Artists “Leaking” Visions Series — Interview with “Collateral Sounds” Musician Collin Ruffino — Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Artist to Watch”

Wikileaks Movie, Musician Collin Ruffino, NiveHive "Collateral Sounds"

Wikileaks Movie, Artists “Leaking” Visions Series : "Collateral Sounds" Musician Collin Ruffino (Source: Nivehive by Collin Ruffino)

Wikileaks-Movie.com is pleased to introduce the new Wikileaks “concept album” Collateral Sounds by Collin Ruffino and NiveHive. Collin is best known for his band Home Video.  He is on a compelling musical mission to “provide the soundtrack” for what he terms the Wikileaks “phenomenon… backlash… and mutiny.” And he is absolutely driven to see this Collateral Sounds mission through. It is this drive, combined with the worthy and relevant nature of his project that makes Collin an artist that we feel will be interesting to you as a continuation of our Wikileaks-Movie.com exclusive Artists ‘Leaking’ Visions Series.

“Artist to Watch” — Rolling Stone Magazine

“Collateral Sounds is a response to the Wikileaks phenomenon... Nivehive is here to provide the soundtrack.– NiveHive

“Collateral Sounds”,  Wikileaks Concept Album

NiveHive’s Collateral Sounds concept album is an evolving work in process, in many ways a “Call and Response” dialogue and interplay with the unfolding events surrounding Wikileaks and the ripple of impacts it is having throughout the world.

People Demand (Soundtrack sample from Collateral Sounds)

Featuring the People of Egypt on Vocals chanting “The people want to overthrow the regime.”

The music I’m trying to make is fulfilling to listen to as music, while also maintaining a strong message… I’ve actually sampled the most important parts of the WikiLeaks conversation and used them as melody and rhythm – Collin Ruffino

We hope you appreciate and enjoy this interview with the artist behind the Collateral Sounds project at Nivehive.

Collin Ruffino : The Wikileaks Movie Interview

1. What inspired you to craft Collateral Sounds?

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"Collateral Sounds" NiveHive

My main goal in making this album is to express solidarity with WikiLeaks. When everything blew up, and the diplomatic cables came out, there was such a fierce backlash against WikiLeaks in the U.S. The government and the corporate media were relentless in decrying WikiLeaks as a “terrorist” organization, and equivocating over the finer points of the First Amendment.

I felt like I needed to make a statement as an American that disagreed with the mainstream babble filling the media. I think WikiLeaks is such an inspiration because it touches on every major issue facing us today. It’s not just an organization fighting for transparency; they end up being a gadfly that forces a broader conversation to happen. We’ve been forced to look at the reality of the wars we are waging, the support we have for brutal dictatorships and illegal occupations, the heinous use of torture and indefinite detention, our covert, illegal operations in sovereign countries, and on and on.

Americans at all levels were scared by WikiLeaks. We want to go about our lives thinking everything is ok, and the U.S. has good intentions in the world. But here is all of this information that paints a totally different picture. It is not the first time someone has come out with proof that the U.S. does terrible things, but WikiLeaks has dominated the conversation so dramatically for so long with so much information, that people have been forced to talk about these important things.

The Stuffed Men Bristle (Soundtrack sample from Collateral Sounds)

The album covers major events in the WikiLeaks story. I have tracks about the War Logs, Anonymous, Cablegate, U.S. reaction to the cables, Bradley Manning, the U.S. detention system, mainstream Media reaction, the smear campaign against Assange, and the revolutions that WikiLeaks helped ignite.

I wanted to make music about this, first because music is my favorite medium, and second because I wanted to make good political music. The music I’m trying to make is fulfilling to listen to as music, while also maintaining a strong message. It’s not just some jerk sitting down with an acoustic guitar, singing bad rhymes in boring melodies. I’ve actually sampled the most important parts of the WikiLeaks conversation and used them as melody and rhythm. I also think you can enjoy the actual music beyond the novelty of it’s message.

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2. What artists and musicians have inspired you in your life?

I’ve always been into darker art. My favorite painters are Edvard Munch, Bacon, Max Beckman, Rothko. In film I like german expressionism, David Lynch, Jeunet and Caro. My musical tastes run far and wide, but for this project I was musically inspired by simpler electronic music like Kraftwerk, early Ministry, Front 242, with a little bit of Philip Glass.

I’m very much into Brian Eno. He seems to be not just a musician but also a philosopher constantly ruminating on life and experimenting with new mediums.

I’ve been very impressed by M.I.A. She has taken a lot of heat for her thoughts on things like Palestine and Sri Lanka. I think people have tried to make her appear ignorant and hypocritical because she says unpopular things while existing in a mainstream medium. And yet despite the onslaught she has just continued to thrive.

There’s a lot of amazing political hip hop that I like as well. Public Enemy is at the top of that list. Originally, it was a purely political type of music. I may be putting together a political dj set soon. I want to get as much accessible dance music with a message together and make a night of it.

