It has been a month since Vienna hosted one of the most exciting spring festivals – Sound:frame. Although I was unable to attend and write a review, I decided to at least get an interview with the people without whom the festival would not have happened at all. Thanks to Eva Fischer (curator and founder) and Natascha Fuchs (international communications) you can read and find out how a festival like that can be realised, where they get their inspirations and lot of other interesting things…
|Hello Ladies, thank you for joining us to conclude the sound:frame series of interviews. So, how was Sound:frame in 2012?
Eva: Hello there! Thank you for the interest! Sound:frame 2012 was amazing! It was a great success – , the artists were brilliant, the exhibition was interesting, the team was great and many of our events were sold out. We are so happy that everything worked out well! And we are looking forward to the next year already. After the festival is before the festival.
Natascha: It’s already a month gone since the festival has finished, but I still feel the energy of Sound:frame! It was such a pleasure to work within the team this year and see how people enjoy what we prepared for them. The festival is growing year by year and all those who didn’t come this year to participate Sound:frame in Vienna have to do that next year definitely!
Is there any special artist who really got you this year?
Eva: So many of the artists actually really got me. I guess that I enjoyed the fact very much, that the collaboration between the musicians and the visualists was so fruitful. For example Taylor McFerrin and Valence worked together in such a brilliant way.
|The combination of his live sounds and their live visuals was just mindblowing! Also what Andreas Koller (Strukt) did for Lapalux was fascinating! The mapping installation by Bildwerk at the Fluc was awesome! I should name many more… It’s so hard to tell just a few. John Talabot and Elektro Guzzi maybe touched the crowd most, I guess…. People were screaming and dancing and did not want it to stop. That was wicked! The BOILER ROOM evening was great – brilliant DJ and LIVE sets and amazing visuals by LWZ and woei! In terms of the exhibition the work done by Depart really touched me. What a great piece of AV art!
Natascha: I have the same feeling about Depart, I was quite excited to see what they will show this year after last year’s amazing artwork and I was not disappointed. And all the other AV artists participated our exhibition at MAK Museum are just great. It was great to have Herman Kolgen and Robert Henke on board. As for music – I am definitely touched by Jacob Korn, Fantastic Mr Fox, Zanshin and guys from Leisure System. They all play in different genres and that is what I love about sound:frame: you get so many nice alternative touches at once.
|How do you choose the artists for the festival? Do you accept any artist submission or you ask them directly?
Eva: Well, actually I do a lot of research, visit other festivals and events and get to know a lot of music and audiovisual approaches online. Soundcloud, XLR8R, pitchfork, and all that sort of pages…. Also facebook tells a lot. I got many friends that are into music or visual and video art and show me all kinds of new stuff every day. On the other hand meanwhile I am working together with several booking agents who present me their newest artists or the newest releases. And naturally I got a lot of submissions and am very happy about the few real good ones that I can include within my programme every year!! It’s always also very important for me to work together with the local heroes. It’s about the network. I like it when new collabs are being fixed because people met at the festival.
Sound:frame has quite similar concept as Unsound festival or Sónar. Do you visit these or similar events for some inspiration?
Eva: Yes! Actually I have to admit, that I never saw Sónar and did not make it to the Unsound Festival so far – which I really, really want! But we collaborated with the CTM/ transmediale in Berlin, the Elevate Festival in Graz, the Mapping Festival in Geneva, Wilsonic in Bratsilava, the MoTa Spring Festival in Ljubljana or the Donaufestival in Krems. I’ve seen the World Wide Festival last year and this year’s also fixed already. I saw the BOILER ROOM live in London and Berlin and many festivals and events and more! Also Vienna has got a lot of good events. I hope that I will make it to the Unsound soon. Heard just good things about it and I actually follow them on the internet as good as I can.
|Getting inspiration is a very important thing! And collaboration as a second step is a very nice, useful and important thing also. That does not mean that one is starting to exchange programmes and have the same bookings which would be boring… It’s more about the discourse and about media collaborations. We can all learn from each others expertises.
Natascha: Visiting other festivals and getting inspired is actually the most important part of my professional activities. I love to travel so much and very happy that I can combine my travels with pleasure to participate music and media art events worldwide. I go regularly to Sonar in Barcelona, Transmediale in Berlin, Ars Electronica in Linz and had collaborations with lots of the others. Gathering people from the scene together and arranging possibility of international exchange (professional one particularly) is a great mission of every festival.
Do you have similar music taste (meaning you listening to artists which you present at the festival) or you prefer to listen to something completely different in your free time?
Eva: Actually I have to admit that I book what I also love in my free time. And I am always very excited about having all these artists here in Vienna. I decided that Sound:frame should not follow the goal to present a main-act booking and to bring all the big names to Vienna in order to get a bigger and bigger crowd every year. I am very happy about the fact that we can book acts who are not so well known yet. I guess that meanwhile our crowd kind of like trusts in the Sound:frame booking… I don’t know. I always hope that everyone enjoys as much as I do.
Natascha: And we don’t forget about classics or jazz roots in a free time. We educated on good music I would say! People with bad taste don’t make good festivals :)
|How did you established the Sound:frame team? Did you know each other from the beginning or…?
