What better way to interview Chad Mossholder, an expert in the art of
instilling electronics with emotion, than in plain ascii text? Over
the course of several days, I traded emails with half of Twine in an
effort to separate the strands that weave such complex ambient music.
Twine is Greg Malcolm and Chad Mossholder. They create their subtle
electronic melodies in Kent, OH.
Igloo: From your Web site, I see your first performance was in
1998. How long has Twine been forming, and how did things come
Chad Mossholder: Twine has been together for roughly two and a half
years. It was initially started by my friend David Graves, who is no
longer involved, and me. Dave and I worked under the name “The New
Severe Theatre” for a few months. Then Greg moved to Akron from
Maryland. I asked Greg to join so we reformed and changed the name to
Twine. I came up with the name Twine because I felt that it reflected
what we did: taking many different sounds and weaving them together.
Also, I wanted a name that sounded organic and not electronic. Later,
Dave wanted to focus more on drum and bass so he split off. He works
under the names Audium and Platelet. He does very nice work.
Igloo: How did you meet Greg Malcolm?
CM: Greg and I met each other in high school. We used to hang out and
talk music and do a lot of skateboarding. Later, we both went to
Akron University where we roomed together for a year. He decided to
move back to Maryland where he has family. So I didn’t see him for
many years. When he moved back here in 1998, he had turntables, and I
wanted to incorporate turntables into Twine performances. Greg and I
shared the same musical aesthetic, and so the collaboration clicked
very nicely. He was able to bring to the group sounds and ideas that
helped shape what Twine is today.
Igloo: The sounds you create aren’t really typical of the US music
scene, let alone Kent, OH, I imagine. According to AdAstra’s site,
your big influences were “Autechre, Squarepusher, Oval, Steve Reich,
Skinny Puppy and (of course) John Cage.” What are you listening to
CM: Well, I’m very much into the avant-garde side of classical music.
Currently I’m really into the works of David Tudor, Glen Branca, Luc
Ferrari, Pauline Oliveros, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Gyorgi Ligeti, Arel
Bulent, Schnitke, Arvo Part, etc. But I am also really into some of
the new avante/epic/post rock material like Godspeed You Black
Emperor, Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion, LaBradford, and
Mogwai. Of course I like the standards as well, like Stereo Lab,
Sonic Youth, Pole, Oval, Autechre, Mego label material like Fennesz
and Pita, Hefty Records material, Main, John Cage, Bob Dylan, Miles
Davis, Herbie Hancock, Slow Dive, My Bloody Valentine… and tons of
others. I listen to so much music I couldn’t possibly list it all.
But I think that is key. To make music, you have to listen to a lot
of music. And all kinds, not just what you do.
Igloo: How’d Resource come into being? Was it tough collabing?
CM: Resource is the product of the Web. Somehow someone emailed us
and said that they liked what we did, and that we should check out
Mike Palace’s project Horchata. So we did and thought it was really
good material. So, we began corresponding via email and ended up
doing the Resource disc, which came out pretty well, at least Mike’s
material did. I’m not thrilled with my contribution to the disc. If I
could do it again, I would do it differently. But Mike’s material is
top notch. Mike is a really talented guy. I’ve only spoken to him on
the phone a few times. He just released a remix disc for two of his
songs called “Necromas” and “Biomas.” There are two remixes by Twine
on that disc which came out pretty well I think. And that disc is
very solid, all of the artists that contributed are superb. Mike is
very good to work with.
Igloo: I’m a firm believer in the mixing of media. Are you inspired by
any particular visual artists or writers?
CM: Visual artists: I really like the film works of Louis Bunuel,
David Lynch, David Cronenberg. I like the paintings of Paul Klee,
Miro, and El Greko just to name a few. I am really into writing: my
favorite book currently is Einstein’s Dream by Alan Lightman. I am
reading Gravity’s Rainbow, right now, by Thomas Pynchon. Anyhow, we
like to project black and white surrealist films behind us during our
performances. It’s a nice contrast.
Igloo: What are your live shows like? Do you play pre-composed tracks,
or do you just jam?
CM: Twine live shows are a bit different from the studio material.
The live performances are where the true collaboration between Greg
and me take place. We try to create an atmosphere as opposed to
playing songs. The sets are about 85% improv., 10% sequenced and
pre-conditioned background sounds, and 5% “what the fuck?” ;) The
idea is to create a seamless sound environment that co-exists with
the video behind us and the overall ambience of the immediate venue.
Lately, I have been incorporating more electro/acoustic sounds. Like
bowing my electric guitar and playing it with mallets like a Koto. I
also like to use feedback straight off the mixer to weave a nice
under-texture. We have many new sounds and ideas that people will see
in future shows. I don’t want to give away all the surprises ;)
Igloo: I know you’re an IDM listmember. How do you feel about the scene
that list’s created?
CM: I think the IDM list is a valuable resource for gathering
information on what’s new in electronic music. There are so many
people on there who have a tremendous amount of musical knowledge. Of
course arguments and debates arise all the time on the list, but even
that makes for amusing reading :) It gives me something to do at my
day job. I read it there.
Igloo: What do you do when you’re not making music?
CM: Twine pretty much consumes me. I graduated from Kent State
University with a BA in Photojournalism. I do have a day job; I am
the Senior Audio Engineer for a web company called
ontimetraining.com. It’s nothing too exciting. I compose some techno
type music for them and do sound editing using SoundForge. It’s full
time and it pays the bills :) Aside from that I do a lot of writing.
Greg DJ’s techno music under the name “Moniker,” which he enjoys a
Twine have an upcoming release on Komplott Records.