Self Indulgent Musicians

Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) talks with Spin Magazine about Ufabulum, his new live show, and about listener expectations:

…any musician that’s not self indulgent, I can’t imagine that they’d be any good, to be honest. Any musician that puts himself primarily at the service of his audience is likely to quite rapidly become a self-repeating machine. With audiences, there’s always a tension. Audiences, particularly at gigs, tend to want to hear the favorites, and if you’re not careful, as I see it, and I certainly feel that I’ve observed it in looking at other people’s careers, you can get fenced into an area that the audience wants you in. And if you don’t do that, then you risk losing them. This is something that I’ve tried to get away from as much as I can. Don’t feel for a minute that I don’t respect the audience. What I’m doing is a mark of respect, in the sense that I’m doing exactly what I always did. I never disavowed the principles which have dictated my work and dictated me becoming known in the first place. What I feel is actually the wrong thing to do is when a musician gets known, having done what they’ve done out of love and having fun and enjoying themselves, gets known for it and then switches tack and thinks, “If I’m going to continue to be loved and respected by my audience, I have to repeat, I have to keep referring to this moment of glory.” And it becomes a prison. It becomes a thing which restricts their future activity and consequently dries up their enthusiasm for their work. And kaput: End of their career.