Research | GIS Studio
PURE AND UNFETTERED TONGUE-THROAT
Release date: 02.02.15
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AG Davis is nothing more than a crutch for me, a stabilizer, a way to deal with past trauma, filter out mental abuse. When I first chose to use
this name, AG stood for my given birth name. Now, I see AGOD whenever I think of my name. AGOD is simply a facet of my personality, or
sub-personality...as sometimes I lose sight of God, but God never loses sight of me --- AG Davis is that part of me that is always looking away
from God. It is my cathartic side. The side that will return to God at dissolution. I created many projects/bands to address particular aspects
of my psyche and to reflect on personal experience. Boy+Girl was my first project, then Extra Sexes, then there were others, now I use AG Davis
exclusively. Boy+Girl and Extra Sexes had to deal with a gender crisis I was having, which has since been resolved, so those groups had to be
purged. AG Davis will stick around until I die. As far as who I am, I am a firm believer that identity is an exercise in giving and taking.
I first form my conception of myself through others, and then choose what I want to keep or dispose of. The same applies to everyone else. So,
to answer your question more directly, and to paraphrase from someone else: AG Davis is whatever you'd like him to be, and it has to be that way,
because without you, I would not exist.
You were born in Texas in 1984, then you moved to Florida where you achieved your degree in English Literature in 2006. One year
before and from 2005 to 2012 you were involved in the nihilistic-extreme grindcore band Boy+Girl releasing 18 albums. Tell us more about that
time and how your interest into sound started?
I was born in Texas, yes, but left at a very early age. I don’t remember much about it. I left Texas because my father had a career opportunity
in Florida (he is a medical doctor). Jumping forward to my Boy+Girl days: that was a crazy, ultra-insane-unstable period in my life. I
had a lot of pent-up rage and anger towards myself and others. I smoked crack and used acid regularly. I got into a lot of fights. I was
at the University studying. I am surprised I graduated because of all of this, but somehow I managed to do very, very well. Boy+Girl was a
platform for me to slingshot all of this back onto society, all I had been through and such... I would say GG Allin was my biggest influence
at the time as far as any performance aesthetic I had went, but I also listened to a lot of jazz then, so there was that... I was never really
a grindcore fan. I suppose I chose grindcore and noise as a medium because they were both unpalatable to me. The more bitter the medicine,
the quicker the healing. I can't listen to any Boy+Girl material. It's honestly nauseating to me. The project ostracized me to this day
from a lot of people, I lost track of things... I am a complete outsider now, for the most part, in the realm of music and art. But --- I have
no regrets. It is as it is, and it was as it had to be.
“PURE AND UNFETTERED TONGUE-THROAT" is the title of your documentary release. Talk a little bit about the
concepts behind AG Davis music?
My concepts are very fluid; nothing is ever static with me --- pure and unfettered tongue-throat represents the freedom implied by this.
It is a limpid expression that I don't dilute. I record often because of this, but also because of this, most of what I do is garbage. If
I do indeed create garbage, I recycle it, and I attempt to come up with something that is beautiful. My work is a detritus-assemblage. It
is one piece that is constantly moving in all directions, absorbing parts, getting rid of parts, autogenerating others, etc. My work is a
giant puzzle that is never solved and that is interminably reworking itself into the mold of other puzzles. If I were to describe my conceptual
basis in one word, that word would be ''FRACTAL''.
What happened in Gainesville? Seems it was the last concert of Boy+Girl.
Gainesville was a time of a lot of beauty and anguish for me. Boy+Girl was an expression of that anguish, so when I left Gainesville,
Boy+Girl died with the move. The Laundry Room Squelchers show was a send-off. As to what happened in Gainesville: A lot did. I was in and
out of psychiatric institutions when I did finally leave. I was having nervous breakdowns and bouts of psychosis, more specifically
delusions and hallucinations. Very traumatic yet life-affirming ones. Although I attempted suicide a couple times, me living through
it always gave me strength. It was a surreal time in my life. I would not trade that time in my life for anything.
LINK TO VIDEO DOCUMENTATION : BOY+GIRL AND THE LAUNDRY ROOM
And about the Laundry Room Squelchers? I have seen many amazing lo-fi videos on the net, related to the “International Noise Conference”
where that performance of Boy+Girl was part as the Action Research #50 in fact.
The Laundry Room Squelchers is Rat Bastard who is based in Miami. It is (I suppose) a multinational project as he picks up members
to use whenever/wherever he travels. When he played with Boy+Girl, that was a last minute endeavor. I believe I just asked him if he
wanted to do something and he said yes. As for other shows I had seen around that time, well, I didn't see many. I rolled with the
underworld and not the music scene. I don't recall any groups or bands from the area at the time that I was too interested in, except
Ironing and Johann Ess, also Red Canary... Yip-Yip was another great band we played with, but they were from Orlando.
