OS: MUON has been around for about fourteen years, with a constantly changing line-up over time. Were these deliberate or unavoidable moves?
Nick Chan: Both/And, not Either/Or. They were as deliberate and unavoidable as the small ‘deliberate’ choices one makes in life only to realise later that they changed everything, like a fork in the road of fate (unavoidable). Only responsibility, not credit, can be claimed for such actions.
Fourteen years is a long time for a band, especially relative to the life experience of a teenager. MUON was always more of an idea and system of values than a band. The Blue Hour Sessions itself had its genesis through this system of values, of which I shan’t say more.
I have never made the distinction between being a producer, engineer, band member, whatever, it was all MUON. This has been the case regardless of whether I was producing/playing for I Am David Sparkle, Astreal. If you were to hear songs from those particular albums, you’d be able to identify that they are interchangeable and belong in any MUON album — but the inverse cannot be said, which has resulted in much confusion and stigma at times.
Have the changes been beneficial to the general creative process, allowing for a larger variety of experimentation of sounds?
All I can say is that works have been created and events crystalized and that they exist. The creative process itself is a participatory one of co-creation between artist and Other, rather than the traditional monotheistic notion of “Look Ma, I created something via a process! And it’s deep!”.
It wasn’t experimentation that resulted in the myriad textures our sound contains — plug-ins and gear were responsible for that. In MUON, ‘experimental’ has more to do with ‘unlearning’ than ‘reinvention’. I approximate ‘reinvention’ with throwing shit against the wall and hoping it will stick on the 7th throw, rather than the 10th. ‘Unlearning’ would be to ask, “Why am I throwing shit against the wall?”
Thus, much energy was put not towards unusual things, but rather towards really difficult stuff, such as, “Mr. Drummer, please do not crash on the 1, or after any roll,” or questions like, “Does laughter have an opposite?” Much easier said than done.
Too often, many try to push the boundaries, without realizing that the boundaries also push back. The less one is aware of this, the more likely the work ends up as experimental drivel that most people have to pretend to understand.
Collaborating with visual artists isn’t anything new to you, you’ve previously worked with Brandon Tay of Syndicate. Is it difficult balancing the two creative visions on two quite different mediums?
Not at all. If affinity is shared, then it’s ONE creative vision, involving TWO individuals from different milieus. Last I checked, Brandon and I weigh about the same.
What are your thoughts on collaborating with William Chan of TMRRW this time round?
William is a total ideas guy who has an impeccable sweet-spot between the special and mundane, the sacred and profane, the simple and the simpler. I feel that working with him this time round has been a well-rounded experience.
If you could compose or recreate the perfect film soundtrack, which film would you choose? Would you choose to collaborate with any other bands?
I would collaborate with Jordan Chia of Pixel Apartment and the film would be Cinema Paradiso.
Lastly, please describe what you hope the audience will feel after your show this weekend. Looking forward to it!
Well, I hope they feel great — that’d be enough. But on a more idealistic front, I hope they feel that in between the grind of daily life and the chasing of representations of things, that the usual BS we hear, that ‘life is beautiful’, ‘nature is alive’, ‘abundance trumps scarcity’, that all of that is true.
By Maria Clare Khoo
Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with MUON and Dream State Vision
Friday, 27 November