DMSA Feature: Anthea Clarke

Going by the moniker ‘I Am Fya’, Anthea who is about to start on her final year of the DMSA course, is a performer and experimental artist who uses field recordings layered with her voice and bold beats. We’re talking to her this month about her work including her recently ACE funded project ‘Heavy Flow’.

Three words that describe you as a creative person?

AC: Honest Badass Explorer

When did you start working with sound and music?

AC: Oh, it feels like a million years ago! I was always writing little poems and songs when I was a kid. I would listen to the radio and record stuff randomly on my cassette recorder. Bits of songs and talking, adverts etc. Then I would re-record bits onto another tape and make these weird little soundscapes. I was sampling but I had no idea what sampling was at that time, I wish I’d kept those tapes. I always knew I would end up singing, which I did for many years over other people’s beats before attempting to make my own beats around 15 years ago. I was gifted a little Zoom drum machine which gave me so much freedom to express, and I’ve been making music with machines ever since.

 

In what ways has the DMSA course supported or helped you to develop into who you are today creatively and professionally?

AC: The course has been everything I hoped it would be. I applied for uni during one of the early lockdowns. In the first few weeks, I was making the odd beat and singing a little but that eventually stopped. I was spending a lot of time on my own & my motivation to create art dwindled. I also had quite heavy personal problems and I was getting intoxicated daily. I had a moment of clarity where I thought “yo, you are not living up to your full potential”. I felt that although I had achieved lots of amazing things and had awesome opportunities in my life I was once again, stuck in a rut. Having all that time to think made me reassess everything, I did an online search and found this course. It sounded right up my street. I am self-taught and I had been producing my own music for quite some time, but I really wanted to up my game and try new things, get a bit weirder and more experimental. I figured I would be the oldest student on the course, which I am but it felt like a now or never situation. I had some anxiety about academia, so I always told myself that I wasn’t smart enough or, ‘too this’, or ‘not enough of that’ for university. The pandemic really made me realise that I was holding myself back, so I put my fears aside and it turns out I’m quite good at it! The course gave me the confidence to free myself up a bit. The structure, assignments and deadlines are also good for me because I’m ADHD gang and I can procrastinate and become overwhelmed at the thought of getting on with stuff. I have a lot of respect for the tutors who have been incredibly supportive. And the other students are bunch of legends, I have new friends who I would never have met otherwise, I’m grateful for the new connections and the support. It has been positive for me in many ways. This course saved me actually. It sounds dramatic but it’s true.

 

 

Can you tell us a few words about your recent project ‘Heavy Flow’?

AC: I sing professionally and I was on tour with another artist, we stayed in a brand new 5 star Hilton Hotel in Edinburgh. I was on my period and this huge ass building did not have any sanitary products. I was so upset, I cried at the reception. The staff (all women) didn’t help and acted like I was asking for some crazy thing they’d never heard of, it was weird. That night I announced to a band mate, “right, I’m gunna write a banger about periods because this ting is not a dirty secret” and started writing Heavy Flow that same night. I was angry, like…..can we normalise talking about this thing that half the population experience once a month?  It’s not an angry song though, it celebrates what our bodies can do and speaks of our connection to ancestors, the earth and nature.

So that’s how the project started, there’s only one song about periods though lol but one song led to another, and I made a kind of epic (as yet unreleased) album. I recently received arts council funding to develop a Heavy flow live show, which I have made a start on. But I need more funding to make it a reality so keep everything crossed for me.

What are your plans for the near future? 

AC: While I was in Barbados, caring for my parents during the various lockdowns I recorded a lot of sounds on my phone.  I used household objects as instruments, secretly recorded my family or friends speaking or singing, documented tons of environmental sounds, nature, birds, noisey a&e waiting rooms and noisey car rides. The first songs that I made from these sounds were created for uni assignments while I was doing my first year of uni online. The songs are really special to me as they document the development of my new direction. The songs are so different to what I was doing before uni.

I am joining forces with Rosehill Records who will be releasing this project which is now called Homeland.  I’ve never worked with a label before. I’ve been performing in their venue in Brighton for years, and they are all like family to me now so I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together.

