Long time collaborators Sonic Solutions Inc., aka John and Will Goff and renowned street and fine artist Shepard Fairey have released something truly unique and quite relevant for these troubled times. A limited release of four S.S.I. E.P.s (500 copies) in conjunction with 24×24 prints (100 copies) that are signed and numbered by the artist.
The vinyl and prints are available on Fairey's Obey Records imprint and can be purchased here OBEY Records.
Vinyl $25 | Prints $200 – Available HERE
SSI brings their 303 dense ambient sounds sprinkled with subtle breaks in the form of four E.P.s with Latin titles – which include Resurrectionem Ex-Mortius, Mea Culpa, E Pluribus Unum, and Pax Romana
To celebrate the release, we caught up with John Goff of S.S.I. to get caught up and dive a little deeper on the inspirations for the music and new limited vinyl collection
Tell us a little bit about how Sonic Solutions Inc. got started and some of your influences.
My brother and I comprise Sonic Solutions. We had been in slightly esoteric rock bands, but our heads were always into electronic music, especially musicians and D.J.s from Germany. At the time, S.S.I. started my brother had been a DJ for a bit, and I had collected quite a bit of hardware such as vintage keyboards and all that and began trying to use Cubase, Vision, and some of the other sequencing software. It was always a bit difficult to get a good sound or energy. Especially compared to the bands we were into, Orbital, Crystal Method, Drum and Bass musicians, etc. I happened to have been hooked up with Reason and Live from M-Audio (I actually think it might've been a contact through B.P.M. Magazine, to be honest, and made some forays into that software. I found working in those two platforms really gave me the tools to do exactly what I wanted with really unlimited capabilities. I don't mean to sound like an advert, but that was really what pushed forward Sonic Solutions as a band. We banged out our first record in one-afternoon session after putting together the assets we needed from Reason. And that was Pax Romana that was born that day on my living room floor.
You guys are big fans of the now-defunct Fax Records owned by late Pete Namlook. Can you tell us a little bit about some of your favorite albums on that label?
Yes, a huge influence! I actually have a tattoo of the Fax Records logo. I've really enjoyed the series he did with Klaus Schulze (Dark Side of the Moog), Higher Intelligence Agency (S.H.A.D.O.), Jonah Sharp (Wechselspannung), Richie Hawtin (From Within), Biosphere (The Fires of Ork), and his works with Anthony Rother. Namlook seemed to have been able to get some far-reaching recordings with I'm guessing a deep adherence to improve I think most musicians would be uncomfortable with. I think one of the things Namlook will always be noted for is never having a particular sound or style. I love seeing where his recordings go. It seems like a lot of the time; he doesn't really know what's going to happen in the next minute. But when it hits that point of absolute beauty to me, it's like the best of Teleman, Bach, etc. I worked with Jonah Sharp on a project sometime back and picked his brain a little bit about working with Namlook. He said whenever you were in the studio, Namlook always had the recording button pressed on no matter what was happening.
How did the relationship with Shepard get started? Didn't you guys also work on some other music together under another alias?
I've been lucky to work with Shepard for quite a few years. Shepard was living and working in San Diego, and I offered to help him with Obey Giant when it was still a fledgling concept. He and I stayed close, and when Shepard started his foray into DJing, he was hoping to have an arsenal of tracks that comprised all of his favorite Hip Hop, Classic Rock, Punk, New Wave, but re-engineered into tracks with twists. He enlisted my help, and in doing that for quite some time, we started working on original music to keep the flow going. The musical project NØISE was born from this collaboration. We hooked up with a couple of other musicians to fill out the sound and hence released a couple of 7" records as well as a remix record where the likes of Moby, Crystal Method, and Phil Hartnoll lent their talents to make some killer tracks.
What is the inspiration behind the artwork, and what led you guys to do these limited sets? Wasn't there also a picture disk released a while ago?
We were lucky to have Shepard involved in helping publish and art direct the releases. Shepard and I co-produced all of the previous NØISE releases on Obey, so it was nice to have him involved in both creating the artwork and helping concept some of the details of the releases. I had previously released Mea Culpa as a picture disc a number of years back, but the quality of the release wasn't really where I wanted it to be, so I was glad to go through and really bring the sound up to where it should be. I had a lot of help from Marc Royal or T-Power, as he's known as on re-mastering and general sorting of the tracks. T-Power definitely got the tunes to where they should be.
How would you describe the Portland music scene at the moment for electronic music? It's always had it's up and down and some great acts like Emancipator, etc. Does the city influence your sound?
I hate to sound like I'm anti-Portland or too cool, but I really have no idea as to what the electronic music scene or really any music scene is, in general, is like. I think I've aged out. I'm guessing once you can apply for AARP, you aren't really allowed to understand what the "kid's" are doing.
If your music was a Beer, what would it be?
If our music were a beer, it would be something dark, smooth, and easy to drink; hence Blackbutte Porter comes to mind!
Are you guys touring anytime soon, or do you ever tour? If so, what is the set up like – live, D.J., a mix of both?
I would love to play some shows if it seemed feasible. Time, effort, interest are always mitigating factors.
Anything else we should know about this project and any future S.S.I. projects?
I'm so glad to get these rolled out. There are some lingering tracks and other records I would love to assemble into releases. I don't see if time and energy will see this to fruition. I think NØISE might make some more noise. http://www.noiseproject.com/
My brother and I did a couple of side projects, The Turing Test and The Silver Wizard that I would love to finish at some point. Just for now, glad to see these four records out!
You can check out all four releases digitally below, but the vinyl is better – just sayin.