Black:as introduction to this interview
i would like to ask you, as i usually do,for some informations about
your musical background.just indicate when you began to make music
and what were the reasons to do so?
Conrad: all my life i have made music.when i was four years old,my
parents let me have piano lessons.i had nearly 20 years of training
in classic music,theoretic and composition studies included,on the
piano,the keyboard and orchestral percussion (especially kettle drum).when
i was 11 years old i began to compose my own music (my first ispiration
being a piece of eyless in gaza).during the time on highschool and
at the academy of arts.i partecipated on several rather silly,music
projects.for example as a drummer in a black metal band or as a keyboard-player
or as a singer in a new wave band,just for fun and to kill time.stay
frightened truly began only in 1989.i wasn't satisfied anymore being
in a real band (not on a serious level).i just wanted to see where
i could go with my creativeness.
did you choose the name of stay frightened for the project?has this
name got a particular meaning?
Conrad:stay frightened is a title and as music a way for me to fight
with the fears i have to live with.i am not a person who gets much
from life.if there are moments (that have become very rare already)
that provocate real feelings in me and that are overwhelming, then
i become anxious that this magic moment many end and the feelings may
die and all may become the same old unsupportable story,that i turn
all into a negative sense and that i destroy the moment by myself.therefore
stay frightened is a way to use this fear of destroying perfect moments
and turn it to my account.this fear gives me the opportunity to capture
life and to breathe and to keep these moments alive forever.these are
the characteristics of my music. I hope that i can explain the meaning
of stay frightened,i just try to capture the spirits of my life before
they are destroyed by the life just as life destroys me.
can you say about your musical influences and ispirations?do
you like some composers of classic music?
Conrad:i listen too a lot contemporary istrumental music and pieces
of dark-ambient.i also like avant-garde and experimental music, but
it has to be very melodic for me to like it. I listen black metal,
progressive rock and new wave bands of the seventies and eighties and
then, yes i like classic music as well. I think i listen to this kind
of music when it is very melodious and atmospheric and i feel touched
in some way. It is very difficult to stress certain influences and
ispirations, without looking at the detail... A proposal that i surely
will follow in the future.
Black:in the past you were
present only with single pieces in two compilations...."of these reminders" of projeckt and in the "palace
of worms" compilation. Did you publish other pieces in the united
states... For example on tape or vynil?
Conrad:just a lot of tapes. I don't only send to the labels but also
to those persons who have already heard some of my sample-contributes
and than write and ask for more pieces and why i haven't signed a contract
Black:how did you first come in contact with guido of palace of worms
in italy?do you think that this label is a good medium for your music
and for selling your album in europa and overseas?
Conrad:guido contacted me
in summer 1995 as he wanted to include one of my tracks on the palace
of worms compilation. All the rest ,my album
included, happened in some way later on.and yes,i think that pow is
a good forum for the publication of my first cd.it is still a young
label that can continue to grow... Without the burden of publishing
only a certain kind of music. I also like the significance of the name "palace
of worms",something that is charming and troublemose, bright and
gloomy;splendid and sad; divine and subterrean:simply difficult to
Black:how is your relation
with projekt records and sam rosenthal? For "of these reminders" you
gave the cover-version of black tape for a blue girl song,wasn't
he interested in your music?
Conrad:i don't think so,but maybe you better ask him yourself.
Black:do you know other projeckt-bands and would you like to give
me your personal opinion on sam's work?
Conrad:i'm familiar with
the music of all the artists of the projeckt-label,but sam is the
only one i know personally. The importance of his music
for me? I think that he prepared the ground for many american "introspective-atmospheric" artist(
like me),as he presented this style to a larger public. When you ask
me now if i am a fan of black tape.....,i can say that i listened to
the album "mesmerized by the sirens" a lot of times. I think
it is one of the more unique publications of the projeckt label.
Black:do you have contacts
with curt and holly emmer of bleeding like mine and do you know their
first album "in the eyes of lovelost" ,which
has also been published by pow?
Conrad:i have already phoned
several times to curt.it seem to be an excellent person. The piece "in the eyes..."i
have not listened. But i will do so,i am sure that somewhere and
in some way i will have
Black:when i listen to the music of stay frightened ,it always has
the effect of a dark whirlpool that is drawing me to the depths. What
i like to say,is that your music provokes many emotions in me. Therefore
i assume that you sing about things that are part of your own experience
Conrad:yes my life,my dreams and my fears.and thanks for your marvellous
words about the way my music maker you feel.
Black:what is the best place
or the best time to listen your album"still"?
Conrad:in a quiet and cozy environment. A strong wind outsie and some
candlelights on the window may be
good.at night or in a day with dim light or chains of lights, this
is always successful for me.just let the fog enter ....
Black:can you give me some
information about the background of the songs "and there one wish will die","one small thought
terrified" or "bled the candlelight"? What do you wish
to say with this songs?
Conrad:these pieces and all the other istrumental pieces of this cd
are (as good as possible) the literary realizations of moments,i hoped
to preserve for ever ,and of feelings tied with this moments.therefore
all pieces are without words and in some cases they are very short.this
songs are my dedire to give a form, a substance to a moment or an event
and i think to an existance outside of myself. I hope that i succeded
in this endeavour without loosing the exacteness of the moment, the
event or the memory of it.of course the songs with vocal music also
reproduce the significante of stay frightened.....they just express
it in another way.
