Blog #1 of 2014! Well, the good folks at ArtistShare® (the wonderful place where my project Concerto for Folded Space is housed) have put together a profile interview and it is now posted. They asked some really cool questions and it was a blast to put together. Lots of stuff I have either never thougth about, or haven’t considered in awhile.
Check out Part 1 below, and then CLICK HERE for the full thing on their site.
Featured Artist: Steve Wiest
ArtistShare: Describe the moment when you realized you wanted to be a musician.
Steve: An exact moment is hard to nail down. I do know that, for as long as I can remember, I have been deep into creativity. I am completely right-brained (can’t even access the organized left-brain math-zone…something about “no password” keeps coming up…) It is that absolute spark, or joyous feeling that the act of creation, or perhaps more accurately, the prelude to the act of creation causes in me that keeps me coming back for more. Whether it was the first drawings that I made as a child, early designs of games that I would craft with cards and toys, or goofing around on the nasty old piano in our basement in Woodridge Illinois-creativity has always completely captivated me.
I suppose there are a series of first-times in my artistic development that made me realize that I wanted to be a musician: The first time I heard the blues, the first time I heard Jimmy Pankow with the rock group Chicago, Urbie Green, J.J. Johnson, Carl Fontana, Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Gil Evans…the list goes on and on (and hasn’t stopped yet) But perhaps the most defining moment was when I had a piece of music performed for the first time. It was a silly piece, in hindsight, in fact: it was SO silly that we couldn’t play it! This ultra funk piece was written for a garage band that Jon Fairbank (one of my dearest friends) and I had organized while I was living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Along with transcribing popular groups such as Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears and adding horn parts to ZZ Top tunes, that first original absolutely sent lightning bolts right through my heart. To hear other people perform music that I had written! Wow. I still try to recreate that feeling every time I compose.
By the way, that first original was called “Punkin’ Head” Imagine the slinkiest, funkiest thing you’ve ever heard, then imagine trying to play it while looking at that title, with a “Punkin’ Head” cartoon character that I had drawn on each musician’s music. Impossible!
AS: Describe the latest creative process update you made to your project.
Steve: The most recent update was an analysis of one of the pieces, in this case “Queen Ian,” using multiple platforms. Basing everything on a cool bit of software called Camtasia, I made a video of myself discussing the Finale score. This software makes it possible to film a video of yourself that displays in the corner of the screen while also filming your desktop. The cursor is set on “magnify” so that every part of the screen that I move it to is enlarged to emphasize what I am pointing out. I think this makes for a wonderfully organic method of analyzing the music, not unlike how it would be if I could invite my participants over to my studio and show them the computer screen while I talked about the chart.
I followed that update with a PDF file that includes all of the scores that I have written so far and plan to follow that up with a new batch of MIDI demos. Then, things will really get to jumpin’ as we begin to piece together the Pro Tools template. I will be filming every stage of that process and uploading exclusive behind-the-scenes video excerpts of that phase as well. All participants will be able to log in to their accounts to access all of these fun goodies!