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I think one of the first things I noticed about your work...
I need to tell a brief...
I was in London soon after James Blake's...
his sort of, breakthrough hit came through...
And I was talking to my friend, I was like, what an interesting progression,
because he went from doing sort of like
cool, low-profile Dubstep 12 inches...
and then started putting in his voice as kind of a process thing...
and then suddenly it's like this pop territory, so moving from...
a sort of invisibility, an honest producer, into like, and I said it to a journalist friend
and he was like "oh, yeah. He's got a high powered manager"
and "he's very handsome" and he was like, it's a very commercial move
in terms of this progression.
But what I noticed about your work
had this similar, kind of starting off... at least in what reached me...
as being very abstracted, and then slowly ideas, a voice and invisibility...
went into it in a way that didn't feel like it was a commercial move
but rather, it was part of a very, kind of fascinating, artistic trajectory...
and sort of, statement that you were making.
And it wasn't just with one song,
but it was following your sounds for like two years or so.
And so I'm just kind curious about how you think about that; these longer arks...
when people are following your work, and like you said, y'know...
like what is... maybe singing is a very vulnerable thing for you, but...
Yeah, I think that's a really interesting point.
I think there's a lot of factors that went into that
I mean, you know, one of them is just like what I was interested in,
and investigating, kind of like pushed me.
Especially with Chorus a little bit but especially with Home...
having to find that vulnerable place and put myself forward a little bit.
So there's, just some of that, y'know, just like thematically
kind of pushed me in that way, but also...
Y'know, just my own comfort level... I still don't think of myself as a vocalist
or, like a pop singer or anything like that, you know...
that's never really how I've perceived myself.
So it was always just... it's been this kind of evolution of like...
how can I push myself to different places where I'm still...
where I'm uncomfortable but it's still me, where I'm, y'know, challenging myself.
So I think it's partly personal, and I think it's also partly cultural;
I think that the landscape has changed from when I started...
from when Movement came out to today, I feel like people are...
people have shifted their perspective, people are more open to things.
I feel like genres are more smashed together, I feel like...
pop isn't as dirty of a word as it was several years ago.
It's funny, I was at Unsound a couple of weeks ago, when it's like...
everyone was smiling and dancing.
Not that people weren't smiling at Unsound 3 years ago,
but it was definitely more like this kinda thing...
and this year is way more like this kinda thing, and I was like...
I don't know, I just think that attitudes and shifts change
and so that's definitely... y'know...
I'm also responding to my environment in that way.
And, I mean...
Seeing again the Chorus video and the Home video, I was reminded of how
I mean I like them both quite a bit because Chorus, it's....
you're really grappling with this idea of what is contemporary space...
you know, you're inside the home, you're inside the laptop,
there's products floating around, there's no sort of outside world.
And so, to me that links into this idea of
of the laptop being this very intimate instrument
You know, it's like, we are cyborg, like
the Donna Haraway you were referencing.
And there kind is no escape from the wires
and the signals that are permeating us now.
So then the question becomes: what do you... what now, what next?
Yeah, and what kind of ownership do we wanna take over it, or you know
do we as artists wanna be driving the conversation
or do we wanna be on the reactionary side,
where we're constantly like, off of our foot.
I'm like really mangling phrases today...
You know what I'm saying though, but like...
and that's one thing that I find really inspiring about artists
who are also working in areas of digital activism and...
and software development. I know I keep talking about Mat Dryhurst,
but I'm gonna bring it up again...
He just released a piece of software called Saga that's all around...
kind of this idea of self-hosting and artists having their own agency...
of the work that they release online.
So I find that kind of stuff really inspiring and I love it when artists are like...
really kind of awake and aware and interested in kind of...
having some sort of agency in where the conversation is going.
And I feel like, sorry... just on top of that,
I feel like that takes a degree of optimism, I feel like...
like, I love a dystopian artwork and I love like, y'know, post-apocalyptic...
like, course, I love science fiction, we all do.
And I think that there...
I also draw on those aesthetics sometimes but I feel like...
when we're constantly in that kind of negative zone
or in that kind of like fatalistic zone...
