Interview: Festival life and workshops with Rees Archibald

Our friend Aura Lomeikaitė got the chance to sit down with Rees Archibald recently to take an interview about his upcoming performance and workshops at this year’s Yaga Gathering festival which myself and Tim will be attending this weekend. We decided to share this short interview with you in the hopes that this type of music and way of thinking about sounds will be interesting to some of you. Even though this type of music is not really my sort of thing, I found his ideas fascinating and I’m looking forward to attend his workshop. Over to Aura.

Interview with Rees Archibald

How long have you lived in Lithuania? And what do you think about this country?
I lived here for about 6 months and really do like it here. I wanted to come here, because I’ve visited this country before and I liked the people a lot. Its a good place to do things, to do events, people have a lot of energy and it is a good place to make some good friends.

What is music and sound to you?
I spend a lot of my time trying to find the a differences between music and sound. It’s a very big question if you think about it. John Cage once said that “music is organised production of sounds” and, to me this definition is enough for me. I’m interested in listening and listening to a lot of sounds not just musical notes, and I want to listen in a way, which is open. Often if you want to hear traditional musical performances you want to remove a lot of noise, but I find wider combinations more interesting for me. In the 21 century we have had electrical and electronic ways to make sounds and this means that we have had the chance to include a lot of types of sounds in our music. Our creativity is much more open idea these days. I am happy to keep it very open.

Your workshop will be about “hearing” and “listening”. What is the difference?
It’s another big question. I’m not sure, maybe we could focus on listening rather than hearing. I am not really ready right now to make some big statements on difference between them.

In the workshop I want to develop an idea that listening is something you do with your entire body. If you want to pay attention to something and really focus on something, I think people find that they are actually paying attention with they entire body. For me listening in a very deep way, It’s a physical way of paying attention. It could be a great way to focus your concentration and attention. In a modern world our attention is split in many ways, we are moving very quickly and using this idea of listening we could really concentrate deeply on some particular experiences.

How can we learn to hear all the sound surrounding us?
We hear the sound with our ears, but we pay attention and concentrate to certain things using our bodies. I think if you just leave your brain and your mind to itself, it can move quickly between different things and you find yourself thinking about something else without realising it. I think the idea about listening is similar to a form of meditation. It’s a focused way of paying attention to something. Walking could be a meditation if you do it in a certain way and also listening. It is something you develop by practicing also it is nice to do it with other people and talk about your experiences. You can practice in different ways. One way to practice might be to listen to all sounds around you, and to pick one sound and then really listen carefully to that sound, and maybe you could find another sounds as well. This is one way to practice, listen for one sound and in other way trying to focus to all sounds.

Also You will present lecture about sound in different cultures. Can You compare Lithuanian and any other cultures? Maybe we need to learn something from others?
I want to speak about the idea of musical sounds and noise. Talking about traditional Lithuanian music and generally European music, the instruments are the main source of sounds and in some other countries you have less of a problem with other sounds. Other cultures might find other combinations of sounds beautiful for example. I have had a lot of experience with Japanese music, I lived there 4 years and studied traditional music and traditional ideas. Instruments make a lot of noise, but also it is truly beautiful when music is combined with sounds of nature like wind or insects. Its considered very beautiful in Japan, but it is very different from european culture.

Maybe You would like to say or give a message for those attending Yaga? Its Your chance to send them a message.
They should come along to the Concept stage it promises a good experience and big variety of interesting people. It would be great if people want to join my workshops about listening, and also by using small microphones and telephones to record sounds and then create compositions. That will be over two days, only 30 people maximum could join in so they should register if they want to be part of it.

“Yaga Gathering 2016” festival will take place from July 28 to August 1 in the Ežeraitis forest, near the Spengla Lake and spring in Varėna district (Lithuania).

Photo by: Artūras Bulota.

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