The Sounds And Structure Of PAANO Deconstructed

<p>Troy Mattison Hicks lets us in on one of his many creative processes.</p>

At first glance, Brooklyn-based studio band PAANO’s new video for their single “Nebula Number Nine” reminds us of creator Paul B. Davis’s datamoshing spectacles. But given the fact that PAANO’s Troy Mattison Hicks and Stephano Diaz are both photographers, run the design firm MICROFANTASTIC, and create these scarf-necklace hybrids, it’s no surprise (just unfortunate) that the duo only has time to experiment with music and visuals in their limited spare time. Influenced by the cut-up method of William S. Burroughs (and consequently David Bowie), the video above truly demonstrates their ethos of running with the unexpected and letting creativity be spontaneous. Hicks takes the time to answer some questions for us.

The Creators Project: What instruments do you use, and how would you explain your music making process?
Troy Mattison Hicks:
We are computer junkies. We use multiple programs, but lately we have really been into the new Record/Reason platform. It is very good for going in and just making stuff… edits are simple and fluid. Bass, guitars, bongos, Moog, cheap synths, and shakers are all part of our arsenal. We have a small recording space in our apartment, so it is really easy to just go in and work when there is time to do so.

Do you always think about how your music is going to translate visually?
Well, for years I only had really clunky computers with no processing speed. I had tried to make videos in the fashion that I see in my mind’s mind, but the computers would always crash or tilt trying to process the images within the way I like to work. I make the videos in a really strange way, I think, where I mix down a final version, then load the final version in again, reprocess, and repeat the process. I am not sure it is the way you are supposed to do things, but it is the only way I have been able to really crunch down on the images to get the color and madness I desire. It stems from the old days, before I even had a 4-track recorder. I used to record music the same way, using two tape decks and a mixer. I would make a sound and play along with it while recording it on another deck, then mix it down while playing another instrument with it. I guess I am using the same process, only now with video. It is time consuming but very relaxing as the colors and movement get going.

What kind of software did you use in making this video?
This video was all done using iMovie. I do have Final Cut, but I just haven’t had as much time to really work with it. I really like the immediacy of iMovie because it is fairly easy to manipulate. When I start working with Final Cut I will probably work the same way I do now.

There’s a lot going on in the video…where did you pull the imagery from?
I used a high-definition video camera and filmed random stuff from a large screen television. In this video there were several movie scenes going from very bad B movies. I had the sound down when I was filming so I don’t really know the plots other than one was a movie about a robot cop gone bad (pre-RoboCop, it looks like it is from the 70s), and the other was some sort of zombie-attacks-Manhattan-with-lasers flick (I guess it was early 80s). I think mash-ups are wonderful when they involve robots and zombies with lasers, don’t you?