New Voices 2022 Q&A: Lou Barnell

Lou Barnell
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To celebrate the selection of this year’s New Voices cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.

Here, we speak to New Voices 2022 composer Lou Barnell.

Can you tell us about your musical influences?

I’m a magpie, and music is a multisensory experience to me. I tend to look to visual, performance and multidisciplinary artists for inspiration as much I do musicians and composers. Some of my influences include writers such as Jane Bennett, Donna Haraway and Christopher Small and multidisciplinary artists like Elaine Mitchener, Florence Peake, and Natalie Sharp AKA Lone Taxidermist. My voice is my original instrument, and I love the quality and magic of tape so I’ve found the works of Maggie Nicholls, Pauline Oliveros  and Delia Derbyshire really inspiring. The Music I listened to when I grew up is still sonically present in my work. Artists like The Bug / Techno Animal, LTJ Bukem, Dextrous, Hype, Lemon D, Wookie, Cecile, Lady Saw and Warrior Queen are all there. Sculptors who work with sound, scale energy and materiality such as Takis, Jordan Wolfson and Louise Bourgeois have influenced me to explore these themes in composition. I find the use of facial expressions, archetypes, and abstract movement in musical performance inspiring. Grace Jones, Annie Lennox and Pina Bausch are performers whose practice is influential in this respect. I also love the work of contemporary musicians such as Container, Matana Roberts, Samuel Kerridge, Elvin Brandhi, Loula Yorke and AJA. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing a new album with some exciting collaborators. The first single  ABOVE THE GREY WAVES is released on Accidental Records Antechamber Sessions #2 in October this year. I’m also planning some research and development and a tour for M E L T A my immersive movement, sound, and sculpture composition for 2023.   

I’m also producing/ hosting my radio show and sonic performance archive: IN PROCESS. There’s some special Oram Awards themed episodes coming up with this year’s winners on Repeater Radio.   

What are you looking forward to most about New Voices?

I’m excited to build friendships with an incredible group of peers and mentoring. I’m really looking forward to being supported to explore and refine my ideas about shapeshifting sonic sculptures, voice and data to create new work, and explore archiving as a way to create counternarratives.

Sound and Music gratefully acknowledges support from PRS Foundation as a Talent Development Partner:

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