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Meet Michael Janz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Janz.

Michael, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I started music when I was really young. My mom was a pianist and so I took piano lessons starting when I was five. I spent all of middle and high school in bands, playing keyboards and bass. I also was introduced to computers when I was pretty young, and I built my first computer when I was around 13 years old. So, I’ve always had a love for both music and technology. I when to a little baptist college called California Baptist University right out of high school and studied composition, but I had a little bit of a hard time once I graduated. It was 2009 and the economy was really shitty. So, in order to keep from being homeless, I had to take a couple of part-time jobs, sometimes even up the three at once. I still managed to keep playing, mostly working with a group called “The New Division,” but the more experimental side of my music got put on hold. Luckily, I found my way into teaching piano and spent the next couple of years with that as my main gig. I decided to get back into composing in 2016, so I applied to graduate studies and ended up at CalArts, where I just graduated with my MFA. While there, I really found the space to come into my own and find my own voice, it was a great experience.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
Over the past several years, my compositional interests have developed into a sort of style that I have branded “post-human music.” In my own way, I’m trying to redefine the separation between the natural world and the human world by imagining systems that fully integrate environmental soundscapes, live performance, and new technology in order to find out what sort of intelligence can emerge from these new systems; systems that intentionally blur the lines between human and nature, nature and technology, and technology and human

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
There are a lot of challenges, and overcoming them is different for each artist. A lot of artists struggle with finding ways to financially support both themselves and their art, while others find it hard to deal with the changing social environment and the pressure it puts on an artist to speak one way or the other on various topics. I can only speak for myself in this regard, and I would not imagine this is the actual biggest challenge for artists, in general.

For me, my biggest struggle is finding ways to use technology to actually say something meaningful, and not just as a sort of gimmick. It really easy to fall into the trap of making a cool toy or interesting artwork that centers on technology, but when you think about it, that’s all it is, just a fun little thing, Trying to take that and make it into something that reflects a greater message, whether that message is personal or social or whatever, is a constant challenge for me. I bet I’m not the only one, but I would hate to say that I think that is the greatest challenge for all of us!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m working on a few projects now and plan on having a few concerts in the near future. I also preparing a new installation/performance work to be shown at LA ArtCore in the next couple of months. Right now, you can check out my website, www.michaeljanzmusic.com, or check me out on YouTube (AbramJanz), Instagram (abramjanzie), or Twitter (AbramJanz). I also keep a calendar updated on my website with all upcoming performance and installations.

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