 

I will also be releasing some merch, t-shirts and vinyl, and as I make clothing, and I’ll be designing and making some super special one-off pieces.

I’m itching to do some collaborations so I’m plotting this with a couple of talented souls.  And just do lots more gigs, continue evolving as a human and as an artist and keep making cool shit basically. Oh, and smash the shit out my final year at uni.

 

Anthea will be releasing ‘Homelands’ on Rose Hill Records

The first single Consciousness is out on 30/9/22

Single Launch Party at the Rosehill on Friday 30th September / 7pm / free entry (but ticketed)

https://iamfya.com/

https://www.instagram.com/iamfyamusic/

 

DMSA Feature: Afred Isaac

Alfred Isaac has just graduated from our course with his incredible record and performance ‘When You Stormed My Castle’ which won him the 2022 Ithaca Prize. We catch up with him about his plans to release his debut album and other endeavours.

DMSA: Three words that describe you as a creative person?

AI: Instinctual, Solitary, Haphazard 

DMSA: When did you start working with sound and music?

AI: I started playing my first instrument, the violin, when I was a kid. I continued to pick up and play various instruments such as guitar and piano but when it came to practicing I always enjoyed writing my own melodies or songs more than working on my set grade pieces. I had always struggled and disliked working on computers and I had no idea how to record or produce until I was 19.  At 19 I lived with a few DJ’s and producers and quickly realised that my frustration of only being able to write songs on guitar and never fully realise them was due to me not using a computer, DAW and audio interface. After purchasing the items I required my true career and path in music started to take shape. 

DMSA: In what ways has the DMSA course supported or helped you to develop into who you are today creatively and professionally?

DMSA was not the first University course I attended. When joining the course I found it to be incredibly different to what I had previously experienced, there were unlimited avenues to navigate down and no restrictions on how I tackled them. The free and open attributes of the course and tutors is exactly what I needed and my previous course had lacked this. I went into DMSA very doubtful of what I wanted to do in music, my faith in my songwriting had diminished and I joined the course looking for other paths I could take. During the first two years I went down those paths with the set modules, finding interest in many different areas within the music industry. In my final year all this knowledge and guidance from the tutors took me back to having confidence in my songwriting but now with a wider knowledge and range of skills than I had previously had and with a new sense to experiment and push the boundaries of my chosen field. Being in a classroom of students who may become Sound Artists, Engineers, Producers, Composers, Songwriters or all of the above gave me perspective and knowledge that, I believe, is uncontested and purely a product of the course’s nature to allow the student to take any or all paths with no prejudice to them. 

DMSA allowed me to develop myself into who I am as a creative and professional today becoming a performer, songwriter and producer. 

DMSA: Can you tell us a few words about When You Stormed My Castle?

AI: “When You Stormed My Castle” is my first ever album that I have created. The album was created in my final year at Uni and involves a mixture of electronic and live instruments that accompany my vocals and lyrics with an emphasis on how the voice interacts with synthesizers. The lyrics are based on self growth, relationships and conflict that stem from my perspective of trying to understand the people close to me. At first an album was all that would have been achieved but with some convincing from my tutor Johanna, it turned into a performance. The performance is an impactful solo show using lighting projections created by fellow students Stephen Samaniego and Wolfgang Dubieniec. I am playing multiple instruments during the performance and singing as well.

The first single “Truths” is out 29/8/2022.

The album will be out at the end of 2022/early 2023.

DMSA: What are your plans for the near future? 

AI: I am moving to London to pursue my career as a solo artist and will be booking gigs and events where I can perform my album and gain a stronger following. During this time I will be mixing, mastering and self releasing singles from my album with the first, “Truths” coming out on the 29th of August 2022. The album will be released at the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023 and will be accompanied by a limited run of merchandise and physical platforms. I will also be continuing to mix and master for current and new clients, trying to always improve and obtain the vision for their own music.

