Curran Faris is no stranger to the Winnipeg music scene. Prior to 2009 (when Curran formed Greenhouse) he played in Hide Your Daughters and Husk.
Greenhouse, Curran’s ambient, experimental project, performed at send + receive in 2013. Greenhouse’s performance has been a memorable one for me; it is only natural I chose to explore Curran’s brain and feature his creative nuances on an unmuted breed.
1.How did you get into making music?
I started playing guitar when I was maybe 11 or 12, and by that time I was already completely obsessed with music. So my desire to make music came from listening to music, which I did fairly ravenously by that age, for sure. It just seemed natural to me — I loved listening to music, had my favourite bands, and I wanted to do that too, to make music that I wanted to make and listen to. As I’ve grown as a musician and a music lover, I’m not sure that that initial impulse or reason for making music has ever fundamentally changed.
2.Where do you draw inspiration from?
Certainly from listening to other musicians and artists. I’m endlessly inspired by the work of others, listening to records, and I guess what I look for in my own work is to create music of my own that makes me feel like I do when I’m listening to someone else’s work, if that makes any sense. I’m not saying that my goal is to copy or rip-off others, but I mean to recreate that end result of listening to a piece of music, the feelings it may evoke, the way it makes you move (or not), or the way it completely takes you away from a shitty day or something — I try to create those moments in my own work.
I could list other musicians/bands/artists at great length, but lately I’ve been listening to lots of Vladislav Delay, Rhythm & Sound, Helm, Autechre, and the same narrow corner of hardcore and metal that I’ve been listening to for decades.
3.How do you get out of a creative slump?
Oh god. I’m not sure I ever totally do get out of them. Slumps happen frequently, either from inactivity, dissatisfaction, or just being really busy in life generally. The only real way I’ve been able to get past them is by just working through it, as frustrating and disheartening as that process is. It’s actually quite awful. It’s like painfully rediscovering a group of muscles you’ve long neglected: it’s always there, but you need to wake everything up to get it to do what you want. Or at least I do.
4.How has your personal experiences influenced your work?
I’m not sure how personal this is, but I think that my work is in some ways a response to the fast pace of daily life. I have two young children, and when you add that to full-time work and everything else, time seems to move at an unbelievably fast rate. Our second daughter turned one this past fall, and it was actually upsetting how fast that year went by. Working on Greenhouse material is really therapeutic in the sense that it forces me to slow down, to focus, to get lost in my own mind for a while.
5.Why did you choose this form of music as a creative outlet?
Like any of the other music I’ve been involved in creating, the impetus has been inspiration from listening to records. I came into experimental music from loud, aggressive music, and I really owe that discovery to a handful of bands and labels in the late 90s and early 2000s who started incorporating more experimental or ambient aspects into their music, and just from being obsessed about music, I got into other the work of experimental musicians and sound artists from there.
One thing that drew me to creating this kind of music myself was that it forced me to turn off the musically trained parts of my brain. I took lessons for years, and taught guitar for several years as well. So being able to create something by paying strict attention to say, texture or atmosphere, or creating sound that allows you to get completely lost, was, and still is, so exciting to me, because I didn’t have to worry about what key I was in, what chords to play, or if I could solo fast enough. It’s incredibly freeing.
The other major factor for me was the discovering the experimental music/sound art community here in Winnipeg. Seeing Tim Hecker and crys cole for the first time at send+receive so many years ago was a huge turning point, for sure. Listening to records is one thing, but seeing people performing live, in your own city, getting to know them, even just knowing that there is a community of other artists and enthusiasts in your own city is so inspiring and reassuring; it gives you a place to learn and develop as an artist.