Published on December 9th, 2010 | by Sock Monkey Sound4
Yoko Ono | Q&A With Sock Monkey Sound
An interview with Yoko Ono in 2 parts.
By Sock Monkey Sound
Sock Monkey Sound had the opportunity to interview Yoko Ono, 77 years & running strong, before the Thanksgiving holidays. Our entire team submitted questions, excited for the rare opportunity. When we received her responses we realized we had been hoping for a whole lot more to make a nice article to read; but we failed. We asked too many questions; but it is our duty to if given the opportunity. For that we won’t apologize to our readers for possibly boring the snot out of some of you by publishing this anyway.
Either way we thank Yoko & her PR for their time ultimately. It’s not everyday a small upstart group of music & culture enthusiasts from Rockford, IL gets to ask Yoko Ono a few questions about her life, art and more.
Regardless & enjoy,
AW | SMS Staff
Pt. 1: SMS Q&A with Yoko Ono
SMS: You recently scored yet another number one dance hit with wouldnit, what do you think of remixes and current recording technology as opposed to your more stripped down production of yesteryear? Do you feel more at home with one or the other?
YO: I feel at home with any experimentation of music. That’s how I am.
SMS: Do you see remixing as an extension of your art and fulfilling a certain aspect of your music that may not be attainable through other forms of expression?
YO: As I am the one who put out two albums in the 60′s called Unfinished Music number one and two, to encourage people to add their creativity to my music, I think you can understand that I love having remixes done by others to my music.
SMS: A lot of times with mainstream remixes, it’s based on making the song useful in club settings. When it comes to your remixes, what do you want the music to portray and say to the listener?
YO: It all depends on the inspiration of the remixers. I have listened to some fantastic remixes to which I didn’t have to add anything but encouragement.
SMS: What made you want to try your hand at remixes? How much advice do you take from the outside parties involved in the process? What do you enjoy about remixing the most?
YO: I enjoy the most when I sense high sensitivity to the material.
SMS: Whether it be straight forward song, or remixes, how does the process of creating work for you? Have you discovered something about yourself through someone else’s remix of your songs?
YO: Precisely. I love giving freedom to the remixers particularly in dance mixes, and to be surprised by their incredible creativity. I am more controlling in remixes of songs other than dance music.
SMS: How important is it for you that the listener or viewer catches the theme in your songs or art? How deep do you want us to dig?
YO: I am happy with the degree of creativity shown in the remixes. It is the sign that the original song was rather inspiring.
SMS: Who are some artists (visual, musical, film, etc) that you find yourself connecting with that you would like to collaborate with?
YO: I have no idea.
SMS: Are remixes going to be where you stay for a while or are there other avenues you wish to stroll down?
YO: I have some plans for 2011. You’ll see.
SMS: What motivated you to revive the Plastic Ono Band last year?
YO: My son, Sean, asked me if I don’t mind using that name again.
SMS: How has feminism informed your artwork and music throughout your career?
YO: I don’t know. I am a survivor. Does that make me a feminist?
SMS: Have you ever found yourself comparing the work of the current incarnation of Plastic Ono Band to that of the 60s and 70s output?
YO: I never compare things because it’s such a waste of time. Comparing always becomes trying to figure out if there is any comparison between apples and pears..
SMS: What was it like working with your son, Sean, as a bandleader? Was it at all similar to working with his father?
YO: It is totally different from working with his father. Sean is more finicky about things. John was more lenient to musicians. i enjoy the difference.
SMS | END Interview
Pt.2: The other questions we asked we can’t seem to justify deleting after all that hard work & time. To our readers, make up your own answers and we’ll call it post-modern art, ok? Go ahead, maybe we’ll bore the snot out of yourself too like we bored the snot out of Yoko Ono.
You’ve been a symbol of peace and activism for many years. With the world-changing, and your own personal changes over time, have any of your views or positions changed from the past changed? In other words, do you look back on something you advocated or spoke out for and say, that’s not how i feel anymore?
Do you see activism nowadays getting out of hand? Are current activists missing the mark in the process of making their points? Do you have any advice for people who want to try their hand at change?
Do you use social media, and do you see it as a blessing or burden on today’s society when it comes to civic involvement?
Part of what we do on SMS is promote artists that are overlooked or need to be heard. Are there any musical or fine artists that you feel need more attention?