Contact;

alfred@alfredisaac.com

www.alfredisaac.com

@alfred_isaaac

Stephen Mallinder – Cover Star of Electronic Sound Magazine

DMSA’s own Dr Stephen Mallinder is the cover star of the August 2022 edition of Electronic Sound Magazine.

https://electronicsound.squarespace.com/shop/p/issue-91 

“You find us in the Grand Parade Cafe & Canteen at Brighton University’s City campus. The seaside is just down there and a short stroll that way is the city centre. On the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows, the quadrangle is starting to fill with the lunchtime hubbub of students.

Some of them will be on the Digital Music and Sound Arts degree course, one of the tutors of which is Stephen Mallinder. That’ll be Dr Mallinder to you. His PhD thesis, ‘Movement: Journey Of The Beat’, addresses “the trajectory and transition of popular culture through the modality of rhythm”. He’s also written academic papers and articles tackling subjects like the music of second-tier cities, the night-time economy, collaborative soundscapes, and the changing perceptions of music practices. It’s unusual to find such an influential artist deconstructing their own work and experiences in this rigorous way. But then Mallinder is not your usual anything […]”

“My morning is spent tagging along with Mal as he does the rounds, like a doctor. A disco doctor. We flit in and out of recording studios, workshops and live spaces, the echoey corridors and staircases buzzing with students many of them getting ready for the final year degree shows, while passing colleagues briefly stop for a chat and a joke.

In one lab, we find a pile of children’s electronic toys with the guts ripped out of them, their sounds cards being hacked for making very different sorts of noise. We crash an MA tutorial and meet a student who has been working on a concept using the massive reverb in the disused oil tanks at the Inchindown Fuel Depot, an abandoned military storage facility near Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands.

It seems incongruous that this course exists alongside fine artists, illustrators, sculptors and printmakers. So my first question is, what exactly is a Digital Music and Sound Arts degree? “It’s an art course… but with sound” explains Mal as we head for the canteen. “Our second-year students are currently doing group work, for example, and we’ve got one lot using a corridor with speakers in the ceiling to create linear sound. There are groups working on spatialisation, immersive sound, resonance, and creating a performance with shortwave radio.”

You can see why he’s at home here. The ideas flying around aren’t far off the sort of thinking evident in the loft of Chris Watson’s house in Sheffield at the dawn of Cabaret Voltaire […]”

Sisters with Transistors: Q&A Jo Hutton

 

A big thank you to everyone who attended the Welcome Week screen of the film.

On behalf of DMSA a big thank you also to Jo Hutton who generously contributed to a Q&A about her involvement in the film, her personal practice, role at the BBC and her research into the significant women who shaped electronic music.

 

The broadcasts and follow up call out Jo mentioned are detailed in the links below:

Maida Vale recording at the weekend is with this group:

http://www.an-assembly.com/LCMF-2017

For this show:
I’ll let you know the date when I do…
Radiophrenia has an open call for submissions atm in case any of the students want to submit anything.

 

Graduates 2021: Andrea Hladikova: Digital Music and Sounds Arts MA

“I love combining different techniques in order to achieve the most accurate expression of my concept. I have always gravitated towards sound and music and when I learned more about this course and its experimental and often multimedia approach I decided to give it a shot and it was totally worth it!”

 

Hi Andrea – please tell us about your work and your influences

“Manami is an interactive fashion brand concept, using upcycled garments and NFC technology that is attached to every unique piece. This concept began as a response to the superficiality and anonymity of the fashion industry. There is a growing consciousness regarding the impact of endless consumption of clothing on our planet. The fashion industry currently produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply. (Insider, 2019) Treating clothes as an impersonal object results in a ‘collecting’ motivated mindset and automatically detaches the individual from their possessions. In order to reconnect the individual with the objects that surround them, I am creating an experience that carries a lot of personal and authentic elements, letting the viewer go further and think about those items differently.”

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“My time in Brighton was definitely very challenging due to lockdown and such unusual circumstances. However, I am very pleased with the experiences and the skills I have gained. Our tutors were very supportive throughout the entire year and I am very happy I have chosen to study here. I got a chance to expand my long-term project and truly learn the essential skills I needed. I had a lot of time and space to experiment and find the best way to form my ideas and bring them to life.”

