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Thurston Moore in Conversation

Listen to Thurston Moore in Conversation

Photograph of Jacinta Parsons and Thurston Moore

Jacinta Parsons and Thurston Moore at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre — Photo: Renee Coster

'For me the experimentation in Sonic Youth wasn’t so much the tunings, or the implementations of the guitars, or the noise, or the feedback. It was mostly about structure.'

Thurston Moore may be one of the most innovative, influential electric guitarists living today. With Sonic Youth, Moore and his bandmates connected America’s thriving experimental underground with the realm of punk, grunge and alternative rock – forging an unmistakable sound with their detuned, often dissonant and always loud guitars.

Within the band, and outside of it, Moore has kept a relentless schedule of performance, collaboration, recording and writing. A staple of New York City’s experimental art and music scenes, he’s worked with the likes of Yoko Ono, Merce Cunningham, Cecil Taylor, Rhys Chatham, Lydia Lunch, John Zorn, Beck, Takehisa Kosugi, Gus Van Sant, Glenn Branca and Bernie Sanders (yes – you read that correctly). Heavily influenced by the Beat poets, he’s edited music and literary fanzines, and published his own work through various imprints. He’s the founder and senior editor of Ecstatic Peace Library – who publish art books and records – as well as of the poetry imprint Flowers & Cream Press. He’s on faculty at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.

Now based in London, Moore returned to Melbourne for MIFF – performing new scores to four short films by pivotal mid-century Ukrainian-American filmmaker Maya Deren. In conversation with Jacinta Parsons, he discusses his career in music and writing, and his latest foray into the world of cinema.

MIFF Talks presented by the Melbourne International Film Festival.


Portrait of Jacinta Parsons

Jacinta Parsons

Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, writer, speaker and author of memoir Unseen: The secret life of chronic illness. She is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association of Australia. She currently hosts Afternoons on ABC Melbourne, delivering a popular mix of art, culture and ideas.

Portrait of Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore moved to NYC at eighteen in 1976 to play punk. He started Sonic Youth in 1980. Since then Thurston Moore has been at the forefront of the alternative rock scene since that particular sobriquet was first used to signify any music that challenged and defied the mainstream standard. With Sonic Youth, Moore turned on an entire generation to the value of experimentation in rock n roll – from its inspiration on a nascent Nirvana, to Sonic Youth’s own Daydream Nation album being chosen by the US Library of Congress for historical preservation in the National Recording Registry in 2006. 

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