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

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.

 

DMSA 2021 Online Degree Show // 25 June – 16 July

 

Our DMSA online degree show 2021 launches Friday 25th June

Featuring:

Alex Aiano // Alex Lewis-Whitaker // Ike Goldman // Jack James // Jade Gunner // James Mannay // Jared Swift // Jezebel Halewood-Leagas // Joe Gilling // Matthew Sarre // Toby Hinks

 

One may have thought that the stretch of enforced isolation may have played into the hands of sound workers, toiling away in their bedrooms. These unusual circumstances in fact changed the perspective of many emerging artists from this year’s cohort, causing them to reconsider their practice, be highly resilient, and be adaptable to all situations.

Looking out on a damaged world though steamy windows and computer screens brought up some of the most topical, conversational, and exciting spurts of creativity which inspired the final degree pieces this year. Works explore personal identity, personal ethics, environment, the spaces we inhabit, and our sense of community. Many of these issues dominated conversations – accurately and artistically reflecting on a time of loss but also change.

This event is curated by the BA Digital Music and Sound Arts students

https://exhibitions.brighton.ac.uk/courses/som-digital-music/

#dmsashow2021

@dmsagram

Q&A with 2nd year student Hal on studying Digital Music & Sound Arts.

Hi Hal, What made you choose Brighton and this course?  

Before choosing to study Digital Music and Sound Arts at Brighton I was studying Contemporary Performance in Glasgow. Near the end of my first year, I decided the course wasn’t for me, and I’d prefer to focus on music. I knew I still wanted to do a degree, but the challenge would be deciding which one – after all, there are probably hundreds of music courses in the UK! Fortunately, I was able to narrow it down, as I knew I wanted to study on an unconventional course that would bring out my experimental side. I searched the internet for experimental music courses, and this one at Brighton came up. In fact, it was one of the only courses that seemed to fit the bill. After reading the course website, it didn’t take me long to decide that this was the right course for me. I had never been to Brighton, but I’d heard good things, so I applied for the course through clearing and was offered a place after a telephone interview.

Can you tell us a bit more about the course? How would you describe it to a new student? 

The DMSA course is unique! It is very practical, with plenty of creative tasks to keep us busy and develop our production skills, but it also has a theoretical side which I find fascinating. We learn about the history of experimental music and sound art, including various significant approaches from the 20th Century that inspire the pieces we make. The studio facilities at uni are top notch, with multiple studios available, featuring high quality speakers, modular synths and other exciting instruments, and lots of software that would be way out of my price range. The technicians are lovely and always happy to help.

It’s been great working alongside my course-mates, who have very varied skillsets, and I feel I’ve learned as much from them as I have from my tutors, not to mention the connections I’ve made that I hope will last a lifetime. The course is also very open, giving us a broad range within the set tasks to make works that excite us, and utilise our personal skills. Studying from home hasn’t been easy, but our tutors have been understanding and helpful at every turn.

Tell us a bit about the teaching staff

My year head, Stephen Mallinder, has been a real joy to be taught by! Not only is he a prominent musician in his own right (having been a founding member of Cabaret Voltaire) but he is also a genuinely lovely chap, always eager to talk to us and help out with any issues we have. His teaching style is down to earth, humorous and well-informed, and I feel privileged to have him as a future contact and mentor.

Do you have the opportunity to go on placement or any other external learning opportunities? 

The course has professional practice modules, designed to prepare us with the skills for success in the real world. We’re currently working on a Film Music module, in which we are encouraged to treat each task as if it was for a real film company or director. The head tutor on this module has worked a lot in film and shares his experiences and knowledge with us to prepare us for this sort of work. I don’t know whether I’ll go into making music for film, but I feel confident that if I do, I’ll have the knowledge and ability to succeed.

Is the University of Brighton a supportive place to study?  

In first year, I was having a difficult time with my mental health, so I sought out some counselling through the uni. Luckily for me they offer a free counselling service, and I had six sessions with a counsellor. She talked to me about what I was going through, and even when lockdown happened, we were able to continue the sessions over Microsoft Teams. When I had completed all six sessions, she sent me links and advice on where to go next, should I decide I needed to continue my therapy.

How is student life and what’s Brighton like?

Brighton is a great city. Before the lockdowns there were loads of gigs, club nights and events to attend, and meeting people was easy as there are so many friendly people in this very liberal city. Thankfully, the nature around Brighton is also lovely, so even in lockdown I was able to take walks and explore the beach and the forests. I particularly recommend any new students to check out the forest at Wild Park – it’s so close to town and it’s a great place for a walk with friends or on your own to get away from the bustling city for a while.

What are your plans after finishing your course?  

After finishing my course, I am currently planning to live in Berlin for a while, making music and living life to the full. Then, if I end up coming back to the UK, I imagine I’ll move back to my hometown of Bristol to try to make a living through music and theatre. I know my career path is a risky one, as there are many artists who never make a living through their work, but I hope with the skills and contacts I have made studying at Brighton, I will achieve my goals. Studying at university has definitely helped me be more outgoing and confident. I have gone from being a wallflower to a conversation starter, and I’m sure the friends I’ve made here will be with me for life.