Steampunk Magazine | March 21, 2012
We’re going to be running interviews and features here from time to time that don’t quite fit into our printed magazine. Our first web feature is on The Catastrophone Orchestra, a writing collective based in NYC that have been regularly featured in our pages from the very first issue.
They’ve got a book out, now, too, collecting their fiction and non-fiction alike. It’s called, fittingly enough, Catastrophone Orchestra and it’s available from Combustion Books, who also publish our magazine. (As well as Amazon and all those places too, if you’d prefer, including as an ebook.
I sent several of them questions for this interview, but true to form, they chose to answer collectively.
SteamPunk Magazine: What is the Catastrophone Orchestra? How did you all get your start?
Catastrophone Orchestra: The Catastrophone Orchestra started in the fall of 2004. We were an ad hoc group of anarchists, artists, musicians, authors, and over-all miscreants living together in a collective house in Queens. We were following the steampunk scene and were interested in creating a new instrument that used steam power, so we actually started by doing experiments in the kitchen with a series of modified 1920s pressure cookers. It was dangerous but enlightening and at times a bit deafening. We were interested in how the most interesting stories of the 19th century were being ignored by steampunk and set out to try to rectify the situation. We first thought we would write little booklets about the CO to hand out at any shows we might play, but even though we did a soundtrack for some indy movie about Captain Nemo the fiction took over and we kind of dropped the music. I guess our first real work was the steampunk manifesto ["Colonizing the Past So We Can Dream the Future"] that we wrote and put out on the internet. It was eventually picked up by SteamPunk Magazine issue #1.
SPM: You write seasonals, a long-dead form of fiction. Why is that? What attracts you to the genre?