Name: Oliver Ho aka Broken English Club
Recent release: The new Broken English Club full-length The Artificial Animal is out via Death & Leisure.
If you enjoyed these thoughts by Broken English Club and would like to find out more, visit him on Facebook, and Soundcloud.
Can you talk a bit about your interest in or fascination for sound? What were early experiences which sparked it?
Some of the first music I fell in love with was very heavy death metal and punk. Especially experiencing this music live was a powerful influence.
When I was 14 I went to see the band Napalm Death live, it was terrifying and awe inspiring at the same time. The texture and pressure of this music ... I think a lot of the time I’m trying to recreate this intensity and weight in the music.
Which artists, approaches, albums or performances using sound in an unusual or remarkable way captured your imagination in the beginning?
The band Coil were also a huge influence. Seeing them perform live was very powerful, as they were drawing upon a lot of magick and energy that comes from inside us and also lies inside the land. It feels like their music is part of a process for them, like a spiritual journey.
Also the band Psychic TV, and their organisation The Temple of Psychic outh, this really got me into alchemy and magick. The idea that music and art can be part of a larger journey of self discovery, or an actual tool for taking apart one|s inner being and putting it back together again
What's your take on how your upbringing and cultural surrounding have influenced your sonic preferences?
Growing up in London was important to me, being able to go to a lot of gigs, and being exposed to art. This gave me a very wide and diverse idea of what art and music can be, it made me open up to many different things and connect them.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and working with sound? Do you see yourself as part of a tradition or historic lineage when it comes to your way of working with sound?
To a certain extent I see what I do in reference to other things around me, because art cannot possibly come from a vacum. I have my own influences, that are only relevant to me I think, all these things seep into my mind and soul and fuel what I do
The key ideas for me, are texture and mood. I’m trying to capture something, a certain feeling or a place.
What are the sounds that you find yourself most drawn to? Are there sounds you reject – if so, for what reasons?
I’m drawn to metallic sounds for sure, I like resonant metallic droning sounds, but I also love many types of sound. I think its about what’s right for capturing the ideas and dreams I have.
I have done a lot of music with droning sounds in the past, I think these types of sounds feel like they sit inside the music like a type of gas, they behave differently to rhythmic sounds. I like the contrast between hard percussive sounds and ethereal sounds.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, from instruments via software tools and recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you personally starting from your first studio/first instruments and equipment? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
The first tools I chose where guitar and drum machine, and these slowly evolved with synths and samplers. For the first decade I used only hardware, and recorded straight on to DAT tape. This gave the music a very direct and raw sound.
I now use pretty much only computers. I think I’m much more effective executing my ideas with a computer, it feels less performative and more like painting.
I tend to work on tracks for a long time, slowly moluding them, so they can soak up my intent. I need the music to come alive and breathe.
Where do you find the sounds you're working with? How do you collect and organise them?
I collect a lot of sounds. I’m always aware of the potential of sounds that I come across, so I will put them away to be used at the right time.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?
I love the way sound behaves in different enviroments. I certainly have that in mind when I’m making my music.
Some things are made for very loud volume, so I want them to push air, and create a physical sensation.
We can listen to a pop song or open our window and simply take in the noises of the environment. Without going into the semantics of 'music vs field recordings', in which way are these experiences different and / or connected, do you feel?
Music is highly organised, and listening to it is a very active process. Field recordings are much more subconscious, they drift and wash over you,
From the concept of Nada Brahma to "In the Beginning was the Word", many spiritual traditions have regarded sound as the basis of the world. Regardless of whether you're taking a scientific or spiritual angle, what is your own take on the idea of a harmony of the spheres and sound as the foundational element of existence?
That rings true to me, I have always had this notion that we become sound when we die. It feels like everything returns to that ocean of sound eventually.