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts?

“My background is mainly New Media/Digital Arts. I love combining different techniques in order to achieve the most accurate expression of my concept. I have always gravitated towards sound and music and when I learned more about this course and its experimental and often multimedia approach I decided to give it a shot and it was totally worth it!”

What are your plans after graduation?

“Since my final project works as a prototype that is going to be further developed after my studies,  I am aiming to establish an interactive fashion brand and build my career around that. I am very passionate about business as well so I find this to be the most suitable path for me.”

Take a look at a demonstration of the functionality, including sound pieces:

 

Visit Andrea’s exhibition website

Graduates 2021: Bob Smith: Digital Music and Sound Arts MA

“Coming from a science and engineering background I wanted a course that would allow me to focus those skills alongside an arts practice, and the new MA at DMSA seemed to fit the bill. The reputation of the lecturers and previous students too was a draw, the quality and breadth of work emerging from DMSA makes it a really exciting place to study.”

 

Hi Bob – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

“I am a coder music producer, hacker, data scientist, educator, VJ, DJ and immersive experience artist operating in a space that weaves spatial sound, education, technology, politics and electronic club culture, into art.”For my final piece I have created ‘ICU’, an immersive interactive sound installation made from a networked collection of interactive devices and custom software that renders data from the faces of the audience and their movements.

Watch the ICU installation trailer:

Watch an ICU example:

Watch a timelapse of the ICU installation set-up: 

“14 speakers and 3 screens surround the visitor with sound, light and images. A giant screen with abstract data towers over the visitor. An interactive scenario is projected on two screens that flank a camera reading the visitor’s facial expression. The left screen encourages the visitor to move while sharing their emotion. The right screen projects the extracted data of the visitor and reveals associated images and classifications.

“Synchronously the data harvested by the AI facial recognition system are sonified to reveal the secretive process at work. Sound is spatialised around the visitor, 9 ceiling speakers create a cloud of sound. 5 speakers at ear level create the data sonifications, producing an array of digital crackles and arpeggiated granular melodies.”The system exposes the classifications that allow this machine to understand what it sees. Sound is used to reveal these secretive processes; to create an experiential reflection of the workings of this technology.

“I have been influenced by several artists and researchers in the production of this work. Ryko Ikeda’s ‘Datamatics’ digital installations have been a real inspiration in the aesthetics of the work. The research of Kate Crawford (AI institute/ AI Atlas) and the Liquid Architecture (Eavesdropping) series have helped in the work’s conceptual grounding. My work builds upon the themes explored by those operating under the umbrella term of Surveillance Art such as Trevor Paglean and Jasmine Guffond.”

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“Personally the MA has been quite an intense but rewarding journey. As a mature student I chose to study part-time due to having a part time job working in music education and a family to support. With Covid happening and the children having to be homeschooled, time to study has been tight and at times has felt almost overwhelming. But the experience has been very rewarding and it’s not something I regret. The lecturers here have really helped me get the most out of what the course has to offer, and I have come away with so much experience and new skills. Initially I was not sure I could write a thesis again as it was twenty years between my undergraduate and the MA – but thanks to the help of my tutor and the structure of the course my approach to research is a skill that has definitely been refined. It is also something I can use day to day in my work moving forward.”

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study DMSA?

“I was looking for an experimental music and arts course to expand my practice from purely music and digital works into a more holistic arts practice. Coming from a science and engineering background I wanted a course that would allow me to focus those skills alongside an arts practice, and the new MA at DMSA seemed to fit the bill. The reputation of the lecturers and previous students too was a draw, the quality and breadth of work emerging from DMSA makes it a really exciting place to study.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“I look to continue my programming work with Charanga, a web based music teaching platform, that supported me through my MA. The software I wrote for my final project has some practical applications – such as a musical instrument for those with limited motor skills, and is something I look to explore as a way of helping musicians with physical disabilities. I also am looking to reinstall the final work at various venues around the UK and have applied for various residencies and conferences in the EU over the next year. I also am writing several workshops to teach some of the core concepts of web based audio work. During lockdown I had the opportunity alongside Camp.Fr to write a score ‘The Sound of Surveillance’. This went on to be a part of an essay of impossible scores ‘Hearing the Impossible’ published with Accidental Records last month. This trajectory of work is the inspiration for an E.P. based that hopefully will be finished and released by the end of the year.”

