Jan St. Werner talks new Mouse on Mars, 20-year box set and WretchUp app
Published on May 9th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Jan St. Werner was kind enough to give Rocksucker this fantastic interview ahead of his new solo album Blaze Colour Burn, and while we had him on the line we couldn’t help but ask about the current goings on pertaining to his ‘day job’ band, the legendary Mouse on Mars…
Have you and Andi discussed the next Mouse on Mars album?
We have plenty of plans, actually. We’re working on this ’20 years of Mouse on Mars’ project, which is a really elaborate thing. It’s supposed to be a box set so we’re looking through our archives, but we also want to find things we’ve never released or find versions and mixes of things we’ve done.
We also want to do a series of twenty collaborations with people we’ve always liked, and people we’ve been friends with or been affiliated with over the years but never made music with. People whose music we like but have never been in touch with, and people we’ve known for years but never got around to doing anything with on record.
So that’s a project we’re in the middle of at the moment. I don’t really want to say names at this point because if something doesn’t work out then we’ve just been bigmouths, or something! Sometimes things just don’t work out time-wise.
We also have new tracks, which are much more bouncy and in their own way maybe danceable. That’s what we’re really keen on at the moment, so we’re also thinking about how to do that. Maybe eventually we’ll just put that out this year as a 12-inch and make the ’20 years’ box set a bigger project. Right after we’re through with these things, we want to work on Paeanumnion, the orchestra piece, because we definitely have to record that.
Finally, for the not-so-technically-minded amongst us, what is the WretchUp app and how does it work?
It’s a pretty simple thing: it basically brings together two or three effects that we’ve come to love over the years. One is the pitch transposer that allows you to continuously shift pitches. In the final app we also want to include a sort of depth pitching mode, which combines this with a very heavy delay feedback effect. Those together make a very absurd and very hard to control (laughs) kind of effects instrument.
The idea was to have it on the iPhone so you could play it intuitively without looking at it; it takes two minutes to understand what it does, and it takes any audio input and makes it into a hard-to-control, anarchic sound. You can include that in your live set, like an improv device, or it’s something you can use in the studio as an effect.
It’s something I wanted to have for the live set so we’ve been working on that, but as usual everything takes much longer than expected and it should have been finished two or three months ago. Hopefully it will be finished this month, and then we’ve got to get it into the iTunes store so that’s another thing that will hopefully be done this year. Once we’re through with that, we actually already have an idea for the next thing. That’s what happens when you’re just dealing with sound most of the time!
Jan St. Werner, thank you.
Blaze Colour Burn will be released on 10th June by Thrill Jockey.
For more information, please visit Jan St. Werner on the Thrill Jockey website.