Q054: What are your feelings on the technological revolution that has happened in music, especially since the sixties? Are things like digital modulators, recording software, keyboards, an interest to you? Do you feel that if it has changed the face of music it has been for the better or worse?
A054: Technological development is
a natural process, and as such I have no wish to deny it. It's a fact that
the development of the microphone and electric guitar gave birth to rock.
What is important is how people use technology. From the mid seventies onwards,
the great advances that were made in recording technology and PA systems
meant that rock lost one of its great advantages, the fact that its sounds
themselves were huge. Maybe you could rephrase that to say that rock was
destroyed by foolish technicians like mixers and engineers who had no idea
of what rock was. When you have an amp that is capable of playing loud,
the idea of turning it down so that sound can be created by the PA and then
played back to the guitarist himself through a monitor speaker is to me
the height of folly and total idiocy. I feel the same way about recording
toms and snare drums separately. The drummer is perfectly capable of controlling
the volume of each of his drums by himself - why then does each drum need
to miked separately and the levels adjusted later by the engineer? Isn't
that just the same as trying to mike each guitar string separately? Rock
needs volume to exist - all an engineer needs to do is turn up the faders
to full and leave them there. Good engineers who understand music are capable
of setting up very quickly, while foolish engineers take forever with their
fiddling around. Digital effects have many strong points - you can create
extreme long reverb and delay that would be totally impossible with analogue
effects. One of the advantages of technological advances is that you can
create sounds that there physically impossible to produce previously.
Of course analogue equipment has its own benefits too, in that there are certain tones that you can only produce using it. But digital has its good points too.
Digital hard-disk recording has made certain operations and tasks far easier. But as I do not fully understand computers, I am afraid that I am still an antedeluvian type who is unable to use hard-disk recording. But I am interested in it.
I am bored by laptop musicians. Mainly because laptops make everyone sound the same. They can never be any more than they are.
Equipment and technology doesn't make music - people who play music make use of technology. It all depends upon the person using the equipment.