Q&A: Janek Schaefer

Posted on March 11, 2013

Janek SchaeferAhead of the world premiere of Emily Howard’s new piece, Carillon, on 23rd March, we spoke to Emily, sound artist Janek Schaefer and acousmatic composer Sam Salem about the piece. We started with Janek Schaefer, who will be playing record players and boombox on the night:

How did you become involved with the project?

I met Emily through one of my record player artworks ‘Extended Play’ which won the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers Prize. Emily got in touch as she wanted to know how to go about cutting sounds to vinyl and we ended up collaborating with me becoming a performer with the ensemble.

Can you tell us a bit more about how the record players, boombox and orchestra will work on the night?

I don’t normally call myself a turntablist as I’m not going to be doing the flashy mixing you might expect. I supposed the piece is a variation on the ‘orchestra and tape’ format with me also improvising alongside the Camerata. You will see the ensemble of old technologies I’ve collected over the years. From my 1960s classic Dansette on legs to my 1982 boombox, and my Twin Turntable with two tone-arms that is custom built to manipulate sound on vinyl. The technology has a personality and is engaging and endearing.

What has it been like working with Emily and Sam?

It’s been very easy as usually I have to do everything, but here Sam created the sounds and Emily composed the music. Initially Emily was writing for me very specifically but we realized that just wasn’t possible to perform. It’s now reversed so she’s writing to free me up to improvise on the changing themes in the work. They’ve both done their jobs so well and it’ll be exciting to hear what it sounds like in rehearsals and on the night.

What other projects have you got on or coming up?

I’ve just had a new solo show open at the Agency Gallery, London, which runs until 6th April 2013. I’ve also got a new website for my artwork: https://www.janekschaefer.com