end how it was received. It was received very well and it was really a great experience for me.

Is there anything uniquely American about your work?

Oh, I think it's hard to actually put your finger on why anybody's work is American, but I don't think my music could have been created anywhere else. I come from a family of my siblings are musicians, my parents aren't musicians, but they're great music lovers. I was exposed to all kinds of great American music growing up. I was just a little kid in the 60's. My brothers were deeply involved in the Blues revival so there's always Blues playing in the house. There's R & B. My parents were huge jazz fans so there's a lot of early Ellington playing. You know, it all sinks in. I think that's part of what really typifies an American composer. You just can't be immune to these outside influences.

Do you think your training, education help all this or hindered it?

I think my education helped very much. I wasn't like a conservatory baby so for me the vernacular American music came much more naturally. So once I went to music school, that more European based music was in a way fresher to me. So I could learn it, I could develop skills, I could develop discipline, and actually learn how to put my ideas on paper. I think I was enough of a formed human being so that my education was a great help to me.

What has been your career low?

My career low. In a way, my career low is combined with almost a career high. I used to live in Los Angeles and I went to USC. I went to music school there. I was feeling pretty disgusted with the state of concert music at the end of college. So we put together a group of free improv people from all different backgrounds. We would go and do these free improv gigs anywhere that would take us. So we did a lot of concerts in punk clubs. We would get on stage. This band was called The Apes of God. We would start playing and punks in the audience would throw things at us. Owners of the club would pull the plug so the power would go off on stage. We had one regular gig at a health food restaurant, which had the marvelous title of "The Natural Fudge Company." The man who ran the soundboard was a born again Christian who refused to say "The Apes of God" which was the band's name. So I think maybe playing there was an all time career low, but at the same time an all time career high because it really built character. It showed me…you know, it was hard to get through, but it showed me that you have to just stick with what you believe in. And sometimes you learn from being in the oddest situations.

Has that stood you in good stead in you subsequent career?

Well, you know it really helps to develop a thick skin. I think there are a lot of people from a more academic background who were breed for the career path they chose and they didn't veer from it very much, and I think it's not 100% true of everybody obviously, it's a little bit of a generalization, but I think that breeds a more fragile character. I think it's very important to get out in the world and maybe what you are doing isn't the most popular thing, and it might be the most unpopular thing. But you still have to have the experience of going through with it to the end.

You're willing to take risks and not always opt for the safe route when it comes to audiences. Do you think this has built a reputation for yourself or built new audiences for you, or changed your picture as a provocateur in the musical world?

Well, I think what's important about being willing to take risks is just that. Being willing to take risks. And not so much consider where it puts you in the larger scheme of things. I think that you have to make the music that you believe in. I think that you have to be undaunted by rejection. I think that an important part of being an artist is accepting rejection. If you're not willing to accept rejection, you're going to have to make music that is going to not be rejected no matter what, and God only knows what that is. Britney Spears maybe.

What is the worst piece of music ever written?

Ahhh…What is the worst piece of music ever written? You know…that's very hard to say because if I remember it, there's going to be something memorial there so it wouldn't be the worst piece of music ever written, would it? I think, for me though, this is not a… for a lot of people this might be the best piece of music ever written, but I think maybe Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin is the worst piece of music ever written.

For any particular reason?

I hate Led Zeppelin! All kinds of composers of my generation think that it is so hip to say they love Led Zeppelin. Well, isn't that risky! One of the world's most popular rock bands! OH! I just think that if they would wipe that song off the face of the earth, I wouldn't miss it.

Can you describe your music for someone who's not familiar with it?

