Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler aka Addictive TV at Splice Festival

Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler aka Addictive TV at Splice Festival – words Al Woods

British electronic duo Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler aka Addictive TV talk to us ahead of their special performance at Splice Festival in London this month. (10-13 May).

Addictive TV create music with a difference – it’s music you can see! They create their music by keeping the audio and video samples together, so audiences get to see more than just a DJ, graphics or visuals – a completely unique experience.

The duo have performed in countries all over the world, from Glastonbury Festival to the Pompidou centre in Paris, to the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Shanghai. Before they embark on another tour, they talk to us about their latest audiovisual venture ‘Orchestra of Samples’…

 

Tell us a little bit about how ‘Orchestra of Samples’ came about?

Graham:  The idea came partly from travelling so much, but also about wanting to create something more than just a show or an album, a really global project that brings people together regardless of musical or cultural background, who they are or where they’re from – something that illustrates how we’re all connected by music.

Mark:  It’s bringing together really different musicians who wouldn’t normally play together, and more to the point their instruments which wouldn’t normally be heard together. It seems such an obvious idea now, recording musicians everywhere we went.  We’ve so far recorded in about 30 countries.

Your work has evolved over the years. What can listeners expect from this project and how does it differ from previous work?

Graham:  Well we’ve been busy creating a whole lot of new material for the project including some especially for the performance at Splice.  The method of creating this show is exactly the same as our previous work but it’s the samples and nature of the material that’s completely different.  Much of our previous work we’re known for is mash-ups and remixing movies by sampling sounds you see in the films to create music – this often meant making music from very unmusical sounds!  Whereas with Orchestra of Samples we’re sampling musicians that we’ve recorded around the whole world – so it’s very different indeed!

Mark:  Music wise, Orchestra of Samples is a sort of blending of electronics with instruments from around the world but it’s still audiovisual, as in music with closely connected images.  The actual technical approach to composing music from video samples in all our projects follows exactly the same process, whether sampling a superhero movie or musicians that we’ve filmed ourselves. We’re always looking for rhythms, loops, good riffs, percussive grooves and so on.  For us, the process of musical composition is still the same.

What did you learn from your experiences making ‘Orchestra of Samples’ ?

Mark: A great deal!  The whole project has been a total eye-opener, learning so much about traditional instruments from around the world, it’s been a kind of live hands-on ethnomusicology course!

Graham:  One of the main reasons for doing this was to take our particular skillset and move things in a completely different direction to somewhere else entirely, in essence to take what we do to a different level of creativeness.

It seems that audiovisual artists are more frequently using this medium to make political statements. Is it political for you?

Graham: To a degree, but more in the vein of a small p – we’re more about making statements with positive messages than being overtly political about one particular political subject as such.  As artists we like to be open to new ideas and possibilities, challenging norms and conventions and always try to get this across to audiences who we hope to be open minded to.

With novices in mind, talk us through some of the technology you use…

Graham:  We recorded Orchestra of Samples with both a small Tascam DR-40 audio recorder and sometimes with an SM57 mic direct into a Mac.  The audio recordings were initially cleaned using a variety of WAVES noise reduction plug-ins in Sound Forge and Audacity software.  And footage was shot in the early days on a Sony HD V1 camera and then later a Canon 5D and was all post produced in Adobe’s PremierePro and AfterEffects.

Mark:  Early on we primarily used Sony AcidPro for composing and Ableton Live for certain FX and then later with LogicPro.  The list also includes an M-Audio Axiom-49 MIDI Keyboard in conjunction with all manner of VSTi’s: Native Instruments Massive, Korg Polysix and MonoPoly synths, Roland CR78 drum machine samples, PSP Reverbs and FX.  I also used a Rickenbacker 12-string Fireglow guitar for several of the album tracks too.

You’re performing at SPLICE – London’s only festival that specialises in audio visual performance in May. Can you explain a little about how the live show will work?

Graham:  At the heart of our set-up is Native Instruments and Resolume on two separate laptops networked together.  Working with both companies, they’ve allowed us to use unreleased modified versions of their software, so Traktor live triggers corresponding videos to each sample or track that gets loaded.  Plus, independently, Arena video software allows us to also trigger audio samples and of course audiovisual samples.

Mark:  The show was designed to include guest musicians when possible, and these have included so many guest, from Stomp percussionist Paul Gunter and jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins to even the Beatbox Collective!  For Splice we’re going to be joined by Bruno Zamborlin, the guy who invented Mogees, which is an audio sensor that measures vibrations when you touch or tap an object and turns that into a musical note, effectively allowing you to turn any object into a musical instrument!  He’ll be playing all manner of objects, even a house plant and possibly a bunch of bananas!

Which other artists are you looking forward to at Splice and why?

Graham:  Far too many to list, I want to try and see as many as I can! But definitely Orka who make all their own instruments from old farm tools, Harmageddon who are also on the DIY tip using old found technology and Zoe McPherson who’s playing directly after us – she’s also about blending the old and the new, traditional worlds and contemporary digital…  you can see a pattern forming of what I like can’t you?

Mark: Be interesting to see what Matthew Herbert will be doing, as it’s a special commission just for Splice festival

What’s next for Addictive TV?

Graham:  Well, the next big thing we’re working on right now is with the amazing blind sitar player Baluji Shrivastav OBE and his project Antardrishti – which means inner vision – and we’re working with a whole ensemble of blind musicians from India and the UK.  We spent time in India last year with him and many of the musicians, recording and sampling and are now creating work with Baluji.  We’re performing the show in London this September with him at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre for the Unlimited Festival and then we’re taking the show to India to perform at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House and then in Delhi too – so really looking forward to that!

Mark:  The immediate next thing for us though is the UK tour, that starts with the show at Splice, we’re playing dates in Liverpool, Belfast, Cambridge and others but for me the highlight will be the Milton Keynes International Festival where Dame Evelyn Glennie, the world famous percussionist, will be joining us, guest performing on our show – that’ll be amazing!  We’ve also got a mini-Russian tour this summer too with dates in several Russian cities!

Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler aka Addictive TV at Splice Festival – words Al Woods

Addictive TV perform at Splice Festival on Saturday 12th May at Rich Mix, in London’s Shoreditch. Splice runs from 10-13 May http://www.splicefestival.com/

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