CARES makes abstract music that explores the subjective and personal through deconstructed electronic music tropes. Melodic fragments recalling pop music and internet culture are twisted into new shapes or submerged under washes of distortion. The project is the solo moniker of British-Canadian electronic musician and producer James Beardmore, based in Toronto. He has performed alongside contemporary classical composers, experimental improvisors, noise musicians and grindcore bands; in basements, on stages, in alleyways, on beaches, in art galleries and in clubs.
Today, Northern Transmissions, is excited to premiere CARES’ forthcoming release Coping Strategies.
How do approach source material? How did those choices influence the overall themes of Coping Strategies?
I look for anything that leaves an impression on me or starts to create a particular feeling. That can either be material to manipulate or just images that stick in my head. I try not to examine anything too closely at first so that the choices I make are more subconscious. I’m trying to have the things I’m preoccupied with make impressions onto the choices I’m making in compositions.
Certain images just stick with you, and they work well as jumping off points.
I use samples of of people trying to make sense out of their existence in some way and then making something new by removing the information and just use the quality of their voice. Changing the meaning by removing verbal content and replacing it with melodic content interests me.
I find Youtube videos, usually about things like like people talking about how to become psychic or master astral projection, or how to succeed at social media. I stretch the a voice out then tune and compose parts of it into melodies. I often use the digital artifacts where the voice starts to break down as the actual music. A fraction of a syllable could be a melody line.
I’m not surprised this EP turned out to be about collective anxiety and absurdity given the current situation we’re all living in, the hope is that it has a particular perspective that is in some way emotionally relatable.
Does the exploration into abstraction make the pieces more personal? Observational? Impressionistic?
I definitely aim for this work to be more personal through the process of abstraction. I avoid forcing the music to become too literal, then people can hopefully experience it more subjectively and connect more deeply with it.
You mention “subverting masculine noise bro cliches”. What tactics do you utilize to distance yourself?
I make music that uses some of the characteristics of noise but a lot of that is coincidental, it arrives at some of those sounds via a different route. There are definitely different intentions than the noise bro stereotypes. I’m attempting to employ some complexity of emotion and thought instead of making nihilistic anti-statements. I deliberately aim to explore vulnerability and subtlety in what I’m doing and not just from my own perspective.
I’m not interested in the whole “music is over” stuff or violent catharsis or it’s own sake. It’s been taken to it’s logical conclusion for at least 25 years and just doesn’t add anything to the conversation. I still see a lot of that being passed off as an original idea and it depresses me.
There are some incredible artists in Toronto who are making music that has some common element of noise but with a wide range of approaches and intentions.
How does using humour balance the exploration into anxiety? Is this unique to your work on ‘Coping Strategies’? Or do you plan to keep finding meaning in juxtaposition?
I expect a lot of that comes from my background growing up in the UK. There’s a particular way of seeing disturbing things through a lens of black humour that seems to stem from that culture. Finding the absurdist elements of situations is a way of dealing with them. I’d say that satirists like Chris Morris are as much of an influence on what I do as any musical influences.
This combination of feelings is definitely something that is common throughout this project. It’s part of how I make sense of the world so it’s definitely always going to be there.
‘Coping Strategies’, the new EP from Cares drops May 5th via & Options. Follow the link below for more details on this and other & Options releases: