Part 1

Name: Elizabeth Bernholz
Nationality: British
Occupation: Composer/Musician
Current Release: Power OST on Invada
Recommendations: ‘De Profundis’ by Arvo Part is a piece of music that gives me the feeling described above. I used to listen to it on repeat as I was addicted to that feeling of weightlessness /And for something uncanny, perhaps I would recommend taking a look at Jordan Wolfson’s ‘Female Figure’ from 2014.

Keep up to date with latest projects, live shows and find links to buy music on the Gazelle Twin website www.gazelletwin.com

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I began recording and producing my own music as a teenager, though this was just a private hobby only shared with a few close friends and family. At that time I was mostly influenced by artists and bands like Portishead, and was listening a lot to choral music, as well as film composers like James Horner, Morricone and Vangelis.

For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?

Yes, imitation is key to learning, or at least it was for me. I am mostly a self-taught musician, learning pieces by ear on flute, piano or for voice. One of my favourite things to do was to create choirs with my voice. I still do that now really.

How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?

My creativity is an outlet for experience both good or bad, and in turn that process is what shapes my identity, I think. It’s sometimes hard to know where one begins and the other ends.

What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

Mostly just confidence and feeling at ease with my creative decisions - being a law unto myself rather than the industry, or what anyone else is doing. I also value the experience I’ve had with industry norms or quirks, as there are many to navigate, and it can really make or break a person just starting out. I have been very lucky to have had wonderful management for the best part of my work as Gazelle Twin, which has kept things smoother than they could have been!

As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?

I had had experience with DAWs from an early age, my brother used Cubase to create and record music, and showed me how to use it. I had a long break from using it when I went to College and then University to study Classical music, as I felt I needed to start from scratch to learn theory and traditional methods of composition. But a few years after I left Uni, I bought Ableton 7, and very quickly began to record music again, the way I had as a teen. The result of a few months of working on that software was my first album, The Entire City. This was the first “professional” thing I produced.

Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?

I do really try to keep a balance between using digital software, hardware and real instruments. My voice is at the centre of all of that, it is the unique thing that I can bring to it, to make it stand apart from other things. I also really like using samples, loops and some presets are actually really good. I’m not precious about any of it really. I do adore analogue synthesizers and that whole world of science and magic that they provide. When I wrote Unflesh, I had made the album solely on Ableton, but to finish and mix it, I took it to a studio in London, at the time run by Benge, who had floor to ceiling vintage synthesizers and hardware, some very rare. So, I had the real luxury of adding real synth parts to that album and using other hardware to make it even more individual.

Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?

Music can be solitary experience as a solo artist, so collaborations can be wonderful. I sometimes feel out of my comfort zone but it really depends on the project, and it is almost always a good learning experience and fruitful process. I have collaborated remotely in most cases. This seems to work well for digital-based work, but sometimes it’s nice to be in a real room, with real people.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?

I have two young children, so my routine is only really a routine when childcare is possible. I’m currently on maternity leave until summer, so when I get the chance to get in the studio, I just do whatever I can, as fast as I can, whether that’s writing a quick demo, listening through something old, or tweaking something. I try to keep music in the seat of my mind all the time, so that inspiration can hit any time. I recently had a moment where my eldest son played some notes on the synth and sang simultaneously, which sounded amazing. Luckily I was recording it and I’ve kept it as inspiration for a new piece.

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