DMSA Feature: Hal Kelly

Hal graduated from the DMSA BA in 2022 and presented for their Final Project ‘Listen to your World’, an hour-long theatrical gig infused with mindfulness and ecstatic dance. We catch up to discuss what they have been doing since completing the course.


Three words that describe you as a creative person?

HK: Explorative. Intuitive. Strange


When did you start working with sound and music?

HK: I taught myself piano in my teens and also did Music GCSE. The first music I made for myself was in GarageBand using a free synth plugin I downloaded off the internet – quite interesting but terribly produced! Then, after I left school, a friend of mine showed me the joys of Ableton Live, and I began using it for theatre shows and to make the soft experimental electronic music that would form my first album, Like a Liquid.


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

HK: DMSA opened my eyes to the vast range of interesting and experimental music that’s been made over the course of the last century, but more importantly it gave me the creative freedom to explore my own practice, try out different styles and eventually produce a final project that I’m proud of. Without the support of the tutors and technicians I would not have been able to create a performance I’m so happy with.


Can you tell us a few words about your recent project ‘Listen to Your World’?

HK: Listen to Your World is the performance I developed for my final project. Somewhere between a gig and a piece of theatre, it is best described as a mindfulness experience through sound and music. In the show I portray an alien who has come to Earth from their home planet and is amazed by all the beauty they find here. Realising that the humans don’t always see things this way, they attempt to encourage the audience to pay more attention to the beautiful sights and sounds to be found on this planet, before ending with ecstatic dance.


What are your plans for the near future? 

HK: I have just moved to Bristol and am planning to split my time between freelance music and theatre work, and climate activism. This year I developed a new musical called Armageddon Attenborough with my collaborator, poet Chris White. We will be performing it in the South West this September before developing it further and touring it next year. I also intend to pursue my solo music career, releasing my new album at some point next year.