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Interview: Mark Hosler

Mark Hosler is one of the founding members of the experimental music collective Negativland, which has pushed the boundaries of sampling and appropriation in ways that have led to artistic triumphs and legal headaches.

Negativland’s first album came out in 1980 while Hosler was still in high school, and the band broke through to college radio with the 1987 album Escape From Noise. They gained some noteriety when they claimed that one of the songs from that album inspired an axe murderer’s rampage, a hoax which the band actually created to avoid having to go on tour.

Along the way, Negativland coined the term and advanced the notion of “culture jamming”, an anti-consumerist movement to subvert mainstream cultural institutions. This came to a head with their 1991 release of an EP called U2, which led to four years of legal battles after they were sued by U2’s record label for unauthorized sampling of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and misleading artwork.

This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 5/24/18 visit by Mark Hosler and fellow Negativland conspirator Wobbly to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sponsored by UCSB’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, this visit includes a Roundtable Workshop and a concert. The interview was done by phone on 5/11/18. (Stefan Mùˆller photo)