What excites you as a listener and how does this inform your practice?
I’m a very high stimulation person and I always used to have a pair of headphones on wherever I went. More recently, though, I’ve been listening to the sonic interactions in the unmediated sound world around me – patterns of bird calls, car engines, distant speech – and reflecting on the way our human propensity for pattern recognition rises to meet the seemingly exterior world. When creating music I’m about finding that space – paradoxically tense and peaceful – between a repetitious rhythmic or melodic pattern, and the place where it feels like that pattern falls apart – and holding that tension.
Who would say are your biggest influences?
I’m all about work which locates itself somewhere between club and ambient, which is grounded in place, and which has a feeling of the spiritual, the visionary or mystical to it. The two acts who I keep on coming back to as models for this are Coil – who add to the above a keen sense of the queer gothic – and Waak Waak Djungi, a Yolngu group who were combining electronics with cultural traditions and field recordings way back in the 90s. Bringing these two together also speaks to my own mixed bloodlines and ancestors from so-called Australia and from England.
What turned you onto recording sounds from the natural environment around you and using that within your musical work?
I was looking for ways to deepen my listening to my own Kombumerri culture and landscape (which I only reconnected with as an adult) given that so many of our traditions have been lost to colonialism. Field recording is a practice of deep listening – and I also felt like, by using my standard creative limitations which is to use nothing but field recordings to make club music, I was both recognising the importance of the sounds of Country, and doing something quite original as a practice.
What kind of sounds can we expect from you during your performance?
The work I’ll be performing is about crows – ‘wagahn’ in our language. Every sound in the piece, including for example basslines, is made from field recordings of crow calls. It’s about crosshatching loops and developing from a lone voice to a holy cacophony, and back. I’ve always felt an affinity with crows and I spend a lot of time watching and thinking about them – the piece is a tribute.
What are you most excited for at On Location?
I’m excited for Del’s performance – I’ve seen their work so many times and I know how much thought they put into the way each individual piece works with its context – location, audience, vibes. I was blown away by their last performance at Essential Tremors festival at Phoenix in Warrang (Sydney), particularly the aquatic ambience – which is something I always love as a saltwater person whose ancestors lived on rivers and estuaries. Another favourite from artists performing is Lisa Lerkenfeldt’s 2019 release 29° which I’ve spent a lot of time listening to. But really everyone is unmissable!
What have you been listening to in the last month?
Recently I’m spending time with a lot of film from the late 60s and early 70s for those gauzy, surreal, psychedelic vibes. To accompany, I’ve been revisiting music from the same era and Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda is a constant companion.
Ainslie Salon: On Location is coming to Ainslie Arts Centre on 23 + 24 September, 2022.
Presented by Arts Capital at Ainslie Arts Centre with support from ArtsACT through it’s Amp! It Up Fund.