Interview with

Vitor Joaquim

Vitor Joaquim, laptop experimentalist, sound and visual artist, graduated in sound and film directing. He started performing  improvised music and get involved in experimental art by the mid 80’s. Since then, he has created extensively for dance, theater, video, installations and cross media platforms. Until now, he has five solo releases, several collaborations and a long list of participation’s in compilations and remixes in different labels. His cd Flow, was considered by the Wire magazine, as one of the best electronic records of the year 2006. In 2011 Filament was listed as one of the best drone/ambient cd of the year by the french magazine Indie Rock Magazine. In the last years he has composed extensively for contemporary dance in France, Spain and Germany, and directed a few pieces in contemporary performance, video art and video mapping. In parallel to his own artistic work, he has been invited to advise programmers and curators in several festivals and events in Europe. In 2000 he started producing his own festival EME, an event dedicated to experimental arts and non-stand ard music. He has been teaching and coordinating sound and audiovisuals in art schools since the 90’s. At the moment, he is a researcher in computer music at CITAR, the Research Center for Science and Technology in Art at UCP, Porto, where he is also teacher.

Facts

1: Fernand o Pessoa is a writer (a wish: that everybody should read!)

2: Nature is everything (a wish: that everybody should understand !)

3: Fiction can become a fact (a wish: that everybody can distinguish as that!)

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
That is a question that I really don’t know what to say. I see myself as a person being influenced all the time by the rhythm of the world, by the way how people relate to each other, by the noise of the wind, of the sea, of the bird that in the last months is being singing at four o’clock in the morning near my house… It’s amazing how we can imagine answers to that question, but to be honest, I’ve no clue what’s my main inspiration. I know some, but my main…hum… I live the moment in a very intense way, so I guess I can define “the moment” as a powerful inspiration. But if I need to choose something, I definitely go for the sound of the music that I’m making since I’ve started. Every sound coming out of my sound card, is defining what is influencing me at every moment. After years and years of being exposed to that, doing music and creating sound, I think it must be my main influence at the moment of deciding what’s the next step. Apart from that: all the music and sound in the world… :)

How and when did you get into making music?
Back in 78/79, at 16, playing  flute in a strange way, trying to get the strangest possible sound out of the “tube”, and sending the signal into an old delay line and a few pedals. I realized very soon that it was not enough. A flute was to narrow for my needs. So I bought my first synth, a Yamaha CS5 with input in. That step changed my whole life. After that, I never  stopped.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
That is always an impossible question to answer! Let’s call it: 5 possible favorites albums of all time (no special order)
Still Life (Van der Graff Generator)Symphony No.3 „Symphony of Sorrowful Songs“ (Henry Gorecky)
Dido And Aneas (Henry Purcell)
Le Mistère  des Voix Bulgares, 4 AD edition, 1986
Radio-Activity (Kraftwerk)

What do you associate with Berlin?
Joy, freedom, space, art, tranquility, friendly people. And my daughter  at 12, in love with the space of the city! Also, David Bowie trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger); second war, human tragedy, and one of most powerful demonstrations of people’s will: the rebirth of Berlin!

What’s your favourite place in your town?
My studio, my house and the ten beaches around! The fish restaurants (I’m not being fair if I don’t mention that).

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I think that’s an impossibility. But imagining that possibility, I would try to raise friends enough, so that together, we could invent the “music” for the people. In the meantime I would be a lawyer or a gardener, probably.

What was the last record you bought?
My last cd…I don’t remember! My last dvd was Hand made Electronic Music (included in the book with the same name) by Nicolas Collins and my last concert was Phill Niblock and O.blaat, two days ago! But no clue of the last cd…

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Well, that is really difficult! I can’t mention a name, but that person must have the human qualities that I need to find in a person to relate with her, and that sum of qualities can be condensed in the word: empathy. It’s nothing that we can measure, it’s not tangible, but it’s very clear at the moment of taking decisions. I also need to feel empathy at the musical level. I can’t relate myself with all sorts of vocabulary, or aesthetical options. I’ve worked with lots of different musicians, from extreme acoustic to extreme electronic; from extreme noise, to extreme sensitive, but whatever they are coming from, I need to feel that same empathy: the ability to start from the ground zero! No big preconceptions… It’s simple.

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I can’t see them at the same level. But on both sides I had really great moments! I’m not sure what was my best gig as spectator, but watching Einsturzende Neibauten in 90/92 was really a powerful experience, and in a way it shaped what I can call “my demand s as audience”!
As performer, I can’t discriminate very easily what was my best gig… I keep good memories from all.  Sometimes, it’s not the best concert, or the best place, or the best sound that grabs your attention, it’s the crew and the friends that you make while you are there… But maybe I can mention my concert at CocArt Festival in Torun, Poland , last Spring! It was amazing; I’ve sold all the cd’s that I had with me at the moment. A few dozens, I remember. And the audience was great to!

How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s fundamental, it helps me finding new ways of generating new material, and in a new way. But it’s not the main point. The fundamental is still a domain of the human will. Today like all along the history, it’s the technology that helps people going on, and on. Of course, technology, is in itself a result of creativity. So all in all, it’s a ping pong evolution. Today, there’s a synergy between what we call artistic community and tech people, having the last ones bringing new rules to the “game” of making art. But the subject must come always from an inner side on each one of us. The role of technology, on these days, is becoming more and more important. It’s opening new zones of work. The artists are becoming programmers, and curiously the programmers, due to this new open space, are becoming themselves artists, generating new sort of relations and new processes of making. That new ground, is affecting a lot on the way we produce art (different from creating art), and the “democratic access” to technology, potentially is allowing almost everybody to generate art at an excellent tech level. But, as I said early, the drive (or creative force) is still coming from the old ancestral places: the brain, the heart and the guts. Depending on our nature, we choose where do we want to operate on this triangulation, but it all comes from the energy born and released on this triangle of forces. So, yes; technology is important, but only if there’s a substance driving on us. Otherwise what we can produce is nothing but more shit!

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I’ve a younger brother, that used to do music, long time ago. He’s 7 years younger than me, but unfortunately, he couldn’t manage to keep doing it and having another job. But that’s me, guessing. But to be honest, I don’t even know how far he knows about what I’m doing. When we meet, we talk about our kids, family, wine, cars, fish, stuff like that. I don’t talk about what I’m doing. I keep my family far from that contamination. Haha.

Our Favourites: Filaments of conformity  | Geography |  Filaments and voids

Links: Soundcloud |  vitorjoaquim.pt

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