22 Sep 22

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Daphnellc Lavender and Ambra

A photo of Daphnellc Lavender & Ambra

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2022 programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Daphnellc Lavender and Ambra.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

Exploring Tarot Through Sound transforms the Major Arcana tarot cards into fresh and unique soundtracks that support our collective self-care practices. With this project we want to collaborate with the queer community to offer a new way for folks to interact with tarot. By experiencing it through sound and various interactive mediums, people can deepen and personalise the meaning of each tarot card and create supportive insights for their self-reflection and self-growth.

It’s not solely music that we wish to create, but also to explore frequency, colour, mood, field recordings and loops. It’s similar to writing a soundtrack in a way; exploring the interpretation of the cards, producing sounds that are accessible and meaningful, that can reveal new things through multiple listens and in different environments.

Our inspiration came from our interests and passions; music, art, sound art and tarot. Meeting Ambra through tarot made Daphnellc want to start with the interpretation of tarot into sound, and vice versa.

A photo of The Magician from different tarot decks. From left to right: Smith-Rider Deck; Mystic Mondays deck; The Modern Witch deck; The Cosmic Slumber Deck.

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

Sound Generator has really helped us to crystallise and clarify our vision. A mix of exciting creative ideas are now taking specific shapes and forms. It is enabling us to make our project more tangible and something we can present to venues and potential collaborators.

We are also learning new ways of making installations and sound more interactive. We’ve learned to communicate how tarot and sound excite us, and how we wish to explore developing our energies together.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

The opportunity to be part of Sound Generator means a lot to us. It’s an opportunity to further connect and invest time and energy on the project, as well as finding a community of people who are experimenting with music like us.

The support and guidance we receive keeps us motivated and makes us feel that bringing this project to life is not only possible, but even more exciting than we could have imagined.

Photo of the Full Moon July 2022 - I've observed the full moons more this year than ever before, since meeting Ambra. February's and July's held the most power for me.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

Definitely. We’ve both learned some technicalities, including field recording, writing music to a guide and we’re in the process of learning how to create DIY sound tools for audience participation.

Daphnellc: As a music producer, I have learnt to work alongside Ambra, creating music and sound with someone who isn’t a musician; this was a main motivator and is key to expansion and diversification, and something I wish to grow.

Thinking about a potentially more diverse audience from typical gig scenarios has developed ways of thinking about sound in different spaces, for different times of day, for example, and that has led to approaching sound creation from a full 360 view, considering other senses, sound sensitivity, and accessibility too. We’ve learned more about sound editing, image and video making as well.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

Daphnellc: That’s a difficult question to answer succinctly, as I am inspired and influenced by so much. Perhaps wanting to create and explore slower sounds, not necessarily in tempo, but also sound that gives ourselves time to feel, to absorb and to nurture healing. I paint a lot and seek out visual stimulation that is mysterious, ethereal at times, maybe abstract and therefore open to interpretation.

I am also fascinated with sound in films. I particularly love French New Wave films where there is very little music, but rather sounds of real life. Even cars don’t bother me in these recordings but I hate the sound of them around me! I studied a captivating interview with Céline Sciamma about sound design in her films (read it here); she talks of subwoofers ‘aiming at the stomach’ and so on. There’s a parallel in the films of Chantal Akerman: ‘Akerman brings such attention to bear on the soundtrack - carefully selected, choreographed, and precisely mixed sounds modulated to certain ends - that her technique has the effect of lifting the soundtrack away from the images and inserting a space between them’ (Quote from this Film Quarterly article). I want to explore these ideas in my sound creation.

I also listen to a lot of field recordings and have also developed a fascination for birdsong and miniscule sounds lately.

Photo of Refracted Sunlight - Our project explores spaces & sounds between.

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

Daphnellc: I had a flurry of music creation all summer, so I've been absorbed in that. I returned to old favourite hip hop mixtapes (DJ Anti Crisis on Social Harmony Bandcamp and Rap Shit by L.A. Club Resource) and went to Supernormal Festival where highlights were MC Yallah and all the performers in the Queef Qult area.

I'd recommend exploring experimental / independent / queer music via platforms like Bandcamp where artists are paid for their work.

Ambra: I've been reconnecting with some Italian music (like Giuni Russo), and relaxing to SZA and Kali Uchis.

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?

We hope to soon have our first live event as part of an installation in a queer space.

We hope to meet people who are into tarot and to explore it with them through sound and image. We want to continue to support ourselves and others with our creativity.

Temperance - a watercolour painting created to the rhythm of our Temperance soundtrack.

We look forward to sharing more details about Daphnellc and Ambra's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Daphnellc's Bandcamp page to find out more about their work.

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