SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Gee, Erin

Erin Gee
from Canada



Interview: 10 questions

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

I’ve been making music ever since I was small, I took piano lessons and taught myself guitar, and always loved singing. I obtained a degree in Music Education where I learned much about teaching choral techniques and classical singing, however I was too much of a dilettante to excel in any of the instruments I’ve picked up along the way. My original motivation to explore sound was an experience in my Catholic grade school, when a teacher told my class that scientists had discovered that all matter at its tiniest could be made of sound waves. This was used as a way to “prove” the Christian story of God’s voice creating the heavens and earth. Though I was a child full of spiritual doubts, I still had a fantastic imagination, and was gripped by the idea of a marriage between sound and matter. I wanted to understand music in a simultaneously emotional, fantastical, and scientific way, and I think I still do.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.
I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, which is a prairie province of Canada that contributes largely through agriculture, mining and forestry. I think that music education is quite good in Saskatchewan, whose school system is supportive of arts education. We have a university in Regina that is very open to inter-disciplinary partnerships in the arts, also offering classical music training as well as composition and electronic music courses. We have a small but very enthusiastic arts community with a lot of overlapping audiences. I feel that anyone possessing a lot of enthusiasm and drive has room to contribute to our community, that is very supportive.

3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
I am a visual artist that loves sound and composition, so I often add musical components to my installations as well as my robotic and video works. I also work as a VJ, and feel that it’s important to explore all ways of expanding the social and artistic space of sound.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?
My composition style is quite improvisational and experimental, I find that once I adopt a rigid structure or plan I usually stop listening, and it takes away from what inspires me.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?
I’m currently making work inside the University of Regina’s New Media Studio Lab (NMSL) which has a studio setup for 8-channel work, and uses Nuendo3 software. I also sometimes get inspired away from the studio so have grown to enjoy making spontaneous audio work with GarageBand on my MacBook.

6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?
I will never satisfy my curiousity in sound without being able to build sonic experiences rooted in social, emotional and physical interactions. There are so many ways to experience sound, but sometimes the simplicity of just listening can also be a beautiful and appropriate practice. I think that expansion and openness is a good place to go, so long as artistic integrity isn’t comprimised.

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
I will be building a body of audio work over the next year or so, I would like to see how the project speaks to me as it evolves before I know how to contextualize it.

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 work individually, however I have the support and input of many musician friends. I am currently collaborating with Freida Abtan (Montreal) on a joint video/audio project, and am looking forward to her input as a way of challenging my imagination. I do think I like the efficiency of independant work better, but am quite social and like the dynamic quality of having multiple inputs.

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

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?
I am working on a series of choral pieces to be disseminated as video. I will be multiplying a single singer’s image as a way of acknowledging complex internal dialogues surrounding the topic of “self love”. Though the songs will be thought of by myself as “love songs” I don’t think they will sound like typical ones and may not be recognizable as such.

out of competition:
Can works of yours experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where? – Personal website – My work is included in an online publication of new media – I am one of four founding members of an audio collective in Regina, this is our website