SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Cargill, Chelsea

Chelsea Cargill
UK based artist

  • artist biography
  • example of soundart


    Interview: 10 questions

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

    I started to make music about six years ago while I was attending night classes in classical music composition. At the time I enjoyed writing atonal and modal music for piano but also for voice. A few years later I set up a studio at home and began recording, where my styles broadened to encompass ambient pop and electronica.

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

    I live in Edinburgh, Scotland and have done for a number of years. I have never attended music college but instead studied in my spare time while I was working. I was also lucky enough to have had piano lessons from the age of seven, which I was fairly ambivalent towards at the time but has made all of this possible.

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

    I have earned money from writing theatre soundtracks to date, particularly for puppet and community theatre shows, which has surprised and gladdened me. Sadly it has not been enough money to keep me in the lifestyle to which I would like to become accustomed….

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

    I write quite intuitively but use my knowledge of theory and harmony to structure a piece once I have inspiration and have been able to set down some ideas. Often improvisation provides me with fresh ideas, although I occasionally work from a text if I want a reference point.

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

    I have a number of instruments including my upright piano, MIDI keyboard, accordion, acoustic and electric guitars, melodica and 1980s bontempi keyboard (my favourite). I record straight onto PC using Nuendo software and make extensive use of many plugins I have tracked down from the internet or been gifted by friends over the past few years. I sometimes use VST instruments or else transform the sound I am using through effects such as Pluggo or GRM Tools.

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

    I feel it is much easier for my music to reach an audience. Also I love being able to work with plugins and effects as the possibilities are endless. It means you are effectively able to create new instruments and play them.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I have worked on soundtracks but my own music is essentially financed by myself… and the government who bought me my mixing desk one time when I had been unemployed for a while.

    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?

    I tend to work individually but also like to collaborate. I would like to find more people to collaborate with, including visual artists and filmmakers.

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

    Lately I have been transfixed by Bjork’s soundtrack to the film Drawing Restraint, with its beautiful instrumentation and vocal textures. I am most moved by the music of Arvo Part; particularly Fratres.

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

    I long for my obscure and wistful style of music to be suddenly recognized as being deeply commercial… after which I would have the means of buying the harmonium I have always wanted. My collection of instruments would then be situated in a studio apartment in New York, where I would be surrounded by musical and artistic collaborators who love my style of ambient classical-electronica.

    Some of my work is available to listen to on