Singer Fides Krucker and Guitarist Tim Motzer talk with Esthetic Lens about what they have been working on. Together, they share a candid peek inside the life of two prolific creators.
1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
TIM MOTZER: That’s a loaded question! For the last 8 or so months, a mixture of things: the news, and COVID updates have kept me up, or had me waking up.
FIDES KRUCKER: For me the lack of “real” contact between people. How do we tell how those we love are doing without smelling their fear, feeling their shivers of joy? I teach on Zoom about 24 hours a week. Technology has made the back of our bodies are even less ours by drawing us forward, flattening us out… That keeps me up!
TIM: But now at night I’m moved towards seeking enlightenment and inspiration and solace…searching for the spark… so to speak.
FIDES: You are so smart to switch it up; to think of staying awake as an opportunity to work on something beautiful.
TIM: I’ve been focusing on creating new work, and spending time in nature. It’s a healing process as well as inspiring for me.
FIDES: Rediscovering motion and emotion. How great it will be to laugh together without audio settings freaking out because “hahahahaha” is such a nuanced, disruptive act! Maybe we will hear better “live” after this period of deprivation?
2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
TIM: The night skies and sounds of nature in the countryside of Buckingham, PA… The crescent Moon’s mouth gaping open in alignment to Jupiter and Saturn, and just incredibly beautiful sunset skies, completely new nightly. So very inspiring and mind-clearing.
FIDES: Beautiful! The things we can’t control or predict. My mother’s face and voice when I arrived with a large white poinsettia for her birthday.
3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
TIM: There is a myriad of new projects rolling, but I’m most excited about my upcoming solo vocal record of 11 new songs. The writing began pre-pandemic in early 2020. Besides singing, I play all the instruments—all varieties of guitars, pianos, mellotron, pump organ, optigan, drum machines, bass, and whatever else was lying about in my studio. I haven’t sung since early Nucultures albums from 2002-2007 era. It certainly feels good to be using my voice again, and I feel now’s the time and I am sure it will be a part of projects moving forward. These dreamy songs and lyrics literally were channeled through at the same time. I didn’t question it. It is being mixed now for a February 2021 release.
I’ve also been recording the Isolation Broadcast solo concerts from my studio in Philly where I improvise with guitar and electronics to a remote audience. Eventually, these recordings get mixed, mastered, and find their way to be released. Over these last 8 months, I’ve released three albums so far: Inside, The Great Expanse, and Tear Aside the Veils which are available from Bandcamp. These albums all reflect such different sonic worlds and emotional landscapes inspired by these times. I also created a collaborative score for Princeton Dance Festival Reimagined that premiered in early-December which was an amazing experience. So there are a few things going on. How about you Fides?
FIDES: My experience is almost the opposite around voice. Due to COVID, I had to cancel the remount of my “concert with dance” called In This Body. The show is a collection of Canadian pop tunes, mostly by women — Joni Mitchell to Feist by way of the McGarrigle sisters and Alanis Morissette. The musical journey charts the wilderness of a woman’s heart. I sing all the songs, and with my band — Tania Gill, piano, Rob Clutton, Bass, and Germaine Liu, percussion — came up with really wild adaptations that we recorded in 2017 before our 2018 premiere. The live performance features three of Canada’s most sublime dancers: each of them choreographed three tunes.
To avoid pushing the remount into a post-pandemic time slot I picked my favorite songs and asked Jeremy Mimnagh to film a song per dancer/choreographer up north in nature.
- Summer — Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, with Laurence Lemieux.
- Autumn — Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Body’s in Trouble, with Peggy Baker.
- Winter — (•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑ – Serena Ryder’s For You, with Heidi Strauss
- Spring — Neil Young’s Helpless, with just me and 5 ever deconstructing willow corsets hanging in the tender green blush of a renewing forest… a song-stallation.
The crazy thing is that I am happier with the films than I might have been with a remount of the show. I miss the carnal experience of singing as we are using the CD but I love seeing the material come back together — music and movement — in a way that is beyond what the original show could manage in the theatre. Nature is now a key character, not just imaginal space.
4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
TIM & FIDES: We’ve always talked about the songs on our album Vanishing as sonic films. We would love to see them become film or dance collaborations. There are so many dream cinematographers, so many dream choreographers… A different artist for each track. A multimedia evening that flows through the musical material. Maybe it’s more about who might be drawn to the music of Vanishing.
5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
“More Unknown Than Known“
I think we both like that one…life as process, improvisation. Notoriety is unimportant.
FIDES KRUCKER is an innovative interpreter and creator of vocal music in Canada and abroad. She founded the interdisciplinary ensemble URGE; their final work was published by Playwrights Canada. Her company, Good Hair Day Productions created and produced the groundbreaking lyric-theatre pieces: Girl With No Door On Her Mouth (Bartley/Carson); CP Salon, an r n’ b love and disability show with Kazumi Tsuruoka, now an NFB film; Julie Sits Waiting (Dufort/Walmsley), a sexual catastrophe, electroacoustic opera nominated for five Doras; and In This Body, an emotional landscape of Canadian pop songs, danced by Peggy Baker, Laurence Lemieux, and Heidi Strauss. It is available on CD with musicians Rob Clutton, Tania Gill, and Germaine Liu. Fides has created vocalography for renowned choreographer Peggy Baker’s company, receiving composition nominations and a Dora win. Her recording of Berio’s Folk Songs on the European label Orlando was noted for its “blazing theatricality and playful brilliance.” Fides teaches voice at Humber College and facilitates a wide range of Toronto dance and theatre artists as well as Chicago’s Walkabout Theater. Her book, Good Girls Don’t Sing: Women and Voice were researched with the assistance of a Chalmers’ Arts Fellowship.
After 20 years of world touring, five solo albums, and stunning collaborations including over 80 albums of credits, TIM MOTZER continues to “traverse manifold territories in music (Guitar Player Magazine).” Tim is widely known for his distinct textural acoustic-electro guitar voice utilizing looping, bowing, electronics, and prepared techniques. From 2016-18, Tim toured the world playing prestigious venues and jazz festivals with Bandit65, an improvising trio he co-leads with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis. He has collaborated with musical luminaries David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman, Jaki Liebezeit, King Britt, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Vernon Reid, David Torn, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto, and poet Ursula Rucker. Tim’s work has appeared in the HBO series True Blood as well as films by Michael Mann. As an in-demand, solo live composer/improviser in the world of modern dance, Tim most recently played to sold-out houses in Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Oujda, Morocco; Philadelphia, PA; and Toronto, Canada. He serves as a live accompanist for master choreographers at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Tim brings his dynamic, eclectic array of musical projects together under his own 1k Recordings imprint, which has over 40 releases.