Interviews of Don Falcone



[Don in studio by Doug Harr] Douglas Harr visits with the Don at his home studio May 2014.












From Colossus, Issue # 34, 2008 by Ian Abrahams


Colossus: Don, your Spirits Burning ensemble celebrates the boundless possibilities of space-rock. Who originally sparked your interest in the genre?

Don Falcone: Hawkwind's Space Ritual was first, though it took some time for me to get comfortable with the music. It was darker and more intense than other things I was listening to. Hearing Hall of the Mountain Grill sealed the deal. I had been a big fan of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and was also into Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. Hawkwind represented a place where all those sounds and ideas came together.

Back then, Nektar's Remember the Future was my favorite concept album, Floating Anarchy my favorite plate of Gong. Can's Landed was perhaps the most experimental of the space-rock albums I was listening to. That album's use of electronics remains timeless. And, the Holger Czukay solo material that followed is still a handbook for using found sounds.

Most importantly, these bands and artists continued to do new things that I enjoyed and admired. Hawkwind developed lyrical when Bob Calvert took over as lead vocalist and then became more power prog during Ginger Baker's brief stint and then took on a new flavor when Harvey Bainbridge moved to keyboards. I recently saw the Live Legends video with Bridget, Alan, Richard, Simon, and Harvey. I had forgotten how good this line-up was. Plus, there was a personal "wow" moment. It hit me that I had done songs with everyone onstage except for Dave Brock and the fire-breathers!

[Full interview]

From: MARGEN Magazine, #22  by Rafa Dorado [2001]


Margen:
"In addition to Spaceship Eyes and your encounter with the space rock in Spirits Burning, you finish publishing an ambient
compilation titled Where Stalks The Sandman, where takings divide next to Steve Wilson, Praxis and Kim Cascone/PGR."

Don Falcone: "It was an idea of Karen, my wife, of Doug Erickson and mine. One was to produce an ambient disc compilation using very simple sonorous sources. My subject, for example, arose from a 1kHz tone, and to that I added a workstation and a DAT.  Steven Wilson, who already had contributed in the first disc of Spirits Burning, makes a subject of Bass Communion that recreates a session of Robert Fripp. A member of Praxis, Peter Wetherbee, remixes a piece that includes Bill Laswell and Pat Thrall. And the godfather of ambient, Kim Cascone, (Silent Records and Thessalonians), suggests with a very dark sonorous assembly... very PGR."


 From: Don Falcone: What a long strange trip... An interview with Don Falcone. by Piero Scaruffi [2000]

PS: "So many projects... so many personalities... What is truly important to you as a musician?"

DF:
"You should enjoy what you're doing.
For me, that derives from exploring, growing, continuing to be excited. Whether you're a musician or not, experiencing (and re-experiencing) a sense of newness is what makes life worth living. It's like going out to dinner and discovering a new exotic dish. For a moment, all that matters is the spice.
Music's the same. For the artist composing and producing the sounds to the listener: It's an opportunity to taste something that excites and makes you want to live life all the more to the fullest."




"Now available from Illegal Art is a compilation CD entitled Extracted Celluloid. Like its predecessor [Deconstructing Beck], Extracted Celluloid is made entirely of samples, and this time Hollywood is the target. Though the sources of the samples are given, no permission was sought (much less granted) for their use. The artists on EC enjoyed working on the project more for the fun involved in meeting the compilation's requirements rather than for philosophical reasons.

Don Falcone
, who performs under the name Spaceship Eyes, appears on EC as Alien Heat. "The second IA CD gave me a chance to experiment with sound in new ways," he says, "challenging me to marry found audio (from film) and traditional composition in an inventive and enjoyable context." Despite disparate motivations, they [the artists] all feel that sampling is a valid way to recycle sound.

"Found sound is like water in a pond. You always have choices: which pond, which flavor of pond water. The pond is part of nature, part of our world. So is sound. There's no reason why an artist shouldn't consider tasting the waters of each and every pond.

I only have a problem with taking huge amounts of pond water...it's much like being in a cover band, a style that has never interested me.

The beauty of sampling is to take from the past and create something new. Sounding newcan be a challenge when the source is already out there."

