A/B Duo‘s next album, Variety Show is dropping on October 7, and includes LA composer (okay, we’ll count Riverside because the Outpost Concert Series is awesome) Ian Dicke‘s piece Isla, which has its origin in he and his wife’s old band. And guess what? We’ve got an interview with Ian, and an exclusive stream. Here’s that.
Tell me a bit about the piece on the new A/B Duo record.
When I lived in Austin, I played bass in a band with my wife Elisa Ferrari. We played fairly frequently and were usually paid in all-you-can-drink Lone Stars. We recorded two albums and my piece Isla is a remix of our song “Isla de Niños.” The electronic part includes Elisa’s singing, as well as some of the other instrument parts that pop in sporadically. Much of my work incorporates source material and I really enjoyed writing a new piece around the core of this song.
What was it like collaborating with them?
A/B Duo are so much fun to work with! Besides being kickass performers, they are very comfortable with technology and were able to navigate the piece’s intricate setup with ease.
A lot of your works deal with sociopolitical issues. Despite how disheartening recent months have been politically, are you finding a lot to drive your work? Does that ever get tiring for you?
Yes, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever run out of abysmal political topics to work with. I suppose part of my attraction to writing programmatic music is cathartic. But as a composer, I believe there are countless artistic impulses hidden within our daily lives and my work focuses on finding new modes of musical expression within these experiences.
In addition to composing, you’re a director of both Fast Forward Austin and UCR’s Outpost Concert Series. How do these roles inform each other?
I actually retired this as a director of FFA this past spring, but…
A composer must be a strong advocate for fellow composers and the musicians who support our work. We cannot simply write pieces and wait for the next commission (well, not me at least!). When we develop projects that do not directly serve ourselves, we discovery a whole new world of things. New audiences, new performer friends, new artists in other disciplines, and so on. Directing a concert series certainly requires a different set of skills, and I have learned a tremendous amount over the years. New music is still (and perhaps will always be) a relatively small community. We all prosper when we create opportunities for each other.
I’m always curious about Austin – what’s the scene there like? Can you compare it with LA a bit?
There is a definite kinship between the two cities. Austin has a vibrant new music scene, but it isn’t over saturated and cliquish like other larger cities. I think LA’s scene also has a welcoming atmosphere and is strangely accessible, even when the city itself often feels like an endless labyrinth of freeways and concrete.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If A/B Duo are coming to your town…go see them! And pick up their new record!
You can do just that at abduomusic.bandcamp.com/album/variety-show.