SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Hight, Jeremy

Jeremy Hight
US media 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 bought a Casio Sk1 sampling keyboard at 15. It was the first inexpensive sampler. I learned to sample static and distort it into orchestral music. I found ways to work with its limitations and errors.
    Just before its battery died it would radically distort its noises and sounds and I could sample it then boost the power back up and play this bent music out of it. I began experimenting with layering types of music at this time as well (what people know call mash ups…….it was just
    interesting to see what layers could go together and which had a nice tension to it). I wanted to play music, but also increasingly grew fascinated with shaping and observing shapes of sound.

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

    I am self taught. I play many types of percussion, compose and play keyboards. I have performed live but prefer working in home studios. I also do locative media and new media art and find that music is a way to work with form and shapes and concepts but not in the same way as my other work. The nicest learning curve has been playing with parameters, errors
    and composing in many forms to get feels for different types of music and pattern forms.

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

    I had an odd moment years ago where I was on track to possibly get a big record deal with more traditional electronica in a group but now prefer to focus on work for my own enjoyment, experimentation and curiosity. My work recently has been in a festival, in a show of work composed to brain scan patterns and played on an internet radio station.

    4. How do you compose or create music or sound?

    I use keyboards, drum machines, found sounds and loops. I have been wanting to compose an orchestral work entirely made of percussion instruments and have an idea for a work that essentially is the blob of sound and all types of music forms emerging and retreating within a large analog shifting analog and noise soundscape/composition composed both as classical in the sense of movements/dynamics and of sound shape forms’ interaction. Also looking to do more compositions composed entirely of signal and recording errors.

    Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

    Yes and no. The old saying is “you have to learn the rules to break them”. Not sure if that applies to everyone but has in my work. Interested in microtonal work. Interested in seeing sounds as shapes and sort of structuraly composing as though working with colorforms or graphic design. Grew frustrated with the absurd gates between types of electronic music and their definitions when it often is a simply matter of bpm alteration…brighter sounds…..amount of distortion in signal or editing. Interested in polyrhythms pushed into classical composition and all the established tropes such as musique concrete.

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

    Not really a gearhead. Use keyboards, drum machines, sound editing software and found sounds. Also play many types of percussion instruments and cans, microwaves, sheets of metal, dishwashers and especially half full large water bottles (makes possible 7 or 8 complex rhythm patterns at once by parts of finger and hand and brush techniques with sliding of hand and varying pressures as well as patterns ….hard to explain…).

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

    Amazing possibilities. Researching work with sound in tandem with images and narrative as ways to “read” spaces with gps in a 3d sense of immersion. The work can change with elevation and position and tells of place in a way that can be quite interpretive or informational. The sound part essentially creates a possibility to compose on the fly based on the shapes of cities and landscapes of the world and one’s interaction in real time. Discussed this as a remote speaker at the ISEA festival.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    Out of pocket. Like everything. Would love more grant money for sound work or any new media or locative work but here in america it currently is pretty grim in this area.

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

    Have collaborated several times but prefer to work alone. Collaboration can be amazing and intuitive and can really push two or more sort of personal constellations of influence and interest in a push/pull central point in interesting ways. The problem is that it also can be just that.
    Would love to collaborate again soon but have been too busy and so have worked a lot solo. Some future projects need collaboration and others need to be done solo it seems.

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

    Wow. Where to start…….First heard Kraftwerk at 13 when home room teacher was the wacky artist at school (mind of course blown). Looked into the history of experimental electronic music for years and love the work of the first synths, of the cut ups, of tape loop experiments, of musique concrete. Love Bruce Haack. Loved how drum and bass brought percussion into the forefront of electronic composition while at the same time mutating it.

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

    Plan to try to do extreme microtonal work like a symphony on a postage stamp. Looking at reading spaces with sound and locative media.
    Planning a project that tries to create soundscapes to interpret empty spaces within architectural forms and how these spaces also resonate symbolically.

    A couple of links:

    Digital Museum of Modern Art
    “Brain Scan Movies”

    Musique Trove
    Espace Sonorite