Friday, December 17, 2010

Super Visas (SCQ's Year-End Questionnaire Part I)

James Hicken (also of Wallscenery Demos) is one of those overly prolific, under-the-radar artists who release so many songwriting incarnations of himself, you gradually begin to love the entire repertoire. Speaking of his Super Visas moniker, Hicken discusses how READ (I Found Out) organically came together as spare parts from many recordings yet to be announced. Yes, 2011 is looking predictably busy for James Hicken…

SCQ: Every list-lover's favourite question: what are your top albums of 2010? Feel free to include any older yet worthy records you discovered this year.

JH: le noise. this album sounds so alive... the production is great, and the record sounds so fresh. it's one of those albums that provides me with relief. I haven't been listening to a whole lot of newer albums lately. I've mostly been digging through older albums...

SCQ: What were you listening to a lot of while recording your excellent Super Visas' debut READ (I Found Out)?

JH: I was going back through albums and artists that have had a lasting effect on me and my ideas about music. some of my staples are guided by voices, lee scratch perry, neil young, art blakey, king tubby, real estate, thrush hermit, galaxie500, gangstarr... I'm a little all over the place, but these artists were in heavy rotation.

SCQ: Be cocky for once in your life: what was the finest thing you did all year? That moment where you actually thought "shit, I nailed that..."?

JH: I would have to say this ablum (READ)... I didn't plan on doing it. I was working on the 3rd wallscenery demos album, and realized I had a bunch of recordings that made more sense to me as something stand alone. It gave me an escape from thinking too much while making an album. I recorded a lot of it with an internal mic on a computer and just had fun doing things the way your not supposed to...

SCQ: Effect and Cause: Having exiled myself to some patchwork pastures in New Hampshire this Summer, I became lost while listening to gauzy tracks like 'Anonymous Props' and 'Keep On Doin' It'. Okay, your turn: confess a true tale that inspired one of the songs from READ (I Found Out).

JH: Hands down duly noted projections. hugh oliver. I recorded an album for hugh and rosie, and hugh recited his poem projections as the album closer. I had a demo that I recorded at home and for some reason it made me think of projections. I put the two together, tweaked a few things and it made sense to me. Working with hugh, rosie and marco on that album was amazing. we recorded Hugh reciting projections at marco difelice's studio in the lobby- which is massive and has great natural reverb. the recording sessions were fun, and it felt invigorating being a part of the record.. Hugh is a great creative spirit.

SCQ: If all the reasonable and implausible ideas in your head came to fruition in 2011, what would they be?

JH: label support. my albums are all self financed, recorded, manufactured and promoted. I'm not even playing shows now. It would be a relief to have some portions of what goes into releasing an album removed from my plate so I can focus on important stuff. My main priority is to continue writing and releasing material frequently. 2011 will hold another super visas album- I've started ear marking some recordings. I should start playing some shows as well.

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