Overlapping/Intersecting – Farmers Manual Words definitely have associations. When I first saw the name, or heard the name Farmers Manual a lot of images came to mind. Things like tractors, fields, and cows to name a few. But since I first saw the name Farmers Manual on the ‘Net, in a sort of experimental web posse, I knew that I couldn’t apply my associations of farmers to the ones I found in the ‘Net. But then again maybe I could. By chance I had a brief encounter with them the same time I met dextro. That night ended in a blurry memory…but some months later I found out they were performing at the Fund Bureau, a place to hold a hundred or so people and to play really loud music. I attended and was astounded by the mix of what appeared to be randomly played sounds and hard edged pixel style animations flashing on and bouncing-off the walls. Farmers Manual…it may not be what you think, so I sat down with two of the four members and threw questions at them, trying to get a feel for what makes-up Farmers Manual.
J = Jeremy Tai
S = Stefan Possert (Farmers Manual)
O = Oswald Berthold (Farmers Manual)
J: Are there are a lot of old people in Vienna?
S: There are a lot of old people; more dogs and old women, this is Vienna.
J: Its like Hildesheim?
S: (laughs) Everything is really structured and well organized and I think Vienna is the most fascist city in the world. But I really think there are very, very good people in Vienna. Its like a huge posse; everything is connected to each other. But maybe this is because it has quite a bad infrastructure in the scene. There are no real bars or clubs where everything is happening so you meet more in the studio of each other, hang around more, so this is why the people know each other better.
J: How many people are Farmers Manual?
S: Four actually, no no you can’t say that actually…
J: And its true you did get bought by Spraynetwork?
S: Yeah… (laughs)… Almost, no. No way it wasn’t bought… don’t say that. Hokan (boss of Spray, Hamburg) is going to join the concert in Stockholm because he’s in Copenhagen as well, not Copenhagen, Stockholm. I’m really excited for what he tells afterwards.
S: Yeah, I don’t know. So we will see what he thinks afterwards about the people he hired. Maybe he thinks, “wow cool!” or maybe not.
J: How did you get the name again?
S: It was the name of a track and we just decided it was a good name for everything.
J: A track? From what?
S: A track from… four years ago, four and a half years ago.
J: From your music?
S: Yeah, from the music.
J: So the music was first and then the website?
S: Started everything at Mathias’ place, the fourth guy…and then…
O: Yeah, home offices…
S: And then started putting things together and lending stuff from other people like, “oh, I got this…”
J: Did you mention something about an office with free internet access?
S: Yeah, but this was….one year later. When we moved into our new studio it was like a motobike garage and we really worked hard for one month two months…at least one month to get it up and running because it was really fucked-up, I mean oil and everything. And then we moved in it was a strategic place for a node (internet backbone node, the location was chose because of its location near the center of Vienna).
J: So you got free server space?
S: No, we got free internet connection, not really free but very very fast. Super fast. Two mega-bit. It was lightning fast. It wasn’t free we just had to pay the traffic.
J: What kind of hardware were you mixing with at the Fund Bureau?
O: Laptops, minidiscs, and cd players.
J: Who takes the lead?
O: Everybody played the first-track…
S: All together, just being sensitive enough to check what’s going on… Half of it is an accident and the other half our sounds.
O: We use supercollider and Max, and real-time software.
S: Not just samples though, it uses patches…
O: Its like a midi interface for the Macintosh (its software for signal processing, not midi).
S: There is a very interesting thing that is quite similar, not quite similar , but a bit similar to Max which the musicians are doing its called Imagine and its developed by some Netherlands lab-thing called Steim. It’s in Amsterdam and they developed software which is really crazy, stuff I always dreamed of. You can do video in real-time and you can sync it with midi.
J: So your going to Japan?
O: Finally, yes…
J: Any thoughts on that? Have you wanted to go to Japan before?
O: Yeah, definitely.
O: Strange fascination…
S: Oh yeah, I think it will blast your brain…when you first come back I think you’ll understand some dextro stuff.
O: I just like to eat sushi and miso soup…and bullet trains.
J: How did you get signed-up on Mego?
O: By accident.
S: By accident, more or less… We just went to this club called U4 where everything happens, it was one good club. And we went there and saw guys making cool sounds, and then afterwards we went there and asked them, “Hey what are you doing here?” “We’re using Macintosh computers…”
J: The name of the place was…
S: U4 like a subway line which is there. It’s quite a famous place in Vienna.
J: Where do your sounds come from?
O: Everywhere… recordings.
S: We also did sounds with images…
S: Binary data, get…
J: O.K… binary data and send it through.
S: Maybe this is a nice example of how, or what you can define, or the basic as Farmers Manual. The total intersection and overlapping of everything.
J: Everything that can be digitized…?
S: Not just digitized but also analog stuff but maybe focused on digital stuff.
J: It seems that its influenced by your design…is it?
S: Is the music influenced by the design?
J: Design influenced by music?
S: It just happens together…they make sound and I make graphics…
O: Design is influenced; influenced by anything…everything.
Farmers Manual was founded in 1994 in Vienna, Austria by Mathis Gmachl, Stefan Posert, and Oswald Berthold. Additional members consist of Eugen Danzinger and Gert Brantner. Plus various occasional temporary external virtual contributors.
Farmers Manual will be playing in Tokyo, Japan on January 14th, 1999 at the ICC.
For more information about Farmers Manual check-out their site : www.web.fm