SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Bates, Nat

Nat Bates
from Australia

  • artist biography
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    Interview : 10 questions

    1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

    As a teenager in high school I started a rock band, teaching myself to play drums – mostly to impress girls. Gradually moving from drums to bass, to guitar and vocals, through various bands, I eventually ended up working with sampling and electronics because I was interested in exploring other ways of making music.

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

    I live and work in a small studio/apartment in Melbourne Australia. I started a degree in Media Arts in 1998 and am now doing my PhD in Sound Art. I also teach sound within a multimedia course.

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

    Music doesn’t make me any money. I produce music for my studies and in my ‘spare time’.

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

    I mostly improvise around a basic concept. I’m interested in reducing music down to essential sonic elements and building from there. I use repetition, texture, and timbre much more than melody and harmony.

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

    I work mostly with a sampler. From field recordings and other sources I take small audio samples and use them as building blocks to improvise with. I also use studio equipment like mixing desks, EQ and effects units and perform on them as if they are musical instruments.

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

    New Media doesn’t mean anything to me. The technology I use is mostly ten years old or more. Even the ideas I am working with are not particularly new.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I occasionally get government grants to produce my work but generally it costs more money than it makes. Studying allows me to stay in touch with my peers and the sound culture I’m interested in.

    8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?

    I work mostly on my own. I also work in a duo from time to time.

    If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
    I am fussy about what sound I produce so working on my own is easiest. Of course, working with someone else can also be inspiring and invigorating, but I prefer the freedom to do what I want when I want.

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

    Musique Concrète (particularly Bernard Parmegiani, Pierre Henry), minimalism (particularly Steve Reich, Glenn Branca), Krautrock and No Wave (particularly Neu!, Wire and Suicide)

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

    Keep working on my various projects that include a film soundtrack, studio albums and live performances.

    out of competition:
    Can works of yours experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where?
    List some links & resources