New Voices 2022 Q&A: Lucy Duncombe

Lucy Duncombe
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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 Lucy Duncombe.

Can you tell us about your musical influences?

Fanny Howe – Feronia Wennborg – Hildegard Westerkamp – Anna Zett –Hannah Zeavin – Peter Watkins – Paul Rooney’s Lucy Over Lancashire – Frank Ocean – Robert Ashley – Ailie Ormston – Fred Moten – Studio der Fruhen – vocal samples in early 90’s UK hardcore and jungle – Lynn Margulis – Minutemen – Howard Slater – Carl Stone – Janet Cardiff – Alvin Curran – Beth Semel – Lucy Liyou – Anna Tsing 

Many of my current reference points are non-musical and include the work of writer and poet Fanny Howe; support worker, and writer, Howard Slater and Hannah Zeavin’s recently published book, The Distance Cure, on the dispersal of the therapeutic voice via tele-therapies such as chatbots, suicide hotlines, and radio broadcasts. Each of these touchstones explore the ways in which in which ‘selfhood’ and the subject might be articulated, contested and expressed, through language, voice, dialogue, testimony and the extension of human vocality via technology. The list of artists are are just part of a familiar vocabulary of musicians, filmmakers, academics and writers I have read and listened to and shared amongst friends over the last few years. And especially – the conversations with friends (not limited to) Ailie Ormston, Feronia Wennborg, Jonathan Anderson, Chris Murray and Al White (most of whom are artists, musicians and writers in their own right), are integral to the ways in which I think about music, and waddle towards ideas.  

What are you working on at the moment?

In 2022, myself and musician and composer, Feronia Wennborg (soft tissue) created 3RD REMOVE FROM THE REAL_ in which multiple digital selves entered into a process of ‘becoming-with-one-another’ via the distributed narrative of two voice clones and a choir of virtual singers. The work draws on databases, archives and research practices connected to the emotional classification of vocalisations, exploring the complexities of subjective voice as it slips through a set of narrow, scientific parameters.The work was commissioned by Radiophrenia, and the two of us will be reworking the piece for release, and building on our budding collaboration and friendship, with a new commission for Cryptic in Autumn, 2023.   

I am also mid-way through a counselling skills evening class, and have newly joined a role with ‘Each & Every Child’ looking at re-framing care experience, and these experiences are undoubtedly playing a huge part in my own learning, and are having a profound impact on my understanding of trauma, lived experience and mental health.    

What are you looking forward to most about New Voices?

I join New Voices looking forward to entering into a new community; of sharing ideas, and forming friendships with other participants of the programme. Ive previously been held back through a lack of confidence, and the resources to see through ideas and so I genuinely look forward to the support, encouragement, mentoring and other resources that the programme offers, and am incredibly grateful to have been offered it at this particular moment in my work. I hope that as I develop new work, theres scope to muck about and explore the edges of emerging ideas, and explore a new palette of sounds.  

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

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