All These Fingers has always seemed like mystery man to me ever since I started working at Grappa Frisbee. His elusive bio ‘electric wizard, cave dweller’ and even more elusive online behavior didn’t seem to lead to many answers about his sinister vibrations, disturbing samples, and extensive discography of psychedelia. So when asked to blog about his latest release GFR 046- Archetypes and Windfalls , I was feeling a bit unequipped.
It was time to do some serious artful digging. Armed with my backpack, moleskine notebook, and spleunker attire, I ventured into the colossal dark caves of Michigan in search of the man behind the music, Jeff Stire.
After long hours wandering in alone in the dark, seems I had forgotten a quite an essential thing (a flashlight) I was beginning to get weary and a bit frightened. Strange samples seemed to be echoing against the cavern walls , a reminder that Everlasting Death could soon be around the corner, and right as I was about to radio a mayday to Chris (who was back home safe in his comfy chair at Grappa Frisbee Headquaters smoking his pipe) a strange green glow appeared. Like any brave phenom, I took one giant gulp for music mankind and took a step forward. There, in the limelight was the man I had searched the caves for. With an exchange of peace, we sat down for an interview over a can of fried beans.
KJ: Can you tell me a little about your music career? From the looks of your bandcamp you’ve been making beats for about 4 years now. Any realizations you’ve made in production?
JS: I started playing guitar when I was 13, playing rock bands throughout high school and when I was 17 I recorded at some dude’s basement who had a bunch of gear like synths, MPC, turntables…the whole lot. I then decided that bands were too much work because of other people being in it! I started producing about ten years ago but it was rough for awhile, didn’t start releasing until well after.
KJ: Would you say you are experimental in your processes/ willing to experiment in new ways of production? Do you have a certain way of construction?
JS: I’m used to “jamming out” because I come from playing guitar/keys with other musicians. I’m used to that world of getting blown out and just “seeing what happens”. I try to play everyday and usually just record whatever I’m doing. Sometimes I’ll just make a beat and then work on that for awhile. Sometimes the sample comes first.
KJ: Now here is the question all artists and musicians hate… where do you draw inspiration from? Why make music?
JS: Well I make music simply because it puts a smile on my face in a way that nothing else does. As far as inspiration, I don’t wanna be too referential but it’s hard not to when you sample records a lot.S o other music is probably the #1 one thing. I used to skate a lot when I wasn’t almost 30. Watching skate videos would always get you ( and the crew) so fucking hype. And that’s how listening to records still is for me.I love making tracks for other people and seeing them bug out, that’s fun.
KJ :Now this last release, any certain concept you were going for? It is your first album this year!
JS: Yeah it is! I really tried to make everything sound psychedelic or melancholic, both if possible, like when you do drugs alone and then regret it. That’s why the cover is blue.
KJ: When you create do you have a specific audience in mind? A message hidden in your music? I like to think of music as a reflection of the creator.
JS: That’s a tough one, since I rarely write lyrics or anything. I do put a lot of vocal samples in there as some sort of “narrative” . It’s groove-based music so I really want people to dance or head nod. I will say this though, I put a lot of little bits in tracks to make people paranoid or unsettled, try to make those hairs stand up. I’m a big Boards of Canada fan.Their music is so beautiful but also sinister and weird if you break down what it’s “saying” . I try to accomplish some of that, for reasons unknown.
KJ: I see you studied Psychology , does that influence your work in any way? Are you a practicing Psychologist by day and musician by night?
JS: No, I studied it in school and don’t really use my degree (listen up kids)…but I love it as a subject. I’m a musician by day and night, Kj, and during sleep.
KJ: Now that you’re older, do you have any advice for younger producers?
JS: Take your time, don’t release everything, develop a sound, listen to a lot of music, don’t give a shit about what other people are doing…and hug your grandma.
KJ: Do you have a favorite piece of equipment that you own? For me, I cherish my cameras like they were my own children!
JS: Absolutely…without a doubt my Rhodes Mark II electric piano. My favorite sound in the world.
KJ: Do you have any goals musically? Any ideas as to what the future may bring for All These Fingers?
JS: I would like to start collaborating more. I wanna keep recording as much as possible. It’s really my favorite thing to do. I feel guilty when I play video games and watch movies too much, got that protestant work ethic on my back.
KJ: I did have someone approach me about using your music as soundtrack for films. How do you feel about that?
JS: That’s cool. I’d have to know what it was exactly.I like the idea though. You wanna see a short film my friend made that a bunch of us did music for a long time ago?
KJ: OF COURSE!
JS: My buddy Ryan made that for film school. We all sat around my bedroom looking at a camcorder screen and improvising weird tunes for it, around 2001-02.
KJ: Whoa dude, I am scared as shit right now.*hides* Alright! One last question, What’s your kitty’s name?
JS: Shoot, this has been fun! Good question….Mort, Mortimer, or Morty.
As I stepped away from the campfire, beans finished and pen in hand, I exited the colossal cave of Michigan, waved a friendly goodbye to Jeff and safely made my way back to Grappa Frisbee Headquarters.
Much thanks to Jeff for letting me uncover some of his mysteries. And much thanks to you, the reader for your continued support and interest in the label. Be sure to download the latest release, and to visit All These Fingers collection of sonic wonders.