Making Dream Noise: The Jasmina Maschina Interview
Jasmina Maschina,(aka Jasmine Guffond) is an Australian-bred, Berlin-based one woman band, complete with live and programmed instruments and ethereal vocals. Formerly the sound engineer for Bachelorette, Guffond has been garnering press and praise worldwide for her latest release, Alphabet Dream Noise.
ELM: How did you create the effect on your voice on “Forgotten Wood?”
JM: I cut up the vocals in Protools.
ELM: What are some of your favorite places to visit and/or perform?
JM: anywhere with a good sound system, good foldback monitors and a nice audience
ELM: You use found sounds in “The City is Moving Like a Map.” Is that something you’ve done before or plan to work with more in the future? Also, did any particular city inspire it?
JM: I’ve used found sounds in recordings before and probably will in the future. the bridge recordings that are featured in “The City is Moving Like a Map” were recorded by a sound artist friend, Jodi Rose.
ELM: Following up to that, what non-musical sound would you love to capture and work into a song?
JM: A dog barking
ELM: What role do lyrics play in your songwriting?
JM: I feel they should play a more important role in my songwriting, so far they are usually the last element of a song to be written.
ELM: You have audiences on several continents. How do they differ, in your opinion?
JM: That’s a difficult question, i haven’t noticed national trends in audiences as a musician.
ELM: How did you come up with the title Alphabet Dream Noise?
JM: Actually its a line from a Janet Frame novel and used to be the name of a noise duo I had in Sydney many years ago. “Alphabet Dream Noise” spontaneously came to mind when I was working on the album and I thought, what a great title! I like the idea of a dream language.
ELM: Who would you really like to work with that you haven’t yet?
JM: There was a time when I would always have a small list of artists I dreamed to work with, unattainable famous people that I didn’t know personally but felt a connection to. now I’ve gotten used to doing things by myself. Though I would love to work with Chris Abrahams, an amazing pianist.
ELM: You’ve also worked as a sound engineer for Bachelorette. How does that training affect your musical/recording ear?
JM: I would say its the other way round, that is, my musical recording ear affected my work as a live sound engineer, because that was my training.
ELM: You live in Berlin (unless that’s changed recently), a city known for its electronic music scene. How has that fed you. Or, conversely, how has that starved you?
JM: I would like to make techno music one day, or perhaps a more abstract techno.
ELM: You work with both “live” and programmed instruments. How does your approach differ between the two?
JM: Working with machines is often, compared to using ones hands and voice, a more intellectual process. I also find working with machines to mostly be a less immediate and less intuitive expression of feeling and sentiment compared with playing a ‘live’ musical instrument. its partly why I wanted to start working more with guitar, I was getting a little tired of looking at a screen or led display and wanted to be hands on playing an instrument, it seemed more intuitive. but having said that I do love the endless possibilities of manipulating sound electronically; it’s limitless.
ELM: Are you going to make any videos for ADN?
JM: A friend, N. N. Leiding has already made one for “Scott Free:” http://vimeo.com/33807193
ELM: Who are your favorite writers? (Not songwriters, just authors/poets/etc.)
JM: I’m ashamed to say I don’t get around to reading fiction often. Here are some books I did manage to read in the last years and liked a lot.
Virgina Woolf - A Room of One’s Own
Gertrude Stein – Three Lives
Goethe – Faust (a bad english translation, but still great)
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies
William Blake – Songs of Innocence and Experience