Keith Fullerton Whitman is a musician currently based in Cambridge, MA. Starting in the mid-1990’s while working on a “Music Synthesis” Degree at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Keith began exploring electronic music’s many facets, eventually yielding dozens of full length albums, singles, remixes, and compilation appearances for influential labels such as Kranky, Editions Mego, PAN, Planet µ, Carpark, Room40, Amethyst Sunset, Amish, NNA Tapes, No Fun Productions, Agents of Chaos, Arbor, Digitalis Limited, Ekhein, Heavy Tapes, Rare Youth, Root Strata, and many more. Keith will be performing along with Mark Fell in Berlin at Volksbühne Oct. 24th, 2014.
I live in Cambridge, MA where I run a very small mail-order record shop in my spare time.
One of the first records I bought was the Cybotron “Clear b/w Industrial Lies” single; I still have & love it.
I co-wrote a record-review column for Guitar World magazine as a teenager.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
It’s entirely cyclical – I tend to feel inspired after returning from a trip to play music somewhere in the world. I do most of my best work just prior to and just after being on stage – on stage itself I’m a mess, but a proximity to the extreme focus needed to perform really helps to put things in perspective. When I don’t play for some time, I tend not to think about making music, although I’m constantly listening to it.
How and when did you get into making music?
As a 10 year old. I start making music by writing BASIC computer programs on a Commodore VIC20.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Oh, there’s just no way I can do an “all time” list; it’s constantly
changing. Here are 5 that I think of right now though:
Bernard Parmegiani – Violostries / Bidule En Ré / Capture Éphemere
Heldon – Stand By
DNA – A Taste of DNA
Terry Riley – Persian Surgery Dervishes
Hugh Davies – Shozyg Music For Invented Instruments
What do you associate with Berlin?
What’s your favourite place in your town?
I love being at home actually; I rarely go out in Boston. That said I love the Aquarium
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Good question. I could get deep into some arcane facet of computer programming I suppose. But there’s music in all of that so…
What was the last record you bought?
Marlos Nobre / Fernand o Cerqueira / Rufo Herrera – MEC 71
Robert Bauer & Robert Daigneault – Guitar Extensions
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I so rarely collaborate with anyone these days; I’d love to do something with Ghedalia Tazartès though, I’m a huge fan.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Best as a performer – probably a recent concert in Italy where I had the time to really set up & build a piece carefully & focus on all aspects of the performance. Most memorable as a performer was a strange gig improvising with Michael Karoli & Malcolm Mooney of Can in 2000 – just weeks before Michael passed away. As a spectator I watched Keiji Haino perform a 4-hour solo percussion concert at the old Knitting Factory on Houston Street in 1993 – he was throwing cymbals into the audience, it was sonically & ritually impressive.
How important is technology to your creative process?
Extremely. I’m both inspired and hindered by technology, constantly.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
My younger brother is arguably in the same field – he works for Spotify now, previously the Echo Nest, working on their music recommendation systems. My older brother would maybe appreciate it if I took a stab at making something a bit more accessible, but that’s never going to happen, ever.
Untitled Piece for Yamaha Disklavier Prototype, Italia Modena Electric
Twin Guitar Rhodes Viola Drone (For Lamonte Young)
Links: Soundcloud | keithfullertonwhitman.com | Facebook | Interview with (name of the artist) by Digital in Berlin