circus maximus
Lucky Kitchen/Alejandra & Aeron

Providing a wide variety of sounds & stories
En 2000, le petit label new-yorkais Lucky Kitchen vient de s'installer à Londres. On découvre avec une curiosité attendrie le petit monde que semble contenir les valises de l'espagnole Sandra Salinas et de l'américain Aeron Bergman, une miraculeuse cuisine électronique où l'on célèbre la famille, les amis et les lieux où ils évoluent sous des formes musicales relevant du polaroïd ou du journal intime. Pendant les trois années qui nous séparent de cette interview, Lucky Kitchen s'est installé à Logrono en Espagne et a produit une douzaine de nouveaux disques, dont la déroutante et brillante "Sparkling Composers Series" qui regroupe des albums de Stephan Mathieu, Joshua Abrams, Aerospace Soundwise, Tetsu Inoue/Stephen Vitiello, A.f.r.i studios, Toshiya Tsunoda, Toshiyuki Kobayashi et d' Alejandra & Aeron. Ayant également publié des albums sur Diskono, Lowlands et Tomlab, le couple Salinas/Bergman sort ces jours-ci Bousha Blue Blazes sur Orthlorng Musork.

About Lucky Kitchen as a group of friends

Yea, i'd say it's correct. I think LK is our ideology and friends' ideologies, and our audio aesthetics baked onto CD and sent through the post to other friends/potential friends. It is important to like someone and understand them as a person to like/dislike their music fully. We are not a closed group of friends though, we are ready for new friends and their music. We are trying to keep Lucky Kitchen as idealistic as we can, because there are many things in life that have to be practical, but we don't want LK to be one of them.

About the rules to Find and Use the Hits
There wasn't really a concept with this one, but more of a work process. We were using these field recordings that we had been compiling as source samples in electronic composition. We had DAT, MD, Hi8video, and DV video tapes full of family, friends, cities, pubs, nature sounds and more. Through electronic equipment we were making all these sounds sound natural one with the other, but we also wanted to preserve the beauty of the original recordings themselves. We basically edited our favorite field recording moments onto one CD-r, and our rearrangements of them onto a second CD, hand-sewn a pajama and sand-paper package, and shipped them off to peole we thought may be interested in them. We "found" and then "used" the "hits" or sounds we thought hit something within us.
This was our first project. It was the beginning of Lucky Kitchen. It describes our love of field recordings, their value by themselves, as sound diaries, as audio documentations, and as sound sources. It was also an invitation for other people to use our sounds for their own purposes. We are very proud of this work because it is a blend of our lives, our desires, and what we wanted LK to be.

About Lucky Kitchen as the most human electronic music label
I like that we are getting this point across. I think that music can be many things at once-science and technology /literature/ composition /tradition / avant-garde/ performance/ history, and of course, it is ultimately a form of humanism. I think the science and technology part is exciting and essential, but way overrated. There are humans making the machines, turning the machines on, and pushing the buttons on the machines - this indicates a certain implied perfection - also built-in dynamic creative imbalance. We are trying to play in this area of the human imperfect machine. Actually there is a chaotic perfection within "human imperfection" that is beautiful, scary, and no different than nature itself. Machine music that relies too heavily on grid-like rigid machine structure creates somehow, without forcing anything, or making it some hippy thing, or a Dada theater throwing poop or something. We don't know exactly how to do this yet.

About NYC & London
Aeron : I don't know what is going to happen to us in Europe, but I know moving hightens one's senses. I miss New York, especially all that food, but I'm getting used to London. I don't want to define Lucky Kitchen too closely for fear of fencing it in. It has been difficult to communicate with Daniel in New New York however, it's a long distance between Europe and America.

About recording habits
We record a few times a week, bits of this, and bits of that - whatever quotidienne sound catches our fancy at the same time we're carrying a recording device. Also, we often record with more rigorous idea schedules, such as my Sounds of Music in and around New York project, or our Folk Music of Northern Spain project. Overall, chance moments and controlled patient recordings are gathered, organized, edited and assembled into communicative, and mostly logical compositions.

