Interview: Jessica Curry

Interview: Jessica Curry

Jessica Curry

  • artist biography
  • example of soundart


    Interview: 10 questions

    1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

    I started playing the piano when I was 3 because my brother was doing it and I didn’t want to be left out! He quickly gave up but it started a lifetime of music-making for me. I always composed from an early age and played the violin (so badly it still pains me to remember), and gave that up in favour of the cello, which I fell in love with immediately, it just always felt right. I adored music at school, played in the orchestra and sang in madrigals and choir. (I really miss that sense of communal music making at the moment, as composing can be a lonely old business, and so feel motivated to get out there and make some live music again.) I spent a lot of time obsessively listening to music in my bedroom, and life without music was always impossible to imagine.

    2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

    I live in smelly old Portsmouth, UK and am currently making a bid for escape. Living here has made me realise just how important environment is to either the encouragement or stifling of creativity. Have just returned from the beautiful city of Halle, Germany, where I instantly felt more creative and like a weight had been lifted off me. When I was younger, I would have turned this terrible city into an interesting piece of music and fed it in to my creativity- now I have a 3 year old child and just want to live somewhere nice.
    Education-wise. Music GSCE, A- level, thought I wanted to be an academic princess in an ivory tower so studied English Lit at University. Decided I was definitely not princess material so spent three years studying Screen Music at the National Film and Television School where my nickname was “The Bitch”. So that went well then…

    3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?

    Yes, I am a full-time composer and am lucky to make a living out of it. I create sound for installations, concerts and also make educational music resources for children with autism.

    4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

    I used to write straight to paper but now work on the computer. I fear something has been lost as I think composing “digitally” can make you quite lazy and take conceptual shortcuts. I sometimes think that the computer makes it a bit too easy and I spend less time thinking about why I have chosen a particular time signature or instrumentation. I know I sound very Luddite but I think I can feel myself going into an anti-technology phase.

    5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

    I use manuscript paper, Emagic Logic (although am seriously unimpressed with them since Mac scooped them up- no technical support, what’s that all about?) I play the cello very infrequently and the piano often. I sing constantly, much to the chagrin and dismay of colleagues, friends and family.

    6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?

    As I said before New Media has both enhanced and somehow detracted from my creative practice. I am increasingly turning back to more traditional methods of composition and instrumentation, as I want to make a beautiful sound- if I had to choose between a a cello or a computer I’d pick the cello any day.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    Am usually commissioned, so usually funded by galleries, Arts Council or Media Centres. Also am fortunate to have been the recipient of some grants and fellowships.

    8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?
    If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

    Individually, although I often collaborate with other art forms. I am a complete control freak and would find it hard to work closely with other composers. I love musicians playing my work- the way they re-interpret and breathe new life into a score is awe-inspiring.

    9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?

    So many- Glass, Reich, Nyman, Elgar, Rachmaninov, Mozart, Laurie Anderson, Lisa Gerard, Sigur Ros, Godspeed, all musicals, many wonderful film composers- Thomas Newman, Bregovic, Morricone, Jim Horner. I could go on!

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?

    To do larger scale works that incorporate a huge amount of live musicians

    Can works of yours experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where?
    List some links & resources