Well, my music actually takes a lot of different guises. I am a composer/performer and I work with my own ensemble, which is myself on piano and sampling keyboards, Roger Kleier on guitar, and a number of percussionists including Jim Pugliese, Sim Cain, and the English drummer Chris Cutler. I use the sampler but not in the sense of sampling existing music so much, but taking an instrument like the piano and altering it by detuning it, by sampling prepared piano, and by basically creating an instrument with the sampler that is…well, the sampler basically is a digital tape recorder so I can load it imaginary instruments as opposed to sample loops of other people's music. I can, whereas John Cage created a prepared piano by putting objects in the strings, unfortunately for me, this isn't a practical situation. So I can go on tour with a virtually prepared piano. I can detune a piano in a way that no hall would ever let me do. No one would ever let me destroy their piano in that way. So I can actually write music with these destroyed pianos that are electronically recreated more or less. So a lot of the sounds that I deal with are factory sounds. The sounds of deteriorating instruments. I also bring this to chamber music. I have a piece called Cranks and Cactus Needles that is inspired by the sound of deteriorating 78 rpm records. So even though this piece is placed by violin, cello, flute, and piano, there's a lot of sounds it's recreating: the warbling of a record, the hiss of surface noise.

It seems that some minimalist schools and pieces could be described as mechanical, machines that work. It seems that you're more interested in machines that are breaking down.

I'm fascinated by the process of decay. So this is manifested in recreating the sounds of machines breaking down, but also with notated music, the sounds of a melody that breaks down or the doubling where two instruments are playing together in unison and then somehow their paths diverge almost like a machine that's going out of sink. I think a lot of people are fascinated by the precession that you can create with machinery. Whereas, I'm much more fascinated with the ruined sounds and the out of fade sounds, and the odd cracks.

Are you interested in this on the level of control? Would you actually play on an instrument that's unpredictable? Or do you like to have control over the sounds which represents those things?

I would certainly play on an instrument that's unpredictable. A very important part of this piece EWA7 that was originally written for a factory in Nuremberg is to be able to present it in other factories, or we've performed it all over the world in concert halls and we just request factory metals. So there's this big wild card element where the drummers just have these huge pieces of metal to beat on and it's always something different, and it's always unpredictable. So, I think it's in a way, much more exciting because every performance is a little bit different. The performer gets something out of that. There's a little more adrenaline because you're not just going through the same motions every time. And I think it translates to the audience.

You don't want your samplers to break down.

I don't want my sampler to break down, but you know, I've been in positions playing to an audience of 1500 people and it was endlessly crashing. So I would just look at the guitarist, I'd look at the drummer and they just play together. They would just improvise. I would just wait to reboot and you know, it really taught me something about that piece so I put in longer improv sections for the guitarist and the drummer. So I think if you travel with a piece of electronic gear, unfortunately, you have to be prepared for those little surprises.

Where do you fit into the history of American music?

I don't know where I fit into the history of American music. I think it's important for me to keep making the music that I am. I know that it came before me. I don't know if it will come after me. John Cage and prepared piano have been a huge influence on me so though I can't claim anywhere near the influence that he's had, I would certainly say that I'm……(chuckling) trapped! Ahhh…what was the question?

Where do you fit into the history of American music?

Okay. Cage has been a huge influence on me so historically, I'd like to feel like I follow in his footsteps.

Who do you think is the most significant unrecognized composer apart from yourself? And why?

I think there's a lot of significant unrecognized composers out there. I think I haven't heard of them. There's a very small gene pool of people who are recognized. I think there's probably an enormous amount of people out there…hopefully. I think recording is more affordable, I think that a lot of people are coming up as composer/ performers because of the difficulty of actually getting their own music performed. In terms of a composer who writes for other people, I think Glenn Branca is very important. I think he's had a huge influence, not necessarily on concert music, but on more experimental forms of music. Though he is pretty well recognized.

I have a list here from the San Francisco Symphony American Mavericks series.. Are there any names that you recognize, or want to talk about, or any comments on how they relate to your music or to each other or any amusing anecdotes?

Well, for me George Antheil is important because of his fascination with mechanical sounds and his …now I'm blanking out.

(mumbling)

You're doing great honey, you're doing great. But what was the name of that thing we just listened to?

Ballet Mécanique

Ballet Mécanique! Okay. Well, George Antheil's "Ballet Mécanique" is important to me as early man's manifestation of machine influenced music.

Would you want your own video sent somewhere or any other way you've combined music with visuals or ballet for that matter?