I feel like in a way, that kind of is like "whup, well I can't do anything"...
it kinda like, you know, takes the burden of us.
So I feel like we have to pair that with a degree of optimism...
and a degree of, kind of like, forward propelling motion,
so that we can actually have some sort of say in the way that things are going.
Yeah, absolutely.
I was having a conversation about science fiction literature with a friend
and he was just like, it's 95% dystopian, and this wasn't always the case
if you look back to the 60s, people are writing these books are envisioning
a totally different and less grim history.
Our future, and like, what does that mean if our imagination is already
kind of shrunken...
and so, it's of course exciting to think about electronic music,
contemporary art works' role and expending the possibilities.
And I guess that brings me to the question of...
you began with talking about the way in which both the club and the academy
have there sort of unspoken rules, you know, you can't use a 4/4 kick
or you'll be looked down on in the classroom and then maybe in the club...
this idea of like, the concept rule in the club is gonna be like - pleasure principle,
you must dance, you must have fun...
And so, I guess it's... what sort of...
how do you think about navigating those different spaces
creating a work that draws on multiple histories, multiple performing contexts,
how do you negotiate that, in terms of where you're choosing to play,
or how you might take a sort of club or academic set-up
and flip the... sort of the default structures?
I mean, I think a lot of that's just through really good curation.
So, I've worked with a lot of amazing promoters who know that like...
you know I also have aspects of my set that are totally euphoric
and it's kind of even going in a more kind of euphoric direction
as I've expanded to include Mat and Colin in the band.
But, y'know, just...
if promoters know that it's like a time in the night
when people really just need to be slapped in the face with a 4/4,
then there probably not gonna wanna listen to me doing Breathe.
So, like maybe don't put me in that slot.
But I think audiences, also audiences have like, I dunno if this is just...
I don't know if my booking agent and the promoters
but I feel like it's becoming less and less awkward.
are getting better at slotting me or if audiences are evolving
I mean, I've certainly played super awkward concerts...
and I've put myself in all kinds of weird situations.
But I feel like you always kind of learn something from those
and you get something out of it.
I remember we did this one tour where it was like...
everything was perfect and it was really boring,
cos' it was like, we didn't really have to face anything that was like, weird...
and like, not upsetting, but challenging in a way. So I think it's good to constantly
be shifting environments and not get in the rut of like, OK this is my safe-zone
and know that people are gonna need to hear this filter-sweep at this moment,
and that's gonna hit. Y'know, it's like, it's good to challenge yourself
and the audience in that way I think.
Yeah, one thing I... we've been emailing some ideas in preparation for this...
and one of the phrases I loved, you ended it with:
"sometimes it's easier to sing an idea than it is to program it."
Yeah, I was listening to some of your music yesterday...
as I was kind of like preparing this, and...
Jase wrote this really awesome article on auto-tune for free several years ago,
and I was listening to some of the production and some of the tracks
there's this... in a lot of the Middle Eastern music
there's this kind of like, violin sweep that happens often and that was actually...
something I was thinking about when working on a track, an exit.
So Mat and I went to Egypt several years ago
and really got into Nancy Ajram who's like a pop star there.
I just loved this kind of like, super dramatic sweeping violin...
kind of thing, and so I was trying to figure out how to do that with a synth.
And then, I set up a few different patches and processes...
and I was able to just kind of like sing in the idea,
and it was like a thousand times than trying to get...
the glissando with that exact moment. And so...
sometimes it is just like, more immediate to kind of set up a process
and then just sing it out.
It's kind of, to me... I actually misread it when I first saw the quote...
I'm like "sometimes it's easier to sing an idea than it is to say it"
And so... - OK.
which also makes sense in this idea of...
the ways in which a sound can carry so much information in and of itself.
the way a sound carries a politic... - Right
...even at the sort of, the most abstract level or something like that.
Yeah, and this is something I think I've grappled with since the very beginning,
is like: how to make a sound which is inherently abstract from language,
how to make that communicate something
that kind of goes beyond language.
And, like you said, sometimes it can communicate more and then sometimes
it can be so obtuse that it's really...
