Show Calendar

ACCA Conversations: Haley Fohr, musician and composer of Circuit des Yeux

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Ahead of a European tour taking in a show here on campus at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Haley Fohr spoke to Tom Furnival-Adams about what inspired her latest record, and why making music is more complicated than it used to be. 

Reaching for Indigo was inspired by a moment of realisation that fundamentally transformed you. Does that experience continue to shape you?

Yeah, absolutely. It was a pivotal moment and a special moment, so for that reason I am grateful and glad that I created this totem towards it. I didn’t really have a moment of affirmation that some people get in their early twenties, and it felt like the first time in my life where the world was like: “yes, this is what you’re supposed to be doing; this is where you’re supposed to be”.

When you released the album, you said “Something about expression feels so risky and sobering these days.” Can you explain what you meant by that?

In today’s climate, art is almost the most important thing, but at the same time, with all the civil rights issues that we are dealing with - in America, especially - it can feel so frivolous and loaded. Everything ripples in ways you don’t expect, and making any sort of charged statement feels pretty risky.

How do you approach songwriting?

I utilise different techniques depending on the record and where I am in life. With this album, I actually wrote every song on guitar and vocals, and then my good friend Cooper Crain helped me recontextualise them on other instruments, and helped with the accompaniments and arrangements. We spent a lot of time trying to expand the record’s sonic palette. But my voice is my main instrument; I use it a lot when I’m writing harmonies.

Are you familiar with Brighton?

I have been to Brighton, but only opening for other bands, like Julia Holter and Bill Callahan. I’ve met some really nice townfolk; just strangers after the show, gotten some pizza or fish and chips and had a fire on the beach. Brighton is so nice and accepting, and open, which I really appreciate.

Have you started thinking about the next project or album?

Reaching for Indigo feels like my magnum opus in a lot of ways, and I don’t think I’ll have a Circuit des Yeux record out any time soon. But I feel really good and healthy creatively - songs are pouring out of me all the time - so who knows?

Circuit des Yeux performs with us on 13 February.

Tickets available from our website. 

ACCA Conversations: Jenny Minton, composer of Interlude

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Jenny Minton Web
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Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts presents Jenny Minton’s immersive installation: Interlude. Ahead of the show, we speak to the composer about the creative processes behind making this intimate and interactive experience. 

Why make Interlude an intimate experience by having one audience member at a time? 

Being alone in the space is absolutely integral to the piece. I want to give people a moment to themselves, and for them to feel completely uninhibited. This is your space to play, you are the audience and the performer all at once. It’s just an empty stage without you and you’re in control. And by choosing your own route around the space, you are making your own unique musical arrangement. While it’s still ‘audience participation’ this time it’s not so scary, you can feel completely free in there, it’s just you and no one is watching! 

How would the audience move around the space? 

Well, we don’t know! But people have told us they’ve danced, skipped, ran… Some people move very slowly between the lights and listen to each vocal line one at a time, some people might turn all the parts on very quickly and listen to all the singers at once, some may even stay still. It’s completely up to the individual and the resulting piece of music is different for everyone. 

For you, in what ways do light and music interact? 

The music is composed and arranged in such a way that it doesn’t matter how the audience member moves around the space, and in what order they visit the lights, all combinations of the composition fit together. There will be infinite different possible arrangements from a single lone voice to all the voices joining in, in different sequences and at different times. The lights and sound interact entirely, but only at the ‘command’ of the audience member, by their movement in the space. 

What is the significance of naming this installation Interlude? 

It’s about having a moment of pause for yourself, a bit of breathing space, an interlude in your day. The singers are singing the words of Rupert Brooke, W.H. Davies, A.E. Housman and Edward Thomas, words that reflect solitude, peace and renewal. I hope Interlude is a unique, playful and uplifting experience for audiences.

Created by Jenny Minton and Steve Wald.

Tickets are available on our website here.

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