Name: Hinako Omori
Current Release: a journey… on Houndstooth
Recommendations: Backside of the Moon by James Turrell - I’m endlessly inspired by James' work. By some synchronicity, when we’ve been on tour I’ve ended up in cities with James’ installations without knowing they were there beforehand - it’s been a magical way to discover his work almost by way of synchronicity! My favourite piece of his is in Naoshima, Japan - you walk into a seemingly pitch black space, and after adjusting to the environment for a while you notice there’s been a light there all this time. It takes your breath away. /Trans-Millenia Music by Pauline-Anna Strom - the most otherworldly, magical sound worlds and sonic atmospheres imaginable. Completely timeless and boundless, and ever evolving. Every time I listen to it, I discover something completely new. In the liner notes for this album, Pauline-Anna wrote “I consider myself the ‘Trans-Millenia Consort’, by which title I wish to be known. This to me is a personal declaration that I have been in previous lives, that I am in this life, and that I shall in future lives be a musical consort to time.”
If you enjoyed this interview with Hinako Omori visit her website www.hinakoomori.com to see show dates and listen to her music.
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?
I started learning the piano when I was 5 from a wonderful teacher called Anne Hodgkinson. I think there’s something so important about the connection with a teacher, and Mrs Hodgkinson was so inspiring, kind, caring and so patient with me.
I started experimenting with writing/producing much later on, perhaps around 4 years ago - mainly with small snippets of synth recordings which were saved away on a hard drive until I found a home for them in a song or piece. I’d become fascinated by synthesisers through my Music Technology teacher at college Lloyd Russell, who was in an electropop band at the time - he was a synth genius and definitely inspired me to delve into synths and the magical sound worlds you can create with them. He also suggested the sound engineering course I went on to study at University of Surrey, for which I’m very grateful for.
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?
I definitely feel some very intense emotion when connecting with a piece of music - interestingly I feel I connect first and foremost with the sound worlds and soundscapes before the lyrics, compared to friends I’ve discussed this with who connect deeply with the lyrics first. The way that a collection of notes and frequencies can resonate with our bodies and evoke memories and emotions is so special!
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’m not sure if I’m best placed to answer this, as I’m still very much figuring things out as I go long! I think documenting things as I go along has been an interesting process - I often stumble across a project I might have stored away and forgotten about, and reconnect with it in a different way - and that material might then take on a new meaning.
I’m also extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had as a session musician - I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to work for and collaborate with artists and musicians I admire greatly over the years - it’s been endlessly inspiring learning and understanding their music, and working together to adapt their projects towards a live scenario. These experiences have been a huge inspiration for me, and a wonderful opportunity in which to grow musically, as well as personally.
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.
As a listener, perhaps the identity side ties in in terms of where I’m physically based at the time and the music that’s being created or performed directly around in this physical space - I feel very lucky to be based in such a multicultural city as London, with an abundance of creativity that surrounds us.
As for the creating side of things, I’d be interested to hear from the listener’s perspective of what they feel from listening to my music - everything is subject to perception, and I’d love to keep things as open as possible without necessarily tying an identity to it, to allow space for it to be perceived by the listener in their own way.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Experimenting with pieces of equipment has been the main starting point for the projects I’ve been working on - sometimes having no real plan or structure behind how something may turn out and seeing what comes naturally can take you on a fun and unexpected journey.
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”?
That’s a really interesting question! I think my answer would be a nice balance of both. I guess perhaps there is sometimes an underlying element in things that are created now in which we are continuing a tradition, in a sense, by way of having been inspired by something we’ve seen or have learned in the past - so we’re holding the torch and continuing with this idea, honouring it. Of course that’s not to say that there are so many new things that will arise that haven’t been thought of or realised before, but it’s nice to think that there’s a magical thread piecing together the different journeys that each individual has been through to get to where they are now, and what has inspired them along the way.
The state of perfection is something that is very difficult to perceive - what is perfect to one person may not seem that way to another - and the same with timelessness - but perhaps in a sense if the creator is happy and satisfied with a body of work and releases it into the world, it becomes a timeless entity to which people can connect with indefinitely going forward.
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?
I love playing with synthesisers and voice - especially altering vocals through FX units and creating layers of textures.
I’m not very technical in my approach, and very happy to experiment and see what comes out when playing with a piece of hardware equipment, enjoying the happy accidents when they occur.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I usually start my day around 7am, when the birds are singing in our garden. I slowly potter/crawl around the house, set aside some time for meditation, make porridge and a cup of tea, water the plants…
Depending on what I’m working on at that time, I might head to the studio after breakfast and stay there until evening. Otherwise, if it’s something I can work on from home then I’ll do that to break up the week - I find changing up working environments gives me a better perspective of a project sometimes. Even bouncing a track down and listening to it on a walk on my phone, or in the car, really helps.
I’ll then head home and make some dinner, catch up with friends and perhaps pop out for a night cap somewhere with them. I’m making a note to myself to try and phase out using electronics for an hour or so before sleep to wind down, so my eyes and brain don’t feel wired!