I've had very specific ideas of things I've wanted to communicate
and then trying to do that with a synthesizer,
I'm like, how do I get this across with this tool?
So yeah, I think it kinda goes both ways.
Sounds are...
super-embedded with all kinds of like cultural and historical...
I guess you could call it baggage, but also you could call it richness.
And so I think the home is one of these examples of like...
it's this wonderful, sort of inversion of the love song, you know, the NSA agent.
But even if I didn't know any of that and I just came to it, you know,
it's like, these ideas of voice, of processing.
You mentioned cutting off the attack and the end-delay and this idea of kind of...
contemporary existence as being endlessly mediated in a way which is...
suddenly beautiful and then suddenly distancing and troubling.
and you're kind of just negotiating that within the song...
and then if you want to start looking at the logos and thinking about Snowden
you can do that as well, or you can just sort of, feel what that might be like
through that song.
Yeah, I mean, I think that's kind of going back to this idea
of pop as a carrier signal, so like, if pop is actually functioning...
and doing its "pop" job, then it is actually kind of immediately visceral and...
maybe likable is the wrong word, but immediately approachable in a way,
that you're getting something out if it...
but I like the idea of it being this carrier signal
and having all of these other messages embedded within it, so if you do wanna
peel back and you do wanna find the other layers, you can.
Yeah.
It was...
seeing the last, I think the last slide with the installation with the animals running
I love that idea.
And partly, it engages... like often sound art, installation art is very dower
it's very dystopic, or at least sort of... like, joy and surprise...
aren't necessarily highly valued within that.
And so, ideas of 'sound-animals' running around the gallery space
was really lovely.
But then you mentioned Turner and specifically this painting...
Rain, Steam and Speed.
And when people think of Turner, you know, he does these beautiful,
washed out landscapes and ships, but then there's this idea of...
late 19th century, likes he's kind of invoking this sort of...
the sublime of the modern with speed and with all these...
but it's still thinking about: what would that emotionally be like
if you're standing before a painting, like how can we evoke all the strangeness
of our contemporary moment. - Right.
Yeah, I think that's actually a very astute observation!
That's something that I'm thinking about all the time, is like how to capture...
these new emotions that we're feeling right now in this kind of like...
"brave new world" that we're living in.
But it's true, you know, getting a...
someone breaking up with you via text message, that's like a different emotion,
that's a different emotional state than someone doing it to your face.
So there's all of these different ways that our relationships are mediated
and they create new emotions and I feel like those new emotions
need new sounds to go with them: I don't like the idea of, kind of like...
#everything being drenched with like... a sun-kissed, 70s-california nostalgia.
Even though I love that stuff sometimes, but it's like...
we're in 2015, so what are these new feelings...
and what do these new emotions sound like and what do they mean to us today?
And of course, that draws from the entire musical history and past that we have
so things from the past will filter in and be there but, how can we...
discuss what's happening today with a sound palette that is from today.
And that's really challenging and I think I fail at that a lot of times
and I think I sometimes alienate people...
because I do, I really like a lot of abrasive sound design as well...
so sometimes I have to like... you know, dial it back a little bit
cos' not everybody wants to hear the scraping and the crashing
that I wanna hear all the time.
But yeah, that's something that I'm really interested in trying to tease out
and that's like an ongoing process.
Yeah, of course. This idea of...
this weird, present moment has this very distinct flavor.
And you can't really evoke it in sound or in any other format
by sort of, looking back or trying to be imitative,
you sort of need to go into these explorations or collaborations or...
And actually, I wanted to ask you about your process...
I mean, obviously you're... acknowledging your collaborators
in a way which is very... great. You know, transparent and open source
in a way, y'know... shout out to the Metahaven intern.
But I'd like to talk to you about boss.
About Holly Herndon as the sort of orchestrator behind this.
In an open-ended way, like how do you...
How do you negotiate being in all these very complex, very engaged...
relationships with lots of different collaborators
and yet at the end of the day, you know
it's your name, it's your face in the album cover and...
A certain amount of aesthetic responsibility falls on you.