The tracks on Extracted Celluloid can safely be called experimental. As with any compilation CD, some tracks shine while others don't. This is all a matter of taste, though, and the range is such that everyone will find something intriguing. It's a good addition to a CD collection whether you want to support an independent label's exploration of sound construction despite well-funded opposition, or if you just want to hear some interesting music." -- Eric Ewing, Segue, Sept/Oct, 1999

For the full article download: Segue.pdf


Interview for MARGEN Magazine, #13, Spring 1998
by Rafa Dorado


Margen: When did you get interested in music and composing? Formal Education? Influences?

Don Falcone: I've always been into artistic expression that digs deep. First with comic book artists like Barry Windsor Smith, then sci-fi writers like John Brunner and Michael Moorcock. I was writing poetry before music, eventually earning a Masters in English at San Francisco State University. In college, I studied John Ashberry and writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and James Joyce. I fell in love with breaking expectations and exposing new spices.

I played trombone in school, but not very well. Moved onto bass and began writing and jamming. But I was destined to play keyboards, as I loved sonically tripping out to Tangerine Dream, Hawkwind, Oldfield. Soon I was playing keys and composing songs for bands with one foot tied to the clubs, the other tied to practice studios; unfortunately these bands never understood the need to record to vinyl or CD. When I got involved in Silent Records and the ambient scene in 1993, it gave me a chance to apply many of my linguistic philosophies to music. And Kim Cascone (of Thessalonians, HMC) introduced me to things I just flat out missed, like Miles Davis Bitches Brew.

M: I would say that Kamarupa is an electronic revolutionary work, a type of techno-trance-space experimental. Are you o.k. with this opinion?

DF: Definitely. I take that as a compliment. I felt I attempted much, and each time I get a positive response it tells me I succeeded on at least one more front.

M: In the last years as a composer. How have you changed as a writer? What elements have remained? Do you think your actual music it's more accessible than your early music or vice versa?

DF: Sometimes change seems to happen from piece to piece. Sometimes change is because I pick up an operators manual and find a new way of manipulating a sound. Reading mags like Future Music always supplies a brilliant idea or two. Sometimes it's from listening to the radio; we've got a DJ in San Francisco named Sep, who just plays the best electronica. When Brian, the president of Hypnotic, asked me to do a techno cover of a disco song, instead of reverting to the +I hate disco+ mentality of my youth, I took it as a challenge.

M: What are some of your different creative approaches to writing? Are there any usual procedures? Is it the improvisation important in your writing process?

DF: Everything from it's infancy is improvisation. I'd like to think that even the final mix retains a sense of this, revealed differently with repeated listening. When I play live I try to maintain that. I don't like to lock myself into making carbon copies.

M: How will music be in the next century? Are your searching for the reply to this questions with your music? How do you view the current progressive / new music scene and where do you see it going in the next 10 years?

DF: Wow! I didn't expect that question.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of what Eno and Coldcut have given us. Eno, via the KOAN program, takes a piece and reinterprets it with each playing. The newest Coldcut CD includes a CDR with a number of interactive programs. I think one is called PlayKit; it allows a listener to become the reinterpreter. While the piece plays, the user can choose rhythms and spices. Maybe electronica will be the folk music of the future. In the same way the average person could pick up a guitar and strum and sing, any computer owner is now able to become part of a music history. I can see people gathering together in a living room (or even online) interacting with these sound devices.

For the ultimate rhythm experience: There's nothing like a rave. If you do nothing else this year, do at least one rave. Dancing with your new neighbor is a good thing. And, there's nothing wrong when the dance becomes more important than the individuals creating the dance. This was the tease of 60's music, before rock musicians became icons. Music can unite, create change, help us all to grow.

All-in-all, participation is usually better than watching. So maybe there will be more musicians in the future. And potentially more to listen to.

I do see prog elements seeping into techno and alternative rock. This could prove quite interesting. With the millenium coming, I won't be surprised to see an anything goes attitude. Look at 1900. It could be a mess, mind you, but it'll be a loaded one.

Am I searching for a reply to future paths? Yes. But so are many other. The answers are coming in faster than humanly possible to interpret. The best one can do is assimilate some of the whole. From there, we can take a number of worthy trips together.




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