by Daniel Emberg
Winnipeg’s own Curran Faris has been active as Greenhouse since 2009, using guitar as the source of minimal yet engaging electronic drone soundscapes not typically associated with the instrument. He has released Greenhouse albums on Reverb Worship and Prairie Fire Tapes, and will be performing as part of the send + receive festival on Friday, October 11—sharing a bill with Tony Conrad, the Sons of God, and the EVP Project. As made evident in this e-mail exchange with Stylus, the festival has long been dear to Faris, and he is extremely excited to be playing it this year!
Stylus: Greenhouse uses guitar as a primary source for creating soundscapes that might not be easily recognizable as originating with a guitar. Do you think it’s useful to describe yourself as a guitarist, or is the instrument just one of the tools you use to lend texture to your sound work?
Greenhouse: I would describe myself as a guitarist. I’ve been playing the instrument for almost 20 years, and my interests in the instrument certainly extend beyond the work I do with Greenhouse. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever made the decision to only ever use guitar in Greenhouse, the project grew and developed out of the tools I had at my disposal: guitar, effects, amps. My latest recordings feature some field recordings and a few other devices here and there, but for now, it’s mainly guitar.
Stylus: The festival theme this year is “transcendence” – how do you believe your performance will fit with that theme?
Greenhouse: That’s a good question, and I probably don’t have a good answer. I think my set will be a bit different to people who’ve seen me play in the past, though it will certainly still be familiar. The results I’m after are much more textured; I’m trying to really stretch things out a bit, sonically. More texture, more slow-moving, subtle changes, more noise. In the end, the only expectations I hope to transcend are my own.
Stylus: Do you know much about the send + receive festival? Speaking as a local, how do you feel about send + receive, it’s importance to the local art community, etc?
Stylus: I can’t remember what year my first send+receive was, but I’ll never forget the show. It was Tim Hecker and crys cole and it absolutely blew my mind (note: this was the 2007 festival, which was previous to cole becoming festival director). I was familiar with Hecker’s work beforehand, but seeing him live was a whole different experience. As amazing as he was, at that time, I didn’t know crys or her work and I remember being absolutely floored by her set. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen or heard. It was a really, really beautiful and amazing evening. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I’m seeing this in Winnipeg.” In years past I’ve been able to see some of my favourite artists and be exposed to some incredible artists I wasn’t familiar with before. So I think that send+receive is extremely important for building and encouraging the local scene here: I’m quite sure that without that first introduction to the festival my work as Greenhouse may have developed very differently – possibly not even at all. But I also believe that the festival is important for Winnipeg in general. It really is an event with very few parallels anywhere else in the world. It’s incredibly unique, and it’s been happening for 15 years. Here. In Winnipeg. More people need to go and experience it. I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of send+receive this year.
Stylus: Are there any send + receive performances this year that you are particularly excited to see in person?
Greenhouse: I’m excited to see everything, and as always there is a mix of people’s work I am familiar with and not familiar with. That said, Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad, for sure.