SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Whetham, Simon

Simon Whetham

  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

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

    I started making music at 17 learning drums and then guitar in the same year, joining three bands in one year! I’ve played and sung in bands for almost 20 years, however soundtrack music interested me around 6 years ago. This led to being invited to compose a soundtrack for an exhibition based on a trip to Iceland last December. During the trip I took field recordings of ice floes, rivers, waterfalls,etc. and listening back to them, realized I already had the soundtrack. My interest in field recordings increases as I become involved in more projects.

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

    I am self-taught in every area of performing music, recording and production. I suppose I use instinct more than an educated ear. As for my living environment I share a house and my life with the painter Kathryn Thomas.

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

    I create ‘sound art’ rather than music these days, and it’s something I’d love to make a living from, but at the moment I’m a self-employed model maker and website designer.

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

    I usually scout around an area before I record, to get a feel for how sound works in the environment. Then I record everything I can, as you never know what can and can’t be used when building a piece. When working on tracks I try to lead the listener somewhere, to take them on a journey of discovery, to notice something they would normally miss.

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

    My recordings improve as I acquire more sophisticated equipment. I use a Marantz PMD660 to record, in conjunction with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic and I have just invested in some C-Ducer contact mics.

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

    I don’t understand what you’re asking. If you mean will software based studios last , I think they’ve already taken over! I began recording and producing relatively recently, so software is the medium I know.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    Up until now all my work has been self-produced and self-financed.

    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, and I’m easy either way – although the good thing when collaborating is to get, and give, feedback.

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

    On my music? I suppose people like Chris Watson, Eric La Casa and Lawrence English are influential as they are recognized artists within this field.

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

    As I said before, I would love the opportunity to make a living from sound art, to travel the world doing this, to collaborate with all types of artists. To raise the profile of sound art and make the public more aware of those artists out there would be a great achievement. I would also like to move into the area of sound sculpture.