The mysteriously-named El Pricto is a shy and timid beast, often only spotted after dark in secluded and seedy Barcelona bars, clutching a musical instrument (usually the alto saxophone, although his reptilian claws have been known to caress a piano or two). Fortunately the Discordian Answering Service in conjunction with the Prictic Automatic Answering Software (or PAAS) was available to provide answers to this week’s 7 Questions. Meanwhile El Pricto himself (itself?) continues his plans for global improvisation through such organs as Discordian Records, and a multitude of groups, including the Filthy Habits Ensemble, Discordian Community Ensemble, and Reptilian Mambo…
1. What was your first musical instrument, and what did it mean to you?
My first instrument was somewhere between the piano and the guitar… Got piano lessons when I was five, didn’t continue, parents got me into sport related activities – didn’t argue. At 15 got an electric guitar, started shaking it regularly, some success at hitting the right notes. Loved distorted sounds, playing licks and songs, and improvising rock-oriented solos. Later found the saxophone and stopped playing the guitar completely, gave it to a friend. Anyway, this instrument introduced me to actually practicing music, which makes me feel something special for it.
2. What are your non-musical influences?
Discordianism, Chaos Magick, Falcon Press, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, H.P. Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley, science (fiction and non-fiction), grimoires in general, paranormal phenomena, Stanley Kubrick, Anarchy (also Zenarchy), conspiracy theories, absurd humor, Don Quixote, Aldous Huxley, Wilhelm Reich, Philip K Dick, Alan Chapman, Dr John Lily, Terrence McKenna, Kurt Vonnegut, reptilian mythos…
3. What’s the starting point for a composition? (assuming you have one!)
I always use The Prictic Theoretical System for Controlling Time/Space Relationships (including the Prictic Calculator). In essence I go to numbers as a departure point, but things tend to get messy. The exercise of control always creates more chaotic possibilities which in turn create tension. Chaos is the unperception of order and vice versa, there’s always a level for perceiving one or the other. Our mammalian biological data processing apparatus responds to the perception of chaos with emotional tension, which accumulates, creating a stronger charge the longer our perception of the situation develops. Release and relaxation comes only when we can recognize and anticipate new events, through the perception of an order (always self-imposed). Sometimes I use multiple-sided dice to scramble some notes and get new ideas, just to avoid everything I just explained.
At times I get freak literary or weird scientific themes in conjunction with the Prictic System to create more conceptual works – listen to:
4. What is the oddest/least conventional sound you’ve incorporated into your music so far? And why?
Probably the voice, when singing conventionally lyrical passages.
I normally work with a musician’s own extended techniques and noisy effects (and sometimes very idiosyncratic…), so for me the conventional is the rarity.This is interesting, also something important I feel I’ve incorporated since some years now are certain controlled improvisational procedures for each musicians specific “noise” language.
5. What prompted you to set up Discordian Records?
Inactivity. When I started the label it was a moment where not too much was happening in town and I needed to meet more musicians to play with, listen to, try things out, share ideas and experiences. I decided to record because back then I was sharing a studio with friends, which incredibly eased the production.
Another reason is that one of the main problems at the time was that there were not too many places to play, many had been closed by neighbors, so recording was an alternative, at least to meet each other and have the experience. Anyhow, live performance has always been an important issue, this is why we’ve been also programming concerts anywhere we can trick the owner to let us play.
6. Where do you stand on the streaming/downloading/file-sharing/musicians-not-getting-paid-for-their-music debate?
I try to constantly adapt my ideas to the transitional moment I believe we are passing through, this means that I’m changing sides constantly, sometimes landing in the middle, but no problem, every Discordian has the right to contradict himself.
In the present world, where living depends only on buying and selling, is difficult to establish a free information exchange model. On the other hand this free model is imposing itself more and more through an exponentially growing global technological advancement. I believe in the near future we’ll develop a system in which survival will not be conditioned by economic factors, only by basic biological factors. Of course, this could also happen after a massive natural disaster, either way the direction is the same: survival will again depend on biology, not on culture (for more on this, read Christopher Hyatt’s book “Undoing Yourself”).
7. What’s next? (musically, geographically, recording, tours, ensembles, anything…)
For a while I’ll be composing at home, playing in town, working on the production for the release of more on-line records, and also programing concerts… as usual. Perseverance is the maxim, many things will continue to happen in town if we keep on organizing ourselves and enjoying the music.