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 Piera Onacko.
Piera is a pianist, synth player and composer with deep roots in jazz practices and an interest in improvisation through live electronics. Her newest outfit, un.procedure, release their debut album on 14 October 2022.
Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?
The initial idea took root after I was given hours of footage from my dad of our family in rural Ukraine during the 90s. An important piece of family history, yet not something I had directly experienced myself, it led to conversations about how memory and history can manifest in different ways beyond the objectivity of lived experience.
After integrating this footage into my live set, it became a possibility that this idea could extend to an installation setting, with audience engagement at its heart.
Each iteration of the installation will consist of a callout for home footage, driven by the local community. The footage is then used in a series of aural and visual collages, with music developed by my band un.procedure.
The audio will be catalogued as a kind of library, each strand of music relating to an emotive part of the footage. I’m currently researching how the installation will look from a design perspective, as well as function practically, with a core in-house team.
How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?
The idea has pushed forward significantly over the course of the last few months. Researching spatial audio and receiving mentoring in this has been eye opening in particular!
It has also been useful to have the time and resources to see some other audiovisual installations and gain insight into the practicalities in setting up and running an installation, as well as effective costing.
What has this opportunity meant to you?
This opportunity has been so significant in pushing me forward as an artist; to have the funding to allow creative room in realising something so ambitious is a valuable thing.
The team at Sound UK have facilitated really useful mentoring opportunities and advice sessions for all the artists.
Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?
Absolutely. My boundaries were firmly set at ‘musician’ until now. It has been a great experience bringing to life a project not confined by my own set ideas of my practice.
Working with so many talented people across all areas of the arts is also inspiring for setting a new standard for yourself.
Who are your key artistic influences for this project?
I’m a big fan of early experimental electronic musicians. There’s something really special about the dark, slightly eerie nature of those early recordings.
I love the sounds of the Radiophonic Workshop and krautrock bands of the 70s, especially.
What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?
I just checked out the new Szun Waves album, Earth Patterns. Any music by James Holden is especially beautiful.
What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?
I have also received funding from Jerwood Arts to debut this project in 2023 – so that’s where my sights are set currently! I would really love to think about touring the work once we’ve premiered it.
We look forward to sharing more details about Piera Onacko's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Piera's website to find out more about her work.
You can listen, download and buy un.procedure's new album here: https://unprocedure.bandcamp.com/releases
Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist development programme for bold creative ideas. Following an open call, a panel of judges including leading figures across contemporary music, chose six emerging artists working at the forefront of sound and music.
Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.
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