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

Lots to find out!
by Dave Skipper


Introduction (edited March 2020)

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 any editing will be minimal. All the questions I thought of are below. I will initially only be using the short set of questions, as the whole list is maybe too much for everybody. But if it makes sense to go more in-depth with some artists then I will have the long list to draw upon.

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. Interviewing and publishing schedule is not yet decided.



About noise and noise music in general:

  1. Definition. What is noise? 
  2. Purpose. Why does noise exist? 
  3. Meaning. What is the meaning of noise?
  4. Boundaries. What are the limits of noise?
  5. Impact. How does noise affect you?
  6. Future. What is the future of noise (in 10, 100, 1000 years)?

About your own noise-making:

  1. Definition. How would you describe your noise/music?
  2. Purpose. Why do you make noise?
  3. Meaning. What does your noise mean or represent?
  4. Boundaries. What are the parameters of your noise-making (physical, conceptual, aesthetic, technical, technological)? 
  5. Impact. What impact/impression do you want your noise to have on the listener
  6. Future. Do you have any dreams, plans, goals for your own future noise projects and legacy?

About influences and inspiration (no length limit!):

  1. Noise/Music. What musicians/bands/albums have influenced or inspired your noise? And list any other ‘must listen’ recommendations.
  2. Film/Art/Literature. What films/books/writers/thinkers/artists influence or inspire you? And list any other ‘must watch/read’ recommendations.
  3. Experiences. Anything else that you take inspiration from (experiences, places, people, your own ideas/personality, etc)?

Other topics. Tell me about noise and (pick out any of these topics that are meaningful to you in any way)…

  1. Silence, performance, collaboration, intentionality, improvisation, quality
  2. Power, control, transgression, subversion, confrontation, mystery, escape, desire, emotions, meditation, freedom
  3. Noise culture, sex, violence, pain, occult, religion, politics, society
  4. Chaos, creation, destruction, infinity, time, eternity, transcendence, death
  5. Sounds of nature, wind/fire/water, natural disasters, sounds of technology, industry, war, other human sounds



  1. What is noise?
  2. What is music?
  3. What is noise music?
  4. What is the relationship between noise and sound and music and silence?
  5. How do you describe your own noise/music?
  6. Do you describe yourself as a musician, noisician, noise-maker, sound artist, or another description?

Your outlook on noise

  1. How and why did you first get interested in noise?
  2. What does noise mean to you?
  3. Why do you love noise?
  4. What is it about noise that you are most passionate about?
  5. How does noise make you feel?
  6. Why do you make noise/music?
  7. What is the story/meaning behind your artist/project name(s)?
  8. Does noise express your feelings and outlook?
  9. How would you describe your personal aesthetic of noise?
  10. What is the purpose of noise?
  11. What is the purpose of art/music more generally?
  12. Does noise have objective meaning? Why, or why not?
  13. What can noise represent for you, if anything?
  14. What’s the most important thing about noise?
  15. What is the relationship of noise to words? Should noise stay beyond words?
  16. Do you think about noise in your everyday life, or only when you are engaged in noise-making as an art?
  17. Have your ideas or feelings about noise changed or developed over the years?
  18. What is the power of noise?
  19. What is the mystery of noise?
  20. Is noise for power or escape or both? How?
  21. What are the physical boundaries/parameters of noise/art?
  22. What are the technical boundaries/parameters of noise/art?
  23. What are the aesthetic boundaries/parameters of noise/art?
  24. What are the ethical boundaries/parameters of noise/art?
  25. What are the conceptual boundaries/parameters of noise/art?

Process and performance

  1. How do you approach creating a new noise track?
  2. What motivates or inspires you to make noise?
  3. How do you prepare for a live performance (routines, practices, ideas, plan, etc)?
  4. What is the role of improvisation in your noise?
  5. How do you balance intentionality and improvisation?
  6. What, if anything, is in your mind and your heart when you perform live?
  7. How do you feel when you make noise?
  8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating with others in noise-making?
  9. What are the differences for you between making noise at home or in the studio, compared to playing noise live at a show?

Noise culture

  1. What is noise culture, or the noise scene (if there is such a thing)?
  2. What similarities and differences have you noticed between noise in different countries?
  3. Do you think that there any distinguishing characteristics of noise music from your own country that are influenced by your culture?
  4. What should be celebrated in noise culture?
  5. What could change for the better in noise culture?
  6. Noise often has a very 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?
  7. 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?
  8. What is the relationship of noise culture to hierarchy, ego, and competition?
  9. How do you feel about the role of the internet in noise culture (online releases, free distribution, downloading, spread of information)?

Noise themes

Noise is sometimes related to the following concepts; what do you think about these themes in relation to noise?

  1. Chaos
  2. Creation & Destruction
  3. Decay, disease, depression, and death
  4. Emotion (e.g. hatred, anger, despair)
  5. Desire
  6. Transgression
  7. Freedom
  8. Non-conformity
  9. Community
  10. Subversion
  11. Confrontation
  12. Politics or philosophy (e.g. anarchy, socialism, veganism, dystopia, social systems, injustice)
  13. Shock value (e.g. taboo or obscene content, sex, pornography, violence, torture, murder, blasphemy)
  14. Infinity, eternity, and transcendence
  15. Religion
  16. Morality
  17. God/gods/demons/spirits
  18. The human condition
  19. Science, technology, and science fiction
  20. Abstraction or pure sound
  21. Are there themes not listed above that are important to you, or that are part of noise culture that you have observed?

Listening to sound and noise and music

  1. 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, volcanoes, 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).
  2. 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)
  3. Describe some of the sounds and noises that you don’t like, and why.
  4. Noise music is often very loud. What are your thoughts about the possibilities of hearing loss/damage?
  5. If you were completely deaf, what role could noise still play in your life?
  6. What elements give you pleasure or satisfaction in other artists’ noise?
  7. 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.
  8. What other kinds of music do you enjoy listening to? What are some of your favourite albums/artists who are not noise-related?
  9. 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

  1. Who in your opinion were some of the key people in the roots, origins, and development of noise in the 20th century?
  2. What is the future of noise/music/art in the coming years and decades?
  3. What new horizons in sound are yet to be explored?
  4. What is your vision of noise/music/art after 1,000 years?


  1. Is there anything else you want to say?

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


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

  1. Pingback: 2020 Goals | The Word on Noise

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