SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Lo, Edwin

Edwin Lo
Chinese artist – Hong Kong



Interview: 10 questions

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

What I’ve done is not about music; I rather prefer to say making “sound”. Before I start to produce sound works, I keen at listening different kinds of music in my teenage, such as avant-grade, experimental, classical or jazz etc. The significant moment of starting to focus in sound art was the time I took a sonic art course in my university, City University of Hong Kong, School of Creative Media. Since I have to submit a sound project at the end of the course, I started to explore in this way. Since then, I am amazed with different kinds of sound and related experiences, which I never opened up before. Sound experiences often push me to think and in response to our environment by making sound works.

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

Hong Kong is a strange place somehow (and sometimes, I hate it). Everything is full of insensitivity and recent years, everything run so fast, out of my expectation. The living environment changes so fast, the conflict between new and old is very obvious which the government tries to eliminate the old parts in the name of “development”. So, what is the so-called “development” anyway? Clearly, the government doesn’t have any urban planning of our living environment.

I don’t have any education of music, totally. I had music lessons in my secondary school and also, I also tired to learn bass guitar in my teenage period. Even though it seems that I have a certain “musical training”, I really can’t learn anything about music completely. That’s somehow frustrating, but I accept this truth…

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

Making sound doesn’t my profession at all. I work with sound aiming for understanding my environment and responding to my thoughts on sound.

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

I mainly use some simple sound editing softwares right now and also, for live performance, I use Ableton Live to do so. But, for me, before talking about the softwares or hardwares I am using, I have to open up my ears to listen: Listen first, then you think and re-listen, then you record it down. Sometimes, when I hear something by chance, I also use my recorder to record the sound I am listening.

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

I don’t have any budget to buy my equipment since I still don’t have any jobs right now. I only have Zoom H4 and my computer to achieve what I want to do.

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

The advancement of the technology really makes a great progression of music production. In the example of Max/MSP/Jitter, these softwares almost can do whatever you want. Everything in the production is very continent, fast and effective. However, the attitude behind the technology is the important part. Since everything comes easily, you have to think twice behind the technology, what is the point of using this technology?

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

I am also in doubt about that.

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 don’t have much co-operation with other artists. I had collaboration of live performance for two times. For me, working with others can be more interesting, especially in live performance, there is something you can’t predict until you are playing in the show. Of course, I also want to develop some projects with other sound artists, especially in field recordings…sharing different kinds of recordings of different places will be very exciting and interesting.

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

The first name come to my mind is Fransisco Lopez. Undoubtedly, he is a very influential figure in sound art and what makes me interested in his works is the praxis of his philosophy and his works. You have to read his writings and listen his recordings for getting the whole picture of his world. Second one is John Cage, who is a Zen master rather than a composer that makes me inspired in the early stage of my artistic path.

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

Well, my dream is, of course I should have some financial support of being a sound artist. (That’s important, especially in Hong Kong; you can’t keep the money problem out of your mind.) In short term, I don’t have any plan, but I would like to prefer a sound journey if I get some support form organization or someone. I hope I can get some more sound experiences other than Hong Kong. At the same time, I hope I can develop some projects whatever individual or collaboration…