Q & A with Colm O’Hare
Copyright ©2012 Daniel Figgis
Q: Do you always start with a blank page when composing/in construction of a piece or do you carry a store of ready made ideas? (as many artists seem to do?)
A: I regularly revisit the vast archive marked Unfinished Business! Sometimes you have to wait a while for a good idea to concretise, to find a home. I junk 90% of what I write, particularly when I stray, as we all do, into the realms of the familiar. At that point I down tools. I only present work when I know that I am, at last, hearing something that I know I haven’t already heard somewhere else.
Q: Why work, as you are doing today, in the Pearse Museum?
A: Because it’s a beautiful space to work in. I enjoy the rock’n’roll world to its fullest when that’s appropriate but when I want to create a new work from scratch I want to connect with natural growth and decay and not urban growth and decay. Outside of my roaming ad hoc/on location studio set-ups I favour Apollo Studios Dublin.
I have chosen in recent years to present live events in public spaces as opposed to traditional concert performance spaces. I am, however, feeling the pull again of the traditional venue but many of my pieces e.g. TAMPER (see photo) and THE BATTLE oF SPEEDS required these specific places.
Q: Tell me about dimmerswitch for Crash Ensemble at the Galway Arts Festival this month.
A: Crash Ensemble commissioned a piece for the full extended lineup of 10 players. I chose to further extend it. So there are 10 live performers, augmented by a further fourteen on tape who, between them, play a further 23 parts including “pigbass”, church organ, harmonium, piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, spatula, processed brass, cello, hihat, playground swing, clock, bicycle horn and Moog Taurus 1 bass pedals. dimmerswitch is a self-regulating but faulty steam punk mechanism in hyperactive dialogue with the beating heart that is Crash Ensemble.
Q: And the live line-up consists of which instruments?
A: The live players (Crash Ensemble) are: violin, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, electric guitar, flute, bowed vibraphone, piano, trombone.
The world premiere of dimmerswitch is at the Galway Arts Festival 19 July, St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, 8pm. I will also give a pre–show talk with Crash Ensemble artistic directors Donnacha Dennehy and Kate Ellis at 7pm. See you there, I hope. This is a new Adventure.