Well, I created a video called Video "Shoot the Player Piano " which created an imaginary orchestra of aging mechanical instruments. Now I was very excited about the idea of creating this video that was composed entirely of mechanical instruments. When I actually went to look at some of these instruments, they are in such pristine condition, that I was somehow imagining these antique, out of tune, decomposing relics. Instead.. You know you turn a machine on and it started doing a perfect rendition of "Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head." So, I wind up with this documentation of these beautiful instruments, but the idea somehow didn't match the sound so I went back and created some of the sound with the aid of some recordings of old mechanical instruments and also recreating it myself. Part of the charm of these breaking down instruments for me was also the speed of the motors would go up and down, and they were completely unpredictable in terms of timbre so, I think a lot of composers such as Nancarrow use …(chuckling) now I'm getting tired! It's hot! (pause) …a lot of composers like Nancarrow with player pianos and many composers after him, using electronic sequencers and midi go much more for control and speed that no human could ever obtain. Whereas what I'm interested in is when the machines malfunction, and loose control, and the flaws that the machines have as opposed to human flaws, which we are all too familiar with.

Do you see yourself doing lighter acoustic music at all?

Well..

Because I see this interest in obsolete technology, factories, player pianos, not to mention the decay. Are you interested in the latest gizmos?

I don't keep up very much with equipment. I actually tend to use kind of archaic stuff. I'm using a sampler that's about ten years old now. I keep promising myself that I will upgrade it because, let's face it, instruments stop being made after awhile, and it's have to get the repaired. No, I'm definitely not on the cutting edge of software. I'm not on the cutting edge of equipment. I believe very strongly in learning your instrument or, now you would say learning your software, but I think that in order to really get deeply into it and find out what the little quirks of each instrument are, you've got to stick with it.

Anyone else on this list?

You don't want me to say if I've slept with any of these people.

We'll presume that.

(Laugh) Okay. Just her.

Oh, just her.

No, that's just a joke. Well, Ellington was very important in my house growing up. My dad, who isn't a musician, had a really amazing ear, and could just listen to a record and identify everybody in every section of the Ellington band. So, it taught all my siblings and me at a young age that there is much more to music than that first listening, there is something really in there. Listening is not just a passive process. When I was a young teenager, my mom took me to a club in New York to see Sonny Grier who was one of Ellington's first drummers. This was that very important period of the jungle band. He was a very gracious man and he told us some funny antidotes about Polly Adler who was a madam in a brothel in New Orleans at the turn of the century, around 1900. When I think about it, I'm flabbergasted that I met this man who was a piece of history from so many decades ago, but it was very important to me and the fact that I can listen to these CDs and actually have some personal link to it I always find a little bit shocking.

You've been called the new Varèse. Do you see any similarity?

Well, it was incredibly flattering to be called the Varèse of my generation. Now, I wouldn't necessarily dare to say that about myself. It was a thrill to read it in print, but I think the idea of being open to your environment and interpreting it musically is what the link is.

Is that it?

I guess that's it for these guys. Do I talk about why my music is about me?

I asked you to describe your music

Do you want me to give that one another stab?

Yeah, I'm curious to see your self perception, now we know what your music is like, maybe we'll hear some of it, and for the listeners at home, how are you like it? It seems to me you have this very physical, tactile music that you make, you're a physical type of person.

I think…it's hard just to say why am I like my music, or why is my music like me.

Not why, but how and in what way. Some people compose and learn through that act, more about themselves…Oh, I didn't realize I had that piece in me; maybe I'm an angry person after all.

I see. I think a lot of why I create the music I do is because I can be fascinated by very small details. You know, kind of like a monkey with a shiny object or something, sometimes fascinated by an inordinate about of time. What that will do is it will cause me to take a simple sound or an industrial noise and just try to explore it and open it up and kind of see what's inside it. You know, the same way you would take on object if you're a kid and take it all apart if you didn't know how to put it back together again necessarily. But, I think a certain amount of curiosity is very important to a composer as is a huge amount if patience so you can take the time for the projects that work and for the projects that don't work. I think trying to look beyond what is the most obvious use of the sound is very important as well. For me, a fascination has been trying to recreate some of these sounds with more traditional instruments. So, I know what I can do with electronic music. I know what I can do with a sampler. But, how can I create these same kinds of effects with other human beings? Without loosing sight of what is the instrument itself. I think it is very important to have people in mind as well and who is going to play the piece that you write. If it's something that uses a lot of improvisation, you have to get the right improvisers and you have to give them room. If you're writing something for more conventional trained classical musicians, I think it's very important to respect their abilities and respect sometime their weaknesses as well. You wouldn't write a long improvised solo if that wasn't their strength. But, you have to learn basically how to transpose your ideas so it's clearly translatable to them.