The last performance of Boy+Girl in Gainesville, Paul Haney of WFMU have described as “a delirious, wonderful mess of the most id-driven
factions of noise, free jazz, hardcore, and whatever else you may gather from the ensuing muck.” Do you remember your motivation and when
you decided to become this mixture of musician-performer-noise maker using mainly your voice and deconstructive gestural representation...
jumping from grindcore to weird (amazing) sound poetry compositions?
As far as my visual work goes, the face and how it connects to the oral sounds we make has always interested me,
so me doing deconstructive visual pieces with my face relates to my audio work, and my recordings relate to my face,
and more generally speaking, to my body. I always saw my vocals for Boy+Girl as being more or less sound poetry.
My current sound poetry pieces are executed the way they are because I no longer have a band. They are mostly solo works out
of situational imperative. I've always been a performer, since I was a baby. All I have ever done is perform and
recontextualize/decontextualize. I enjoy creating environments for myself and others. Anything is possibly a hidden
art-piece for me...it just needs to be brought to the surface. Creating these environments for myself and others,
even if the others are unaware of them as being art pieces, is my prime motivation in everything I do.
Is there something else we are missing relating to the connection between noise and poetry?
Seems apparently - at least over the surface - that your music is connected to intense ruptures of mind and soul pain.
I’m quite interested about how you self-induce psychosis and the subversion of semantics.
I believe I have the ability to trigger psychosis. I can turn it on and off like a light-switch. When psychosis becomes Ground,
the semantic content is immediately subverted --- or at least moved to a different locale. The voice is a response-system, but also
the point of origin. In the beginning was The Word. All sound has intrinsic meaning. I think indirect meaning is more interesting
though because it makes you think: Where did that come from? Not necessarily what it means, per-se, but it gets you to think of beginnings,
and beginnings answer all questions. The point of inception has always fascinated me.
About the relation of your music to nihilism... ( “Under the goad of pain, the flesh awakens;
lucid and lyrical substance, it sings its own dissolution” Cioran ).
Pain is the second most important thing we can feel. It enables us to reflect and to avoid similar pain-inducing situations in the future, to
move on towards Love, which is the highest ideal. Nihilism and my music go hand in hand because I want to fly above it all --- I want to
watch life like a movie. I don't want to participate, but I am forced to. I love life. I don't like being involved though. My music is me
hovering, albeit briefly, above it all. I am not ''here'' when I ''perform''.
Untitled photography and painting by AG DAVIS
Florida seems to be a cool place for noise and improv... artists as Kenny Millions, Rat Bastard, Jamison Williams... have established there - How is the scene?
I don't know what is going on in Florida now as a whole. Some people are doing very interesting things. My great friend Jamison Williams
for instance, Rat Bastard, Ironing (Andrew Chadwick), Travis Johnson; I don't know much anymore about it.
And you have a collaboration in fact with avant-garde saxophonist Jamison Williams with whom you released on vinyl
and cd some works.
My work with Williams is always exciting. I love working with him. I think he is a genius, not only in music, but in life, too. He is a
very close friend. I'm actually not working with anyone else at the moment, although I did recently do a collaborative album with German
artist Jaan Patterson which was highly synchronous and thrilling as well. The album is called "The Headless Poets & The Album That Composed
Itself''. I think the album DID compose itself, despite the fact that there are a lot of structural elements, a lot of elements that appear
to be thought-through by us. It is more composed than improvised, but it wasn't Jaan or I that did the composing, IT was something else
that did the work, something we both conjured unwittingly.
About the process constructing your pieces:
The process is always changing and evolving. My only sticking point is that I don't stick. I flow.
As a painter, carving and intervening drawing and photographs, it seems you have been working mainly
with portraits as aesthetic imagery, and your process seems also quite connected to your poetics as a performer and musician deconstructing the body and gesture.
I am mainly interested in portraits as you have pointed out, primarily self-portraits. I have always been interested in how the body changes over time,
over any period of time. The body is fascinating as it can adapt and be modified... drastically. But that is superficially why I am interested.
The central issue with me is that I have body dysmorphic disorder. I usually think of myself as being hideous. If I really am or not is besides the point.
I decided, well, if I always perceive myself as being hideous regardless of what I really look like, I might as well experiment with turning my repulsion
towards myself into something disturbingly ''beautiful''. Looking at my self-portraits now, I can finally see the beauty in myself --- and by extension,
the beauty in everyone. Self-portraiture is nothing but therapy for me, although in all actuality, I sincerely don't know what I look like --- aesthetic
standards aside, my body ''shifts''.
And in case somebody is interested in your literary work where it can be found?
