Name: Ana Fosca
Occupations: Composer, sound artist
Current event: Ana Fosca's Poised At The Edge Of Structure is out via The Helen Scarsdale Agency.
Recommendations: La Digestion by Henri Chopin (1974) and The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (2015).
If you enjoyed this interview with Ana Fosca and would like to know more about her work, visit her on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
At around nine, I started making field recordings. I did not know to call them that, of course, but I would nevertheless run around with my portable cassette player and press the record button every time I found an intriguing sound. Or I would create different sounds myself, like filling the tub with water or dragging things such as furniture around to make different sounds, which I then recorded. That sort of thing.
I did very long soundscapes: record, delete, record again. I remember taking the process very seriously.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
In his interpretations of the works by Vitali, Eugene Fodor presents us with an underlying tragedy running alongside the work itself. Or so I experience it. Fodor plays the musical notes, but he simultaneously plays something else as well. It is present in the pauses, in the way in which he plays the musical notes, in everything. Perhaps it is the battle of the composer and his inner demons that seeps through, or maybe something completely different.
Without wanting to celebrate tragedy, I find wisdom in Fodor’s pieces . A wisdom that very much incapsulates what I seek when I listen to music.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
In some way, I feel like my work has evolved and continues to evolve in the context of the same topics. It feels like some kind of constant.
In my childhood recordings and the tapes my nine-year-old self mixed from them, I can still relate to what she went searching for. Somehow, I am still on the same search, for something that perhaps will never be found or answered. But the sound continues to change.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
The more personal you make it, the more universal it becomes, Diane Arbus says. I hope to create a space for the listener to let them connect, perhaps, with the more difficult parts of being.
My music is not about me or my personal story, but I strive to be as honest as I can. To give as much of myself as I can when I produce and play, such that I can present a space, which, I hope, inspires reflection.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I search for questions, I guess. Dissonances. Structure and its opposite.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
If I were to, say, make music from the idea of making something sublime, I would most likely fail. If I strived to make something original and ‘never heard before’, it would most likely turn out banal.
What interests me is to make music that offers a place for the listeners’ own projections and, hence, reflections.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Transcendental meditation has been a part of my life for years. No matter the outcome of the day or plans, transcendental meditation is the structure.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
I keep an LP that I have never neither removed the plastic wrapping from nor listened to. On the cover, you see a chess board and an old-school meat grinder. On the back, you see the same grinder and a pile of sawdust. I don’t know whether the sound on the LP is the actual sound from the board being ground. But I somehow like the idea of a system that is being deconstructed.
The cover is a constant inspiration to me. I don’t think I will ever listen to the record.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I have one preference centered around control and one around the act of listening.
Of course, for me, listening as well as making choices are ubiquitous in both approaches. When I am just me, I’m more of a listener. When I collaborate with someone, I feel like it is more about making more conscious choices here and now.
Collaborative production is a conversation that takes place with someone else.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I can only speak for myself, but the need for a place or space to reflect is crucial to me.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I am not nearly as interested in answers as I am in the questions. I do not want to provide answers but rather to pose questions. When I’m intrigued by a piece of music or art, this happens because it raises questions within me about those exact topics.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
A professor in physics once said in an interview that if she and her colleagues were puzzled by something in their research or if they needed a different perspective or to inspire reflection on difficult topics within their field, they would go look at art.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
In a way, producing music is just as much a set of movements as making a cup of coffee. Pressing a key on a synthesizer or pouring hot water over coffee beans, there is no big difference.
Søren Kierkegaard would walk, and the walk elevated his thoughts, enabling to produce his writings. He was an advocate of repetition. He would walk and always follow the same route. Producing is likewise often mundane and repetitive, again like making a cup of coffee. Inspiration can occur through either action, I believe.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it ables to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
At noise concerts, I often think about how the frequency spectra that we are often presented with correlates with the sounds we are surrounded by in the womb. Things are connected.
As human beings, we are a species that are always on the move, on a constant search for something. To me, this plays a crucial part as well.