Mark Spybey

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2010

“At Willie’s Place” (Tourette Records) is a new ambient electronic collaboration between Mark Spybey (Dead Voices on Air, Download) and Gnome (aka Tony D’Oporto). Here is a live video, shot back in March in Denver, Colorado, that provides a good taste of what the duo has come up with.

Gnome & Spybey – Live in Denver, CO / Larimer Lounge – 06 Mar 2010 from dBom on Vimeo.

Over facebook, we did a short interview with Mark to get some more info on the origins and future of the project.

1) How did this collaboration come about?

Tony approached me to act as my booker in the USA, having also worked with cEvin Key. We got along and he sent me music he had been making which I loved. We just started to collaborate and then we toured together for a week in the States and played some of the songs live. We then went back to the record and finished it off. Very naturally. It all came together remarkably easily.

2) What was the creative process/working relationship like?

I think on this project, the lead author of most of the tracks was Tony. I interpreted what he did and had to say to him, “I’m going to make this dirty, is that OK?” It was great music but I felt like I needed to kind of throw it into a dirty puddle, pick it up, dry it out and clean it up again. A lot of electronic music makers just couldn’t tolerate me doing this I think. So when I added real drums to a track, Tony said something like, “it’s great but some of the beats aren’t exactly hitting the mark,” and I said, “that’s how I like it!” He said, “cool.” Perfection can never be attained but for those who think that they have to try to create something that is as close to perfection as possible, my sense is that this is a stagnant landscape. An empty bottle. Devoid of any possibility. I think this record leaves holes that the listener can explore and as such, it’s deeply evocative to me of the landscape of Texas, especially the Texan night skies. Which is where it was partly gestated. Tony knows when to stop and he knows when NOT to do something. That economy is the mark of a good listener. So, for me, this is as stripped a record as I have made and the process of making it was also tightly restricted by place, by time and by equipment. I think that really helped us. I also enjoyed being the second fiddle a great deal, I feel as though I can listen to this cd, without me feeling uncomfortable. I can rarely, if ever, listen to my own music without feeling a little irritated with myself.

3) Beyond the 400 copes of the limited edition cd, will the album be available for purchase as digital files?

The album is now available via iTunes for download I believe.

4) Do you have any plans for more live performances?

We are all touring again in late September and early October as part of the Subcon Beyond Fest, with Download, Otto von Schirach, DVOA etc. mainly mid-west to east coast. In January of next year we hit the west coast and Tony and I have spoken about doing Gnome and Spybey then. The film maker who made the concert video Allie Lane from Denver is coming on the tour and she did some wonderful work for us. I think Gnome and Spybey is filmic music.

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