It has often been mentioned that "the future of music is in live". What's your perspective on this? What kind of unique experiences does a concert experience continue to offer to this day?
Definitely for Echo the future is in creating experiences, not just concerts. There are so many ways of experiencing music in recorded formats that’s amazing, often from the comfort of your own home. But an experience that involves the crowd, the space, the design of the night, in addition to the music is something that that feels special and worthy of spending a lot of time building.
Can festivals or concert spaces survive just by presenting music these days? What's your take on extra-musical concepts like presentations, discussions, art exhibitions and the like as an enrichment of your musical program?
I think extra-musical concepts really help to deepen the experience and impact of music and art, and add insight and perspective. In terms of whether or not spaces can survive by just presenting music, I suppose time will be decider of that.
How do you see the relationship between music and the location it's performed at? What are special characteristics of your concert space, would you say?
Acoustics for one play a role in how the music is experienced. We often discuss the acoustic signature of a space early on and that influences how we write. Beyond that, every space has a personality, vibe and history. To play off that is fun and adds depth to both the music and the space.
How would you define what differentiates a successful live performance from a poor one? What can artists do from your point of view to improve their live act?
I think live performances are best when they are experiences that can’t be had online or with a recording/taping. If I’m seeing a concert that’s just people on stage playing the same thing I hear in a record, I suppose I’m left wanting more exploration, something daring and alive that I can’t get in a recorded medium.
Having an intention or design to the performance that can add a new level of experience is something I find really interesting.
Live performances are often considered as one-way forms of communication. In which way, however, can an audience actively contribute to them as well?
I think we’re asking ourselves this very question in Echo. Our starting place is to simply ask the audience to have an open mind about what they’re about to experience and encourage them to stay after the concert to connect. We’re really excited about the idea of creating community, not just holding concerts. It’s about the entire experience, not just playing music.
The role of the arts is always subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of the arts today and how do you try to meet these goals in your own work?
Enormous question, and one I am often asking myself within the context of Echo as well as my own work. I think art is something that can say more than words. It can transmit enormous ideas with something very small or simple.
I think art is a tool, and what you task it with is dependent on the artist’s intentions. Art is something that can help people transcend suffering, it can inspire people to overcome blocks, it can heal, it can bring a greater level of feeling alive. Through music I’ve had so many experiences of feeling a deeper connection to life, to myself, to others, to the world. If I can be part of anything that provides anything close to the impact I’ve felt from other people’s music, I’d be humbled.
Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases and more and more live performances in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today?
Music is so pervasive nowadays. I often think that we are over-saturated with it. It’s on our phones, workplaces, cars, restaurants, shops, gyms, bars. It’s everywhere. We’re music-addicts. I like silence a lot these days. The pervasiveness of music makes me appreciate silence and natural sounds more and more.
I think it’s also an incredible time of creativity in music and there’s really no limits or boundaries in terms of what people can create. So from that standpoint it’s incredibly exciting.
On the downside, YouTube, Spotify and other streaming services that offer listeners music for free or for pennies is really disheartening as it continues to train people that music is something they should get for free. That being said there are so many people in the world right now making decent livings in the music industry. It may not be from record sales like it used to be, but there are a lot of people figuring it out.
I think this is also what is making music experiences so valuable and part of what we’re doing with Echo. We’re not making something you can experience by listening to online or watching a video of. It’s a living, in person experience. And all of this is the continuing evolution of art and music.
The notion of standards in the music industry is something that used to be in place for decades. As the speed of technological “advancement” increases, we’re challenged to increase our own rate of evolution to keep up.