For almost three decades, a small, yet ever expanding force of enthusiasts have been carefully cultivating events, jam sessions and catch-ups, all in the name of electronic music and the cosmic culture that surrounds it. Clan Analogue has championed itself as an avenue for electronic fans and performers to spread their wings and align themselves with a group of like-minded folk, and with pockets of Clan Analogue’s members popping up all over the country, the fellowship is growing stronger week by week.
Nick Wilson and Martin Koszolko have seen the electronic syndicate evolve from an underground jam collective to a full-fledged label which has sprouted events across Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
We caught up with both Nick and Martin to discuss the finer details of Clan Analogue and how people can get involved:
Over the last 25 years, Clan Analogue label manager Nick Wilson has ventured into the depths of the electronic music scene in Australia’s major music hubs and cities. From performing with legendary music ensembles Continuum, Random Acts of Elevator Music and Tiatto, to teaching the next wave of passionate music professionals at SAE institute, Nick’s mark on Clan Analouge, and the underground music scene as a whole, has been recognized across several festivals and gatherings including Melbourne Fringe Festival and the Next Wave, just to name a few.
Nick: G’day Nick, are you able to give us a run down on what Clan Analogue is/does
Sure. Clan Analogue is a collective of artists focused on electronic music, sound art and associated art forms such as DJing and video art. We’ve been in existence for 24 years now and provide an avenue for people who are either starting out in electronic music or who perhaps don’t fit into particular genres or scenes. We put on events, provide opportunities for networking and collaboration and release music projects by our artists.
N: Are you able to explain some of the events Clan Analogue has been a part of/put on over the years you’ve been involved?
So many to mention over 24 years it’s hard to know where to start. In a week and a half we’ll be presenting a mini-festival at Bar 303 in Northcote as part of the Melbourne Fringe called ‘Clan Analogue’s Electronic Weekend at 303’. This will include a multimedia theatrical event called ‘Kill Climate Deniers’, launching the new album by Reuben Ingall and David Finnigan, a showcase of performances using analogue gear called ‘Analogue Redux’, and a 12-hour continuous improvised synth performance by Michael Mildren called ( appropriately enough) ‘Music Non-Stop’.
Last year we put on an event to launch our compilation album ‘Intone’ where artists primarily used samples of the human voice to create their music, manipulating these sounds live on-the-fly. In 2014 we ran monthly open-access electronic music jam nights at Loop Bar which were a lot of fun.
N: Can you give us a scope on the size/spread of Clan Analogue members, attendees?
This is pretty hard to quantify depending on how you define it. We used to have fortnightly meetings in the 90s, then it went to monthly during the 2000s, now it tends to be mainly online that we discuss and plan everything. Our Facebook group has over 1000 members although the number that turn up to our AGM as paid up financial members is a little smaller! Clan Analogue started in Sydney, spread to Canberra, Melbourne and further afield throughout Australia. Now we have members scattered all over the world.
N: Are you able to provide a timeline of your education in music, or a brief history of your interaction with electronic music?
I started playing piano when I was a kid. When I was a teenager I started to form bands with my friends so it was natural for me to get a synth to play keyboard parts. Over the ensuing years the lineups I was working with started to drift further into largely electronic territory. When I was in my mid-20s I enrolled in a Bachelor of Music degree which I completed majoring in music composition but I’m definitely in a minority there as far as Clan Analogue members go!
N: Why would you encourage people to get involved with Clan Analogue events, and what makes them so great?
The great thing about Clan Analogue events is that anyone can get involved in coming up with ideas and getting involved in making them happen. We don’t like to stick to any of the genres or formats that are associated with narrowly-focussed scenes. I think that makes what we do fun and interesting but probably means we’ll always be pretty underground!
N: Can you tell us a bit about Clan Analogue’s involvement with Fringe Festival?
A lot of our artists have put on events in the Fringe Festival at different times in the past however this is the first time we’ve done official Clan Analogue Fringe Festival shows. We’re certainly looking forward to them!
Martin K. Koszolko is a Polish-born, Melbourne based music producer and academic known for his creative work under the KOshowKO and Philosophy Of Sound monikers. Martin has extensive experience as a composer, music and video producer and performing musician and has been teaching sound production and other music industry-related disciplines at RMIT University and Melbourne Polytechnic. His music performances utilise interactive technology and have been seen by international audiences. Martin’s academic research explores various aspects of computer sound production, including mobile music making and interactivity in electronic music performance and his practice-led PhD project investigates the impact of remote music collaboration software on music production.
Martin: Are you able to explain your involvement with Clan Analogue?
My involvement includes various types of activities within the collective. It started with music releases as Clan Analogue Recordings has released some of my material produced under the monikers of KOshowKO, Philosophy Of Sound and soon will release some of my remix work as Iubar Project. I’m also involved in organisational activities, such as the planning for new releases and gigs, mastering, promotion etc. All of that organisational work is done in conjunction with Nick when he needs a hand. Finally, over the years, I’ve been playing at various Clan live events with the material of my projects mentioned above.
M: When did you first get involved with Clan Analogue and how have you seen it evolve over the years?
I remember riding a bike to the Revolver club on Chapel Street back in 2002 and seeing a Clan poster on one of the light poles. The poster was announcing an upcoming Clan gig and what stood out for me was that it had a DJ listed who had an unmistakably Polish nickname – DJ Klej Butapren. I went to that show and started making friends with various Clan folks from then on. At that time I discovered a lot of very interesting music being released by Clan Analogue. In addition, I played my first electronic gigs at Clan nights called ‘Serious’, which were held at First Floor in Fitzroy around 2003. Probably about a year later, another Clan member, Robert ‘Bo’ Boehm from Winduptoys produced a couple of remixes of one of my tracks which for me was the first opportunity to hear somebody else’s take on my music. Later on, Bo became a good friend of mine as well as a musical mentor.