Home Video, Collin Ruffino : “Artist to Watch” Rolling Stone Magazine

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Home Video, Collin Ruffino : "Artist to Watch" Rolling Stone Magazine

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3. In your mind, what is the role of the arts in relation to the Wikileaks phenomenon?

I think discussing something like WikiLeaks in an artistic form potentially broadens the audience and broadens the conversation. The music I’m making has a lot of direct samples of people involved in the story making statements. Especially today, with information so easily accessed over the internet, it’s even easier to provoke people into thinking further into an issue. So someone will hear a snippet in one of my tracks and look up what they heard, or seek me out on the various social media and they will probably be exposed to more information and other communities discussing the same thing. There are lots of people who would never watch an episode of Democracy Now, but might listen to a 3 minute song. Music is just a more accessible medium to reach people.

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4. Please share your inspiration behind “People Demand” and what was going on for you as you created this track?

I wrote People Demand as the events in North Africa were unfolding. Tunisia had just had success and the Egyptian people were rallying with a relentless fire. I was often trolling the internet for soundbites to use in the songs and I came across this clip of a group of men on the street in Egypt clapping and chanting. The clip was so rhythmic and melodic, it felt like I had to use it. I showed the clip to an arabic speaking friend of mine to get a sense of what they were saying and she told me that this was one of the main revolutionary chants across the arabic speaking world. Then I started noticing it in footage from Iraq, and Libya and Yemen. They were chanting, “the people want to overthrow the regime.”

“It felt like the perfect protest song.”

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People Demand, from the Concept Album "Collateral Sounds" by NiveHive

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Another aspect of making this track is to express solidarity with people across the world. I think as an American I have to say that I am not ok with what my government does. The detention and torture of muslim people that has become the trademark of the U.S. “war on terror” is repulsive and shameful. I want to say that humans have a right to live good lives regardless of language or nationality, which is a false construct anyway.

As it relates to WikiLeaks, I think these revolutions are directly inspired by the cables that have been made public. The misery was there already, but the stark reality shown in the documents of a thriving elite riding on the broken backs of the working class pushed the situation over the edge. The Wisconsin labor and union protests are the closest thing we’ve seen in the U.S. The difference between us and Egypt is one of degree. We allow our rights to be taken from us because of a strong system of indoctrination in the U.S. We voluntarily demand to be oppressed in many ways. So I think changing things in the U.S. is actually a much harder process, because it means re-educating people.

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5. Any thoughts (fun, serious, creative or otherwise) on the Wikileaks movie soundtrack?

Well, I think it should be all my album! ( I’m only half-joking.)

The idea of a film is really exciting. I just hope they put together the right message, not just some sensational drama about Julian Assange as a man of mystery.

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6. We notice there is a “donation” request on your site. Please describe your needs and what this funding will allow you to create?

Wikileaks Movie, Musician Collin Ruffino, NiveHive "Collateral Sounds"

"Collateral Sounds" by NiveHive (Collin Ruffino)

I am an artist living in a city, so I need money to continue pursuing the art I pursue. My request for donation is not out of pure necessity, though it would be nice to fund making some t-shirts and pay for things like the website. But it is also a political point I’m trying to make.

Everyone downloads music for free now. It is the rare person that feels an obligation to purchase music. I think this is mostly due to the disconnect between the artist and the music. There is a corporate structure behind mainstream music that siphons off most of the money, leaving the artist with little. People understand this and feel justified in not paying for their music.

I think there should be a new way of thinking about art, maybe not as a product. The emphasis should be on the person making the art. Do we want a world dominated by pop music engineered by a corporation to pander to the lowest common musical denominator? Because if we think of music solely as a product, then that is what makes sense to produce. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have that type of music, I can enjoy it sometimes too. But, if we want artists who create unique, subversive, provocative art then we have to find a way to support them. The ideal would be government support, as there is in Europe, where our society has decided that it values art as a part of our civilization. Of course, we can’t even decide that we value health care as a right, so this may be a pipe dream.

Music is readily available, for free, all over the internet. Maybe that is how it should be. If you believe in this project and want to help, consider donating to the musician making the music. Otherwise, you can help just by spreading the word about this project.

Support Collin Ruffino and the NiveHive Collateral Sounds Project: http://www.nivehive.com/support.html

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Wikileaks-Movie.com Feature — Artists “Leaking” Visions Series

Thank for your review of this exclusive interview with Collin Ruffino of Nivehive who is bringing the world his Collateral Sounds music project. Wikileaks-Movie.com is an “Independent & Volunteer Supported” movie and news archive dedicated to bringing the WikiLeaks media phenomenon & Julian Assange to the world of artists, writers, musicians & filmmakers. We are a group of researchers, writers, historians, technologists and perhaps most importantly artists recognizing, documenting and commenting on the new media renaissance sparked by Wikileaks’ disclosures.  Please stay with us for new interviews, news and commentary relating to creative and artistic endeavors surrounding Wikileaks.



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