Originally a minimalist side project from Industrial electro-terrorists, Any Questions?, Imbued Vagary coalesced into being in 1989 as an outlet for their electronic experiments and sonic soundscapes. Imbued Vagary now lives on as a musical collective of like minded musicians whose purpose is to explore new musical realms and technologies.
We had the chance to explore the project a little deeper. We’d like to thank Imbued Vagary for their time for the interview.
Hello and thanks for the interview. Could you start by giving us a bit of the background on Imbued Vagary?
Originally a minimalist side project from our Industrial electro-terrorist unit, Any Questions?, Imbued Vagary coalesced into being in 1989 as an outlet for the electronic experiments and sonic soundscapes that core members Ttam Troll (electronics and electronic percussion) and mC2p4 (electronics) produced which didn’t fit the Any Questions? mold. Since those early days, Imbued Vagary have morphed and traveled through many incarnations and now lives on as a musical collective of like-minded musicians whose purpose is to explore new musical realms and technologies.
Your albums are, in some ways very different. Why did you decide on very similar covers?
As you point out, our releases are in some ways musically very different from album to album. Our “similar covers” is a way of bringing a unifying factor to our project. The wildly differing personalities of the band are represented by covers that are different in color but not the “image” per se. In doing so, we hope that the specific colors along with the actual names of the products will assist the listener in easily identifying which sonic personality the band is offering on each release.
The new 6-CD set is “Hexalogy.” Could you tell us a bit about the concept behind that?
The concept is quite clinical and non-musical. Leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hosted a number of “Synth Jam” sessions at FFS II (Floating Fish Studios II). We record everything during these synth jam sessions so we had hours of recordings. The ensuing lockdown from the pandemic gave us the time to sift through all these recordings and edit/assemble the choice pieces. Once we had the edited pieces, we then went through and categorized each one by genre and style. After this categorization, 6 distinct releases emerged. “Hexalogy” was chosen as a good name to use in promoting these 6 distinct works as a collective whole.
What do you feel some of the inspirations are for Imbued Vagary?
Imbued Vagary is a repository for all things that don’t fit anywhere else. That is part of it but another overarching theme would be the concept of pushing the human/machine hybrid model as far as possible while also encompassing all things in the techno artistry world. Music, video, sound, engineering, just all of it. That is why it is conceptually and in a very practical sense, a collective of like-minded individuals that meld together to form a new paradigm. It is important to throw away preconceived notions of people and machines and let the art happen for art’s sake. Many has been the time that each of us in the Collective have been pleasantly surprised by differing thinking in the use of technologies and processes during our sonic explorations.
How much of your studio sessions and live shows improvisation and how much is structured?
Early Imbued Vagary recordings going back to 1989 were a mixture of improvisational and structured recordings. Our current Imbued Vagary output is solely improvisational. Our Synth Jam sessions and live shows provide a forum for our Collective’s musical collaborators to create improvisational electronic music within the freedom of our state-of-the-art recording studios or in the wilds of live concert venues. The musical backgrounds of the ensembles gathered for each session or live show influence the eclectic nature of the sonic experimentations produced.
Take us inside your studio, if you don’t mind and tell us about the tools of your trade?
We have a great love of hardware synthesizers and have been amassing our large collections since the mid ‘80s. At that time, it was mainly digital synths, samplers, and drum machines as well as analog recording systems. Later, as we moved into the ‘90s and beyond, formats switched somewhat. We began acquiring more analog synthesizers and equipment but moved to digital recording systems. One of the most impactful changes in our studio was when in 1991, we moved from hardware based sequencing on our Ensoniq ESQ-1 to computer based sequencing with the purchase of our first Atari 1040STe computer running Steinberg (then Steinberg/Jones) Cubase software. Since then, we never looked back. For a full rundown of our equipment list, check out https://floatingfish.com/equipment-list.
How has the pandemic affected you as artists and individuals?
Individually, the pandemic has given us all time to reflect on what is important to us. Each of us have our own perspectives on this. As artists, we have been isolated from our Collective’s members but not from technology. We have used this time to continue exploring new technologies as well as collating, editing, assembling, and producing all of the music which is part of our Imbued Vagary – Hexalogy project.
What are your hopes for the remainder of 2021?
Artistically, it would be nice to get out to play live again and interact with our Collective’s members at Synth Jams. We have a lot more improvising/recording to do before we can release our next Hexalogy.
Many years into the future, how would you like the Imbued Vagary to be remembered?
We’re already in the 32nd year of the band’s existence. How many more years do we need to look forward? Seriously, we hope to be remembered for creating quality, entertaining audio and video products which speak to people now and in the future.
If you were commissioned to create a soundtrack for any film or piece of artwork, what do you think that would be?
We have already scored a few films. The first being an indie horror film called FrightWorld which was released in 2008 on Brain Damage Films and a science-fiction film called Interstellar Invasion which has yet to be released. We’re always looking for new film projects to work on. If you’re a filmmaker looking for a score or sound design, get it touch!