East Village artist hits film festival in search of unique sounds
By BY MELISSA CROWE
April 3, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.
Teddy Riederer is out to chronicle the vernacular of Victoria.
Inspired by legendary ethnomusicologist and historian Alan Lomax, Riederer will set up his vinyl recording outfit during the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival to get some area flavor for his archives and to promote the documentary directed by Jason Wyche, "Never Records: You Are Not Listening."
Riederer caught up with Get Out about what his role is in galvanizing communities, what he hopes to accomplish in Victoria and how having a voice doesn't matter if you don't have any ears.
HOW MANY BANDS HAVE YOU RECORDED ON YOUR EQUIPMENT TO DATE?
Three-hundred and fifty. I don't have an exact count right now. There's a lot of spin-off projects, extra people get thrown in, so I don't have a master list.
YOU'VE SAID YOU'RE PLANNING TO RECORD 10 TO 15 BANDS DURING THE FESTIVAL - DO YOU HAVE ANY IN MIND?
Anthony (Pedone) is setting it up. There are some bands from the festival, including a French hip-hop group and a bunch of local musicians and performers as well: Les Sales Cons, Stout City Luchadores, Something Called Nothing, Joe Reyna, Kevin Gant, comedians Shawn Kohne and Paul Goetz and Wackford Squeers.
IS THIS GOING TO BE AN OPEN-CALL SETTING SIMILAR TO YOUR OTHER NEVER RECORDS?
Never Records in the past has functioned where we had open calls, then we do booked times. I have to schedule because in New Orleans, we opened our doors with 40 on the schedule. I ended up recording 135 performances in four weeks. It was out of control.
Essentially, this is to promote the film. This is sort of a junior version (of Never Records), and I thought it would be cool to auction off additional vinyls for charity.
THE ARTISTS YOU'VE RECORDED HAVE ALL BEEN LOCAL TO WHERE YOU WERE. IS THAT INTENTIONAL?
It's intentional in the sense that the idea is an experiment when you go into a community. When you open a record store and recording studio - but there's no money involved - because nothing is for sale. It turns it into a community center/living library. It can also galvanize a scene.
It's about the connections made by people hanging out in the store or coming back. People end up seeing bands they never knew existed before and joining bands they never knew existed.
SO YOU'RE AN ARCHIVEST OF SORTS?
I have this debate with a lot of other people who are following Alan Lomax's lead, recording American vernacular music.
I see vernacular as the common shared language of the moment: punk rock, Tejano, hip-hop or skateboarders around the store as I did in New Orleans.
I see it as being an artist or archivest. Alan left this path of energized galvanized community and gave attention to under-served people as well.
THIS IS A FIRST FOR VICTORIA. WHAT IMPACT DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE?
Essentially, our goal is to share the film, which is about a very special Never Records in Northern Ireland.
The project to me is a secular project: the coming together to participate as musician, audience member, choir has the same spiritual uplift.
I see it as this alchemical process where not a lot of people realize that a vinyl groove is a soundwave. It's this miraculous thing that excites people or makes people stop for a moment and think visually about sound. It makes people slow down a little bit. we're all in this constant sense of agitation of technology. I want people to slow down.
WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR MOTTO?
The motto is "You're not listening." It's a cheeky challenge to people: Listen.
In this digital era where we're all listening to these file formats with built-in distortion, we're filling our ears with distortion.
Anyone coming in to watch will get my whole speech about this. I say it's the stuff of heartbeats and fingerprints.
It's a cool, mini science fair, too, for people who had never considered what the process involved. What I want to achieve in the really short time I'm there is to generate some excitement about the festival, movie and the local and international musicians as well.
It's an old idea. In a lot of ways, what I'm doing is giving people an ear. Everybody thinks that the apriorism is people need a voice, but if no one's listening, then what's the point?
ANY OTHER PLANS WHILE YOU'RE IN TEXAS?
I've never been to Texas before.
I like not going to bigger cities like Dallas or Houston because I feel I'll get a real sense of what Texas is all about.
THERE'LL BE A VINYL COPY FOR SALE. WILL THE RECORDINGS BE AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE?
There is an open-source side to this. I record via computer and then cut right to vinyl right there. I also give the participants their digital file, and they can do whatever they want with it.