METRONO.ME interview with Clang Quartet  6/5/2010

Your name, name of project members and ages

Scotty Irving, 1, 6/20/1967.


Kinston, NC

How long have you been doing your project?

Since 1/22/1997

Why did you pick Clang Quartet as the name of the band?

Main reason, 3 part show (Noise, Percussion, Performance Art) played by one guy (me). 3 + 1 = 4. It is also a slight stab at the number of quartets in Southern Gospel music. Some have said it was a reference to my 4 limbs or even the combo of the Holy Trinity and me! I wish I had thought of that one, myself.

Has has your music evolved since you first started? How?

The show is much more focused than it was. Imagine a slab of marble that is being chiseled away at in the act of making a sculpture. Each stroke makes it more like the object it is going to be. I feel the biggest change in the show occured in 2000-2001 when I truly began to trust that God was in charge and let God do the sculpting instead of trying to do it, myself. I'll watch some videos of the first few years of this show and I see a man trying to give it to God but failing to do so!

What are the main themes or topics for your work?

Starting with my life without Christ, the stumbling blocks that I have fought to get around, and then my life WITH Christ and the much better results I feel I have gotten.

Describe your music/art. How do you describe your music to people?

Depends on the person! Drums and percussion are the easiest things for most people. Some don't understand what I mean by performance art and Noise. In many ways, I am an introduction to the Noise scene for some people simply by performing this show.

What music did you grow up listening to?

Mainly what would have been the top 40 pop/rock/soul for the time period (mainly the 70's), in addition, some country/western, and later on heavy metal, punk, early industrial, and jazz. Somehow, all of these sounds come out in my playing either with the Clang Quartet show or another band that I may be with.

What's the first song you remember listening to or that sticks in your mind?

According to the baby book my parents have, it was "Get Back" by the Beatles (with Billy Preston).

What are you currently listening to that you're really into?

As far as newer stuff, I have been enjoying a lot of the trades that I received from the International Noise Conference tour. I received some great stuff from many of the acts I performed with. I hope they are enjoying what I traded with them! Aside from that, the "new" Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC CDs.

Who are your influences in general, musically and artistically?

Wow. You better make some room, here! I started playing drums in September 1979, but it wasn't until April of 1980 that I began to get really interested in doing something with music or sound. I heard AC/DC for the first time and I can say that without hearing them, there would have been no Scotty Irving from a musical sense. I had many other life changing events sound wise that include bands like Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, among TOO MANY others and including the musics I mentioned earlier. I site bands like Kiss, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel era-Genesis, and David Bowie with introducing me to theatrical performances. I began to win awards in the seventh grade and continued to win them until I graduated high school. One of the awards was the Louis Armstrong Jazz Band award. I mention that because by this time in my life, I was trying to listen to many different types of music, not just rock. Perhaps that is why I also found it easy to enjoy "non" musics, which somehow creep into the Clang Quartet show. Being a fan of sci fi/giant monsters/horror type images in movies and books has also had a major influence on my creations. There are times when I don't even realize how much a certain image or movie has influenced me until someone asks me about it after seeing my work. 

What got you into making harsh noise in the first place?

Seeing Einstuzende Neubauten on a TV show called Night Flight in 1984. I was not able to bring this influence into a band for many years and the thought of doing a show by myself was not something I took seriously at this time. I began to research other bands or performers whom I felt to be like-minded. This lead me to discover people like the Swans, Throbbing Gristle, and Z'EV, who performed a one-man show for years before many of us were even thinking about doing it, ourselves!

Are your sounds deliberately composed, is your work abstract, or a combination of both?

Both. Many times the sounds are in my head and I am just trying to bring them out. In the beginning of the Clang Quartet show, everything was extremely abstract. It still is but not as much as it was then.

Do you rehearse or plan your performance in any way, either in your head, on paper or in a studio, or do you just wing it when it comes to performing and recording?

Let's say it this way: I have a road map, but what I do at each stop varies from show to show. I know that I will play this instrument at this time but I always let the sounds I make change each show at least somewhat.

Where do you record?

Usually on stage or in a studio called Earthtones Recording that is run by a friend of mine, named Benji Johnson. I also record on a multitrack cassette recorder at home.

Do you have a home studio setup?

Not really. Just that multitrack I mentioned.

Are you prolific? Are you constantly cranking out new stuff or does it take time to get it right and done?

