Five Questions with Out of the Anonymous' Ulysses Perez
Out of the Anonymous is a long-running local outfit that's spent years making beautiful soundtracks for dreamers and paranoiacs. And while we've already had the opportunity to interview bassist Henry Rajan and guitarist Buffalo Brown, we come full circle today with the man who started it all back in the beginning of time known as the late 1980s.
I've always imagined that Ulysses Perez's creative process involved late-night, coffee-fueled evenings with a color palette culled from the darkest recesses of the human brain.
But just to be sure, I asked him the five following questions.
Crossfade: Who are you? Where do you come from? And what inspires you?
Ulysses Perez: I am not sure how much of that information is safe to disclose. I don't like to discuss these things, you know. Too much is already on file. How much of the perimeter do I compromise?
What the hell ... Miami. I come from Miami. I get off when ... uh, sorry ... I'm inspired by hacking those dimly lit trajectories through music that lie in between and skirt around the more common, comfortable and collective sources of inspiration that are already well mapped out. Sometimes others come along. I always get them back safely.
I am a huge fan of OOTA, can you give us an insight into the creative process behind it and moreover, how long have you been at it?
Thanks, Abel. We've always appreciated your support.
OOTA started out as my personal recording project in the late '80s. I actually have a piece, recorded on four-track cassette in '88 or so, where I spew out the name Out of the Anonymous along with some other phrases. No one will ever hear this out-of-tune caterwauling other than the unfortunate blessed soul that performed on it with me. It is beautiful music but much too ugly to subject anyone to.
Currently, the three of us (Henry, Buffalo, and I) compose simultaneously in improvisations and attempt to trick each other. We record these performances for release unedited as they are or store for reference and development later after mixing for palatability. The two most recent CDs on our website were essentially culled from recorded improvisations, one in a studio environment and the other live in downtown Miami outdoors during an art walk back in April. There is a lot of stuff we file away for future collections.
Describe for us how OOTA has changed. Is there a deliberate amalgamation of organic and digital sounds? Or do you follow a personal template for creation?
I could write a book on that ... A very uninteresting, self-centered, long winded narcissistic book. There is nothing really deliberate about what we do except to be deliberately suspect of attempts to be too deliberate in what we do musically.
There is nothing pre-digested. You have to salivate and chew your way through to listen, just like we do when we perform it.
I remember the old OOTA website having a shitload of one-off jams, different song versions, etc. Any chance those will see the light of day in a proper release?
The music has gone through so many parallel streams that I fear, probably an unfounded fear, that it confuses the listening public to hear a ten-minute ambient electronic improv released at the same time as a trip-hop CD released at the same time as a psychedelic space-rock EP, all by Out of the Anonymous.
A lot of that older studio-generated music cannot be performed live without lots of pre-recorded or sequenced tracks that we don't use. So there is also the issue of creating an expectation of what we sound like live and then not sounding like that live. That's not right. Makes me nervous.
I suppose eventually a collection of everything as an unofficial "bootleg" CD of MP3s bundled with a current CD might work. We're talking hundreds of songs over two decades. I will, of course, sue myself as soon as I do this to make the bootleg official.
This last disc, CD Number Four is phenomenal. What do you and OOTA have in store for the near future?
More gigs. More recordings. Less hype. Less unnecessary illusion. This, of course, implies more necessary illusion. Nefarious!
What we do is perform music live. Yes, recording this music is great fun and relatively important and more CDs are on the way. I actually enjoy labouring over a mix and listening to it play over and over and over and over as I tweak a level here and nudge an EQ there. And then listen again over and over and over. And then tweak a level here and nudge an EQ there. And then listen again over and over.
For OOTA, the live performance is the cage in which the verge of collapse, the impulse for order, the forces of memory, and the embrace of strangeness enter, shake hands, take corners, and then come out fighting.
We are the referees.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.