or many techno and electronica listeners vocals are an irritant, or at least something best enjoyed in small doses.
This surprising new collaboration between artists Laura Kilty (composer, producer, vocalist and Sound Healing practitioner) and Ian McDonnell (known for his work as Eomac and his participation in Lakker) consciously and elegantly breaks this taboo.
Their first release I Am is a consciously spiritual and optimistic set of songs fused with innovative electronics. Pop-influenced sweetness and spiritual elements are balanced by crystalline production and innovative sonic elements. It’s an unusual formula that leaves a lasting trace. We spoke to them to gain an insight into the project and its aims.
Is there a direct continuity between Lakker/Eomac and noeverything?
IAN: for me it’s all part of what I do as a musician. Who I am as a person even. I need different outlets of musical expression to reflect the full range of emotion and experience that take place in a life. I love to make music alone, I love to collaborate. For me it’s about intention and honesty of expression rather than style or genre or sound. So I think in that there is continuity in everything I do.
At times it seems like the music is trying to hint at other levels of awareness or to consciously introduce a numinous atmosphere – is this deliberate or just a natural result of your collaboration?
IAN: probably a bit of both. We are both interested in different levels of consciousness and in exploring realms beyond the physical. But also I feel that this is the nature of all music – it is like a doorway to deeper realms of consciousness and connection. A starting point to explore what it means to be human.
LAURA: I don’t think that’s a result of our collaboration though – no matter what kind of music either of us is writing in a moment, that idea of consciousness and connection will be in all of it. It’s in Eomac and Lakker’s music, just as it’s in any of my electronic or contemporary classical pieces for example.
Is the main drive behind the music functional or artistic? Is it explicitly meant to heal in the way that other tracks are designed specifically as DJ Tools or for mixing, or is a healing effect something you’d hope for more than expect?
IAN: The main drive is artistic. We are creating music that we ourselves want to hear, and hopefully other people will too. I think all music can be healing, depending on who is listening and what resonates with them at that particular time. Different music affects different people in different ways. Everything has its place and we can learn from everything. Maybe that’s what ‘healing’ ultimately is – learning. But it would be arrogant and inappropriate to suggest that our music will specifically bring healing. That is not something we are thinking about when writing. But if the music resonates with people and they find something in it that helps them in some way, then that’s great.
LAURA: I think you may be referring to the fact that I also do sound healing and write music for meditation and relaxation as well. Our noeverything collaboration has nothing to do with that, it is both of us expressing parts of ourselves through music. As Ian says, I also think we could argue all types of art and artistic expression is healing in that it speaks to our subconscious and gives us an outlet for emotions. But noeverything is just putting forward music we believe in and love.
Do you have any plans for techno/dancefloor-oriented remixes of noeverything tracks or would that not be appropriate?
LAURA: Yeah, I think it will be cool to have some remixes done- it wouldn’t be in any way inappropriate! We’re both huge fans of techno and other dance-floor orientated music, so it makes sense. It has been interesting reading how everyone assumes I am “just the singer” and Ian does all the production so I’ll definitely have to do something banging with one of the tracks!
Is this purely a studio project or can you see it working in a live environment?
LAURA: We both have a lot of music work going on and we live in different countries so it’s just down to timing. We’ve done some live stuff together in the past and it’s worked really well. Actually, myself and a friend ran a vocal ensemble called SoundSet in Dublin when I lived there and we did a live vocals and electronic performance with Lakker at our final concert, so yeah, we have lots of ideas of what would work in different listening environments.
IAN: For sure, live is something we both see in the future when the time is right. At the moment the focus is on writing and releasing music.
Why do you think more techno/electronic artists don’t go down this route and restrict the use of the voice only to short samples?
IAN: Maybe it’s a question of access? Electronic artists may not have access to or opportunities to collaborate with vocalists. Or maybe it’s a question of thinking in too small a box and not wanting to break out and do something different. Fear. Or maybe a lot of electronic artists simply don’t want to work with voices and real instruments – maybe that’s why they chose electronic music! Lots of reasons.…
LAURA: I was just at Bloc and quite a few people were talking to me about that. I know a couple of techno heads who would see it as sacrilege to be working with live vocals and I know others who would love to but feel a pressure to conform to what is the norm. Humans seem to like categorising themselves and others, and really like those small boxes! As for electronic artists though, there are heaps who use vocals and create either songs or use the voice as an instrument in with the electronics- I do both in my own music too.
And I also agree with Ian, there are a lot of people writing electronic music because they don’t want to work with live instruments… so yes, lots of reasons!
Do you see what you’re doing with this project as something specifically Irish or more universal?
IAN: Universal. I’ve never seen anything I do as specifically Irish. My nationality is such a small part of who I am (and yet has shaped me in huge ways I often don’t give it credit for!). I love the country I’m from and the people there, but at the end of the day countries, borders, nationalities are just ideas, just concepts that we’ll eventually move beyond. A time of greater universal connection is approaching.
LAURA: Yes, universal. Also, like Ian, I never see anything I do in music or life as being Irish as such. Yes, growing up somewhere definitely shapes you but I have been travelling a lot over the last few years and the one thing I’ve learned more than anything is that we are all so much more alike than we are different.
noeverything I AM
Digital download NOEVR1