Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mad as a Box of Frogs ....Interview with Paul Finch

While spending many nights checking out music on Soundcloud I came across Mad as a Box of Frogs and just sat and listened through all his tracks and was amazed at his creations of mind melting sounds.
Before we Begin here's a bit about his history.

I was born 15th February 1956 in Rushgreen hospital Romford Essex, my identical twin did not survive long after birth due to his skull being badly crushed. My first memory is in my pram in Wooly's (I think at that age all department stores were known to me as Wooly's), Teddy fell out and although I screamed and screamed I couldn't get "them" to stop and rescue him. My next memory is again in Wooly's, I was a little older as now I was walking, as I moved through the shoppers I suddenly felt Teddy brush past my face, I spun round and grabbed hold of him with a desperate vice like grip and buried my face in his fur, when to my horror my mummy grabbed me by the collar and pulled me away from my beloved Teddy (yes my own mother!), as I lost my grip I looked up at him and found a women in a fur coat! To this day I suspect this fiend was probably Cruella deVille who had kidnapped Teddy and killed him and skinned my lovely Ted to wear his pelt.

In 1960 we moved to a Shop in Clacton. It was two shops knocked into one and so I had a playroom as well as a bed room this was accessed by a set of outside steps. The shop was on the high street and only a short distance from the beach down a tree lined road that was great for conkers.

While playing pirates with my friend Ginge we had a sword fight using our penknives, Ginge took a swipe and sliced my arm open across the inside of my left elbow opening the main vain and the blood started pumping out. I remember coming down the outside steps saying over my shoulder “I might not ever play with you again” and made my way into the shop obviously freaking out mum & dad. I was rushed to hospital where I claimed I had fallen on a drawing pin as I didn't want to get Ginge into trouble. The surgeon who stitched my vain back together pointed out the obvious holes in this account, but I stuck to my guns.

The year after 'Pirates' I went to stay with my mothers foster parents Granddad Moon & Nana Fluff in Romford. Their surname was Moon but for some reason I named Nana after the next door cat! Whilst out on my trike I fell off and hurt my arm, I cried and complained about the pain all night but was told “it's only a graze don't make such a fuss.” At the doctors the next day he took one look and said It's broken and I had my first trip in an ambulance, the ambulance men thought it funny I insisted on giving my Clacton address. The rest of my stay was wonderful as GM & NF were so guilt ridden I was able to twist them round my little finger.

Whilst at Clacton I made my mother proud of me for the first and I suspect only time. I came second in the school sports day wheelbarrow race, I was the barrow and Ginge the pusher. I know she still had the newspaper clipping when I was in my 30s.

The year we took the shop the first supermarket opened, disaster. Dad held on for another year before we lost the shop and had to leave. This meant I missed the last episode in a Flash Gordon series and to this day I don't know how he escaped the deadly crushing arms of the robot enemy.

At Clacton was the best pub I have ever known it was the Golden Lion and had it's own cinema that showed non-stop animation. The kids were parked there while the adults went to the bar. It was fantastic, not just the usual cartoons but films of Javanese shadow puppets and other wonders slipped in between the Popeye and Woody Woodpecker, I loved it, a big bag of flying saucers and non stop animation. It also had a sign in the car park reading 'please park prettily' which I found hilariously funny imagining cars parked in circles with fairy lights.

We went to stay with my fathers parents at their pub in the docklands (at that time actual docks) 'The Brunswick Arms' for a while (2 or 3 months I think) and then moved in with my god parents Chaz (above) and Doreen in Basildon and I had to restart school. All I can really remember of the house is the home made wine bubbling away at night in my bed room. I remember we had constipations to see who could get the most kids on their bike at the same time and make it all the way down the hill. The school had a film club and I remember on night for some reason I had the wrong colour ticket and burst into tears, the teacher was mystified why I had started crying – I thought I was going to miss the film I don't see what she didn't understand. To this day I have no trouble crying – in fact the day before I wrote this Dave came round to find me crying at the final episode of The Woman In Black. The girls used to like to bring friends round and then put ST TNG episode “Skin Of Evil” because the eulogy for Tasha Yar always starts me off. I think it was at this school I was made to write with my left hand for a week because my hand writing was so bad they thought I might be left handed – I'm not, but I did/do use a smeary stile to cover up my complete inability to speal evan the simplist of words.

I have no real idea how long it was before we moved to the bungalow at Thundersley. I remember the first morning as I went off to the woods alone so I could listen to the Archers omnibus, I was an 'Archers Addict' even at the age of 6. One radio program I did avoid was 'The Clitheroe Kid' as I didn't like cowboy stories (above), then I happened to catch it by mistake and realised my mistake.

