Belonging to nowhere but the moment, Kamran Sadeghi approaches whatever he does with a spontaneous stillness. Rather than grabbing ahold of the process, he relinquishes himself to the outburst of imagination so that it can be put into practice. It’s not where Kamran is at, or where he’s going as much as it is about where he’s coming from. One can hear his inherent philosophies of life, the ephemerality of self played out in each note or a line drawn into a moving circle. In his own words below Kamran shares with us some of his own perspectives on life and music and the symbiosis between the two.
Questions & Answers with Kamran Sadeghi :
Where did you grow up, did your environment play a part in your creative process and if so, how?
I have been traveling since a very young age. Growing up between parents, extended family and places that I have no real attachment to. I’m not a patriotic person and don’t really find inspiration in places, but in time. Since a very young age I chose things that took a lot of practice and self-discipline. I would get so into things that I didn’t really care where I was. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so obsessed with sound and instrumental music, it creates an environment of it’s own.
What were some of your early influences, whether it be music, visuals, books, etc?
As a kid I was constantly drawing. I once entered a drawing contest in school when I was 9 years old, we were asked to make a drawing only using dots (stippling). I loved this process of making little dots to create a bigger picture. In the end the teacher thought I traced an existing picture and kicked me out of the contest. I was really upset about this and started skate boarding, which lasted about 8 years. Kandinsky’s book Point and Line to Plane really influenced my work with sound and image. His reference to sound, rhythm and nature when thinking about our visual perception really influenced my work.
How did you get into making music and when did making visuals come about and how?
One day when I was 17 or so I accepted my addiction to music and realized that no matter what the weather was or where I was living I could always rely on music. To make money I was working at a cafe, I bought a Tascam 4 track tape recorder, a sampler and some microphones and started to experiment. At the same time I started collecting second hand instruments and teaching myself how to play. My first instrument was a trumpet then a cello and guitar, but my real passion was the drums. My friend had an old kit that he wasn’t using and loaned it to me. From that moment music became about rhythm and patterns for me. I’ve been visually inclined since I was a kid, but I started to create live video components to my early ambient work because I didn’t relate to the generic visuals from VJ’s. Also, I was working for Morton Subotnick at the time and he was developing a software to teach kids how to make music based on visual cues.
I noticed an analog thread throughout the visual work you create, can you tell me about your philosophy and approach to creating?
I just engage myself in the process and treat every medium I work with in a physical way. I don’t care about analog or digital, it’s how you work the material. I’m not a microwave or fast food person. I like to use simple ingredients, but each ingredient is from my garden.
Talk to me about Soundwalk Collective- what it is, who’s involved, how you came to be apart of this?
There was a time when I was really concerned about my creative solitude. I didn’t want to just keep the things I developed and discovered for my own work. I was afraid of ego and still think it’s one of the most harmful things for creativity. This led me to search for challenging collaborations and projects I wouldn’t choose to do on my own. When I discovered Soundwalk Collective, they were doing a project of field recordings and wanted to bring them into a live performance and sound installation format. Since then, myself, Stephan Crasneanscki and Simone Merli have been traveling all over the world recording sound. Most of what we do is narrative, based on a story person and place. We recently created a piece about the death of Nico from the Velvet Underground using the sounds of crickets and performed with Patti Smith interpreting the poems and lyrics of Nico.
How does the collaborative experience in creating music/visuals compare to the solo work you create?
Collaboration is one of the most challenging things for me. It’s really hard to find people who have a similar creative intention and timing. I like to explore and create a parallel world when working in the studio or performing. This is true for both my collaborative and solo work.
Tell me about the project “Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear”?
A very talented and vivid video artist Mario Pfeifer approached me with his film capturing Puerto Williams in Chile, the southernmost urban settlement in the world. It’s a portrait of the last remaining members of an otherwise extinguished semi-nomadic nation. After receiving some literature about the musical traditions and archival recordings of the Yaghan chants from the 1920’s, I was on my way to interoperation and scoring. I really love scoring for film- it feels natural for me to create music for moving image. The premiere was at BAM in Brooklyn, New York and it’s scheduled to show as an installation in Berlin this May.
What has been your experience with the world of art vs club culture and where do you stand in all this?
Actually it’s the other way around.. I’m coming from conceptual and performance art, but I don’t really belong to any one outlet. It’s all relevant and important to me. I don’t find one more important than the other. It’s an unfortunate reality that we find a comfort zone and stay there. I hope that I will never be creatively comfortable. I never want to say that I’ve been doing this or that for X amount of years. For better or worse, I don’t have an agenda in any of my work. I pursue what sparks complexity, emotion and physicality in me. The venue doesn’t make the art or artist, and people appreciate intimacy, uniqueness and investigation no matter what the form of expression.
Any other interesting projects you can share with us that you have coming up?
Currently I’m mixing and producing a record that features the voice of the renowned photographer Nan Goldin. I’m preparing for another series of concerts with Patti Smith, creating prints of my video stills for a future exhibition. Some studio visits with Ricardo Villalobos recently have launched an early stage of collaborations. I’m also doing a few remixes and working on a couple of new EP’s to be released soon.
When you set out to create something, what is your intention with how the audience interacts?
I always like to have a dialogue with the audience in all my projects. I hope to engage people in questions, reactions and curiosity through my work. Most importantly, if I’m not engaged myself in what I’m creating; people will feel this.
What are the top five things that inspire you these days?
I’m often inspired by the mundane things in life, things like going for a walk can bring ideas and motivation into my mind. I’m inspired by the stillness of the late night. Running has really been creating a blank canvas in mind and gets the endorphins going. I’m often going to exhibitions and performances. And last but not least I must have fun!
I love a good quote, if you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
“Ideas are one thing and what happens is another.”