Name: Nora Riggenberg aka Casanora
Occupation: Producer, sound artist
Recent release: Casanora's Electric Water is out via Interstellar.
Recommendations on the topic of sound: Kim Gordon: This Woman’s Work; Das Wetter Magazin; SUGAI KEN's article for Ableton about The Shibui of Field Recording and Electronics
If you enjoyed these thoughts by Casanora and would like to find out more about her work, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
Can you talk a bit about your interest in or fascination for sound? What were early experiences which sparked it?
Since I can think I had the need to express my emotions through music. I had piano lessons starting at the age of 7 years. With 16, I wanted to create my own sound-worlds, so I started to produce my own music.
I was super inspired by the early works by Grimes, like Visions for example. I also wanted to become a sick producer like Timberland (laughs). Everything he touched turned into gold.
But Alicia Keys was my hero. I always said when I’m 30 years old I want to be at the same level as Alicia Keys. (laughs) Well … I am almost 30 now.
What's your take on how your upbringing and cultural surrounding have influenced your sonic preferences?
Growing up in a 2 culture home makes you automatically open-minded for other cultures and sounds, because you are already surrounded by multiple sounds or languages.
But I guess probably my mum who was a precious punk in her younger years influenced me the most with her way of thinking and seeing the world.
Working predominantly with field recordings and sound can be an incisive step / transition. Aside from musical considerations, there can also be personal motivations for looking for alternatives. Was this the case for you, and if so, in which way?
Definitely. I guess it is in my nature whether I like it or not. I cannot run away from it. I get bored so fast, which is also the reason why I’m constantly looking for new sounds and then the sounds and emotions lead me to sound structures.
My goal is always to create unique worlds for each single track.
What are the sounds that you find yourself most drawn to? Are there sounds you reject – if so, for what reasons?
I guess there is no specific sound I’m most drawn to. I’m really into many different sounds. But one thing I can say is that it needs to have either the rawness or the ability to instantly evoke some reaction or emotion in me.
I guess I wouldn’t find overly clean sounds very interesting in general, as it's very hard to shape them into something interesting.
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?
I never had the ability to buy everything I wanted for financial reasons. This is why I always had to rethink my decision what I would buy and what not.
My setup has almost looked exactly the same since I was 16. Computer, interface, piano, microphone. The rest happens with inspiration.
This way, my setup keeps me very flexible, I can easy pack the heart of my studio setup in one case and move around the world and create music.
Where do you find the sounds you're working with? How do you collect and organise them?
I find them on the Ableton platform for example, or with friends who share their library with me. And then, some instruments, or sounds can also be from recordings which I did with my phone. To me, the source doesn’t matter as long as it sounds interesting and it is something I can work with. It could also be a flickering light that I pass by.
Basically the whole universe gives me sound. My Nonno also sent me sounds from the universe one day, something he found on the Nasa platform. You see it comes literally from the whole universe.
The possibilities of modern production tools have allowed artists to realise ever more refined or extreme sounds. Is there a sound you would personally like to create but haven't been able to yet?
My goal is to find my own sound aesthetic and I try to be authentic to myself with each release.
I think that I’m getting there with every release, getting closer to the unreachable sound in my head.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?
These three elements form the most natural connection for me.
Sound is always the first thing that leads me to a composition and also leads me to the space and sound world of each track. For me it is all abut the sound aesthetic.
The idea of acoustic ecology has drawn a lot of attention to the question of how much we are affected by the sound surrounding us. What's your take on this and on acoustic ecology as a movement in general?
My personal statement to this is, that I do not have the capacity in 90% to filter everything that's happenings around me. Everything comes at the same level into my perception, doesn’t’ matter if it is visual or emotional or sound or whatever. This means that for me personally, everything around me affects me physically.
That is maybe also the reason why I love sitting in front of my computer the whole day and listen carefully to individual sounds over and over again.
But I’m not familiar with the specifics of this theory by Murray.
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?
It is totally the way I see music. Sometimes I need to listen to music to be able to breath and sometimes I need to walk through the city and inhale all the noise. Because all the songs that already exist are boring me out.
It totally depends on my current mood. Sound is all around us, it is in everything.
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?
Music is the answer to everything.
She’s Borderless. She’s a Translator / Communicator and she’s bigger than your imagination aka like the universe. For me music is the only religion.