Interview with Patrick Neill Gundran, aka Uneasy Chairs. 

FLON: Your main instrument is the guitar. It’s obvious to anyone who’s listening during your soundchecks that you have a rock and blues background. What is it about improvisational experimental music that captivates you and makes it your main focus of late?

Uneasy Chairs: Most of my life I’ve been a songwriter, composer and also been in bands. Things that require planning, crafting and rehearsing. A lot of work that sometimes felt like very slow labor, a long glacial process. I wanted more spontaneity, surprises, a sense of freedom. I wanted to experience inspiration and channel it into direct action, in the moment. I jettisoned and purged musical concepts and boiled everything down to an energy that is still expressive, emotional. I love free improvisational music, most of which I’d been unaware of most of my life, because of that pure freedom of sound, freedom from concepts. I don’t care about the future, I don’t want to recreate the past, I want to be right now, however it is.

FLON: For those who haven’t seen you play live, can you describe your approach and what to expect from one of your shows?

Uneasy Chairs: Live performances have been what it’s all about for me, being fully present in an environment and listening, responding and allowing anything to happen at that point in time and space. As far as expectations, I would encourage people at shows, both players and audiences, to let go of any. There’s already so much music created and performed that you know mostly what you’re going to get. It’s exciting to experience not knowing what is going to happen, what you’re going to get, what it means.

FLON: You’ve done collaborations with a lot of like-minded artists. Can you describe your experiences with that, and what you like about it?

Uneasy Chairs: I started a few years ago trying to form solid projects or groups but I realized as time went on that I prefer loose, fluid collaborations that seem to come and go or have orbits. It’s given me the opportunity to play with many great players, in a variety of configurations, combinations. I like to just set a date and not discuss any details, just show up and play. Really great players are great listeners, so it’s exciting to have a dialogue in sound, in the moment. Talking is all bullshit anyway, it all goes out the window once you start playing. I choose collaborators based on their vibe rather than particular instruments or backgrounds. Living in Seattle, it’s amazing how many experimental avant-garde artists musicians live here or have come through town and I’ve been very fortunate to play with many of them, too many to mention, but I feel very lucky to have had those moments.

FLON: You record and publish almost all of your live performances on your Bandcamp site, which is a perfect way to capture your music as you’ve described it. Do you ever plan to do a physical release, or record live in a studio?

Uneasy Chairs: I do not have any plans to do any physical releases, mainly because of economic reasons, being able to justify the cost of producing them. I have done some physical releases in the past on my label (((vol max))), a cassette called “Everything You Need To Know About Nothing You Need To Know About’ that is layered, dense electric guitars, more noisy and harsh, very different to what I’m doing nowadays. I also released an Uneasy Chairs lathe cut “Shadows I and II”, also very noisy and electric guitar. I’m very proud to have released two very limited lathe cut splits with two brilliant Chinese artists that have really inspired me, Li Jianhong from Beijing and Sin:Ned from Hong Kong. I’m happy to have created these records and that they were sent out far and wide into the world. All this stuff is still available digitally on my Bandcamp.
I’ve also been a part of cassette splits that were produced by other artists, one by electronic artist noisepoetnobody and another by saxophonist Wilson Shook. I had submitted a track for a split cassette with Uneasy Chairs and Barcelona’s Wire To The Dead to be released via a label Neologist Productions, but not sure if that’s happening still or not, but it’d be very cool if it did. My track is very psychedelic, almost Krautrock-like and Wire To The Dead is a great friend and his track is very cool, very Stockhausen-like.

I have thought of doing specific studio recordings, but again, finances and support are an issue. For awhile I did research studios I’d like to work with, and what I’d like to do, but it went on the back burner. I had wanted to pick certain musicians I’ve collaborated with and do improvisations with them in a studio setting in a very quick session. Ultimately, I’d like to see someone who has the interest and resources to release physical recordings do it rather than myself. I do believe that with the right collaborators and resources I could produce a fantastic free improvised record that would be very listenable and push things forward.

FLON: Well, I certainly hope that’s something that happens because I’d love to hear it. Please let us know if it does.

You can listen to Patrick’s music at:

uneasychairs.bandcamp. com

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