Over the years, I witnessed how the collective expanded into various other areas, for example, public workshops on selected aspects of electronic music. These events were held at different venues in Melbourne CBD and were called ‘The Institute Of Sound’. Another interesting development for Clan in Melbourne was ‘Gear Shift’ – a series of nights facilitating open electronic music jam sessions.
Eventually, after discovering more about the history of Clan and its members, I thought that it deserves a documentary, which I ended up producing in 2006. This doco ended up being quite a big project with a lot of participants. After being initially released only on DVD, it is about to be made available on YouTube and should allow a glimpse into some of the aspects of Clan Analogue and its history.
M: Can you give us a background on your fascination with electronic music? What are some musical projects you’re currently working on?
My involvement in electronic music is an extension of my earlier fascination with the DIY (do it yourself) ethic that I embraced while actively participating in the punk rock scene when I lived in Poland in the late 90’s. While I had my share of band rehearsals, which had nothing to do with electronic music, I quickly embraced the musical freedom and independence that could be achieved by setting up a home studio based around a computer system. I was also always very open to a rather large plethora of musical styles, so electronic music production was a great opportunity to embrace a few of these styles as a creator. I currently produce 3 musical projects, which are quite different from each other and which have been released on various labels, including Clan. My oldest project is called KOshowKO and explores a pretty wide electronic spectrum with a slight hint of pop every so often. I also produce as Philosophy Of Sound, which has more of an indie-dance angle and a few new tracks in the pipeline slated for next year. Finally, I also work on Iubar Project, which is a lot more experimental and allows me to create darker ambient-drone material. KOshowKO and Iubar will play at Bar 303 on September 23rd at the Kill Climate Deniers album launch, which is part of the Clan Analogue’s Electronic Weekend at Fringe Festival.
M: What are some of the key elements or pieces of hardware used in your electronic performances?
My live performance set-up has evolved quite a bit over the years but it also got a lot simpler. My earlier performances as KOshowKO were more band-oriented, where I would be utilising various midi controllers and software as part of a larger, not necessarily purely electronic ensemble. When I started playing as Philosophy Of Sound, the approach changed to integrating live electronic drums with a DJ rig that combined software and hardware elements. Eventually, I craved for a more tactile and musically more unpredictable approach, so I started implementing iPads in my live performances. Currently, no matter under what moniker I would play, iPads loaded with various music apps are a staple of my performance. What that allows me to do, for example, is to sample the voices of the audience and implement these recordings on the fly in an improvised track. It’s worth mentioning that equipment used in my live set up can be quite different from the hardware that I use purely in the studio production context. For performances, I prioritise portability and musical expressivity over anything else.
M: Are you able to provide a timeline of your education in music both as a teacher and student?
In relation to music theory, I consider myself primarily a self-taught musician. However, I did have some private keyboard lessons when I was a teenager. I spent my early 20’s completing a Masters in Philosophy but as soon as I achieved that, I craved some more practical music production and recording studio knowledge. This led me to completing a course in Sound Engineering in 2002-2003. About 10 years later, after spending a while in the studio and on stage, I embarked on another educational adventure, which is a project-based PhD that I am completing at the moment. The focus of my PhD research and compositional work is the impact of remote music collaboration software on music production practices. All of the above eventually led to me teaching sound production as well as various other music industry courses at a tertiary level at such institutions as RMIT University and Melbourne Polytechnic. I was also fortunate to be able to participate in various exciting music production workshops and conferences in Australia as well as in countries such as Norway and Poland.
M: Are you able to describe some of Clan Analogue’s past ‘Jam sessions’ and what people can expect from the upcoming sessions at 303 for Fringe?
These sessions called ‘Gear Shift’ started a while ago, back in 2011, if I recall correctly. Initially they were done on no budget, however, in 2014 Clan received the support of The Australia Council for the Arts, which allowed taking the initial concept to a new level. So in 2014 we ran the events on a monthly basis throughout the year and thanks to the funding there was scope for organising a headlining act at the end of the jam sessions, plus there was a lot more advertising as well as live VJing and video recording. At that point, we saw quite a lot of new participants, who wouldn’t have known about Clan’s earlier events. Clan even released an album compiling some of the best jams from that year.
What I got to love about these nights is that they allowed electronic musicians something quite rare – the ability to face the challenge of unexpected musical outcomes and improvise. People who play jazz do it quite regularly but for electronic musicians, the main mode of work is often a solitary studio production. It is great fun to play live jams with strangers and I loved the musical chemistry that was often part of these sessions.
What the upcoming Fringe Festival event at 303 will aim to achieve is to facilitate another open electronic music jam session. There will also be some short sets from a few Melbourne’s electronic music performers. All of that in support of the new Clan Analogue compilation album called ‘Analogue Redux’ which will be launched on the night.
See Nick, Martin and the Clan Analogue crew as they take over Bar 303 September 23, 24 and 25 for Melbourne Fringe Festival shows ‘Kill Climate Deniers’, ‘Analogue Redux’ and ‘Michael Mildren’s Music Non-Stop’.
Analogue Redux : Melbourne Fringe Festival
Date: September 24
Time: 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Location: 303 High Street, Northcote
Kill Climate Deniers : Melbourne Fringe Festival
Date: September 23
Location: 303 High Street, Northcote
Michael Mildren’s Music Non-Stop – 12 Hour Live Analogue Marathon : Melbourne Fringe Festival
Date: September 25
Location: 303 High Street, Northcote