Karl Koch is the official archivist for the rock band Weezer. As a longtime friend of the band since 1991, Koch has performed many jobs for the band over the years including roadie and historian. His production credits include the band's DVD, "Video Capture Device" and videos for "Pink Triangle", "Photograph", "Slob" and the video for The Special Goodness' "Life Goes By" of which Weezer's Pat Wilson is a member. Karl Koch also has in his possession one of the only full copies of the unreleased Weezer songs that were to be collaborated on Songs from the Black Hole (an album that Weezer fans have been hoping for the release of since it became known) and hundreds and hundreds of other unreleased Weezer recordings as well as over 10,000 LPs in his personal record archive. He is very involved with the band but is rarely seen. He is often concidered the 5th member due to all of his many contributions to the band. Karl appears in Weezer's 2006 music video for "Perfect Situation" as well as the 1995 video for "Say It Ain't So." Koch writes his own experimental/electronica music as "Karlophone" (www.karlophone.com). His 2002 LP "Press Any Key to Begin" has received some attention for its creativity and innovation. More recently, Karlophone has released a 7" record titled "Desire". His latest album, "I Must Find This Karlophone" has also recently been released by CDBaby. And now on to the interview:
1. How did you first meet Weezer and get involved with them?
I was their roommate and friend before they were even a band. I drove them and their gear to their early gigs because i loved their songs.
2. Do you think that "Songs From The Black Hole" will ever get released in one form or another? And what's it like to own one of the only three copies of it?
I can only go with my gut feeling, its all i have on this one. And my gut tells me that yes, someday in some form or another, there will be some sort of release of the black hole material. What its like to own it...Well, there's a CD on a shelf, and its mine. That's it. I try not to think about the insanity that the knowledge of the existence of this music has caused amongst the faithful fans.
3. Was albumsix.com REALLY just some fan linking to the Weezer website just to stir rumors of a sixth album, or was it actually you or someone else involved with the band or record label?
it was NOT me or the label. It was really just a fan. I didn't know it was a fan for sure till recently actually, but i can vouch that its the truth now.
4. Speaking of album six, any details on that as of late(possible title, tracks, anything)?
5. What was it like getting to make Video Capture Device?
it was a thrill, albeit a frustrating, confusing, maddening one. It was awesome having so much say over a project that i knew was going to get a big release, but that was also frightening! Like: i knew what i thought was cool, but I'm just one dude, and i could be wrong! it was a bummer dealing with usage rights, a lot of cool stuff was cut, or blurred to the point of ruining it. it was fascinating learning how the stuff is edited, assembled, touched up, etc. Just watching the guy working on the "Smoke" and "Flame" rigs was cool, not to mention the countless hours in assembly, editing, sound synching, authoring, etc. A total learning experience. I'm overall happy with the result but if i could do it over again it would be better.
6. How did you get involved with making your own music?
a combination of my various musical friends and the Weezer guys recording so many demos and me witnessing how they did it. Realizing that my lack of musical training was a big hindrance, despite my growing tech knowledge, sense of melody and song structure. Lightbulb moment was in about 1997 with the advent of the cheap sampler and non-linear editing - now i had a way to make music!
7. How would you describe your style of music?
mixed media collage in the form of mostly instrumental mellow hip-hop. verses choruses and bridges, the way songs flow naturally.
8. Do you feel that alot of the music industry today has become too commercialized and cookie-cutter?
Yes. there's so much one could say on this. its a major bummer. But on the other hand, there's SO many indies now, plus the explosion of micro labels and myspace bands that just do their own thing. The most exciting stuff is almost always on small labels or from bands who came from small labels originally.
9. What has been the greatest single moment of your life so far?
Geez.....I tend to think in phases of time. you look back and things get grouped, and each stretch of time has its unique beautiful character with places, feelings, people, funny moments, etc... its really quite overwhelming to look back on the countless cool times I've experienced. Always comes back to the people you're with i think. You know, i don't think i can single out even 10 top moments - its MUCH easier to come up with 2-3 WORST moments actually - because they tend to stop the flow so completely that you can never forget them. But in all cases, these good and bad times are probably a bit too private for an interview.
10. If you could offer any advice to an aspiring musician out there, what would it be?
its a cliche but very true: planning gets you nowhere - its the actual doing that gets albums finished, shows booked, t-shirts printed etc. Use the web to its full potential - but remember that making an impression in the real world has a lot more impact than a click or a download can. Master both worlds if possible.