Jonathan Scherk on collabs versus solos, playing MUTEK Montreal, and more

JonathanScherkSongwriter Jonathan Scherk has been composing music since an early age. His foray into digital music production started in 2007 and, since then, has been working with audio samples.

Located in Vancouver, B.C., Scherk has been part of a many bands and collaborations, such as Plays:four, but is now focusing on producing electronic music under his own name. He is currently not signed to any record group, but has since released a vinyl record by the label More Than Human.


Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): So you performed in MUTEK Montreal this past May; how was that experience?

Jonathan Scherk (JS): The festival was very special to be a part of. The care and consideration from all parties – organizers, performers, audience – was extraordinary. The venue I played had the most pleasant room acoustics and sound system I have ever heard. I also met some really great people. It was a privilege to be asked to perform.


RMM: Any future plans of touring or performing?

JS: I don’t have anything planned as of right now. I am always anticipating and considering a future performance, though.


RMM: How does your role in Plays:four differ from your role as an independent artist? Do you have any certain goals for either role?

JonathanScherk-2JS: When composing in a collaborative, I feel it’s very important to engage with the dynamic the artists create; to be aware of each artist’s intentions and the intentions of the collaborators together. Also important are the other aspects that tend to be led by [the] collective intuition, [which depends] on how much improvisation or freedom the collaboration allows for. These are specifically the challenges we faced as a collaborative in Plays:four. We eventually decided that our collective attitude and mindset felt distracted, so we went in our own directions for the time being.

It differs from when I work independently, in that my intuitive and conceptual decisions are for the most part uninhibited.


RMM: Since your 2010 debut album, what changes have you noticed in your musical style?

JS: Perhaps my music has become more focused? That could also a be reflection from that I now feel a much stronger awareness to the things I desire aesthetically and emotionally, as well my abilities technically. The 80(sun) release from 2010 feels more free, too; more visceral and less sculpted. There is also a lot more live improvisation on that record (one of the sides of the tape is actually a live performance).
*Editor’s Note: Scherk’s solo project at that time was called 80(sun). The release, Noam, can be found here.


RMM: Your most recent album Catalogue: 1-12, is titled by number. Is there a reason for this?

JS: All of the titling on Catalogue: 1-12 is meant to be very literal. When I was composing the music for the record, I never had a literary concept in mind; I felt more comfortable having the track titles be numerical, rather than applying an arbitrary label to the music. The intention was to remove as much connotation as possible from the sounds themselves.
Along with using my name rather than a moniker, I think this aligns with a more genuine approach to my art. The body of work can be regarded as a collection [or] catalogue of compositions, rather than a preconceived idea of what an “album” should be.


For more on Jonathan Scherk, visit his Soundcloud and Facebook pages.

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