Right, I think "boss" is the wrong word, I feel really uncomfortable with that...
CEO. - No, no, no...
It's non-hierarchical in that way.
Of course I say that and yes, I could veto
whatever's gonna not land on the album.
And of course it is my...
And I'm like, OK... so I guess it is hierarchical.
But I don't feel like the process is like that, I'm not going at it like that.
you know, like, for example, the piece on Equal that I wrote with Colin who's here
that was us just sending each other ideas and files over the internet,
and it was just like, super organic, it just kind of like, you know, came.
it wasn't like, "I want you to do this and do that", it was like,
we were both coming together, how can we create something new together.
It's the same with like... you know, I've been with Mat for like, eight years now,
and he has such an intimate... that's why it's so amazing that we can collaborate
so much, cos' he has such an intimate knowledge of my work...
that I don't have to got through and explain things...
or talk about aesthetic pitfalls or no-goes, cos' he already knows that.
So, that's been a process also, being in a partnership, in a creative partnership,
that's why it was really important for me to do movement by myself...
and not, y'know... like, this is my thing. Especially as a woman producer,
people really love to kind of... detract from the work that women do.
So it was really important that I did this kind of like, lone thing for that first one,
but then I was like, you know what, screw that,
I'm not gonna let people's biases inhibit really good work and I actually...
when I'm working with other people, I think a lot of new and interesting things
kind of, come out of that, so I wanna continue that.
Different people bring different things to the table, of course.
And the collaboration between Metahaven and Mat, I mean it was...
it was really emotional and it was really intense. I mean we had these huge...
Google Doc conversations, paragraphs and paragraphs of us unloading ideas
on each other and y'know, they were like...
angry Skype conversations, passionate conversations about the album art
which seems funny but...
Yeah. I don't know if I...
And that's the lesser seen side of the intimacy you're talking about
if you're gonna have a collaboration
which you're trying to make it non-hierarchical and fairly horizontal.
Then you need a lot of trust and intimacy
and then things are going to necessarily get messy, you're sort of...
Well, that's the thing. Also like, everyone that I've worked with...
they're people who I know fairly well... whose, you know...
it's not like I vet everyone's total life philosophy, but I understand...
wherever their work's coming from...
most of the people are working in multiple fields.
They're not just working on one thing and I'm really appreciative of the other...
the things that go into their practice.
So yeah, I feel lucky to be able to work with the people that I work with.
And, of course I have to let go sometimes and be like,
I'm not gonna micro-manage this, y'know there are decisions that were made,
where, if it was all up to me, I would've been like, "no",
but then I kind of, y'know, did this...
like, OK, I'm gonna let it go and then in the end I was glad that, you know...
I said no to lip-singing to Home for like... weeks. They were like, "you have to!"
and I was like, "hell, no, I'm not lip-singing!"
But finally it came around and actually I needed to,
like, it works really well in that context. - That's great.
I guess there's one last, quick question.
What's the last bit of, I don't know... essay, sound, gallery show or whatever
that's inspired you and might filter into your thoughts on process?
Oh, God. This is a hard question.
I feel like I sometimes just go through periods
where I just don't listen to anything at all. - Fair enough.
I guess one thing that was kind of like interesting or eye-opening about
Unsound was...
kind of the shift of production technique over the last couple of years.
So, Richie Hawtin did like a guest DJ set at the end of the night, unannounced,
which was actually really cool, on the smaller stage.
After listening to the production technique throughout the day, y'know...
people like, ANGEL-HO and... Visionist and Jaylin, all these people...
and then I listened to this minimal techno set and it sounded so light...
and I was like, wow, production has gotten like, really heavy
in a really visceral, kind of like, "punch you in the face" kind of way.
It was like really muscular and meaty and that was...
yeah...
I guess that's inspiring in a way of like,
how kind of like, physical and visceral it's kind of become.
So, thank you so much. - Thank you.
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Holly Herndon 與 Jace Clayton 的對話 (Holly Herndon and Jace Clayton in conversation )

31 分類 收藏
YI Hsuan LI 發佈於 2020 年 1 月 20 日
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