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Interview with Killick Hinds, March 26, 2019

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:15 - Childhood and early memories of music

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Partial Transcript: To begin with, Killick, let's start at the beginning. Where exactly are you from?

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes moving to Japan as an infant and remaining there for three years before returning to New Jersey with his mother. He connects his interest in nonlinear communication to the dissonance between hearing English at home and Japanese everywhere else as he talks about his early memories of sound. He discusses how he had a different relationship with sound than his classmates, describing how his understanding of sound is naturally fragmented since he focuses on the individual components. He describes the large variety of music he heard on his mother's record players and on the television and radio. He also talks about attending a KISS concert as a young child which changed his relationship with music.

Keywords: Cat Stevens; Chicago (band); Diana Ross; Donna Summer; Tokyo, Japan; advertisements; albums; communication; divorce; musicians; songs

00:11:38 - Changing relationship with music

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Partial Transcript: And then I guess it was a sort of casual relationship to music after that until I was about ten.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes how his interest in music increased wen he was ten, talking about how he began to pay more attention to the radio. He discusses how he liked concerts, but he states that he found the loud noise and smoke to be distracting. He talks about how his older cousin began playing guitar as a teenager which motivated him to buy an electric guitar as well. He describes how he enjoyed imitating bands but preferred to just improvise. He discusses learning about the structure of music composition by taking music theory in high school and learning the piano. He also describes how music programs on the television introduced him to new music.

Keywords: Adam Ant; Diamanda Galás; Human League; Jazz; Joan Jett; Night Music with David Sanborn; Philip Glass; Rick Springfield; Sparks; Sun Ra; Thrash Metal; audience; bands; composer; female musicians; music education

00:21:46 - Appalachian Trance Metal music

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Partial Transcript: So metal was influential, I guess?

Segment Synopsis: Hinds discusses why he calls his music "Appalachian Trance Metal" by describing the meaning of each word. He talks about choosing "Appalachian" because of his location in Athens, stating that it keeps him moored to the earth. He describes how "Trance" relates to the structure of his music which follows the path of a trance as it moves from welcome to specialization and discontinuity to a safe return. He describes learning this format from his 2001 trip to Morocco where he studied under a Gnawa master, Mahmoud Guinia. He talks about how "Metal" relates to the industrialization that shaped his youth in New Jersey. He describes the precision manufacturing of place and musical elements in heavy metal music as people work together to push the limits of physical possibility, and he talks about how people wrongly focus on superficial stereotypes of metal music. He also describes the role of socioeconomic class in music taste.

Keywords: REM; Siouxsie and the Banshees; The Cure; Thrash Metal; college; education; ritual; spiritual music; university

00:35:27 - Structure of music

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Partial Transcript: I want to follow up a little bit about that--sort of your vision of the welcome and then the safe return.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes the structure of his music. He begins with a welcome and ends with a safe return which was influenced by his experience studying Gnawa music in Morocco. He describes how meeting Peter Kowald, a famous German double bassist, showed him that it was possible to remain calm throughout a performance and make performing a meditative process. Hinds talks about how he is deliberate with the energy and decorum of his music in order to carefully wrap up the energy of the sound and create a sense of moving on at the end.

Keywords: Hamid Drake; Peter Kowald; audience; concerts; improvisation; musical dissonance

00:45:51 - Music's relation to Athens

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Partial Transcript: I want to get a little bit to talking about how this music relates with Athens.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes his musical career. He says that he played his first proper gig when he was thirteen. He talks about performing at clubs and restaurants when he was in college, but he states that he did not focus on live performance. He talks about moving to Athens and becoming involved in the performance scene by playing various gigs. He describes his internal tension between the popular definition of music and his own style. He also mentions starting a record company called Solponticello.

Keywords: Battle of the Bands; South; University of Georgia (UGA) School of Music; albums; banjo; composer; folk music; guitar; high school; jazz music; producer

00:56:35 - Public response to music

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Partial Transcript: How have people here in Athens responded to that nonlinear music?

