We'd stopped at a gas station, and in a fit of nostalgia, my dad bought a cassette tape that he proceeded to make us listen to as we drove along the interstate. The singer was awful, whining in this nasal voice about things I couldn't relate to. Dad got tired of our begging him to stop and finally put the tape away. Somehow it wound up at the bottom of a box, where I found it a few years later and popped it into my tape player. It was Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin', and it blew my mind.
My parents bought me a guitar. Like so many before, I barreled full-bore into a deeply earnest attempt to become Bob Dylan. I wrote painfully bad songs, and sang as painfully as I could, and played a painful harmonica.
But over time the imitation developed into something personal, and as my exposure to other music broadened to take in the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Johnny Cash, the Smiths, Nina Simone, the Violent Femmes, the Cure, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Joni Mitchell, Nirvana...my songwriting benefitted.
My university years, spent with a radical, experimental project called Music Program Zero at Bard College, dramatically widened my vistas, and led me into experimental music with tape collage and computer synthesis. I began interweaving more "conventional" songwork with more sui generis forms and investigative musical projects.
That article described a piece of algorithmically generated music I had composed using Csound and a custom program. Years later, I was surprised to hear passages from the same piece of music used without attribution in the music for a popular German television series. Still wondering how to feel about that.
After college, I paid the bills with a career working for software companies, eventually specializing in what I like to call "fake artificial intelligence". I ended up living in a few interesting places: Russia for about three years, the Dominican Republic for about a year, various corners of New York City. I got married. I had a son. We moved to Germany. I got divorced.
In 2012, I met this company called Ableton, in Berlin. They hired me, and for the first time I was able to combine my interest in programming with my musical pursuits. At Ableton I work as a developer on the company's music production software, Ableton Live.
I met Henrik Lafrenz and Micha Bürgle at Ableton, and we formed a band, The Cardboard City, in 2013. The Cardboard City perform many of my songs, including a few that date way back, along with newer material, and have released one album so far, entitled Heavy Paper. I like to call our style "Romantic Punk Jazz Cabaret". In 2016 we became a foursome with the addition of Niels Hoogendoorn. I continue with both songwriting and experimental projects. I love Berlin and its thriving creative communities, and I have no intention to leave anytime soon.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you find something interesting here, and I'd love to hear from you.
Photographer: Lenka Jarošová
Location: Arcanoa, Berlin, Germany, 2015