Skinny Vinny: The Answer to Everything
AE: Where Josh is 2D and flat (and in no was is flat a negative thing), I would have concepts of time and space...I took sound classes when I was there. I was very much into dada and fluxus, into performative events and making sounds. There were sculptures but everything was instillation. We were very different, we are very different artistically. I don't practiceI worked myself into a corner. I kept taking the concept of art, and breaking and breaking, and I still can't pick it back up...I never had what Josh has: beauty, in the two- dimensional fine-art sense. That was never my passion. It was never what I wanted to do...There's a soapboxthat's what art is; and you get up on the soapbox and you say something. And you want to make it efficient and compact, or you want to make it funnyI've never had the beauty thing. I never had that level of aestheticism. I've always thought too much about it.
AAJ: What I like about your duo, is that you [Andrew] pick up on what Josh is doing
AE: Or vice versa.
AAJ: You're like Echo and Narcissus. Josh is like Narcissus and Andrew, you're Echo.
AE: We've been playing together for so long. We've done this thing where we used be able to hit it in bits. And we played out and introduced it here and there, but now we've got that hitch, whatever it is, the Skinny Vinny thing. It's fluid at this point in time. I don't know who's leading half the time, and neither of us probably is.
JJ: We even had a piece for awhile where we said, "Now I lead and then you lead." But it's usually whatever works.
AE: The transitions are nonexistent.
JJ: If he's doing something that's happening I'm going to be there, and vice versa.
AAJ: Would you be the concrete one, and Andrew the conceptual?
JJ: Interesting. I never thought about it like that. It's not really how I think it is, though.
AAJ: Well you do the collages.
JJ: Yeah, tangible-hard copy type of thing.
AE: Well in music, it's different. It's my first inclinationand this is from fluxus and dadathis concept of now and live, and this is what I'm going to make and this is the art that I'm making right now and it can only happen right now, because this is the time that I'm making it. That live aspect, I find that where I think we've been making nicer sounds. We've honed the instruments and they give us nicer things, but at the end of the day it's about the moment, and that's where we get off.
JJ: I don't think we can compare our visual art to our music.
AE: Maybe in our choice of instrument.
JJ: Yeah, but it's a different part of the brain. I think both of us come to art in a different direction, and we both come to music in a different direction. I just think that in music we're more coinciding...Musically we have a language that's going in the same direction.
AE: We may have started that way. Josh played the clarinet, he wanted to play jazz, he wanted to play straight and I wanted to play conceptual, but at some point we diverged to where we are now, where we are comfortable.
AAJ: You do have a real rapport. You listen to Josh and then Josh listens to you, and there's a real, nice back- and forth you have. And it blends seamlessly, too...But do you see any working or conceptual or mental relation between your visual art and your music?
JJ: I think generically you could say I play collage music. But when you really listen to it, it's really not that abstract or collage-y. The line, it's not straight, but it's really not that abstract.
AAJ: What is your process? How do you prepare a piece?
JJ: Well with my visual, I build things up and I deconstruct it...If you think of our musical history through the duration of a timeframe, it's been like a collage. As opposed to the actual moment. The timeframe of our development is, we put something together, we deconstruct it, and there's pieces of all these influences. Every time we play, I think it's the two of us just communicating the best way we know how.
AE: I think some of my art---at some point I was making some pieces, having some sort of performative event make sound. A lot of that informed what I do now...We played in a trio with [bassist] Ryan McGuire and we would work on things and talk about compositions, and he would introduce these concepts that we had no idea
JJ: Yeah, we were the dumb art kids.
AE: We understood it from our means of understanding it. And I think what I learned from my artnow we're playing improv and there's a direct lineI couldn't have got where I am now without starting where I was...There's a John Cage piece from the late '50s that I heard around '02, for prepared piano, and it was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. My line comes through that. But right now this is the only game in town. I can't make art. I'm done with it.
'Cause music, what I'm doing musically, is it. It's live, it's nowthere's no galleries. You play and that's it. It's done, and I'm gonna get to do it again real soon.