Bill Orcutt

Bill Orcutt is a guitarist from San Francisco whose sound is a stuttered reimagining of blues guitar. One can hear familiar Southern folk scales between his jagged phrases, pulling and pushing melodies into unresolved fragments that eventually come unmoored in vast and satisfying note-torrents. His new record with drummer Chris Corsano is called “Made Out Of Sound.”


1: Stop worrying.

2: Change the subject.

3: It’ll be ok.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
At this point, it’s all internal, it self generates. I read, watch things, listen to music, but it’s really just a way to manipulate my brain chemistry to produce certain feelings or productive states — I’m never looking for specific sources of “inspiration.”

2. How and when did you get into making music?
I painted everyday as a kid, then my parents bought me a turntable when I was 15 and that was all it took. Got a guitar soon after and have been playing ever since.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
John Coltrane — Live at the Village Vanguard
Jimi Hendrix — Are You Experienced?
Public Enemy — It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
The Velvet Underground — The Velvet Underground
Miles Davis — Bitches Brew

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I’ve only been a couple times on tour, so mostly movies: Berlin Alexanderplatz, Cabaret, Wings of Desire, the Lives of Others. Also Bowie’s Berlin trilogy

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I like walking in alleyways, so any neighborhood in San Francisco that has good alleys: the Mission, Chinatown, etc.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Dunno, be sad, probably make some other kind of stuff.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I bought some downloads on the last Bandcamp Friday:
Ragas of Morning and Night, digital album by Pandit Pran Nath
Complete String Quartets (mode267), digital album by Helmut Lachenmann
April is the cruellest month, digital album by Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’ve been working lately on writing music for an ensemble, so I’m looking for people who can play my music.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Seeing the Funyons at a kebab shop on Washington ave in Miami Beach. Also Broken Talent at a house show in Miami.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s important. I record acoustic music on the computer and I also make computer generated music. On the other hand, I recorded music before computers, so I guess I could figure it out again.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a brother and sister. They’re not super involved with what I do, but my sister seems to like it.

Photo © Jim Hensley