mobdividual’s sound advice 

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Colorado Springs musician Brian Elyo thinks of himself as a solo artist trying to be a noise orchestra. Under his stage name mobdividual — a mash-up of “mob” and “individual” — he employs his electric guitar, foot pedals and several amplifiers to create layers of shifting sound with what he calls “an undercurrent of cautious arpeggios and chords.”

Since he began recording and performing as mobdividual in 2010, Elyo has released numerous cassettes, contributed to a variety of compilations (which, he points out, are always tracks that have appeared nowhere else), and recorded seven proper album releases, the latest of which, Untitled Monolith, can currently be found on his Bandcamp site. When not playing DIY venues and festivals, he can occasionally be found performing site-specific sound pieces at curated art events.

Following are some of the experimental musician’s favorite things, ranging from John Coltrane to Ice Cube.

“Wish I wrote that” song: Anything by John Coltrane after, like 1962. Or anything at all by Death Grips, ever.

Favorite song to cover live: I don’t play cover songs, but for years, and still occasionally, I’ll sneak this little guitar part from The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Galapagos” into my set, around the halfway point. Their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tab book essentially taught me guitar. There was a time in my life when I could put on Disks 1 and 2 and just play along with a majority of the songs — some better than others — but I learned enough to keep up with the songs as I listened.

First record I bought with my own money: Raising Hell by Run DMC, on cassette, when I was like 10 or 11. I got an allowance from my grandparents, and I did a lot of chores. The first CD I bought was Ice Cube’s Predator the day or so it came out. I was 15 and I had to take my mom with me, because you couldn’t buy a P/A [Parental Advisory] record unless you were 16 back then. Maybe it was just Texas, not sure.

I don’t remember my first vinyl record. I wasn’t and still am not really into vinyl; can’t really use it in the car nor while walking. I did dub a lot of my parents’ records to tapes, and, with digital everything, I suppose it’s different now. Vinyl storage and moving are a nightmare.

Artist more people should know about: How about this ... I wish more people would take the time to develop their tastes in music the way they have beer, coffee, food, wine and sports. There is a lot of music to take in. Talk with folks, read about genres or bands, listen to a bunch of new and old music, learn the nuances, learn the histories, listen to the stories. Talk with the makers and learn their processes. Music can be as much an experience as any of those other things, if you’re open to it.

Guilty pleasure: Just about anything with a hook-verse-chorus-verse style. That type of pop — whether indie rock, rock ‘n’ roll or radio-ready whatever-the-genre — is not my day-to-day stuff. But when I become obsessed, it’s bad. I go through bouts of listening to pop radio stations, and have my Shazam app ready to identify the unknowns. Then it’s gone and I’m back to my post-abstract-neo-classical-noise-prog-doom-whatever-outsider-jazz-rock.


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