Interview: Tim Hecker

tim hecker

Montreal’s Tim Hecker will bring his brand of ambient electronica to Brisbane this week for a free show as part of the Mono series.

What can Australian fans expect from a Tim Hecker performance in 2013?

Well it’s been a few years since I was last visiting, so there’s a lot of new music that has been made in that time and I’m part way through working on a new album, so I think there’ll be some new stuff in there that people might not recognise. I’m never sure where things are going to go really, so best to just leave it open in terms of expectations.

How much do you stick to the recording when performing live, and how much is improvised?

It’s a real mix for me, like I have elements of all the pieces that I can use, but they are never like the albums as such. It’s two different things in a way – what makes sense in one, doesn’t always in the other. Everything effects the live experiences I think – PA, room etc – so all that feeds into what I make when performing.

Do you consider your live performance a partial assault on your audience’s senses or a chance for them to get lost in the music, so to speak?

I’d say both and neither. I definitely employ volume as a tool to overload listeners at times. That means sometimes making things more pleasant, but it also means as much if not more about sometimes making things uncomfortable or awkward for listeners. I’m not really sure what my live efforts are going after at times, I kind of throw things out and see how they bounce off the walls, and go forward from there.

Is your writing process complicated, or a fairly simple affair?

Sometimes it’s simple, easily coming in short moments of clarity or improvisation on the spot. Other times it’s very labour intensive to push the sound into certain directions where it starts to take on a life of its own. That means transformation upon transformation of some motif or line that gets hammered and distorted and bent inside out.

You have been active since 1996. How or where do you find motivation and fresh ideas for new material?

Often it seems like I’ve been thrashing at some of the same ideas for at least ten years, each release a further addition to the catalogue of failures to properly realise those ideas or loose visions. But there seems to be an arc of transformation over that period though that might suggest my interests have changed somewhat. I would say making music is both a real pleasure but also something that I need to do to maintain my sanity.

This will be your first appearance in Australia since the Open Frame Festival in 2007. What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

Actually, I’ve been down once between this and Open Frame in 2010. I’ve been looking forward to seeing a lot of friends there – that’s one of the upsides to festivals, it brings us together somewhere different. I’m also looking forward to spending some time at the beach – I have a short residency just south of Byron I will be doing while here… so that will be a pleasure no doubt.


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