SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Whittaker, Jake

Jake Whittaker (UK)
is a UK based soundartist

  • 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 think my first piece of sound art was in 2001 during my studies at college. I was looking into growth patterns and became interested in the Fibbonacci sequence. This led to a series of computer-generated sound works using numbers from the sequence to dictate timing and pitch.

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

    I live in a small cottage near the town of Cardigan in West Wales, UK. I have little formal music education beyond the obligatory recorder playing in primary school.

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

    My main profession is as a filmmaker and graphic designer (Websites, Book covers etc). My sound work is created live in the studio and as live performance for events and installations. I recently transplanted my studio to Devon as an installation for the “9 Days of Art”.

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

    Experimentation and improvisation is key to my work. Work is produced live using found objects, mainly old record players and vinyl records. Compositions are improvised generally using randomly selected source material and using the faults of the hardware as compositional devices.

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

    Almost all the equipment I use has been found or donated. Most, therefore, have problems. I endeavour to use the objects, as much as is possible, in the state in which they are found allowing the faults to influence the construction and tone of the work. Minimal repairs and adaptations are made occasionally in order to get a sound out of a device and to allow it to go through a mixer to get a recording. These are done with minimal electronics i.e. disconnecting internal speakers and connecting a headphone jack output.

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

    For me personally new media developments allow me to share my work with a wider audience. Beyond that I use very few digital devices in the production of work. I use editing software merely to divide live recordings, adjust volumes and fade in and out.

    7) How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I have a good friend and patron who generously sponsors the cost of my studio. Mainly my work is self financed and occasionally subsidised by grant funding for specific projects.

    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?

    Both. For the last two years I have been working with singer and composer Lou Laurens on a project examining the traditions and changing role of the Chapel in Welsh culture and community. This ongoing project includes photography and drawing as well as sound and video. I find working with a singer and choir leader both challenging rewarding and look forward to more collaborations with other artists.

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

    I have always had a strong interest in music of all kinds; I’d say my main influences are John Cage, Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Philip Jeck, Zoviet France…& so many more!

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

    I hope to continue to make a noise. Having had a very interesting response to the recent studio transplant I hope to find new ways of opening my work up to the public, to allow the audience greater interaction and influence. I am currently working on a short film based on my studio practice and hopefully finishing soon. Next year will also see further development of the Chapel project with Lou.