Graduates 2021: Alex Lewis-Whitaker: Digital Music and Sound Arts BA

“Many courses in this area seemed more focused on the technical considerations within a recording studio whereas Brighton allowed me to interpret the course how I wanted to and take it in my own direction. It was clear from attending the open day that there was an emphasis on pushing boundaries in terms of both content and format, so it was exciting to see how the initial ideas for my final project evolved, under the guidance of my tutors, into the multi-dimensional experience that it became.”

 

Hi Alex – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

“I am an audiovisual artist from south-west London, currently exploring the complications surrounding cultural identity in a globalised world and the necessity for a kind of truthful meta-culture within a multicultural society. My final project, Wɔpo, is a digital mindmap and live performance that illustrates a building of bridges between my ancestral lineages of British and Asante (Ghana). A portmanteau of the vocal-oriented ‘doo-wop’ music of mid-20th century African-American communities and ‘ɔpo’, the Asante-Twi word for ‘ocean’, Wɔpo seeks to amplify the voices of ancestors which (appear to) have been drowned out across the Atlantic passage. Despite a resolve to respond to these calls for ‘Sankofa’, whereby the wisdom of your ancestors becomes a guide for your future, Wɔpo makes light of such problems as ‘double-consciousness’ and the lack of writing systems that document sub-Saharan cultures from the emic viewpoint. It is a journey through ancient myth, religion, ritual, proverb, etymology, conspiracy, and diasporic history, narrated through an immersive and semi-improvisational multimedia performance. Though the performances have come to an end for now, the mindmap and clips from the performances will soon be accessible via the online degree show and my website.

“My preceding audiovisual project, Morgo, was recently broadcast as part of The Joyous Thing, hosted by the experimental music network Outlands, which was an exciting experience made possible thanks to my tutors and the DMSA network.”

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

“Over my time at Brighton I feel that I have matured much quicker than I would have otherwise, both as a person and as an artist. I have been lucky to receive so much attention from my tutors given the small scale of my course and their unwavering enthusiasm for advising all of us on our projects. My proximity to the sea, particularly throughout my third year, has also had a positive psychological effect while attempting to complete my work under what were frustrating unforeseen circumstances. The highlights of my time here include our ‘DMSA Night’ in second year, where I was given the opportunity to perform alongside my coursemates at Komedia, and more recently the final day of ‘private views’ for our final projects, which included a touching surprise celebration of our efforts, to round out our time here.

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts BA?

“Fine art had been my passion at school ever since I was little, and I continued with it at A-Level, but I wanted to add audio into my creative practice so I looked for courses that offered me the possibility of working in both the aural and visual realms. Many courses in this area seemed more focused on the technical considerations within a recording studio whereas Brighton allowed me to interpret the course how I wanted to and take it in my own direction. It was clear from attending the open day that there was an emphasis on pushing boundaries in terms of both content and format, so it was exciting to see how the initial ideas for my final project evolved, under the guidance of my tutors, into the multi-dimensional experience that it became.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“I will return to London and continue to play with this idea of ‘performing’ the research of my projects rather than presenting only the project itself, but in a more accessible format than the private views I did in the DMSA studios, such as adapting it for my YouTube channel. This research is likely to go deeper into ancient African empires, cultures and mythologies and attempt to answer some of the difficult questions put forward in Wɔpo, while also ensuring my art and music is original but still authentic to its cross-cultural roots. I am also considering doing an MA degree while in London but I have only been able to go to online open days so I’m still hesitant to make a decision on that front.”

Visit Alex’s website

Follow Alex on Instagram @alexlw.art

Check out Alex’s YouTube: Alex Lewis-Whitaker

Check out Alex on Spotify: Alex Lewis-Whitaker