You’re tuned in to Indie Overnight. You hear silence. Click.
There must be a problem at the station. Click.
I mean, what else could it be? Click.
Or maybe it’s a track off of Ryu Hankil’s “Becoming Typewriter,” which includes a 17-minute long piece that begins with three minutes of near-silence.
“It’s loosely experimental-based music,” Claire said of her show, which currently airs Mondays at 11 p.m. “It’s new and interesting music.”
Claire started with The Whatever Show in 2012, when she co-hosted with former Indie Overnight student manager Joseph Montano. She officially took over the show in 2014 and has hosted it since.
“Not all indie music sounds like indie rock, and if you listen to my show, you definitely won’t hear indie rock, but the attitudes are the same,” she said, explaining that experimental music shares the same kind of mindset that indie rock has.
“I think a lot of experimental music and avant-garde music has no where else to go besides being independently released,” she said. “Because it’s not that desired, not a lot of people want it, so I’m thinking it’ll stay independent or indie for a very long time. It’s place has always been underground, not at the forefront of anything.”
Since her show focuses on experimental music and composers, Claire often has to pare down lengthy tracks to fit the format of the station, which doesn’t usually play tracks that are as long as some experimental compositions are.
“A lot of the pieces I play are excerpts of longer pieces. I’ll play a track that’s like twelve minutes long, and that’s like a 20th of the whole piece,” she said. “A lot of it is hard because a lot of the music I listen to is long-form music and I’m taking it out of context within the hour.”
Aside from having to limit tracks for her show, however, Claire sees an advantage to longer pieces.
“I think certain ideas you can’t convey in four minutes. I really do like a lot of indie rock music, but ‘oh no she broke up with me,’ is pretty easy to talk about in four minutes,” Claire joked. “Exploring things like psycho-acoustic phenomenon and stuff may not be as easy. I’m not saying it’s more complex or better or anything like that. It’s just a different way of feeling sound and music.”
So, do tracks like Ryu Hankil’s lengthy silence and sounds count as music? Claire thinks so.
“The easiest way and the most powerful way to differentiate between music and not music is justifying the intent. If the intent is music, it’s music,” she said. “Everybody can decide things for themselves. I think that if a person claims something like that, you should believe them.”
This same ideology follows Claire in her own music-making and artistic work. Claire’s an improviser.
“Everybody is improvising every day. You make decisions for yourself on what to do.”
On her show, she discusses the contrast of composed music and improvised music. “The way i view improvisation is that everything is totally improvised, so you go in with no idea with what you’re going to do. Just like humans have the ability to retain a skill, improvisers kind of do that. You know a lot of stuff, but as you go further and further, you know less and less.”
For over ten years, Claire dedicated a lot of her time to the local scene, even finishing high school early to tour with a band she was formerly in. But recently, she’s been focusing more on collaborative improvisation than on being a part of bands.
“At one point, I was in eight bands and playing all the time, and every band would do SXSW, and every band would tour, and every band would be recording. It was just too much, and I had to take a break,” she explained about the intense time commitment and emotional drain of being a drummer for multiple projects.
“I came back as my own person not involved with a band or an entity, and it’s been really great and really easy to say no to anything I don’t want to do,” she joked.
However, her background in working with people in different projects has helped her improvisational work.
“I think a lot of improvisation is based off working with other people, and I think being a good improviser means working well with other people, not just musically or conceptually or in an art way, but at least having decent people skills. I think when you know how to understand another person, and you can learn to give and take, it’s the same as being in a band.”
Claire said she’s on tour almost always, going back and forth between Mexico, Canada and the States. Soon, she’ll be on tour until April.
“I come back to San Antonio for, like, one day. That’s when I track my show,” she joked.
Along with touring and recording (Claire is releasing a documentation of her work called Aerophobia through Astral Spirits this spring), Claire also has a curatorial project called Contemporary Whatever, a monthly concert series with in-state, out-of-state and out-of-country artists that Claire said evolved from her work and experience at KRTU.
Find Claire at February’s Contemporary Whatever, this Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Flight Gallery or listen to The Whatever Show on KRTU every Monday at 11 p.m.