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Test Shot Starfish - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Electro-musical Pulse of Test Shot Starfish

October 2005

MVRemix: You were Sound Designers / Producers. How did you get into that field? What led you to music?

Kyle: I worked on the production side of film and Ryan worked in the Art Department. Eventually, I burned out on the long hours and decided that I would try my hand at combining my love for audio with my love for film. I have always been involved in creating and a huge fan of all types of music. It was something I eventually wanted to do full time. It wasnt a planned path, but one that more or less presented itself over time.

Ryan: I went to school for photography and always wanted to be a filmmaker. I was bored being in Arizona and decided one day to up and move to Los Angeles. I met Kyle on Tiara Tango. When he moved into post-production, I came on board doing graphic design and eventually began doing sound design and composing.

MVRemix: What was the recording process like?

Kyle: Its ongoing. Weve recorded all over and in different ways. At one point, we bought a small digital recorder that we tried to record without using a computer. But we found that we really benefited from having software editing and effects all in the digital realm. We used several outboard keyboards and FX processors. We usually record them into the computer, and then have an editing session to find the best parts of whatever we recorded. The basic process for us is to create a ton of elements that we like. Then, we fit them together in a collage type process. We build it up, and then we strip it back down in the mix, removing things that dont work. Its a lot like painting.

MVRemix: Musically, what have you been working on? What is the next release for the group, or as solo artists?

Kyle: Weve both been busy working on other projects like DVDs, films, and some commercials. We did some sound design for the Americas Army Console game. We also have been working on the Coachella Music Festival Documentary in Dolby Digital Surround. The movie is in HD. It is a must see when it comes out in early 2006. Just this month, weve moved into a new studio space and were getting back to working on the next album. Were not sure what label well put it out on or if we will put it out on Subtractive Records ourselves.

MVRemix: What are some of your favorite instruments?

Kyle: My favorite is the piano. My second favorite would be analogue keyboards. I love the warmth & noise of the analogue sound. RYAN: I like gadgets and toys. I used a modified Speak & Math on the last album. I really enjoy finding odd pieces of electronics to incorporate into the mix.

MVRemix: How are you two creatively different from each other? The same?

Kyle: I have more of a traditional background with piano lessons. I was even a piano performance major at the University of North Texas for a short while. I have classical training, but I wandered from it as I began DJing and getting into the Dallas club scene during the early 90s.

Ryan: I didnt have formal training in music. I came from a more visual art background. I paint and do photography. I come from the ideology of layering sounds, like you would layer images in collage art.

MVRemix: Who are some artists or musicians you like to collaborate with in the future?

Kyle: Id love to work with Casino Vs. Japan, Marumari, Signal Drift, and Kirsty Hawkshaw from Opus III.

Ryan: Daniel August and Laurie Anderson.

MVRemix: You have utilized the Internet and your website to display your music. What did you do? How has the Internet helped the group? How has it hurt it?

Kyle: I dont think that the internet has hurt us. I think its helped us. We spent so much time building our own site and designing it. We really wanted to make it interesting and something for people to enjoy & discover. We wanted people to have a good time downloading quicktimes, mp3s, and artwork. However, once Myspace came around, I think more people go to our myspace page than the site we spent so much time creating.

MVRemix: Whats your opinion on downloading music?

Kyle: Well, we are both big fans of having a physical disc, the excitement of unwrapping a CD, and unveiling the artwork. But, downloading is here to stay in our world of instant gratification. There definitely is something to be said for empowering more artists to directly put out their music to fans without having to sink a ton of money into a physical pressing. As far as illegal downloading, people who are going to steal are going to steal. We give songs away for free on our site all the time to try & appease the people who dont value paying for music, but we are regular customers ourselves of things like iTunes & Bleep. We like to support the artists who we admire. Its such a small amount of money for such a big payoff with a great album, when you find them.

MVRemix: What do you think music will be like in 20 years?

Kyle: Well probably have a flashcard implanted into our brains or someone will invent a device that just transmits endless amounts of content to your head.

MVRemix: What LPs have you been listening to lately?

Kyle: I am honestly an iPod junkie. I cant say I even listen to entire albums all at once except when right when I buy them. Im really into Luke Vibert, Chris Clark, Home Video, and Casino vs. Japan to name a few.

MVRemix: Your live shows include original compositions, video projection, lighting, and lasers. How did this begin? Was it your original intention? Can you describe it for the people who never saw you live?

Kyle: The intention of our live show has always been to present a multimedia experience. We do what we can with what we have for each show. We purchased a great DLP projector and Ryan has edited a lot of the footage that we shot and pinched into loops to go with each song in a theme. Ive always been a huge fan of lasers and we bring our laser guy along whenever the budget allows. It totally makes the show. A great deal of thought & time has gone into setting the mood and tone for each song in the live show. A few years down the line, Id hope that Test Shot Starfish is synonymous with some of the best road show production out there.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

Kyle: I really like Level One. Its a good song live as it builds and builds in intensity. The visuals are really tight for that performance.

MVRemix: You have done remixes for Lenny Kravitz, Coldplay, Gus Gus, and Snoop Dogg. How do you approach a remix?

Kyle: Each Remix is different. We remixed the Coldplay song for an Infiniti commercial pitch and had some guidelines of what they were looking for. With Snoop, we had been doing mixes for his DVD projects. We just asked if we could have a shot at doing a mix. That one we really went way out into left field for and followed no rules. The Lenny Kravitz one was requested by the label, as they were looking for tracks to bring awareness to his album into underground scenes. Many times, well just use the vocals and completely rewrite the track. We did that with Gus Guss David for our ambient mix and used none of their original track elements. I think that is my favorite way to go about things, but if there is a sound that brings a great hook to a song, I feel compelled to use it in the remix. Clich probably, but who cares? Its fun.

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"I came from a more visual art background. I paint and do photography. I come from the ideology of layering sounds, like you would layer images in collage art."