This week’s entry from the Bad at Sports archives is Richard Holland’s interview with Hardy Fox of the Cryptic Corporation, who acts as the agent of The Residents, an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works.
“The definition of a band is generally thought of as a guitar player meets a drummer and they decide together…and gradually form a band. In this situation you have idea people who are not interested in one form of media over another. They’re more interested in what’s possible, idea wise, and to create projects. It’s a band not of musicians, it’s a band of idea people, and certainly one of the things they do is music, and they’ve always had the point of view that if the project calls for a band they’ll be a band, but they are still not a band in the traditional sense. They like to be thought of as a group…. The way it’s defined is that anyone who works on a project is a Resident. If there’s a tour and there’s a bus driver on the tour, then the bus driver is a Resident. They’re residents of that project…. The Residents like to stay fresh, they have to take each project as a whole new fresh project every time and a reinvention not only of who they are but of what is possible.”–Hardy Fox, Cryptic Corporation, agent of The Residents.
This week: Richard and guest host Charles King speak with Hardy Fox, from the Cryptic Corporation who acts as the agent of The Residents. The Residents is an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. The first official release under the name of “The Residents” was in 1972, and the group has since released over sixty albums, numerous music videos and short films, three CD-ROM projects, ten DVDs.
They have undertaken seven major world tours and scored multiple films. Pioneers in exploring the potential of CD-ROM and similar technologies, The Residents have won several awards for their multimedia projects. Ralph Records, a record label focusing on avant garde music, was started by The Residents. Throughout the group’s existence, the individual members have ostensibly attempted to operate under anonymity, preferring instead to have attention focused on their art output.
Much outside speculation and rumor has focused on this aspect of the group. In public, the group appears silent and costumed, often wearing eyeball helmets, top hats and tuxedos – a long-lasting costume now recognized as their signature iconography. Their albums generally fall into two categories: deconstructions of Western popular music, or complex conceptual pieces, composed around a theme, theory or plot. They are noted for surrealistic lyrics and sound, and disregard for conventional music composition.