The following discussion took place via E-Mail between
Osamu Sakamoto of Marquee Magazine and Nick Didkovsky of Doctor Nerve.

Dear Osamu ,

Here's some responses, also late, sorry!

>>I listen to "Skin". Very very exciting!

I am glad you feel that way! We are very proud of the record: the compositions, the performances, the recording quality, and the production values. We are grateful to the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust for giving us the generous grant that allowed us to take the appropriate amount of time in the studio to do the project properly; to present the music, the musicians, and the composer the way they deserve to be presented, for listeners who deserve high production values and high artistic values.

>>I have not imagined the heavy-metal Doctor Nerve!
>>What leads this change of the sound? Of course, the essence of the music of
>>Doctor Nerve is not changing, but I feel different surface and flavour of the
>>sound. I think it gets more natural against the figure and structure of music.
>>Is the development of software (HMSL) relating to it?

I listened mostly to heavy metal when I was in high school. Kiss, Queen, Alice Cooper, Hendrix, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath... it would be surprising if this experience were NOT reflected in my work.

Heavy metal has always been in our sound. It can be heard in tunes like Pain Waits Until 5pm, Trash, Sister Cancer Brother Dollar, Out To Bomb Fresh Kings, Nothing You Can Do Hurt Me, and A Hammer In His Hand.

As you correctly point out, the essence of a composition is different from the surface qualities of instrumentation. Form separated from realization. The compositional techniques used in "Preaching To The Converted" (by far the most over-the-top metal tune on SKIN) includes a technique new to Nerve that I experimented with years ago in computer music performance, and that is the idea of a musical "morph". Your readers will recognize the word "morph" from Image Processing techniques: changing one face into another, or an automobile into a tiger. A musical morph changes musical material from a source to a destination. I once wrote a program that listens to a live performer and gradually changes pre-sequenced Doctor Nerve material into live material played by the performer. At the beginning of the performance, the computer is playing material independently of the performer. By the end of the piece, the computer is imitating the performer 100%. In between, there are very interesting and sometimes painful stages of transformation. One performance of this software is available on the cassette "ONE.SOURCE: HMSL" (Frog Peak Music, Box 1052, Lebanon NH, 03766). My piece was inspired by Larry Polansky's work in morphological mutations.

Which brings me back to heavy metal and compositional essence. The astute listener will recognize a musical morph in "Preaching to the Converted." It begins after the guitar solo. That's all I will say here, but listen to how the riff returns to the opening material. Weird stuff.

There is an awful stigma attached to heavy metal, that it is a music stuck in rules and accepted patterns of performance and behavior; right and wrong ways of playing heavy metal, right and wrong ways of dressing, thinking, behaving... This wrong-headed thinking is an artifact of marketing and a "follow the leader" type of thinking, and creates an unnecessary contradiction: that this music of rebellion and rejection would create an even stronger set of rules, "rights" and "wrongs" than the conservative systems it attacks. Clearly a revolutionary spirit does not survive in an environment of strict codes of behavior. So I find it natural to experiment with radical compositional techniques and wrap it in the skin of metal. Hence SKIN. Surface versus essence.

>>I am interested in the recent Doctor Nerve live stages. How sound are they? Are
>>they wilder than "Did Sprinting Die?" ?
>>Anyway, "Skin" suits my taste best.

Doctor Nerve is very heavy live these days. I look forward to the next live CD. It will have some terrifying moments on it. Since Sprinting, we have introduced conducted improvisation into our set. This will also be on the live CD. Look for it next year. We take a lot of chances live - change things before we get used to them.

>>And one more question: what means the title "Skin"?
See above.

>>Send a few funny stories from the Fukkeduk recording sessions
My favorite moment was when Tom Bruwier was positioning himself to take a photo of the band while they were recording a take. Meanwhile, something had gone wrong in the studio, and I came out to signal the band to stop. I was standing behind Tom, waving my arm to signal them to stop playing. Gradually, more and more of the musicians were looking my way with a confused look on their faces. Of course Tom had no idea I was behind him, so he thought they were all looking at him. Then they began to wave their arms frantically, to signal the rest of the band to stop playing. Finally the entire band was waving their arms to stop playing, all the while looking at Tom. You can imagine how Tom felt - he must have thought he'd violated some sacred taboo about photographing musicians or something. He stood there in silence with all the musicians looking at him. The look on his face was something I will never forget as long as I live. A brilliant mixture of confusion, shame, innocence, and despair that something awful had just been committed by him and his camera.

>>I will be happy to send you photos of the new Doctor Nerve.
Joyce should be sending you these photos.

Thanks for such thoughtful questions!


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