Interview: John Silver

Here at Pavlov´s dogs Web Magazine we like culturally hyperactive people. We love people who can´t stop creating, getting involved, and developing a local scene.
Today´s interview is a great example. John Silver works both sides of the fence. He is a sound technician in Rhiz, one of the bar-clubs with the most interesting program in Vienna, and playing in the local bands Snoww Crystal and Radian.
We thought his perspective as a musician on one hand, and making bands sound good on the other, might give us a great overview. Next time you see a show at Rhiz, buy him a drink.

John Silver

Pavlov’s Dogs Web Magazine: Hi John, how are you?
John Silver: I’m doing fine, thanks

PD: Tell us first a bit about your latest project Snoww Crystal? What should we expect from the band in the near future?
JS: I’ve been carrying around this idea a long time of forming a band/project somehow going along the lines of loud, fluffy, floating, dreamy and ethereal guitars, synths, vocals, whatever. But only last fall I found the right moment and strength to put it into effect. And all the musicians I asked if they’d be in said YES straight away. And this shoegaze / dream pop band Snoww Crystal was born. Now we’re looking forward to a couple of more shows, and our very first release which will be a 7″ on The Vinyl Heart Club Records is in the pipeline. Releaseparty is December 21st at the Rhiz in Vienna!

PD: You are also playing bass in the experimental/electronic trio Radian, another very interesting name on the Austrian music scene. The band was recently playing a couple of concerts around Europe, so how did it go?

JS: They went pretty well, which I’m very happy about, especially since we have a new band member who is increasingly finding his place and joy in the band. Our sound is slightly different now, but not less intense, now it’s even more organic.

PD: Are you involved in any other music projects?

JS: Yeah, I’m the bassist in the Sir Tralala band, called Sir Tralala & The Golden Glanders. Check him out. Btw, Sir Tralala is the brother of Snoww Crystal’s keyboarder Rudi.

PD: You are also working as an audio engineer in club Rhiz, Vienna, where you have been mixing a lot of bands, who came to play in the club. How is the experience of watching and interacting with the bands from a more intimate perspective?

JS: It’s often a quite tough job, because it requires all your attention and energy on all levels. And often it is even quite challenging and demanding on a social level too, because you have to work with different and sometimes even difficult characters all the time. My job is to make sure the band is setting up their gear using the little space available on stage as good as possible, then to soundcheck the band and to make sure the band is not only sounding good in the room but also on stage – otherwise they don’t perform well. And always be friendly. The fun part for me though is to know that the audience only can see the second half of the evening, ie the show itself. They don’t see the band sweating carrying amps, swearing at forgotten drumstools, lost merchandise or band members showing up late. The audience doesn’t see the band getting up wasted in the morning and then driving 500km, practising vocal parts in the dull working light and nervously smoking half a pack of cigarettes, sometimes using inappropriate language when a string breaks or talking dirty about sex partners from last night, and being totally happy with a few slices of cheap pizza. What the audience gets is a nice band with a fairly good light and sound – and mood.

PD: Could you tell us any special highlight from the shows you worked on? Something very impressive?

JS: I’ve worked on millions of shows as a sound engineer, and I tend to forget many even impressive shows – but what I’ll never forget is the night my new band Snoww Crystal supported My Bloody Valentine on August 6th this year. They have been my favourite band since almost 20 years. Guess I was excited! And I got even more excited when they started talking to me after their show and asked me lots about my band, and telling me they really liked what we do.

John Silver

PD: After being involved into so many different music projects and also working on concerts, do you still find the time to listen to music at home? What for example?

JS: I sometimes even would find time to listen to music at home, but most of the time I just can’t. I have too much music going on my head, it’s my job. As a musician, rehearsing, playing shows. As a sound engineer. As a DJ. As a private person hanging out in music bars and at concerts. I seldom find the peace to listen to more than three songs in a row at home, and for that they must be brand new to me and absoultely stunning. Or new mixes of my own bands, but that is professional listenning and not for joy. But an album I recently enjoyed in private is ‘Untogether’ by Blue Hawaii. And the Burger Records compilation on bandcamp.

Text and Questions: Svetlomir Slavchev, Miguel Figuerola
Photos: Svetlomir Slavchev