Die Musikerin Hyeji Nam ist in Seoul geboren und lebt und arbeitet in Wien. Als interdisziplinäre Künstlerin befasst sie sich mit Themen aus der Literatur, aber auch sozialen Tabus und kulturpolitischen Motiven, die sie mit digitalen Medien und »real flesh« – in diesem Fall ihrem eigenen Körper – kombiniert. Dabei stellt sie die Beziehung zwischen menschlichem Geist und digitalisiertem Körper in Frage. 2021 erschien Hyeiji Nams erste EP »Meta Love« und im Juli 2022 »Unknown River« bei Tendermatter. Im Rahmen der der O-Sounds Live Session haben wir sie um ein Interview gebeten – hier im englischen Original.
O-Sounds: How did you enjoy your live set?
Hyeji Nam: It was so nice! In the beginning I was nervous because everyone was quiet. But by the second and third track I was able to focus better and felt my excitement for the overall experience growing!
What I really observed when I listened to your second EP »Unknown River« was how you are progressing into much more complex sounds. Especially the first track. It is seven minutes long but still touches one in a very core emotion. You have unusual song structures that are yet very coherent. How do you write your songs?
I think it is nice that you could hear out the complexities. Because I am always trying to get further with the questions of: »What could be new?«, »What could I add up to?« I think when it comes to making the tracks, the progress is equally visible: When I did the first songs, it was very simple. I would start with some lyrics and then add piano, some effects, and my voice to finally circulate around with these. Now I am trying to make the melody with the piano first and then layer different things over it: firstly, my voice, then the synthesizer, followed by playing around with effects to finally start something new from there. So, it is always an overlaying. The different parts are influencing each other all the time. The songs are not so similar in the end, but they all come from the same start.
Is another EP coming?
I am planning to release an album next year. There I want to be more experimental in a way, using more piano and effects. At least that is the plan so far.
That is a lot of output! How is it, being a DIY musician with limited budgets and how much do you want to keep this mentality for the future?
I think for now I like being this DIY artist. And I am glad that I did not have budgets. It pushed me to just be DIY, and nothing more! Sometimes I have doubts that if I would have someone professional, certain things would be better. But for now, I really like how things are not perfect. I like it when there is a little bit of cracking in the voice or when there is a little bit of noise. It gives me more inspiration to find different sounds form different things.
You told me you are also interested in working with AI plug-ins. Can you say something about that?
Concerning this, I will need a little bit more time. But I think I’m very interested how one human being can create sounds. That is why I really like the voice modifications tools and loops and echoes. Because one body can create so many atmospheres. What I found interesting about the AI plug-in is how it would create different choir harmony sounds from one voice by itself. That is insanely exciting!
How can we explain plug-ins?
It is basically an effect that you can put in Ableton, which is a program for music producing. A plug-in is like a filter that you can put over a voice or melody and therefore transform that sound. The AI choir plug-in works exactly like this: I would talk normally into the microphone but something else would come out!
Your work is also very interdisciplinary. You are not only a musician but do performances and even played in a movie! What makes it interesting for you to work in so many fields?
It is interesting that you ask this because I was working like this all the time. It was no question, as it was the only way to work. I never liked it when there are too many rules. When you are doing one style of music or you are a dancer doing on certain type of dance, you learn specific rules that will make you »professional«. I think by being interdisciplinary, one is always breaking these rules. It is a way to develop all the time.
Totally! It is somehow multiplying.
I mean I started being really interested in music because of performance and dance. It was later that I discovered making music.
You also have a performance coming up in November called »Gym«!
Yes, that is going to be with a lot of different artists, lecturers, and an accompanying exhibition as well. It is going to run from mid-November to December. The date and information are online! I will be performing on the 11th and 12th of November in the Soho Studios. It is not going to be »music-music« but rather how I approach music with more physical body involvement. The title of the performance is »Techno Flash«
I am looking forward to it. In the meantime: Thank you for coming!
Thank you so much for the invitation!
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