Greg Fox @ MADEIRADiG
One Man Show
The Gradual Progression it’s his new album, a combination of his work and his musical exploration that he showed in an amazing performance in this special festival. Mixed with his frenzy on the drums, the technology called Sensory Percussion – invented by Tlacael Esparza – makes the alchemy on his concerts. Greg feels an eagerness to discover new things for his project and lives it in a permanent research…
Elsa Gracia – Greg, you’ve started your musical career with heavy metal…
Greg Fox – Well, I didn’t really started with heavy metal, but the band I got more recognition for, in the beginning of my career, was Liturgy, which was a black metal band. But before that I got also a band called Teeth Mountain, a more experimental project very popular at the time. I was also playing drums for Dan Deacon at the time too so, yes, it certainly did not start by metal, but it was a big part from where I come from.
EG – But that experience was important to develop your solo project.
GF – I’ve always wanted to figure out ways to do a solo project that was satisfying. And that’s a hard thing to do for a drummer. I had some friends and “heroes”, that I thought their work is really great, like Brian Chippendale with Black Pus, or Ryan Sawyer, or Brian Chase. There are so many drummers who do amazing solo projects.
EG – Or Eli Keszler that played two years ago in MADEIRADiG.
GF – Eli! Yeah, we’ve also played together. When you have a live drummer on stage is good, right? But Eli is amazing he’s a close friend and I love his project.
EG – And how have you decided to do this incredible solo project, which involves your drums and your laptop?
GF – I don’t know. It was always something that I wanted to figure out how to do, in a way. I felt it was an honest communication and something that I really wanted to do, and not only a way to solve the problem… and then my friend Tlacael Esparza, created this thing called Sensory Percussion, which is the system that I use to control de computer using the drums.
EG – Every sound is controlled by the drums?
GF – Yes, it became a way for me to start exploring creative territory. My friend brought the system to my studio, and said “hey try this out”… and that was it. I realized that he delivered the thing that I was looking for. Sensory Percussion turns an acoustic drum set to a very versatile midi controller. So then, once you have the ability to do that, the sky is the limit. The hardest thing at first was to figure out some boundaries, and once I figured it out, turned the architecture of what I was building and tried to find an architecture that worked out for me. I find a way to be creative in music. There is still a lot of territory to explore within very specific boundaries. Somehow, I’m still working on that frame work, and I made my record The Gradual Progression with it and I’m planning to make a new record with the same kind of approach.
EG – Some people considered you the best drummer in New York…
GF – I’m not. I’m pretty sure they don’t know all the drummers… I mean it’s flattering that people say this kinds of things, and I appreciate it. But it’s not me. There are a lot of good drummers in New York. Milford Graves lives in New York and he’s a 75 years old drummer legend. Certainly, that fact provides me opportunities for which I’m very thankful, but I’m not the best drummer in New York.
EG – You’re also working as a curator.
GF – Yes, in a place in Brooklyn called Pioneer Works. I’ve been the music curator about a year and a half. But I sort of already built my work in record industry by the time I started that job.
EG – Always researching for new projects?
GF – I’m always listening to new music, but it doesn’t really feel like research, it feels more like I love music and I’m trying to hear things with pleasure, and look for different things that I like. I have a lot of old things that I always comeback to. I still love to listen to Alice Coltrane all the time, or John Coltrane, but at the same time I listen to Emperor…
EG – So you have a big collection?
GF – Yes, technically yes. I have a really big collection. I guess it’s just walking the path and there’s cool things that appear along the path while you are walking.
EG – And how did you feel MADEIRADiG?
GF – It’s a fantastic festival, it’s amazing and it’s a rare combination, because you have some festivals in the world, but they’re not in a unique place, like Madeira. It’s not a very common place for musician to come to play, so that’s already something unique and special. And then, besides that there’s the fact that who runs it does it really well, you see that people care, and are very generous.
EG – At the concert you said that you we’re very impressed with the sound quality.
GF – Absolutely! I’ve never seen speakers like that before, so that was absolutely incredible.
EG – Is there anything more that you want to say?
GF – What I would say is: I don’t really like talking about myself that much, and I really don’t like to talk about my music, but I’m very thankful that people care about it.
See also: MADEIRADig 2017