We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Black Market Translation a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Black Market Translation, thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Do you feel you or your work has ever been misunderstood or mischaracterized? If so, tell us the story and how/why it happened and if there are any interesting learnings or insights you took from the experience?
Our work is inductive and 100% improvised, so often we do not even fully understand it until after the experiment has been run and we can listen to the results. Most popular music starts from a more deductive place, ie the artist is going to write a four minute sad pop song about a breakup. Our band is the sound of three people spending over a thousand hours playing together (and with countless jam partners) developing a less ego-driven intention to sonically follow. Both approaches are wonderful, but ours is less familiar, as most of the “jam bands” associated with this kind of music riff off some kind of structure and don’t usually bring as much punk rock influence into the environment.
We try to take steps to frame our performances so the audience knows they are along for the ride with us. Depending on what part of the show you caught, we have been compared to a wide array of artists that doesn’t fit too neatly into an algorithmic classification. But we do strive to make a solid piece of composed music, a truly finished product, that remains accessible and enjoyable, just spontaneous. There are many hints from improv comedy, the theory of Yes And…
Thanks, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Black Market Translation is the world’s foremost improv punk rock band. They exist at the psychedelic nexus of creation and history to answer the eternal question: what the fuck?
Inspired by music and other noises, taking cues from poetry, anarchy, witchcraft and cats, BMT is a different show every time, daring listeners to forget about it. Make the whole thing up. Join the experiment in process and go for a ride on the razor’s edge of chaos and composition where nobody is sure what is going to happen next. Who might get so lost they find themselves on stage knowing?
Black Market Translation builds extraordinary worlds of drums, bass, guitar and mindbody atmosphere just to let them collapse. You can stand still and allow it to happen around you. You can get lost init, you can dance. Maybe you will even step on a pedalboard and change it up. BMT will be present to the yes, and. All you have to say is yes and they will be doing it anyway.
Seven years, hundreds of shows, myriad collaborations, a thousandplus hours, four released albums, Punketry, all real, no arrests. They only make you feel like drugs. Black Market Translation has practiced their whole lives for just this very moment.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
It may not be so much unlearning as post-learning, since you don’t break the rules as well without learning them first, but striking a balance between playing the “right” thing and playing the thing you really feel needs expressing has been a fun and rewarding challenge. As you start examining what is even considered the right thing, you often find that today’s proper was yesterday’s noise and tomorrow’s cliche. So while we like to take an interest and draw on everything from modern pop music to historically obscure artistic movements, our priority is following what the muse is throwing down, attempting to convey what we discover in the directest means possible, and hoping we can find an accepting place for our art to land in society.
The backstory is really just that when you spend so much time in the sonic atmosphere of improvisation, you want to be able to draw on as many influences as possible so that you can best contribute to the work at hand. Many a professional athlete has stated a preference to play on an elite team rather than have their individual greatness recognized on an average team. Of course, the team only reaches its full potential when each player is achieving their own greatness. And this is the virtuous cycle of the flow state we attempt to tap into and structure.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
While there are certainly people naturally endowed with certain talents/afflictions, anybody can choose to go on a creative journey and many creative journeys ultimately lead to a place of transcendence where binaries like creative/noncreative are negated and the spiritual and material realms are merged into a shared experience. We would urge any “noncreative” to figure out why they are carrying that label around and shed it as soon as possible. Accountants achieve a flow state through numbers and poets talk about their art with scientific precision. What is heartbreaking is when the two fall prey to these manufactured walls installed in them and insist one could never understand the other. Any avenue that leads to the higher realm of feeling alive and in touch is joyfully valid and these leftbrain/rightbrain tyrannies are just another form of division hindering our true potential. Acknowledge the creativity in everything and let it enrapture you!
- Website: www.blackmarkettranslation.rocks
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackmarkettranslation/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackMarketTranslation
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/blkmkttrans
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChUYqNhcSMcxIR_6oaExkiw
- Other: www.blackmarkettranslation.com (bandcamp) https://linktr.ee/BlackMarketTranslation https://m.tiktok.com/h5/share/usr/6995720664116937733 https://open.spotify.com/artist/6exsFpGYIL7GuFS20GiBED?si=Knylye7RRr6DOtLLsolPzQ&nd=1 https://www.twitch.tv/blackmarkettranslationtv
Scott Rowland/ALOC Media Jesse Haswell/Untapped Potential Studios Chris Eason/I Love Everything That Flows