Marco Cher-Gibard is the commissioned composer for Epic Theatre, choreographed by Shian Law for New Breed. Here’s an insight into his work for the piece:
How would you describe the music for Epic Theatre?
I would describe the music for Epic Theatre as a kind of electronic dance music.
I perform the work live, working with the dance as it happens; that’s part of my practice, an emphasis on liveness. It is also wild and and a little unpredictable, it comes from an imaginary world; my world or a response to the world.
What was your inspiration?
Well Shian was a big part of it. He made me question my relationship to dance music.
I always find new sounds exciting. I worked with a percussionist, Matthias Schack-Arnott, on a project called Anicca recently. In it, he used friction from a spinning table top to grind and resonate cymbals (amongst other things). Matthias helped me record some material and then later I discovered a way of processing the sounds that I really liked. By distorting the waveforms I could get really saturated and harmonically rich sounds that sounded like an electric guitar. It became an inspiring element for me, I came back to these recordings looking for a new approach to this music.
I also relied heavily on one particular piece of equipment. It’s a filter module called an Akai MFC42. I bought it off a guy thinking I would use it in my duo with Ben Speth, which is called sister. When I picked it up, he said, “Whatever you do though, don’t press this button – it’s terrible; I don’t know what they were thinking.” Of course I pressed it as soon as I got it home and I loved it. So this instrument has been an important inspiration for the work too. Its been with me the entire process and even ended up on stage with me!
Do you normally work with dancers? Tell us more about your experience.
I have worked with dancers before as a technician and a sound designer, but never really as a sole composer or musician. I actually once danced for Lucy Guerin in a piece called Untrained. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I have a huge appreciation for dance. By the time I got to the first rehearsal I was nervous. It’s always something when you share your music with others. When you share to such a big group it can be a little daunting. It was fine though. The dancers seemed to enjoy working with it and I felt the music worked well with what they were doing. Then it got exciting and I could hear all the changes I wanted to make. It’s been a fantastic process.
What has been your career highlight so far?
Working on Epic Theatre has been cool. I’ve never really had this much support to create music before. Working with everyone in the room, watching things come to life is very rewarding. Aside from this work, the other thing I’m really proud about at the moment is my band, sister. This year we premiered a piece called ‘work’ at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music 2016. I believe we presented the first totally improvised work in the festival’s history. We also worked with an artist called Matt Adey who improvised alongside us with light and installations. I am really proud of that show.
29 Nov – 10 Dec, Carriageworks