SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Kaczor, Neil

Neil Kaczor
London based soundartist

  • artist biography
  • his soundart pieces are part of Edition IV
    extract VIII in the air suspended II

    bio at the end of the page—>


    Interview : 10 questions

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

    I began composing when I was around 10 years old. I remember first being captivated by music played to us in lessons at school and I guess, as I discovered more (primarily on recordings and the radio), I began to write my own, emulating composers’ styles with whom I identified. I was also a chorister and this probably had the most impact on my musical sensibility; I composed reams of choral and organ music, which was occasionally performed to an often-bemused congregation. Later, after I first heard electronic music, I acquired a ‘60’s Ampex 7 track ¼ inch reel-to-reel tape machine and began to create my own tape pieces.
    As for motivation, I am compelled to write/create music, it is an extension of my being.

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

    I am based in London after coming here to study at the Royal College of Music; my composition professors there were Anthony Milner and Timothy Salter. After the RCM I went on to study electroacoustic composition at City University with Dr. Simon Emmerson.

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

    Although I compose full-time (commissions, pieces for dance, theatre, soundtracks as well as pieces at my own instigation) I am not able to earn a living from writing music alone so I do other work – anything from archivist work to set building & dressing for photo shoots.

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

    I have a few approaches to composition – for example, if I have the luxury of time and not up against a deadline, I write in quite an ‘organic’ way, everything is derived and developed from a particular harmonic progression or intervallic relationship. The same could be said about the way I build sounds in my electroacoustic works.
    I am often asked to work to a specified brief and enjoy exploring juxtapositions of different musical styles or sounds, which I then ‘assemble’ in the manner of a mosaic. I also like to recreate the accidental results you experience when hearing multiple pieces played simultaneously (à la Cage).

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

    I write for many different instruments but I’m particularly fond of the piano, alto flute, bass clarinet, ‘cello and of course, the voice. My studio is PC based – I use Sibelius for notation, Cubase, MaxMSP, Pluggo and GRM Tools amongst others for electroacoustic productions. I also have samplers, some synthesizers, a 24 track mixing desk, DAT and not forgetting the Ampex reel-to-reel.

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

    The democratisation of music making afforded by new technology and the Internet can only be a good thing. For myself, I like the comparative ease of control a composer has over the production/manipulation of sound and the dissemination of material to a wider audience without the need of the music industry.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I’m open to all offers! Seriously, I am very lucky to have my own studio space which is self-financed and a network of supporting friends/musicians, so it actually costs very little to create a piece.

    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 in both ways – in a group, it’s obviously more fun; you gain insight into the practice of others, their ideas, solutions etc., which then informs your own. The collaborative process is enormously rewarding, especially with artists from other disciplines. I enjoy working on my own also, but I think a healthy mix of the two is best.

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

    There are so many to mention, most things I listen to or experience have influenced me to some extent or another. Luigi Nono, Francois Bayle, Gerard Grisey, Tristan Murail, Nino Rota are some that immediately spring to mind…….

  • Can works of yours experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where?
  • Website:
    Myspace page:
    Link to audio file of In Memoriam:
    Link to electroacoustic & instrumental works:…in_the_air_suspended_and_other_works_1991_2006

  • List some links & resources
  • Collaborators:
    Riccardo Iacono
    Mark Hardy
    Sexton Ming
    Aiden Shaw
    Nina Silvert
    Donald Urquhart
    Marc Wayland