Interview: Sun Araw
A couple of weeks ago I took part in organizing a DJ gig for Sun Araw and Heatwave in Berlin.
I also did an interview that night, but of course, forgot to press the record button and that interview now is forever caught in a vault of fading memories. But Sun Araw mastermind Cameron Stallone was up for doing a last-minute follow-up on chat about his heavily improvised pieces and dubby lo-fi sketches. On his sixth record The Inner Treaty, due September 18, he stakes out his territory and examines more possible fields to lay upon his tangled soundscapes.
Electronic Beats: Where did you record your new album?
Cameron Stallone: The new record I made in my house.
Did you work together with other people on it?
Sometimes I have different players on the records, always added as overdubs at the end of the process but The Inner Treaty is actually completely solo.
Does the area where you record influence your music?
Records are always influenced by the environment, mental, spiritual and physical. Sometimes the atmosphere has more to do with the physical space. Icon Give Thank for instance had a lot to do with the neighborhood and the total surround of the Jamaican soundscape.
How do you start to make songs? Do you jam?
It’s all based on improvisation. There’s as little conscious effort as possible, though in the more important sense it’s very conscious trusting in a different drivers seat.
Can you explain the conscious – unconscious part further?
Probably not, it’s just an attempt to make another part of yourself more conscious – the intuitive, not the intellectual part. But its not so grandiose, its just the seat of where that particular sort of art comes from in the cleanest way.
Why is it called The Inner Treaty?
‘Cause I’m tryin to sign one.
That is the question. If I knew that, it’d be signed.
One song is called ‘The Summum‘… do you search for some higher meaning within your music? Is there a certain philosophy behind it?
‘The Summum’ is actually a sort of cover of Pharoah Sander‘s ‘Summun Bukmun Umyun’, which means ‘Deaf Dumb and Blind’. That’s a philosophy of a certain sort. Improvisation within that context might provide, if not an answer, some sort of relief of that pressure.
Deaf, dumb and blind as an approach to look at things in a pure way?
I’m an optimist, so yeah lets call it ‘pure’. Though mostly, I think its just an unavoidable reality.
I mean looking at things without being distracted.
Distracted by what? It’s a good question.
I was just googling that, and found that Pharoah Sander took the phrase from the Qur’an. I didn’t know the song before; do you know what he is referring to?
I don’t know what he’s referring to specifically but I think I get the general picture. But that’s the point, the specifics don’t matter.
What does the song mean for you?
It doesn’t have a meaning separate from its existence as music. It’s like asking for the message in an electric light. It is the answer itself or maybe not – it actually doesn’t matter.
The last project you did with Prince Rama. How did that happen?
We’re good pals from way back, that LP that just came out, Irene was recorded when I was trapped in their apartment during Hurricane Irene.
Were you in danger?
It was the first hurricane to hit New York in a long time; it’s very uncommon for hurricanes to get that far north. No one knew what would happen, and lots of people were evacuated. It ended up being pretty mild, but we were stuck inside for twenty-four hours or so.
The Inner Treaty will be released on 18. September on Sun Ark. PRINCE SUNARAWMA’s Irene is out now on Atelier Ciseaux.
Published September 10, 2012.