SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Ausherman, Stephen

Stephen Ausherman [Jetty Jack X5]
US sound artist


Interview: 10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
When I began working with video in 2005, I relied on collaborators for soundtracks. I was fascinated with what they could do with audio and wanted to learn how to manipulate my own recordings.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

I learned how to mix sound by watching musicians and sound artists. I don’t have elaborate equipment like they do, so I just started experimenting with whatever free software programs I could find.

3. Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?

I continue to create soundtracks for my videos by remixing the sounds I capture in field recordings. Jetty Jack X5, my work in SoundLAB, was my first attempt to create a soundscape that could stand on its own, without video.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

I use both sound and video as abstract representations of the subject of my field recordings. I know how I want certain things to sound, but it’s a long process of trial and error to get it right.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

The original source of my sound is the native audio captured on site during field recordings. I still rely on free software programs to change the audio into an emotional interpretation of the site.

6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?

New Media is an essential component in music production for most artists, myself included.

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

I rely on grants and fellowships for artist, and on arts residency programs.

8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?
If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

Preference depends on whether the project calls for something more elaborate than what I’m capable of producing. As a sound artist, I’m growing more independent, but I usually encourage collaboration from other artists and participation from the general public.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?

My primary influence is sound artist Hideki Kanno. He was the first to encourage me to experiment with digital video and sound to expand my mode of expression.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a sound artist or musician?

I’m always looking for unconventional venues for video installations. My most recent one was in a shack out on the dunes of Cape Cod. It didn’t have electricity, so creating and projecting video with sound was a real challenge there. I’m looking for more opportunities like that.

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