Aki Onda is a New York-based artist and composer. He is particularly known for his “Cassette Memories” — works compiled from a “sound diary” of field-recordings collected by using the cassette Walkman over a span of last quarter-century. He creates compositions, performances, and visual artworks from those sound memories. Onda often performs in interdisciplinary fields and collaborates with filmmakers, visual artists, and choreographers, including Ken Jacobs, Michael Snow, Raha Raissnia, Akio Suzuki, and Takao Kawaguchi. Onda’s work has been presented numerous institutions such as MoMA, The Kitchen, documenta 14, Pompidou Center, Louve Museum, Palais de Tokyo, Bozar, and many others.
1: make my art in transit
2: that’s probably based on my nature as having been a nomad for most of my life
3: our world is in flux, right?
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Life and art in the past, present, and future. How we deal with memories.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
In 1985, I became a photographer when I was fifteen, and through numerous photo sessions, I met musicians such as John Zorn, Blixa Bargeld, Eye Yamatsuka of Boredoms, Milford Graves and so on. Those were undeniably eye-opening experiences. Then, I started toying an idea of making music myself, although it wasn’t easy since I had no musical background no education. I had to find an alternative way to penetrate music. Since I was familiar with visual art, film, and photography from an early age, I adopted those knowledge and skills for using sound for my artistic practice. It wasn’t conversional and I am largely self-taught.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Epiphanies part 1:
Eddie Gale "Ghetto Music" 1968
Brigitte Fontaine, Areski with Art Ensemble Of Chicago "Comme À La Radio" 1969
Luc Ferrari "Presque Rien" 1970
Ghédalia Tazartès "Une Éclipse Totale De Soleil" 1979
Loren Conners " The Departing Of A Dream Vol. II" 2003
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
My first Berlin: In February 1994, I visited there and was struck by dark gloomy Kreuzberg streets and sharp icy coldness that covers and hovers the whole city. That era has gone. I love blight summer Berlin these days.
5. What's your favourite place in your town?
McGolrick Park located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. A few minutes walk from my place. Or, Tompkins Square Park in East Village, where I frequently visited back in the nineties.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
There are so many.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I ordered Graham Lambkin “Community” online a few weeks ago, but haven’t listened to it yet.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang. Or, Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Epiphanies part 2:
Einstürzende Neubauten at Daiei A-2 TV Studio, Kyoto, 1985
Or, György Ligeti retrospective at the South Bank, London, 1989
Or, Naná Vasconcelos somewhere in Tokyo. I don’t remember the exact
year, but in the nineties. Or, some of Kazuo Ono’s performances in
Japan also in the nighties.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Those are just tools.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My brother understands what I do clearly.
Aki Onda will perform at our Kiezsalon on 28th June 2017.