Noise Interview Questions (series: Noise Interviews, part 1)

Lots to find out!

by Dave Skipper


I am fascinated by artists’ philosophy of their art. In particular, I am very interested in learning more about noise artists’ ideas/values/outlook on noise. In this series I will conduct interviews with hopefully many noise artists. I want to let them speak for themselves, so I intend only to edit as necessary for reasons of clarity, length, or obscene/blasphemous language. In this introductory article I lay out my draft set of questions. I am doing this before commencing the interviews to give an opportunity for comments/feedback on additional topics people would like me to include. Furthermore, maybe you are reading and this and would like participate, in that case you already have my questions, so please feel free to go ahead and email your answers! [ My email address is reppiks(at)gmail(dot)com ]

My only guidelines really are:

  • Choose any questions that interest you or to which you have something you want to say (you don’t have to answer everything); some questions overlap in case a different slant on a topic elicits an easier response;
  • Write as much or as little as you want to. Very long answers are welcome! Very short answers are also welcome! But I might send some follow-up questions if I want to try and coax out some more detail.

I will be prioritising interviews with Japanese noise artists to start with, because I live in Tokyo and most of the noise artists I know are Japanese. For that purpose I will have assistance translating interviews between Japanese and English as required. Finally, please note that I don’t have a definite timeline yet for conducting and publishing the interviews.



  • What is noise?
  • What is music?
  • What is the relationship between noise and sound and music and silence?
  • How do you describe your own noise/music?
  • Do you describe yourself as a musician, noisician, noise-maker, sound artist, other?

Your outlook on noise

  • How and why did you first get interested in noise?
  • What does noise mean to you?
  • Why do you love noise?
  • What is it about noise that you are most passionate about?
  • How does noise make you feel?
  • What motivates you to make noise/music? Why do you make noise/music?
  • Does noise express your feelings and outlook?
  • How would you describe your personal aesthetic of noise?
  • What is the purpose of noise?
  • What is the purpose of art/music?
  • Does noise have objective meaning? Why, or why not?
  • What’s the most important thing about noise?
  • Should noise stay beyond words?
  • Do you think about noise in your everyday life, or just when you are engaged in noise-making as an art?
  • Have your ideas or feelings about noise changed or developed over the years?
  • What is the power of noise?
  • What is the mystery of noise?
  • Is noise for power or escape or both? How?

Live performance

  • How do you prepare for a live performance (routines, practices, ideas, plan, etc)?
  • What is the role of improvisation in your noise?
  • How do you balance intentionality and improvisation?
  • What is in your mind and your heart when you perform live?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating with others in noise-making?

Noise culture

  • What is noise culture, or the noise scene (if there is such a thing)?
  • What similarities and differences have you noticed between noise in different countries?
  • Are there any distinguishing characteristics of noise music from your own country?
  • What should be celebrated in noise culture?
  • What could change for the better in noise culture?
  • Noise often has very much a DIY aesthetic. How does this play against craftsmanship and the refining of noise-making as a craft? How do you distinguish quality in noise music, and does it matter?
  • A lot of noise has imagery and themes about sex, perversion, the occult, violence, religion, politics, etc. A lot seems to be deliberately shocking or anti-establishment, anti-conservative morality etc. Why do you think this is? How do you feel about this general representation of noise culture? In what way do these themes find a place in your own thinking and your own music/art?

Noise themes

  • Noise is sometimes related to the following concepts; what do you think about these themes in relation to noise?
    • Chaos
    • Creation & Destruction
    • Decay, disease, and death
    • Freedom
    • Transgression
    • Politics (anarchy/socialism/other)
    • Antisocial
    • Community
    • Noise culture
    • Subversion
    • Shock value: taboo or obscene content
    • Infinity, eternity, and transcendence
    • Religion and God/gods
    • The human condition

Listening to sound and noise and music

  • Do you think you listen to the world around you differently because you are a noise artist? For example:
    • sounds of nature (creatures, wind, waves, rain, etc);
    • the noise of natural disasters (tsunami, thunderstorms, floods, earthquakes, volcanos, etc);
    • city noise;
    • sounds of technology;
    • the noise of industry (machines, vehicles, factories, etc);
    • the noise of war (bombs, military vehicles, guns, swords, etc);
    • other man-made sounds (screaming, hitting, scraping, etc).
  • Please describe some of the sounds and noises that you like (e.g. nature, man-made, specific gear/FX), and why (e.g. timbre, memory/association, emotion)
  • And please describe some of the sounds and noises that you don’t like, and why.
  • Noise music is often very loud. What are your thoughts about the possibilities of hearing loss/damage?
  • If you were completely deaf, what role could noise still play in your life?
  • Who are the artists and albums who have shaped, influenced, and inspired your own noise journey? Choose 5, 10, 20, any number! Specifically related to noise in some way.
  • What other kinds of music do you enjoy listening to? What are some of your favourite albums/artists who are not noise-related?
  • Who or what has influenced or inspired your understanding/philosophy/approach to/appreciation of noise/art/life (musicians, writers, film-makers, philosophers, books, experiences, your personality, other)?

The history and future of noise

  • Who would say were some of the key figures in the roots, origins, and development of noise in the 20th century?
  • What is the future of noise/music/art in the coming years and decades?
  • What new horizons in sound are yet to be explored?
  • What is your vision of noise/music/art after 1,000 years?


  • Is there anything else you want to say?



(Thanks to Chris Goudreau (SICKNESS) for sending me this!)

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