On the Spot

Matt Bohling

Matt Bohling

Andi Berlin

We talked to Matt Bohling, a senior percussion performance senior in the electronic percussion group CrossTalk, and later the co-director of the group, Robin Horn.

Wildcat: I don’t really understand how this all works. Do you bang on the machines, or do you use handles?

Bohling: These are electronic pads that are touch sensitive, and those are mallet pads that are made out like a piano and this is a drum set basically, and it all takes these signals and sends them to the computers back there and adds samples or sounds that come out the speakers whenever we hit them.

W: Why is it shaped like Mickey Mouse?

B: I think they just did that for a logical configuration with the pads. This is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

W: Is Mickey Mouse more logical?

B: I don’t know.

W: So what’s the point of doing this through a machine if you could just do it with your hands?

B: Because you could put all kinds of effects on it; you can sample people screaming or cars crashing.

W: That sounds interesting.

B: You can get all kinds of obscure sound effects. What was the one, the farting hamster or something?

W: What kind of songs do you play, like Diplo songs or Moby?

B: No, we’re doing a Weather Report song.

W: What’s that?

Horn: Weather Report was a progressive jazz rock band that was very popular in the 1970s. A groundbreaking group.

W: Were they like Yes?

H: In the jazz world, yes.

W: Yes, Yes?

H: Hm?

W: Yes, like Yes?

H: I mean, they were that popular in the jazz realm. They had that much impact.

W: As Yes?

H: Yeah.

W: OK. Cool. Or like King Crimson or something?

H:Yeah, I mean the way they defined harmonies and rhythms was very unique.

– interview by Andi Berlin