Illogical Time Concerns is the (mostly) solo project of one John Ricksen, a San Francisco native who has been releasing his music for free since 2004. An ever-changing mix of sounds ranging from electronic to folk, this is a perfect example of ‘bedroom’ music at its mutable, unhindered best, and I wanted to ask John how he came upon the idea of the project as a whole. So I did that.
MFAGW: When and how did Illogical Time Concerns start?
JR: After my college band broke up (I was the singer) I knew that I had to still be involved in making music moving forward. I had always messed around on guitars but decided to take lessons for 3 months and practice extensively so I could make my own songs to sing on. I was also taking a class to learn how to record songs on Pro Tools.
Over the course of your releases, you cover some fairly disparate sonic ground. Post AD seems like dream pop, Hydrocodone is folky and Humn Traffic is almost ambient in places – is Illogical Time Concerns simply a creative/musical outlet for you or has there been a progression of interests over time?
Every year since ITC was created (2004) I’ve made between 1 and 2 albums / year. The tone of the albums in my mind has always been a mix of shoegaze ambience with DIY bedroom pop production but each release definitely has its own personality and feel that is probably very related to what was inspiring me at the time. The albums I currently have on the site are the ones that I thought people would get into the most (they are also the most recent).
How would you class the sound of Illogical Time Concerns?
Ambient/Dreamgaze/Bedroom Pop/Indie. The sound of age.
Do you play Illogical Time Concerns’ music live?
I have played some songs in very intimate settings, but ITC mainly exists as a recording entity.
Do you have any artists you consider to be major influences on your solo work?
Tough one because it’s always changing. I wrote out these influences a long time ago on my myspace: Ambient Eno, Feel Good Lost, Lennon, Neil, Joy Division, NM Hotel, The Edge, VU, BSS, BJTM, Pavement, Radio Dept. MBV, Atlas Sound, Sigur Ros, AF, Basement Tapes, Kid A.
Does your work with Collider [John's full band] ever spill over into Illogical Time Concerns or vice versa?
It has and does. ITC existed before Collider materialized and was my primary source of songwriting in the years leading up to the present Collider lineup. I used one of the first songs I ever wrote as ITC “The Neon” to recruit bandmates via Craigslist. Once Collider was established the writing in the band was always pretty collective and democratic so it became necessary for me to identify some of my ideas as being more of an ITC tone or more of a Collider tone and then deciding which route they should be pursued and released. A lot of the more recent ITC releases have included a number of songs that were at one time intended for Collider releases but ended up not sitting with the track lists or flow of the records.
The British music industry has just announced another set of huge losses, do you find releasing your music for free has increased interest in Illogical Time Concerns as a project? If so, was it a conscious decision to release in this way?
I’ve always given the music away. I want the music to be timeless and have the ability to reach as many people as possible. A lot of records that I’m into lately have been free to download and I see that as a trend that is going to continue.
‘Bedroom’ music has become a far bigger prospect in recent years – why do you think that is? Do you think it will have an effect on the music industry as a whole?
Bedroom music just makes sense to me. The technology has evolved to the point where its affordable and easy enough to allow anyone to make a record and release it themselves via the internet. It’s very empowering for artists to make what they want, when they want, and do whatever they like with it. I think it opens up the doors to the music community for everyone to have a voice and have a way to share their art with the world over the internet.
What can we expect from your next release?
I’m always working on songs, and at this point the new songs feel like they have the most energy that ITC has had in some time. My plan was for the next release to feel big and emphasize movement and be released before the end of the year, and then record a very ambient underwater album starting in 2012.
I’ve put a couple of my favourite tracks below, but John has very kindly made his entire ITC discography (which you can see lovingly stitched together at the top of this very post) available to download, for free, on his Bandcamp page for the next 48 hours or so. If you like what you hear, I highly recommend you get a hold of any or all of that while you can – this is the sound of the possibilities and outlets musicians have nowadays and, quite apart from any interesting cultural concerns, it’s just bloody good music.