Black:my personal, favourite
of the album is the track "still".....
is a question of feeling insignificant,if you find yourself in a
very certain reliable and solicitous relation.believe
or not, in this song,as in all my songs, it's a question of hope. Hope
is for me destructive and at the same time saving.the tragedy in this
is that i can't explain why. It's simply so.
Black:what kind of instruments do you use to compose your music? I
suppose your personal favourite is the piano!
Conrad:yes, you're right! I love the piano. Actually i love all the
instruments with a keyboard. I hate things that have to do with electronics
and synthesizers (as sampling, sequencig and midi for example). Therefore
i don't use anyt of them in my music.don't misunderstande me! I love
synthesizers very much.and i like creating my songs with them. I prefer
to pile up all the instruments and the notes and rhytmic (though they're
so seldom) very intuitive when i'm recording. I think this method helps
to make the atmosphere thick. What instruments did i use for my first
cd?all the sound,the music and all the instruments (except my voice)
result from an only one synthesizer,the roland jv 90.this is the best
one that i ever had.the piano soundmaster are actually unbelievable!.
Black:there are also some
relations between you and michael plaster of "soul whirling somewhere",i appreciate his music,then
you can find among the very bitter and melancholy moments so many wonderfull
aspects...i forget listening to my sadness. This some feeling strikes
me when i'm to listening stay frightened.at first i couldn't believe,but
today i consider "still"one of my favourite albums that i
listened to best alone at home.how sad should you be, to compose such
a music?perhaps can you tell me how important as"truth","trust","love"and "sexy" are
for you and how much they influence your own life?
best way to answer is this one :i was in love up to the eyes with
a wonderful young woman of the name of mandy.we're
now togheter since two years and half and we'll marry in about
a year.she's very merry,willing to help,very clever,sincere,solitary,responsible,hypersensitive,
sexy, loving, strong, respectable, outspoken, curious, demanding,
she loves animals, hates people, admires me, she's my best friend.there
a million of other things that i could tell about her.all these
things are very important for me,thus i'm part of her.mandy and
are my life.i'd like to know to explain what my private life means
for me.it's not so important to know who it's me,but what and how
Black:in booklet-your cd-you greet martyn bates of eyeless in gaza
too.i know him from his work with anne clarck.do you love his music
so much...or why do you greet him?
Conrad:i mean that eyeless
in gaza is the most inspiring music that i ever heard (this includes
martin's solo works).if you don't have
yet heard eyeless in gaza,you must have to do that.we've written each
other sometimes.i told him how much his music meant for me and i sent
him my music and he loves it.it seemed to me,that it was a great opportunity
to thank him very much (up to now i heard only the cd "psycometry" from
anne clarck.martyn was incredible as usual.oh,i'd like to greet peter
becker too.he is the other half of eyeless in gaza).
Black:if you should paraphrase yourself with a few words,which ones
would you choose?
Conrad: you could best present
conrad l.dickey with the word "dreamer"
black:how old are you and where do you live in usa?what about your
Conrad:i'll be 28 in july,mandy and me are living at the moment in
the pacific northwest.we'll move in summer to the eastcoast,maybe in
pennsylvania.we'll only be sure after yetthere .a little while ago
i worked in a club as soundtechnician.where i mixed,among other things,the
sound of several live tapes.
Black:can you list for me your personal top 10 albums?
Conrad:it's very difficult
question, there are so many that i love.best i list 10 bands and
artists whom i admire very much:they actually influenced
me mostly....i'd like mention the album "in the nightside eclipse"of
emperor too, one of the best black-metal album and martyn bates soloalbum: "mystery
seas:letters written 2"is a masterpiece.there's still a quantity
of other music outside. This was only a little summary that explains
what i love in the music.a little while ago i bought the debut cd of
a band named that summer with the title "drowsiness of ancient
gardens".you must listen to it.it's fucking brilliant!
Black:i've never thought that stay frightened would appear with vocals
,as all the previous pieces were only istrumental.were you dissatisfied
with your voice or how you explain this fact?
Conrad:it depended on the piece.actually there are songs in more then
in the half of my pieces of my album. The people loves my voice or
hate it.i mean that my voice is good for my music:it fits simply.i
personally think music has a little rough and calm majestic quality.what
do you think about?i like simply to contribute to compilations. This
is just a peculiarity of mine.
Black:did you see the film "the english patient" with
juliet binoche in america?the film won in 1997 a lot of oscars!i
saw it all
together twice and i'm still fascinated by the impressions and feeling
that the actors represent.it was wonderfull and tragic at the same
Conrad:i'm sorry,but i didn't
see it.it seem as though you have been touched by the film as i had
by the chinese film "raise the red
lantern" with gong li. Words like excellent and overwhelming can't
nearly describe the emotional power and beauty of this film.
Black:if you had the possibility to be trasformed in other lifeforms
or in a object,which form would you choose and why?
Conrad:a gosth or a spirit of a wind or perhaps a glow-worm.or best
a combination of all these. Or something else would be come out. Why?
I don't know.gosts are a passion of mine.the spirits of the wind personify
calm and the chaos of the atmosphere with every breath.and glow-worms
are living candles.it sounds fantastic.thank you for your marvellous
Black:finally i'm interested in the projects you have for musical
future of stay frightened.
Conrad:i wish only "still"could touch those people who get
down with this.and all that happens,simply happens,i'm now so immensely
greateful that palace of worms has so believed in my music that i could
launch my first cd;even if i'd never launch a cd.i'd forever have the
feeling to have done something right and very important in my modest
life.i hope "still"is only the beginning.i'll keep my fingers