Bashful Dodger: Good Evening, Stan! You just released a new album, entitled "Stanley Brinks Yodels". Does that designation just refer to your yodelling in opener? The cover photo also shows you with a big glass of beer, which looks quite Bavarian to me, especially in combination with the title...
Stanley Brinks: Obviously, yes. It's my most german album, it's got all my berlinisms in it. It's funny to look at Berlin as a part of Germany, and to look at Germany as the real birthplace of 20th century music. I think it is.
Q: How would you describe the sound of the album? I have the impression there's a hint of country music, both musically and sometimes also thematically (as in "Don't Drown Your Sorrows In Beer")...even though it's always the distinctive Stanley Brinks sound.
A: I wouldn't have thought so. I did think of Harry Nilsson's version of "everybody's talkin'" when i wrote Don't Drown... A few songs on the album have classic chord progressions, like folk music, country music, and schlager... I like the idea of a Stanley Brinks sound, when i need a reference i almost always listen to another album of mine.
Q: You've been recording with lots of different artists; on the new album, Freschard is playing the drums and singing backing vocals, and both of you do a lot with The Wave Pictures. With the latter, you also released an album (and David Tattersall told me there is one more to come, soon). Any other collaborations in the near future?
A: I've just recorded an album in Norway, with local folk musicians. There's a lot of fiddle and beer on it, and some west coast style jazz trombone. No drums, everything live and acoustic. Amazing musicians. I didn't play any instrument myself. It'll take a little while to be released, because it'll be on a label for a change, a norwegian one. It'll be on vinyl too, maybe vinyl only.
Q: On the album with the Wave Pictures, the Martians are mentioned, same in "In My Wildest Dreams" on "Yodels". A laser gun is also mentioned. Are you fascinated with science fiction? Or is it rather the position of the "alien", for instance in political and/or artistic respects?
A: I like martians a lot. I like calling all aliens martians too. Mostly i like talking about martians because they are the trolls of my time, the imaginary friends of 20th century kids. Of course they have an interesting weltanschauung as well.
Q: You seem to record stuff very spontaneously. Do you really record your songs as quickly as possible, or do you work on some songs for a long period of time till they're finished?
A: I work hard, of course. But i do it full time, so i get things done. It takes a couple of hours to write a song, and a couple more to record it i'd say. I don't know if you think that's quick or slow, but one album can be written and recorded in a week that way. The funny part is that mixing takes longer than that if you want to get it right.
Q: Are the songs you record very planned out, or does coincidence/accident play an important role in the recording process?
A: There are absolutely no accidents or coincidences of any kind. There is improvisation, the jazz thing. And sometimes the sound of something that fell out my pocket, or someone laughing, if that's what you mean. That's not planned. I'm into first takes, although sometimes i like a second one too, because i want the words to be very clear.
Q: You've been releasing lots of albums under various monikers. Are you keeping score?
A: I wrote a list somewhere, but i don't know if i can find it again. I've been sticking to Stanley Brinks for a long time now. The name changes are a thing of the past it seems.
Q: You release most of your songs on CD-R and as downloads. Would you say this is the most viable option for an artist to be independent AND have control where the money goes?
A: I'm not very good with business. I have the vague notion that the best way to be independent and have control is to work with a manager, a publisher, and a big record company. That's what i imagine. You tell them what you want and you don't have to think about all the crap yourself. I have no idea how downloads work, i don't do that stuff. I make CDRs cause i can't make vinyl records, and tapes take an awful time to copy. I kinda like the CD format too, come to think of it. It doesn't take much space but you can still look at it. I'll miss it when it's gone.
Q: The album with The Wave Pictures also got released on vinyl. Many music lovers still think it's the best, sonic and aesthetically. But its production is expensive. Would you say it's becoming a medium merely for enthusiasts which is dying out?
A: I do believe the sound of vinyl records is usually better, but it's not always true. Everything sounded better before the 80s though, and there were no cds. Maybe that's why records sound good, just cause the people who made the machines had better taste. Also, they weren't deaf from using headphones all the time. I like that records are big, and i like that they are from another time. I can't wait for the 78s to be back in style.
Bashful Dodger: Mr, Brinks, thank you for this interview!
Stanley Brinks: Thank you