Interview with Tobin Summerfield from our Upcoming Physics For Listeners Concert
This Sunday, June 3rd Tobin Summerfield will be featured at out Physics for Listeners Composers Concert at the Hideout (1354 W Wabansia) and Thursday, June 7th at our Physics for Listeners Recording Session at Strobe Studios (2631 W Division). Head over to our events page to learn all about those two events. Tobin was nice enough to give Homeroom a brief interview and talk about his music.
Read on below and afterwards make sure to see Tobin in action at our Physics for Listeners events!
1. What were some of your early inspirations with music and songwriting?
I started playing guitar at age 8 after hearing the back to the future soundtrack. Composition for me was a natural extension of the collective writing process in the rock and avant-garde groups I grew up playing in, from relatively straight rock and roll through adventurous eastern-european-influenced jazz fusion and math rock. As i’ve grown older the time commitment to writing in a group of peers, a-la a rock band, has become untenable. So, now i write all the music myself, imagining what my friends my come up with to complement my ideas and writing that for them to play.
2. Do you usually compose alone or do you like writing with others sometimes?
Like i say, my formative experiences were collaborative composition, each member contributing their part, commenting on, editing, and vetoing each other’s ideas. My composition strives to take the performer’s personality into account.
3. In the interest of the Composer’s Concert coming up and the Recording Session, which do you prefer- recording music or performing live for an audience?
Much of the music i write is for a very large ensemble, and all of it includes improvising in some part. Both the unpredictability of the music and the spectacle of the largeness of the group make live performance the best way to experience the material. Practically, I will never have enough bread to have a 25 piece band perform with any regularity, so the recorded medium is the best way to get the music into people’s ears.
4. Have you done Physics for Listeners before? Or something similar to it?
This is a new experience for me. Usually i have dictated the instrumentation in the group, and have picked the players based on my personal, collaborative relationships with them. Writing for an ensemble I didn’t design, with people whose personalities I don’t know was a thrilling challenge.
5. And finally, for a random question- What song or songs do you want played at your funeral?
Lyle Lovett- “Since the last time” or Tom Waits “come on up to the house”