20.10.2018 | Words by: Benjamin Rogerson
“Right now I’m preparing for Saturday. I’ve been working on a new album, and some material from that will be worked into the performance. I find it hard to focus on one type of music, it can go from ambient, to beats, to more trancey. That can make it hard to create a coherent piece, one story.”
SKY H1 started making music in Brussels, before spending some time in Berlin. She was signed to PAN’s sub-label Codes, and had a track ‘Huit’ on the Mono No Aware compilation last year.
“In Berlin I was spending a lot of time with this group; people like Kareem Lofty, Mechatok. I did a collaboration with WHY BE too. The only other collaboration I’ve been working on recently is with Ssaliva, in Brussels. We played a gig last week, and we’ll certainly do more shows together”.
SKY H1 & Ssaliva have released tracks together in the past, ‘Dooms’, and more recently ‘Rages’.
“I enjoy our process together. We’re both melody focused. It’s organic, working together – we improvise and construct things on top of each other. Compared to my solo stuff it’s more adaptable and improvisational.”
This weekend she’s hoping to continue that adaptable approach, with her concert in De Aula of De School.
“I’ve been playing a lot more the last couple years. At the beginning I was quite inflexible, avoiding mistakes due to my inexperience. I felt the repetition made it boring. I want to make it more interesting for myself, to improvise more. I’m not satisfied yet. I’m enjoying researching and learning new ways to make it work.”
Despite being more comfortable in the studio, she’s still getting a lot of joy from playing live, from people’s appreciation, and using her live performance as a way to enhance and direct her production. There’s an interesting dynamic between her production and live creation.
“I also test new things when I’m playing live, and see how people react. If I see a positive reaction, that can affect how much I push a certain idea. Then I take the idea, and work more with it. Sometimes I play things too early though, and get bored of them. A lot of production I would’ve shaped differently if I hadn’t played them out before”.
When you listen to SKY H1’s releases, it’s difficult not to feel a pop influence on her music.
“It’s not that there are actual pop productions which I’m shaping my production around. I don’t actually listen to that much mainstream music. I feel it’s more that I use a lot of pop elements. Structurally: like intro, verse, chorus. Standard pop structures. But also melodically, with poppy, repeating melodies.”
In the past she’s found it tricky finding the right way to connect her live performance with a visual component.
“I’ve struggled with visuals in the past. I feel sometimes like visuals can limit the capacity for imagination. When you give people an image, you are limiting their freedom to construct an image in their own mind, and I’m not always comfortable with that. This weekend though it’s a little different. There will be an art installation as I’m playing, 3 people will be collaborating during the performance. It’s much more instrumental, adapting and moving to the music. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works.”
However, experimental artists like SKY H1 are still not booked for club night that often.
“It can be tricky playing later on in the club nights. When I get booked later, I can be between dance acts, harder stuff. I have to do things a little differently - condense things more so people don’t lose interest. It can still work though, people often enjoy the contrast.”
Tonight offers a good platform for her performance: she’ll be set apart from the dance music in De Aula. It will offer people an alternative experience.
“This time I have my own space, and I’m playing earlier in the night. People are getting more used to this variety in Europe. In Asia, I’ve been booked between Trap gigs, where people sometimes have more rigid expectations. It makes things tricky. People can be disappointed. It’s not everywhere though, some of my gigs in Tokyo at WWW and Shanghai went well. I’m not concerned about that this weekend though.”SKY H1 will be performing alongside the dynamic art installation of Gosse de Kort and Nieke Koek tonight at 21:00 in De Aula.