[Roger Kleier, Annie Gosfield's longtime partner, joins the discussion.]

 

Roger Kleier and annie Gosfield
Roger Kleier and Annie Gosfield exchange intense glances. (Photo by Preston Wright)

I want to know what it's like, can you describe the good things and the bad things about being a two-composer household.

ANNIE: Well, we each have our own individual skills. So one really good thing is the music that we write is very different. I mean, our music is very different from each other. So, it's good to have somebody who has similar tastes, but different ….You can take this one, I'll get back to that. (Chuckling) I'll just start again. I'm just having a little trouble finding the right words. Something that's really great about being a two-composer household is that, although our taste is quite similar, our music is quite different. So, it means we both have somebody to bounce ideas off of who might come up with a totally different solution to a problem, so to speak. We have different skills, for instance, today I was helping ROGER finish his score on Finale. He might help me with the guitar part, for instances.

ROGER KLEIER: I think, if there's a down side, one of the most important things is the lack of space because since we live here in New York City, and basically it's a two room apartment, we can both be working on different projects, but we can often hear what each other person is doing. Sometimes actually something good might come out of that because you may steal something from your partner. But at the same time it can be a real problem in trying to get something done and concentrate on what you're doing. Unfortunately, for us now, not only are we sharing such a small space, but also now we have a pianist who lives next to us who practices, and upstairs we have a gaggle of cellists. There are three of them living upstairs.

Do you think your music has merged over time to become more similar?

ANNIE: I think it's become less similar, actually.

ROGER: Right, I don't think that it's become more similar, but at the same time, we can almost read each other's minds when we work on something together. That's just something that's going to happen when you've been together for many years. This actually comes in very handy at performance especially if something goes wrong, then we can just give each other visual cues to cover each other when the sampler crashes or something.

You perform each other's pieces too. How is that different from being a composer separately?

ANNIE: I think getting to know the musicians that you're writing for is very important and I've gotten to know Roger very well. I can give him a lot of freedom, I can trust him, and I know what he does well. There're certain parts I know that he wouldn't be comfortable with that I wouldn't write for him. And I know that he can cover for me when I need him to.

ROGER: One of the cool things of having your partner being a sampler player is the instrument itself has a huge world of sound available to you. So it's just nice to know that once you learn each others styles and how to work with each other that way, I know that I can turn to Annie and just simply say, "We need something interesting here." She'll come up with something.

ANNIE: And also when you're on the road for a concert, after all these years, God knows we've seen each other at our worse. You bring a new drummer on the road and then you go, "Oh, my God!" Put a few drinks in him, and it's Frankenstein's monster. Well, when you've been living together this long, those surprises don't come up and it's really quite comforting.

Do you trust each other's opinions when you're working on music like if one of you says to the other, "This is not working in your piece." Or do you try to keep that separate not to cause conflict.

ROGER: Well, often that can become a source of conflict, but it's just more of a typical couple thing that any objective musical thing usually.

ANNIE: We're both pretty free to criticize each others work or make suggestions when appropriate so I think that we each feel pretty free to make suggestions on somebody else composition especially if one of us is stuck.

ROGER: Ya, it's like she says. Having somebody you're comfortable with bouncing off ideas, and you respect their opinions and they're right there, it's a great thing to have when you're developing things.

ANNIE. I think each of us has a strong enough identity so we can say no also and even if we do take each other's suggestions, it's still going to sound like our own music.

You slap each other on the face and solve the conflict (Laughing) You never make the bed. That would be a great piece! Thank you, Roger. (More laughing)

ROGER: Like she said, it's much more fun it you're not worried about the music.

ANNIE: If you're not worried about your own God damned dead line. And like with Finale, I actually learned stuff that I didn't know about it because it (unintelligible because of laughter) Sure, I could remember in a more concise manner ( continued laughter.)

 

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