Looking Into The Light With Chris Kuroda
JW: You talked about not thinking. Was there a moment during the first show when you thought everyone – the band as well as you – was in sync for the first time?
CK: Yeah, it was right away, probably towards the end of “Bowie” especially, during that first night at Hampton. First night of Hampton was good. But, second set, second night was when I felt like myself again. It was all just perfect. And then, the third night felt like a complete and utter disaster, so you just really never know what’s going to happen.
JW: Why the disaster?
CK: It just didn’t click the third night after clicking so well the second night. I should say, I didn’t click. It’s me, really, where I’m at, not hearing them right, not following them right or getting lost.
JW: Do you find that it’s easier for you to have a great night when the band has a great night?
CK: That’s it. When they’re struggling, I struggle, plain and simple.
JW: Being so intimately involved in the musical process, how would you characterize the band’s current improvisation style compared to other eras? There is certainly a direct correlation to what you’re doing.
CK: I think the only way to answer that question is that it’s just so fantastic that we’re back. They’re playing so well. They’re making some mistakes like everybody is, but who cares? This is bonus. You know what I mean? I heard some people complaining the other day about the show in St. Louis and I just thought to myself, ‘Hey, c’mon. At least they’re here. Gimme a break.’ Complaining. Last year or two or three years ago, this was finished. Over. Done. So, here we are again. It’s just so special. I think the band’s feeling it. They just seem happier than I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s just so happy. It’s unbelievable. I just think it’s great. I think they have their stellar nights and they have their normal nights, just like any human beings. They’re trying their best every night. It’s just great that they’re up there trying. I love it.
JW: Do you find your lightshow being influenced by the band’s different jamming styles over the years, where you might write more cues for a certain style?
CK: Yeah, it’s different. They’re jamming differently. It’s harder to follow. It’s like a new learning process to understand the new Phish. The jams are concise. They’re not 25-minutes long. Things happen a lot quicker. I’ll be in something dark and I’ll need to brighten it up sooner than I used to. It’s almost like listening to it in fast-forward, compared to ’98.
JW: Are there certain Phish songs that you are lighting differently now than you did, say, ten years ago? Do you find yourself doing more or less of certain things?
CK: I actually have had a lot of moments where I’ve forgotten what I used to do for this part of this song or that song. So, I’m sort of developing a new style. Sometimes I’ll remember and try to mimic it and sometimes I just don’t remember so I’ll try to do something else that fits.
JW: Maybe that’s a great thing. It’s good to be new and fresh.
CK: Could be a great thing. Absolutely. It’s funny how something that’s so embedded for so many years disappeared mentally after such a short amount of time. It’s been only four years or so that we’ve been broken up and I had done it for eighteen years before it. There are so many parts of songs where I go ‘God, I can’t even remember what I did here.’