Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I don’t think there’s ever been one breakthrough moment or work. It’s all been a slow accretion of knowledge and experience. I mean, lots of fantastic moments of course but not anywhere I’ve gone “Oh, that’s turning a corner”. At least not at the time….
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Just to get into the timeless zone, perhaps by concentrating on the minutiae of things and then flipping out to the big picture. But it’s often plain hard work that gets stuff done rather than flashes of inspiration.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
I have experience of this only to the extent that – apart from family – music is the thing that makes sense to me. Of me and of the world. In a sense that’s healing I suppose. I have no experience of music hurting at all.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
Imperfect copying of other styles and inexact efforts at learning other instruments have always been a building block of my own progress. And obviously everyone starts to build on top of what others have built. But that’s not the same as copying/appropriation as in theft or passing off, which is reprehensible.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
I don’t have any particular feelings about sensory overlap but clearly, it’s impossible to play music properly (honestly) without a full awareness of touch and the moment of touch. And singing in particular means getting the body into the right concentrated shape for each note. I suspect that’s not exactly what’s meant here though….
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I try to be true to the work itself and hope that I can learn something from it both in itself and in the process of making it. My hope is that then someone else can take something from it - possibly something completely different from my own interpretation/feeling.
I don’t go into things with a particular agenda or need to say something specific; rather, to find out something, which is gradually revealed through the cracks.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
The non-specifics of feeling, intuition and time.