Omnii Feature #10 : Under the lid with…SHIVA FESHAREKI
We catch up with the inspirational Shiva Feshareki before her performance for Resolution this coming Friday to talk about turntables, women in electronic music, and breaking away from the norm to develop your own compositional techniques.
Can you talk us through your choices for the tracks?
My biggest inspirations are the pioneers of electronic music that basically established electronics as a form of music making in the 20th Century. Electronic music composition has such an impressive list of women who paved the way. There are also some really interesting contemporary female electronic artists doing some really cutting-edge work.
Kailasha by Eliane Radigue is beautiful, deep, meditative music and intricately crafted. It’s truly transcendental, mind-altering music. I picked The Expanding Universe because it’s deeply drone — a minimal and expansive work that makes you lose track of time as you know it. It’s a classic track that truly makes time and space feel like one.
Pauline Oliveros took a group of collaborators to an underground cistern to improvise using the space and powerful acoustics in the water reservoir. They didn’t plan anything but to simply respond to the space and each other. The result, Deep Listening is one of her most seminal records.
Daphne Oram’s Four Aspects offers a constant shifting of perspective. It opens your mind to new ways of thinking about the same idea.
Machine Woman is a really exciting electronic artist pushing boundaries with her unique and uncompromising sound and style.
Can you describe your working method/ process?
I work with sound manipulation and live-sampling by using my own movement-based turntabling techniques. Therefore I am working very closely with the physicality of sound, and how the speed and movements of the spinning turntable directly manipulate the sonics. I also work with manuscript and pencil when I am scoring my acoustic compositions, such as for orchestras. In the picture of my studio (below), you will see on the back left deck there’s a kind of device on the turntable. That is a movement and object-sensitive sculpture by artist Haroon Mirza that modifies the turntables taking its power from the tone-arm of the deck. I also have a Zoom recorder which I use to do my live-mixes using turntable-manipulations, and generally record sounds from my decks.
You can also see a big screen in the photo which I mainly use when I am typesetting my large orchestral scores on the computer using Sibelius Software. There are sometimes as many as 45 staves on my scores, so I need a large HD screen that can be portrait and landscape.
How did you get into production? What have been your influences?
I have been fascinated by the physicality of turntables ever since I first saw a decent DJ play. I have always worked with turntables very independently from any scene or context — almost like a loner. In my teens and early 20s especially, when I’d be creating my own intricate techniques for the decks away from DJ cultures (although I DJ a lot now). Then I started to be introduced to all these incredible pioneers of electronic music such as Daphne Oram and Eliane Radigue who played such an important role in the development of electronic music, and I started to feel a lineage. In terms of lineage especially, I felt a real closeness to Daphne Oram when I was working on the world premiere of Still Point which is a piece Daphne Oram composed in 1949 for orchestra and turntable manipulation. I felt a real lineage when I performed the turntable part in 2016, for example, in a concert where I also got to meet another big role-model of mine, the late Pauline Oliveros. Later, I went on to work with Eliane Radigue, who is a major influence for me. Her sound is just so powerfully hers and she is probably my favourite composer of all time.
What is your favourite bit of gear and why?
My favourite bit of gear is my Stanton turntable. I first started using the Stantons over Technics back in 2016 when I was working on the Daphne Oram piece as it required 78rpm option. The deck also has some other extended features that I utilise, and I feel like the Stanton can often define my sound (although, the deck itself is twice as heavy as a Technics, so I hate that!)
What is your personal ‘top tip’ for producing/ mixing?
To just go for it and try and get as much experience as possible. To ask as many questions as you need about technology from people who are in the know, and to not be shy about it.
What are you future projects?
Upcoming projects include large-scale acoustic compositions as well as performances at PLX (Tjaro, Sweden), Hyperreality (Vienna), Nikolaj Kunsthall (Copenhagen), Skissernas Museum (Lund, Sweden), Resolution (London) and the Southbank Centre (London). I am also directing a residency for emerging artists as part of the Brighter Sound: Both Sides Now initiative.
Resolution takes place at St James Hatcham Church this Friday from 6pm. Expect performances across different mediums including Surround Sound Diffusion, Audio-Visual Art Pieces and a broad range of Experimental Electronic Music using new programming developments and intricate sound spaces. Shiva Feshareki is joined by Matthew Yee-King, Mick Grierson & Michael Zbyszynski, Bruised Skies, Flow Motion vs. Hallucinator, and precocious mouse. More details here.