Residency Earth Interview with Maddy Villano of Guzo
Where is the site of your performance?
Canemah Bluff Nature Park in Oregon City! Pretty much right on the bouldery edge overlooking the Willamette River.
A few reasons— It’s kind of like a bouldered field with a lot of exposed rock on the ground and access to the edge of the bluff. I find that environment fun to navigate. Also, for a spot right within the city limits it’s uniquely acoustically contained. There’s the river off to the west and a lot of forested areas around the rest before any houses happen so it’s friendly for people who like to play loud. It’s also just nice to be up and above the landscape in the way you can be there, and even with that openness there’s a nested feel with all the gnarled trees surrounding the clearing.
I recall you mentioning after your performance that you hit the road often on camping trips throughout Oregon, and so I am curious as to if natural sounds inform your sound work at all?
To be honest, I think it’s more the natural landscapes which inform me. I’ve been in Oregon since I was 10, and grew up in the high desert. There’s just a lot of space, sky and rock there. It’s kind of like a drone, visually— there’s a lot of evenness throughout and spatial support to expand. I like all kinds of sound for different reasons, and finding sound that fits that setting is a favorite thing. Uncomplicated, clear. Resonant space.
There’s really no shortage of S P A C E (S) in Oregon, I’m learning.
There are plenty of open swaths here to experiment with volume. What else influences your sound work?
My own insatiable need for sound influences my work with sound. Always listening to music, all the time. I appreciate how intense it can become. Also just people sharing it and getting interested in it with others is a happy thing to experience. Dancing. I like to make things I like to listen to and feel calmed or excited by. Pianos & Strings. Korg. Ableton. Learning to blend what I like hearing. Fucking with the edges of an instrument & seeing what I can get away with. Raving, Noise. Just loops.
Can you tell me a little bit about the DIY scene here in Portland?
It’s a solid little scene with lots of pockets. There are always really committed people who are enthusiastic and sustaining. Smegma for instance—Jackie & Rick Stewart—are an example of that kind of figure for me. There are many people like that here. Personally I’m waking back up to how it is now after an extended break working (far more than) full time in tech until recently. I think maybe a lot of what was brewing when I was out in my early 20s spending a lot of time at northeast punk houses has sort of popped off and propagated into the larger culture. Like—I think I’d see a broader range of people at a synth show these days, and more of them. I see a lot more of a rave/club influence and interest which I absolutely fucking love. When I was younger it was more straight noise, literal tape machines, and art/punk rock I guess, and it all just feels more digital now. Which is great. Both are great.
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