About Live Shows
We love to play live shows. We try to make it interesting, but without any sort of spectacle. We want to talk to people, make obvious that there are people behind the machines. We don't want it to be perfect, we think it's o.k. If we make a mistake and we don't try to act professional or important. We try to show ourselves how we are. We want to make our shows unique and fun. There are two extreme poles in electronic performances as I see it : 1. The ultra minimal complete unresponsiveness of Ryoji Ikeda 2. The ultra baroque extravaganzas of the Pet Shop Boys and their live shows. Neither of these options really much appeal to us because ultimately it is some sort of act. We would like to sit down and talk to everyone at our shows like a little family party. We like to give everyone a little gift somehow - candy and toothbrushes (when we play with the Children's record), or Big Apples (When we played with New York Music). The visual part of the show I guess is us standing there in front of some equipment, talking a little, and maybe wearing matches teeshirts. We have some ideas though about filling out graphs on overhead projectors and stuff. I don't want to make some theater thing, or a rock show no way. We would also like people to participate with us an over-dramatic strive for perfection, that for me is vulgar and comical. Kraftwerk, and a few others have understood this - the humor in their music is subtle but present. (Who else could pull of such ridiculous outfits?) I think there is sincerity, honesty and depth within "imperfect" and humanized musical pursuit. Funny, because although I dislike most things that humans do, I still feel compelled to record, comprehend, and give dignity to them. There is a love/hate relation with technology as well, we love/hate our computers, TVs and radios, because it is a form of economic and social manipulation, but they brighten our daily life as well.
The most beautiful moments are made by humans/nature. My computer is a really great tool that allows me to talk to friends, family and strangers alike. Machines are tools that can be used for good or evil. We try to use them well, but we always have in mind their original dubious economic origins. I have to talk about what I know and care about - everyday life, family, friends, and the landscape. We also think that the lives of "important" people should not be the only ones to be recorded, we want to record the person that walks through the street, the baker, our grandmothers, and our own lives because we don't believe anyone is more important than anyone else.
We have met so many good people doing this. Sound is about kids and grownups in their bedrooms, or on their porch because they love it.

About visual arts
Sandra : We come from a visual arts background. We are very comfortable in audio and visual worlds, and overall, try to work with concepts instead of constricting ourselves to any particular medium. Our packaging has as much thought aesthetically and conceptually as the sound itself. I treat sound as any other medium, but I find it more rewarding lately. Sound is a very powerful mnemonic device, it can bring you to places and times far away. We have collaborated with Michel Auder (French video art pioneer, based in New York), whose installation "5 Ring Circus" (shown in NYC at AC Projects, as well as Germany) has this amazing soundtrack we thought stood on its own, independent of the images. We also listen to criticism from visual artists, which we find helpful, and we also get emails from visual artists who would like to help us out. We would be happy to accept their help.
Aeron : Our training has been in the visual arts. I have a Masters in Art History, and another in Art and Technology (University of Toronto, and NY University). We make fine art, video, drawings, installations, and have had some gallery shows. Overall, we have just had more luck in the audio world for some reason. Unfortunately, we have found that the most audio that the fine art places can handle is vapid dance music. We hope this will change, there has been some audio art activity in Berlin, and New York, and we hope this continues. I think our work operates within an implied visual space. We explore the ideas of snapshots, short film, home video, video games, science fiction, and literature through sound - each strongly suggesting visual environments. This space is very exciting to us. Also, I find the most interesting developments in XXth Century music have come from the visual artists, futurists, Dada, Duchamp, and John Cage. However, I believe that the borders between these mediums are unnecessary and harmful, and that fresh winds blow where the tall walls have been torn down.

About things which were not asked but needed to be answered anyway
We don't think lucky Kitchen is naïve, I think we are more aware than a lot of people, we just make a conscious effort to be nicer. There are enough nasty things going on in the world, we'd rather add some good things, and point out bits of wonder. We would like to highlight Sandra's audio contributions on various CDs, because she spent many long hours in front of ProTools, and other manly tools, just like the boys.

(Christophe Taupin)

Interview réalisée par e-mail en janvier 2000.