Jared (C.) Balogh – a experimental music producer/ drummer from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, who publised mostly netreleases on several labels, is the next interviewed person in our interview series “13 questions to…“. He’s also know as former of Altered State Reflections (a label for experimental music).
kulturterrorismus: Hello from Germany! We hope all fine with you? Where are you?
Jared Balogh: I was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania U.S.A. and currently still live. Please, tell us your story! My musical story began when I was 19 years old when I began playing the drums. I played in a few local bands for a couple of years. When I was in bands I was learning how to play guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and singing. I was composing some music for the bands I was in and working with my own music. Along the way some musician gave some pointers but I am a self taught musician and composer. I was in bands with my friends from about 1995 to 2000 but created my own music side projects Bad Night Moon Shadow and Trans Atlantic Rage around 1997. To date, Bad Night Moon Shadow is on a hiatus but I am still writing music for Trans Atlantic Rage but not as heavily as I was from 2004 to 2011. My main focus is creating music for the my audio project which I use my full name: Jared C. Balogh (pronounced “Bay-Log”). Jared C. Balogh was created in July of 2010.
kulturterrorismus: When did you start composing music? What or who were your early passions and influences?
Jared Balogh: I started composing music immediately from when I first started to play in a band in 1995. I began learning to compose music in notation in the fall of 2009. Looking back on it. I think I was an open book to be influenced by everything. Up until I was 19 years old I had very few musical influences. I listened to old school rap, oldies, The Doctor Demento Radio Show and Weird Al Yankovic in grade and middle school then transitioned into listening to thrash/heavy metal, grunge and jazz in high school. But music wasn’t even close to a passion until I was about 16 years old. When I was 16, I began making the transition from playing sport to being a musician. My early influences with people I knew were remembering when I was little hearing my mother talking about her dad (my grandfather) playing the accordion, piano, and guitar but never taking lessons. My sister played the violin in middle school, my cousin and friend introducing me to music (Heavy Metal and Grunge) when I was in high school. My mom bought me a synthesizer in middle school for a birthday and a bunch of Frank Sinatra Cd’s on Christmas my last year of high school. I think these are the moments for me that really start to shape me into playing and learning music. Music in my family was pretty much non existent and still is today.
kulturterrorismus: What are currently your main production-challenges? Give us an example! Do you work mostly alone or with other musicians?
Jared Balogh: Currently, the main production-challenge is having a hard time getting my music I composed to be played out live by musicians. I have hundreds of compositions waiting to be played out live. A lot of jazz and classical/orchestral. I have collaborated with many artist/musician in the U.S.A. and internationally over the last few years but since the beginning of this year (2012) I am focus on composing and not collaborating.
kulturterrorismus: What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
Jared Balogh: I have no true blueprint on how I create. I create on what is currently being channeled into me or what I channel into. I write and begin to compile songs into albums that have similarities. There are times where I am working on 10 to 12 works at one time.
kulturterrorismus: Do you strictly separate improvising and composing? What is better free jazz or classical style?
Jared Balogh: Sometimes I do separate and sometimes I don’t. It all depends on what the song calls for. In my opinion, not one is better then the other. I love both free jazz and classical equally.
kulturterrorismus: Is any relationship between sound and live or working day? Please tell us your opinion!
Jared Balogh: I think if you are truly aware of it. You can always find it no matter where you are at.
kulturterrorismus: Do you feel it important that your music spread a message? How conceptional is your music or only for hearing without thinking? What await your listeners?
Jared Balogh: I don’t think it is important for my music to spread a message. If it does, it is totally unintentional. Some times the music I write is very conceptual but it is mainly for open interpretation. Everybody, hears and feels in different ways. I don’t write for people not to thing. Maybe to listen in a subconscious sense. What awaits my listeners is totally up to them. Over the years, I have receive so much varying feedback. For example, one song can bring 20 different responses from 20 different people.
kulturterrorismus: The role of an artist is always subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Jared Balogh: I don’t associate my music with politics but I do see how certain governments/politics are trying to put a squeeze on musical freedoms. I think a lot of musicians are aware of governments/politics trying to do this but I think many more need to be aware. The people that are aware have to pass the message on to those who don’t know. To stay current with any type of governmental/political moves that deal with music is a good idea and to pass the word on immediately of any chances. Governments/Politics will never rest. They will always be devising ways to get things in there control and squelch any disturbance that is to there disadvantage. Socially, it is amazing. I have met so many cool people from around the world through music. Creativity, with today’s artist there are more changes everyday. It seems new genres, musical (gear/programs/instruments) and social (facebook/myspace/Reverb Nation) technologies, music laws, etc are constantly chancing or evolving at rapid paces. It really keeps the modern day musician on their toes.
kulturterrorismus: There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Jared Balogh: I stand in the middle. I love both. For example, You get an album released on a Indie Lable. I do lean towards more of a limited printing physical release (100 to 500 copies) and with a heavier focus more digital release. One, it is better for the environment (less trees cut down, less oil to be used for jewel cases (plastics) and less fuel to distribute physical release to stores, to you home, or driving to a store to buy a cd, etc….), two, it may drive the value of the cd up in price as a collectable with fewer prints and overall with digital release it will keep the price of the album low (no paper, no jewel cases, lower manufacturing cost, not as many physical copies to distribute to stores etc….). With digital, you have limitless amount of copies you can sell. I love the physical releases especially when the artwork is as great as the music. I really think the physical format of releases should always be around. Hearing an album/e.p./split on cassette/vinyl/cd present so many different amazing qualities in sound and in the artwork. I hope it never fades.
kulturterrorismus: Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today?
Jared Balogh: I think it is in a transition and the advantage is heading the right direction for the artist. The advantage is progressively being pulled out of the major label or major Indie Labels grasp and into musicians/artists. You can now release your own music for free or for pay. Via free netlabels or paysite like iTunes, Tunecore, Rhapsody etc…. It is the choice of the individual artist or bands to set there value of there music. There is no right or wrong. Your audience will also set the value of your music. There are many different variables to come into play to measure the value of ones music too.
kulturterrorismus: Do you see Facebook as blessing or shit? Is it right, that musicans can not work without Facebook, if they want near by their fans, make cooperation with other artists and so on?
Jared Balogh: All great inventions are “blessings” and “shit”. If you are creative enough you don’t need social networks to stay in touch with your fans. You can have a website and e-mail and survive. It is funny, it was done in the past to keep in touch with your favorite groups through word of mouth, underground tape/cd distro, fanzines/playing out live/touring etc. I understand times have changed but I truly think an artist or band can survive without social media sites. Social media sites do make it easier though. There are thousands popping up everywhere it seems. For me I have an individual website, facebook, myspace, reverb nation, blogspot, google, live journal etc. It is insane to constantly update them. You spend more time updating these sites then writing or playing. I do think the benefits do out weigh the negative points of having social media though.
kulturterrorismus: Is money the only thing to be recognized artist? Or could non-mainstream music same successfull as mainstream? I think money does not exclusively recognize artists.
Jared Balogh: I think a non-mainstream/free artist can easily be as influential. More people have to open their eyes to it and break the ideology that mainstream artist does not always equal success or quality music. Most mainstream artist are puppets and have the songs written for them, have large groups of people working for them, told how to dress and what to say. Everybody has there own measurement of what success is.
kulturterrorismus: The last words are yours!
Jared Balogh: In conclusion to this interview, I really think it is all up to the individual artist/musician/listener to decide what is worth what when it comes to their own music, how to perceive music, how music influences you, how it effects politics, social and creative issues. My advise is be open minded, keep your ear to the ground, keep your eyes peeled and think for your self in an intelligent and healthy way.