They say art is when you discover something about yourself in a piece. Have you found what you are looking for in the creation of your work? Is there any one piece of your art, or moment in time, that you found signified and summed up Yoko Ono the most?
You were active in the New York art world around the same time as Andy Warhol and his associates in the pop art movement. What did you think of their work at the time and has that opinion changed since then?
What projects have you been working on recently?
Cut Piece and Wish Piece have become quite well know as an influential pieces of performance art. How do you feel their message (as well as the philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre) resonates with present society?
You’re frequently mentioned with connection to the Fluxus movement often credited to artist, George Maciunas & composer, John Cage in the mid 60s. Is there one specific moment or memory you have that you knew (as an artist new to this country at the time) you were part of a movement, a moment, a collective of like minds that still resonates now?
Are there any modern artists that you feel fall into a continuation of the Fluxus movement? For our readers- Damon Albarn & the ‘Gorillaz‘ project that he’s been commercially & critically successful with- would you consider that a torch-bearer for ‘Fluxiscm?’ Would something closer to the punk rock movement in the 70s be considered in spite of Fluxus theories since much of Fluxus is ‘anti-art’ this or that? This is a loaded question, I apologize but it seems like Fluxus became marketable in spite of the ‘anti’ tag. Do you agree?
You came to America and made noise, often standing up for Americans rights when many couldn’t without fear. I thank you. I understand that right despite the complacency of many that surround me. Do you feel, with a decade worth of fear (The Bush Years) and the news media’s expansion to fool most, because more can be reached with technology and quickly, that the younger generation of artists are doomed; that they have no chance to have their voice heard in a world that is so corrupt over issues that have angered many of us? Is it even our right to speak up now as you did then- and now?
Does art even matter anymore with so many scientific problems that need to be addressed? It’s no secret that Americans are not quite respected for math and science skills. We’re pretty dumb, do you agree?
I pose to you a final happy thought on this subject before I ask a few music related questions; Science vs. Art, who wins?
Sock Money Sound is based in Rockford, IL, home of Cheap Trick. Many here know they backed you & John on 1980′s ‘Double Fantasy.’ I was 8 if that helps give you generational perspective on this. We know the respect that is associated between our hometown band and your personal ties. Do you remember these sessions at all with producer Jack Douglas, how involved were you in them?
Did, or has, Bun E. Carlos ever taken you fishing by chance?
I know the Tricksters recorded I’m Moving On, a composition of yours, but it was never formally released. Are there any sessions with the band involved that you plan to return to, to rerelease? There is a general interest tied to the mystery of these sessions by many that love pop music and myth. Set us straight please. Set Rockford, IL straight once and for all so the local press & other local journalists consumed by Trick history & myth press releases can just stop wondering, please? You have no idea what this will mean to an entire city as depressed as ours. Speaking of, have you ever been to Rockford, IL? If so, your favorite spot to eat, relax, see the sights? Symbol- is it a he or a she?
Did you ever enjoy being around Phil Spector and is he really as bonkers as the media portrays? I love the music he’s created, wall of sound production, a stamp on music and pop culture, truly an innovator; but things get weird after the 60s or was he always that scary?
Care to share any thoughts of being around another ‘artist’ as Mr. Spector? Yoko, you have to agree, he’s bonkers. Have you seen his hair? Cmon, we don’t know any elder males in Rockford, IL that look that far gone We do have tons of hillbillies with mullets, but nothing that fashionably offensive. He’s an offense to men’s fashion & hair style, do you agree?
Finally, have you ever been called, The Queen of Punk Rockâ„¢ and would you be ok with it?
If not, can I still sum up my questions to you with that statement?
Not only are you a well respected artist but you are also a savvy business woman by many accounts. How important is it for young artists to learn about their business? How do you balance your heart with your head?
NOTE: There was a question about being a Peace activist and hanging around Phil Spector who liked to play with guns in the studio as well as questions about rappers and guns and why they have a lot in common with Spector- The GODFATHER OF GANGSTER RAPPERS?! -Well, we asked her these unimportant questions but we didn’t send it to her at the last minute because we’re nice here at SMS and we don’t like guns in the studio either unless we’re working on a gangster rap recording for our sister company, WZOK, to play on air during the noon lunch drive.