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes how the response to his music became more positive as he became more confident because people respond to the energy of the performer. He discusses how people are generally polite and semi-encouraging. He states that he used to shock more people, but he says the internet has increased people's exposure to different types of music. He describes meeting some people in Athens who specialize in improvisation, but he says there isn't a large community of improvisers in Athens.

Keywords: alternative instruments; audience; guitar; musicians; popularity; public response; success

01:02:33 - Athens Creative Media Encounter Festival

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Partial Transcript: I want to ask you too about this event in 2004, the Athens Creative Media Encounters Festival.

Segment Synopsis: He describes helping to coordinate the 2004 Athens Creative Media Encounter (ACME) Festival. He talks about how he originally intended to focus on different types of contemporary improvisation, but he says that limited funding and organization necessitated a narrower vision. He talks about how ACME highlighted the work of Peter Brötzmann, a German saxophonist. He describes the festival as a musical success but a financial disaster which prevented it from happening again.

Keywords: 40 Watt club; Guelph Jazz Festival; Julie Caldwell; Ken Vandermark; Vandermark 5

01:11:19 - Autobiography and importance of word play

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Partial Transcript: So you are a published author?

Segment Synopsis: Hinds talks about his autobiography The World for a Dying Antidote: Or, Masterless Effortry which he describes as a series of snapshots from his life. He describes almost dying in 2008 when he had a bleeding abdominal ulcer, and he discusses how his close encounter with death made him reevaluate his life. He discusses using words in unusual ways to create layers of meaning. He describes his lifelong fascination with word play, discussing vocabulary tests and college assignments.

Keywords: book; communication; education; philosophy; post-modernism; recovery; vignettes; writer

01:25:05 - Role of meditation

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Partial Transcript: I was wondering if you could talk about how--what role meditation plays in maybe your life in general and also in your music specifically.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes meditating in order to mentally and physically get through his long tattoo sessions. He talks about having access to the interior reaches of human experience when he was younger which could be overwhelming. He describes using meditation to reduce structural barriers between categories of comprehension. He talks about learning formalized meditation after his 2008 health crisis.

Keywords: brain; childhood; fear; human psyche; mindfulness; underworld

01:31:10 - Alternative instruments

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Partial Transcript: Okay, I want to talk a little bit now about your instruments.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes his numerous instruments, discussing how some are traditional while others are alternative. He talks about the role of frets--bars on stringed instruments used to mark particular notes. He discusses the use of both fretted and frettless instruments, and he talks about enjoying the ability to shape the intonation of frettless instruments. He talks about the difference between his practice and performance, and he mentions connecting with all 14 of his instruments.

Keywords: amplification; collaboration; composition; guitars; instrumentation; musicians; scales

01:43:03 - Sympathetic strings and the H'arpeggione

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Partial Transcript: I guess I had noticed this at first. I haven't seen that in many other instruments here, and one of your--I think it is the H'arpeggione has sympathetic strings.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes the H'arpeggione which is an acoustic upright quartertone-fretted six string instrument with 12 sympathetic strings that was created for him by Fred Carlson. He talks about sympathetic strings which are not played directly but resonate with the other strings. Hinds describes instruments as reactive partners that determines their own intonation instead of just being a tool for musicians.

Keywords: American Lutherie; Guild of American Luthiers; Hardanger fiddle (Hardingfele); India; Indian instruments; bridge; resonance strings; viola d'amour

01:52:01 - Piedmont Shaman Rock

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Partial Transcript: We never covered Piedmont Shaman Rock.

Segment Synopsis: Hinds describes sometimes calling his music "Piedmont Shaman Rock" instead of "Appalachian Trance Folk" because it is more accurate. He now lives in the Piedmont Region, and his music is not metronomic or steady like most trance music. However, he talks about the stigma and implications of the word "shaman" which make him hesitant of the word even though it is more accurate. On one hand, "shaman" has been corrupted by cultural appropriation and consumerism, and on the other, it is associated with divine wisdom. Hinds states that he typically continues to use "Appalachian Trance Folk" to describes his music when asked, but he says that he usually just calls himself a musician.

Keywords: Mahmoud Guinia; Rock music; communication; musical style; shamanistic music