I record a lot of my shows and prefer to use those recordings most of the time. I have not done an actual studio recording for several years. So I guess that means yes AND no? HA!

What can you tell me about your instruments?

The homemades are there for both the audio and visual sides of the show. My main instruments at this time are a cross made from crutches and small microphones into guitar pedals. I have used crutches in the show since 2000. I also use many masks that help tell the story I am presenting (my life without, and then with Jesus Christ). All the masks have some sound source on them. Some are electronic and some are acoustic. The drums I use are two disgarded marching drums from one of the schools I attended. I was in the school band and just happened to be there when they were going to throw them out. The cymbals are all broken in some way. They were either given to me that way or they wound up getting damaged in conventional use while I was playing them on a drumkit. 

What made you choose the particular pedals/effects/instruments you have now?

The sounds they make or what they do to the sounds of the instrument playing through them.

Are you subject to any kind of brand loyalty or will you play with whatever you come across/what is available?

I love D.O.D. stuff, but I am not really loyal to them or anyone else.
Favorite distortion box?

Probably the original Death Metal by D.O.D. The FX 86

Favorite delay?

The Boss Digital Reverb-RV2

Favorite piece of gear?

Too many to mention! If it is in my show, I must love it.
Can we see a current photo or photos of your live/performing setup?


Where have you performed?

Many places in the U.S., east and west coasts, mainly.

Most embarrassing experience?

Falling off stage while wearing one my masks!!! I tried to correct my balance by "righting" myself against a wall that turned out to be a curtain. I had microphones on the mask that picked up my grunt as I hit the ground! What a night...

Most awesome?

Anytime you get to play with or for someone you love and admire the work of, and that has happened for me many times.

Where do you live now?

Stokesdale, NC
Do you have day jobs? What are they?

I work in the financial division of a major car company. 

Do you play any other instruments besides the ones you play in Clang Quartet (I assume you're a drummer)?

Drumset, some guitar, some keyboards, even some vocals. I play drumset and sing some of the time in a band called Benjomatic and a metal band called Leap 2 Nowhere. I also do some session work.

Do you collect anything or are you a minimalist?

I collect lots of things, much to my loving wife's chagrin! Old music and monster magazines, along with Godzilla (and other monsters) merchandise. I also have a lot of silver age comics, mainly Spider-man.
What are you cooking tonight?

Too early to tell just yet.
What did you eat today?

Corn Pops and coffee!

What's your favorite food of all time?

Probably homemade pizza or pasta.

Favorite drink?

Milk, V8, Diet Dr. Pepper. Not at the same time!
Mac or PC?

If you had to eat one food 7 days in a row, what would it be?

Homemade pasta of some sort.

If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?

Leftovers and some of those other foods we mentioned.

What was the last book you read?

NO WAVE by Marc Masters
Do you watch TV or listen to the radio at all? 


Any favorite shows or broadcasts?

Me and my wife, Patti are both fans of THE BIG BAND THEORY and CSI: LAS VEGAS. We also own several classic TV series on DVD, such as SANFORD AND SON. We have a large collection of movies that we watch, as well. I can't say that I have a regular show that I listen to on radio at the moment.

Where do you go to discover new sounds/music?

I either read about a performer that I thinks sounds interesting and buy something from them or I play a show with them. I also find THE WIRE (UK Magazine) to be a good source for finding out about new sounds.

Been to any good shows lately?

Not counting ones that I have played, D.R.I. and Anvil. Not on the same night.

Describe a day in the life of Joseph Scott Irving the 3rd.

Let's not! HAHA! I don't want to bore your readers. 

What does your family think of your art and do they support you? Do they have any idea what you do or what your project sounds like?

Almost all of my family is aware of what I do and many of them will come to shows from time to time. I am not sure that all "get it" but they are trying really hard. 

Any advice for people who are starting out creating music/noise/art?

Be bold. If someone else isn't doing what you like, do it yourself. Play what you truly believe. Find a theme you truly love and build from that.
Any upcoming shows? New recordings? Projects?

I have a Clang Quartet show with Lightning Bolt and another great band called In The Year Of The Pig in July. I am also playing The Voice Of The Valley Noise Rally in Pentress, WV for the second time. I have another show in Raleigh, NC with Justice Yeldham in the late summer.

Any parting words or pearls of wisdom you'd like to share with whoever's reading this interview?

God bless all of you for bothering to read this. 


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