Composer/performer Laura Jane Lowther (KUČKA) talks to Tura about After Julia program – going up at PICA 7.30pm Monday 20 April:
You have a very successful career as electropop act, KUČKA, how is writing a composition for Decibel different to writing for yourself?
Writing for Decibel is a good opportunity to compose a more conceptual piece. I can get a little more complicated than I can with a 3.5 minute pop song so I feel like I can explore topics in more depth and experiment a little more with structures and ideas.
Can you tell us a little about your piece ‘Loaded.[NSFW]’?
I’m bringing up the question of whether we can really grasp what’s happening on an international scale from our comfortable hopes/offices or whether we just see the online news as another form of entertainment. Also the major problem that most people have now that everything is so accessible 24/7 right on their laptop – procrastination.
I have curated over 100 quotes from recent headlines, 25 of which will be randomly selected in real time during the performance. The players have to decide on their emotional response to the headline and click on an emoji from the score on their laptop which will then bring up specific motifs for them to play. The motifs are based around the sounds of facebook/email notifications and computer sounds such as typing, the annoying volume control button on a mac and windows startup and shut down sounds. The result is what I think a whole office of procrastinating workers would sound like.
After Julia is as much about gender politics as it is about Julia Gillard and Australian politics. What has been your experience as a female electronica producer in an industry that is heavily dominated by men?
I have had my fair share of patronising males trying to ‘teach me’ how to do things that I have had to know for years, simple things like how to plug in a microphone or use a mic stand, which can get pretty annoying. But the most annoying thing is that lots of people assume that I don’t produce my own music.
How did you come to be a composer?
I just started experimenting with sounds when I was about 18 or 19 and everything grew from there really. I ended up studying which really allowed me to focus on writing and develop my skills to a professional level.
What would you say to an aspiring female composer?
Write whatever you like. If you are trying too hard to fit into a certain scene or genre then it will sound forced and throwaway.
In your opinion, which composer or musician is doing exciting and interesting things at the moment?
I’m really into some of the more experimental rap coming out of LA at the moment. One of my favourite releases last year was from CLIPPING who uses super noisy production made from really abrasive found sounds and field recordings and blends that with a bit of pop production and politically charged lyrics.
What’s next for you?
Got an EP release next month with KUČKA and a national tour for that, then heading to New Zealand for a while to hibernate and work on more music.
After Julia PICA 7.30pm Monday 20 April