style: experimental, field recording, abstract, noise

country: Switzerland

Spanish born in 1975, Francisco Meirino is active since 1994 (as phroq until 2009) in experimental music and live performance. 

His music explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure, he is primarily interested in the idea of recording what is not supposed to be : gear failures, the death of PA systems, magnetic fields and electro-static noises and in how he can use them and hear them radically out of context. 

Francisco Meirino's music is fascinating by its physical intensity and detail precision. 

He mainly works with the computer, (eurorack) modular synthesizer, reel-to-reel tape recorders, magnetic fields detectors, piezo tranducers, field recorders and various home-made electronics.

_greetings Francisco, welcome on Amateur Radio. We discern a big discography, when did you start to write music?

Hi, thanks for your interest !

I started music in the early 90’s, in my teen years, doing lo-fi pop songs under the moniker Slope, at the time my music was in the spirit of early american lo-fi scene (smog, beck, pavement, beat happening etc..). I did some self-released cassettes like 10 copies that I re-recorded all the songs for every tape, so they are all different (I had no cassette dubber at the time) and eventually I got a record deal with a couple of Swiss labels and released two cd’s of that project.

As I was (still am) a terrible musician, I always included a lot of background sounds, noise and weird stuff to my pop songs, that eventually lead to become my noise project Phroq, that started in 1996. in 2001 decided to only focus on experimental and noise music, and yes I got very lucky to be able to release around 40 records (LP, cd’s, cdd’s and cassettes) under that name.

In 2009, as my music was less and less noisy but more and more composed and tied to the electro-acoustic and music concrète ideas, I decided to leave the alias behind and to continue to work under my real name. I have released around 50 other records under my own name since 10 years now. So yep...around 100 released, solos and a lot of great collaborations!

_what kind of audio sources do you usually use, some of them have been created by you?

All my audio sources are created by me, I never use samples from libraries or sounds from someone else. I mostly use recordings of everyday life, nothing very special or fancy, I like to record sounds that are very common, I will edit them, and use them in big multichannel compositions, among electronics (mostly sounds done with reel-to-reel tape machines, modular synthesizers, some hand-made crappy electronics (mostly light controlled oscillators). I also use a lot electro-magnetic sounds. I’ve released a couple of records done only with my sound sources, one is free here.

For the live performances, I change my set up according to the live situation I’ll be in. Sometimes it’s multichannel live-composition with computer (ableton live, triggering sound files). Sometimes it’s quadriphonic live set with only a modular (eurorack) synth. Sometimes I play only with electronics, like tape echo, reel-to-reel tape recorders, home made oscillators, loop pedals and contact microphones etc.

_have you worked with several artists, are there any projects that have
stood out for you? Are there any remarkable live concerts you remember for some reason?

Yes I have worked with a lot of artists, collaborations are always a new world to explore, sometimes it’s very easy and sometimes it’s very hard but it’s always rewarding. My collaboration with Dave Phillips « we are none of us » is I think my favourite because we really did work 100% of the time together, no sound exchanges it’s really a four hands collaboration. He also his the person I’ve the most played live with.

I also love to work my Kiko C. Esseiva, he is a very close friend, we share a studio room and with him, everything is easy, it naturally flows. I also enjoy a lot working with Gerritt Wittmer, he’s an amazing artist.

My live concerts are always different, and I enjoyed them all but I have to say that sometimes, something extra happens, could be the audience response, the energy in the room. I was particularly happy with my solo surround set at La Digestion in Naples in 2017, everything was perfect, the people who invited me, the P.A., the venue, the audience.

_how do you see the future of experimental electronic music? Can we say that it has spread rapidly worldwide? Are there too many artists involved?

I don’t know. It’s some kind of paradox : at times its seems that more and more people are joining the scene, a lot of new interesting artists, but also sometimes, I feel like younger people do not really care about experimental music.

I’ve been performing for more than 20 years now and I didn’t see an increase in the audience, it’s always about the same people in the room, no evolution, but sometimes there is a good surprise and you see new faces at shows, but it’s pretty rare.

No, there is never enough artists, the only problem is that there is not enough time to listen to them.

_what are your plans for 2019, are there upcoming releases or concerts?

I have some solo concerts already in the schedule, in Germany in September and October, in Turkey in November, some shows here and there in Switzerland.

I also will do a 3 months residency in 2019 with my project « Les Sirènes » ; it’s a collective artist group that works on social criticism of sound, we try to analyze and question the auditory myths that pass through us, the forms of domination or resistance built by sound and the way in which sound can produce or destroy the common, the collective is Jerome Noetinger, Juliette Volcler, Matthieu Saladin and me.

I have some records waiting to be released:
A collection of damaged reel tape loops; it’s a solo cassette on Helen Scarsdale Agency records.
A new instability; it’s a piece commissioned by the GRM and premiered in Paris last January, it will also be released on LP by Helen Scarsdale Agency in late 2019.
Epidemic is a orchestral piece I composed in 2013 and that was performed by Ensemble Phoenix, it should be released on LP this year too.

And I am working on several collaborations, with Bob Bellerue, with SEC_, with Gregory Buettner and Simon Whetham, among others.

_what do we listen to in the mixtape you compiled for us?

Oh it’s a mix between tracks that have been released these last ten years, I also included some raw material direct from my sound archives, some unreleased material, like a string and bass clarinet quintet that I have composed last year and was performed by the Ensemble Vortex, that too will be released this year. That’s about it.

for track list press here.

_we would like to recommend 5 albums by other artists that have inspired you throughout your career.

Only 5?! It’s too hard. I’ll give you 10!

-Merzbow «Pulse demon»
-Eliane Radigue «Trilogie de la mort»
-Leif Elggren «Talking to a dead queen»
-Crawl Unit «Proprietary acoustics»
-m/s & Toshiya Tsunoda «Full»
-Chris Watson «Outside the circle of fire»
-Carl Michael Von Hausswolff «To make things happen in the bunker via the micro way» -Iannis Xenakis «Electronic music»
-Rudolf «Psycho-physical tests and trainings with rudolf and r&g/schimpfluch personnel» -Per Svensson «Energy loop/element II»

_what is your philosophy about music? Why don’t you spread a message to Amateur Radio’s listeners.

I try to explore the tension between accidents, composition and the potential failures of gear and human psyché. I am very interested in the idea of recording what is not supposed to be : gear failures, deaths of P.A. systems, magnetic waves, static noise, everyday « boring » sounds and in how I can use them and hear them radically out of context.
I’m interested in ideas of shame and failure and decay in art.
I’m interested in how anyone has something to say, I’m interested in artists without works.
I hate the idea of virtuosity and the idea that you have to work hard to do it.
I like the idea of founding complex forms in simple ideas.

_where we can learn your news on the web? It would help us if you leave some links.

My official website :
you will find other links there (bandcamp, soundcloud etc..)

And for the gear-geeks, here’s my live modular synth set up:

_thank you very much for your time, your music, for this small interview and the exclusive mixtape. We are waiting for you in Greece, you have a lot of fans here!

I played in Athens in 2018 at the Festival Borderline in the Onassis Cultural Centre, it was fantastic, I love Greece and have some good friends there, I hope I could go more often.

Thank you for the interview.