Jonathan Scherk, Vancouverite and electronic musical genius, talks independent and collaborative musical goals

Songwriter Jonathan Scherk has been composing music since an early age. His foray into digitalized music production started in 2007, and since then, he has been working with audio samples.

Located in Vancouver, BC, Scherk has been part of a many bands and collaborations, one being Plays:four, a sample-based electronic trio from western Canada, but is now focusing on producing electronic music under his own name. Currently, Scherk is not signed to any record group, but has released a vinyl record by the label More Than Human.

  1. So you performed in MUTEK Montreal, an internationally acclaimed electronic music festival, in May 2015, how has that experience been?

The festival was very special to be a part of. The care and consideration from all parties (i.e., organizers, performers, audience) was extraordinary. The venue I played at had the most pleasant room acoustics and sound system I have ever heard. I also met some really great people. It was a privilege to be asked to perform.

  1. Any future plans of touring or performing?

 I don’t have anything planned as of right now. I am always anticipating and considering a future performance, though.

  1. How does your role in Plays:four differ from your role as an independent artist? Do you have any certain goals for either role?

When composing in a collaborative, I feel it’s very important to engage with the dynamic the artists create; to be aware of each artist’s intentions and the intentions of the collaborators together. Also important are the other aspects that tend to be led by [the] collective intuition, [which depends] on how much improvisation or freedom the collaboration allows for. These are specifically the challenges we faced as a collaborative in Plays:four. We eventually decided that our collective attitude and mindset felt distracted, so we went in our own directions for the time being.

It differs from when I work independently, that my intuitive and conceptual decisions are for the most part uninhibited.

  1. Since your 2010 debut album, what changes have you noticed in your musical style?

Perhaps my music has become more focused? That could also a be reflection from that I now feel a much stronger awareness to the things I desire aesthetically and emotionally, as well my abilities technically. The 80(sun) release from 2010 feels more free, too; more visceral and less sculpted. There is also a lot more live improvisation on that record (one of the sides of the tape is actually a live performance).

  1. Your most recent album Catalogue: 1-12, is titled by number. Is there a reason for this?

All of the titling on Catalogue: 1-12 is meant to be very literal. When I was composing the music for the record, I never had a literary concept in mind; I felt more comfortable having the track titles be numerical, rather than applying an arbitrary label to the music. The intention was to remove as much connotation as possible from the sounds themselves.

Along with using my name rather than a moniker, I think this aligns with a more genuine approach to my art. The body of work can be regarded as a collection [or] catalogue of compositions, rather than a preconceived idea of what an “album” should be.

Want to find out more about Jonathan Scherk? Make sure to visit him on SoundCloud and BandCamp.

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