I believe my short book/zine DRK DUV is still available from Popnihil. It was only limited to 40 copies. I think that at the time
of this interview there are only a couple copies left. The book can be found here: pop025 - AG Davis - DRK DUV I am currently working
on another book, this one being all verse, entitled "Self_Portrait_As_God''. This book will also be available from Popnihil in an
ultra-limited run. However, I am not sure when it will be completed and printed.
BUY DRK DUV by AG Davis (pop025)
Edition of 40.
Full-color art and poetry zine.
Some artistic inspirations... in addition to some bands and propositive contemporary musicians?
I am entirely out of the loop with current performers and artists. Having said that, I do enjoy Rudolf Eb.er. I've always been fond of his
work, especially the more recent material he's been creating.
As far as people who inspire me? There are a ton of people who inspire me indirectly, but these ones come immediately to mind: Artaud,
Cioran, Beuys, Jacques Vache, Konrad Bayer, Otto Muehl, Terence Koh, Kommissar Hjuler.
You are originally from... Houston? Do you perform constantly around the States, or is it a quite marginal situation
for noise musicians as it is in other countries of the world, where it is hard to move around the different "scenes"?
I'm actually from Lubbock. I have only performed outside of Florida once, although Jamison and I are doing an Eastcoast / Midwest tour
of the U.S. this summer. I also would like to go to Russia soon to do art exhibits and perform. I rarely perform as of late.
It is hard for me to answer this question as I never, as far as I know, fit into any scene.
AG Davis Recommendations:
My Dance The Skull
JB: Thank you very much AG. For me personally, your work is very inspiring and we feel honored reviewing your work.
AG: I want to thank you and the rest of Audition for conducting this interview. Sincerely, THANK YOU!!! 419
Conversations between AG Davis and Julian Bonequi. AG Davis, Florida 27.01.2015
1. Sophie (Past II) / excerpt by AG DAVIS
AG Davis - "all sounds are my electronically manipulated voice as source material"
Originally released on Tape / Side B by My Dance The Skull in June of 2013.
Voice Studies 14.
2. Approach Linear by AG DAVIS
AG Davis - synthesizer, voice
Previously Unreleased. Recorded in May of 2014.
3. Snake River by AG DAVIS
Recorded in 2013. Released by Classwar Karaoke* in their quarterly survey (0023)
Bryan Davis: Bass
Billy Henderson: Drums
AG Davis: Voice, Treatments’
Released August 31st, 2013
Classwar Karaoke Founded in 2008, is a label dedicated to the release of experimental
music and short-films; principally, by means of a series of ongoing quarterly survey under Creative Commons license 3.0.
Curated by Anthony Donovan & Jaan Patterson
4. Schizoaffective (Time Loss) by AG DAVIS
AG DAVIS - playerpiano, electronics.
Recorded in January 28th 2015
5. Horse As Fact by AG DAVIS
AG Davis - synthesizer, voice
Previously Unreleased. Recorded in January of 2015.
6. Someone Told Me by AG DAVIS
AG Davis - electronics, sampler, voice
Originally released by Classwar Karaoke in January 2015. From the album 'Baby Feeding'.
'baby feeding' was recorded Dec-Jan- 2014/2015
AG Davis- Piano, Synthesizer, Vocal, Sampler
"she retrofed, i retrofed, we went into silence, all and every retrograde,
only to wail once again in absentia."
Released 16 January 2015
7. Self-Portrait As God by Extra Sexes
AG Davis - sampler, drum machine, synthesizer, electronics
Originally released in 2011 by Smeraldina-Rima.
From the Extra Sexes (AG Davis solo project) album 'Spiral Mirror'.
Recorded in 2010.
Limited edition of 300 LPs, with open two-colour screenprinted sleeve.
Artwork by Tessa Deceuninck, design by Levi Seeldraeyers.
8. A Short History of Decay (Movement I) by AG DAVIS
Composed by AG Davis - ton of equipment
Originally released on Kommissar Hjuler's imprint in 2011.
Later released on tape by Obsolete Units in 2014.
From the mini-album 'A Short History of Decay'.
9. Trepanning by Extra Sexes
AG Davis - "all sounds are my electronically manipulated voice as source material"
Recorded in 2012. Originally released by Classwar Karaoke in their quarterly survey(0022)
[ar101] AG DAVIS
PURE AND UNFETTERED TONGUE-THROAT
All compositions and selected material by AG Davis. Promotional compilation produced by Audition Records and curated by Julian Bonequi.
We would like to give special thanks to My Dance The Skull, Smeraldina-Rima, Jamison Williams, Bryan Davis, Billy Henderson,
Classwar Karaoke, Anthony Donovan and Jaan Patterson, Kommissar Hjuler, Obsolete Units,
Popnihil, Free Music Archive, and to Cacophonic Joy (Rodrigo Ambriz).
AG Davis, picture by Jamison Williams in Palatka, Florida, Nov 2014. Design by Aniana Heras/Audition Records.