BLACKFISH is composers JG Everest (MPLS) + Joel Pickard (PDX) performing improvised duets on a variety of electro-acoustic instruments, including affected pedal steel guitar, contra bass, affected nylon string and steel string acoustic guitars, stylophone, and found sounds / field recordings. Often, BLACKFISH concerts are performed in surround-sound environments and theatrical settings, with attention to texture, gesture, and ambient layering in creating long-form improvisations.
In 2011, BLACKFISH released a 9-disc box set of live recordings entitled the TYB Collection, performed over the course of 2 1/2 years of touring with Emily Johnson / Catalyst and The Thank-you Bar, each recorded in a different US city & venue.
the entire collection can be streamed and downloaded via our bandcamp page
hard copies of the collection can be purchased through the Firetrunk Records site
watch the live videos of BF02: HOMER and BF03: TULSA below (scroll down)
Emily Johnson interviewed in This Week In New York for The Thank-you Bar at New York Live Arts, in 2011, regarding how BLACKFISH formed: (excerpt)
twi-ny: You collaborated with James Everest and Joel Pickard of BLACKFISH on The Thank-you Bar, and the duo will be playing a special concert on November 12. What is it about their music that draws you to them and made you want to work with them?
Emily Johnson: “BLACKFISH music is dramatically mind altering for me. When James [Everest], Joel [Pickard], and I started work, part of our process was to improvise together in a room, daily. We’ve continued that process, as much as we can when we tour, and out of it James and Joel created their project, BLACKFISH. As BLACKFISH, they perform improvised concerts in conjunction with our tours. I love their concerts — and I love that they’ve developed this entire project out of The Thank-you Bar. On the twelfth, they’re releasing a gorgeous limited edition, letter-pressed, eight-CD collection of some of the concerts they’ve recorded over the past two years. John Scott heard their concert in Vermont this summer and has since worked with them for music for his new work. He very endearingly asked my permission first.
In The Thank-you Bar, they don’t play as BLACKFISH; they play as James and Joel. What I most appreciate about them is their specificity and dedication to improvisation. The music they composed for The Thank-you Bar is set; it came from improvisations, from bouts of memory and discussions of the jukebox I mentioned (that at my grandma’s was filled with classic country). The sound of dislocation and rerouting to find home is what they built for The Thank-you Bar. It makes me want to work with them again and again.
One day, early in the process, I was rehearsing in a separate studio. I came down and they told me to sit on the floor. They proceeded to play music that layered inch by inch and sound by sound, as they appeared and disappeared, until a reverberating chorus echoed off the walls. I remember slapping the floor and exclaiming/laughing at the genius of it. Them: missing. Music: building. We’ve kept it. They basically choreographed the beginning of the dance.”