Now that You know a bit about his past lets move on to the Future......
Where did the name Mad as a box of frogs come from?

This was the user name I chose when I signed up at okcupid, I thought I'd save the women not put off by my photo the bother of reading all that text, seems to have worked.

How would you describe your sounds to someone who is about to press play on one of your tracks?

Urmmm .... This ome through me errr .... Experimental with the emphasis on mental, comments from other soundclouders are :-
"really, your music cause crazyness, exactly as drugs. Take care, soon you will prohibited!
"Hilarious, i like it "D"
"Ha trippy, nice stuff"
"Sickadelic... Trance inducing... Dig it."
"hey hypnotic guru! "
"I don't understand words, but i take it as a great outlet song for stammerer people !!! Can i ? Thanks.”
"Am I having a debate with a robot in a mirrored universe? Why is my kaleidoscope acting all wacky?
"I'm glad someone has the time and inclination to do this , most enjoyable !”
"NICE WORK..I sink into the whirlpool of a mystery."
"Really dig the way this one starts off. Squirming right outta the gate. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM"

The samples mostly come from found audio and a lot of them from radio 4 e.g. All the sounds in “Lady Strange” are from the Houses of parliament.

The 'music' in “Poem3” is randomly generated midi and the lyrics are also randomly created with a poetry generating program I convert to any new programming language I'm learning and are spoken by a speech synthesiser so is maybe not by me at all.

I'm just starting to play around with midi but as I've had no musical education and can't carry a tune in a bucket – so well .... When you go to a gig and they get all the audience clapping there is always one twat who claps off the beat – well say hi because that will be me.

When you were younger did you ever want to explore or live on another planet... if yes where would that be and how did you picture it being like?

Not really this one was unintelligible enough for me. But if I had it may have looked like this

and sounded like this

Also What part of the world do you think pushes out the best music and art and why?

Well my glib answer would be – Tin pan alley as the rest of the world just lets it flow.
Cardiff seems to have a good music scene with people like Ellie James and Inconsiderate Parking

If you could travel through time .... what year would it be and what is the would you do on this escapade?

The future - some time after the end of the present pharmacological inquisition, I would start with DMT and then go through the alphabet LSD, THC, STP, H2O ect. Not forgetting Peyote, Mescaline, Psilocybin & Psilocyn. And there is of course all the ones that have yet to be discovered.

What is one of the most devious plans your mind has ever concocted ?

Farming schizophrenics and harvesting their piss to extract the psychedelic chemicals it contains. I afraid I'm not very devious, truth is very important to me as existence is hard enough as it is, if people start lying to you it becomes impossible.

Last Question.... What should we be looking forward from you in the near future?

Well there are the two radio shows I do for as DJ Frogs, “In The Window” and “BrainSong”. “In The Window” is a 'fairly' conventional show albeit with my eclectic taste in music and it also features new and unknown artists mostly from soundcloud and is co-hosted with my imaginary grandson DJ Tadpole (me - pitch shifted up about an octave) or Uncle Buffo (also me – down an octave), but as they can both get a bit out of hand I have started to do it with just me – if you see what I mean.

Anywho – the other show is my 24 hour long audio work brainsong split into hour long chunks with the odd record to fill in. When the brainsong programme reaches it's end there are plans to broadcast all 24 hours of the original work in one day, possibly on the 22nd of December – if that's when the end of the world is due to happen, and it should make any listeners feel better about the prospect of dying – in fact I think most would welcome death lol.

At present I'm working on a video to accompany the brainsong audio, as I'm producing about a minute a month it won't be ready by December or even this decade in fact at that rate even this century – 2132 is the expected release date maybe on my 176th birthday. As the previous generation of men in my family didn't make it much past 60 and I'm 56 that might be a tad optimistic.

I'm also producing a monthly “fact article” called “The Theatre Of The Mind” about old time radio science fiction shows for the weekly podcast,

Musically if I can use that term for my 'stuff' there's a bit of a hiatus, I had a hard disk go phutt and so lost all the recordings of my farts that I had assembled and begun to 'treat', and let me tell you it was hard work, there's is nothing funnier than a fart and listening to the same fart over and over again would have me rolling around on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter – try it!

At the moment I am trying out VST instruments as a way of treating non musical sounds without using a sequencer as I like to work in a way that is as close to audio tape as possible and stitching the fragments to together by hand.

Talking of stitching a lot of non-computer time is spent doing tapestry. Abstract designs that generally become shoulder bags, these are available for purchase for ridiculous amounts of money due to the absurd amount of time it takes to make them and I would rather give them away than than devalue my time and effort.

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