Eva: There is one person - Romana, our audio technical director – who is actually part of the Sound:frame team since the very beginning. Some people also joined within the first one or two years. Actually within the last few years we grew together very strongly and built something like a core team. The Sound:frame family is getting bigger every year and we get great new team members. Some people leave… that’s normal I guess. But I always have to say that we are the best team ever! We have been working out our own structures without any institutional help and I am very proud about the fact that we developed some well working structures over the years. It was not always easy but I guess that we found a great way of working together! CREW LOVE IS TRUE LOVE ;)
Natascha: Probably I am one of the freshest team members as I joined Sound:frame this year. But we had some collaborations and nice experience before, and I would say it happened not just by chance. I feel my story with Sound:frame and Eva personally as a planned development of the Universe will :)
How does look like your usual day with sound:frame?
Eva: It’s like a normal office day, usually. A lot of meetings, a lot of e-mails, a lot of team discussions…. Also the free time is often work. It’s about networking and visiting other festivals or events. Well, and in the end everyone is waiting for the festival to come. After the festival then everyone remains speechless – “That was it?! It went soooo fast!! Oh my god, I want it to come back!” Haha, at least this year that was the case.
|Do you have any plans for the future? Like making the whole festival bigger, adding more visual artists, exhibitions, etc… ?
Eva: There are many plans, yes! But instead of making it bigger my greatest goal is to make it work better every year and stay open to change the concept at any time. It’s not about the size…. I would like to stay free to realise new ideas and bring together new concepts and artists every year. I guess that one of the plans is to expand the international network.
Natascha: Yes, expanding the international network and bringing international awareness is something we are concentrated on now. There are so many outlines which have to be embodied. And I agree – it doesn’t mean Sound:frame Festival has to be bigger. From my point of view educational imput is something important. It’s a need and request from contemporary society in direction to initiatives like Sound:frame Festival and would be great to reply to it in a proper way.
When do you start to prepare the next Sound:frame?
Eva: After the festival is before the festival. I am already working on the concept for 2013.
Natascha: And the team supports you in that :) To make all our dreams come true we work constantly and it’s ongoing process for everyone!
Is there any artist who you really would like to invite to Sound:frame and he/she is unattainable?
Eva: Phew! There are many! I have been trying to book SBTRKT or Little Dragon for some years now for example… Also AntiVJ would be great again…. It never happened because of schedule reasons or something like that. And now I am afraid that they are getting too expensive for us… What a pity! But oh well, there are so many brilliant artists out there.
|I am curious.. how is the financial background? Do you get support from the EU or Ministry of Culture?
Eva: We do not get support from the EU since it was too complex for us to submit fundings so far but we would like to try in the future. We are getting support by different institutions like the City of Vienna, “departure” – the Creative Agency of the City of Vienna, the Austrian Economic Chambers of Vienna or the Austrian Ministry of Culture. I am glad that we have these institutional partners such as industry partners like Concept Solutions, Klangfarbe or Ottakringer (a Viennese beer brand) by our side. All together the different kinds of fundings and sponoring deals and the commitment of the Sound:frame team and of all the artists make the festival happen.I still really hope that we can work out a realistic budget once. Everyone in the team is still working for small fees that bear no relation to the efforts they take.
Ladies, I believe it`s enough of serious talking. One simple question… what makes you happy?
Eva: Hmmm, that’s not the easiest question to answer actually… so many things…. I guess that everything can make me happy in the end. That might sound stupid but if I learned one thing during the last few years, it’s the fact that even if there are shit, shit, shit times, they can make you stronger – at least if you let them. You do not have only good times when realising a project like that. Or whatever – it’s not only about the “project”. You do not only have good times. Many people don’t like what you do or how you act and try to intrigue. That can be very frustrating. But in the end you will never be able to suit or please everybody. So often things evolve different then you wish. In that case you have to stay flexible. That’s hard work but as soon as you can accept this everything is still getting easier at the end of the day. The most important thing is the teamwork, are your good friends, your family. And yourself obviously. Understanding and accepting that point makes it much easier to be happy ;) At the time I have the feeling as if happiness was something that – in terms of awareness – you’ve got to work hard for… But it’s always work that you do for yourself!
|Natascha: Yeah, good relationship with yourself is the basics for everything. I am happy when I don’t lie mysef, enjoy myself, feel myself healthy and powerful. That gives me a chance to create the right surrounding, have family, be in touch with the right people and work out the best projects. So to be happy I have to keep an eye on me :) Every minute of every day!
What was the biggest live lesson for you so far?
Eva: Man! I am still learning… Every day! But that’s maybe one of the big lessons one can learn… to accept this very process. You will never be perfect. It’s just about trying to act to the best of your knowledge and beliefs at any time. One year later you will definitely look at things in a different way. But that’s okay! Don’t be ashamed of what you did years ago ;)
Natascha: Hah :) My biggest lesson sounds like “You never know”. But it doesn’t mean I am just flowing and don’t plan the next steps. It means that I learnt to trust life and nature more than my (sometimes too much) overloaded brain :)
What does the art mean for you?
Eva: Art means a lot to me. It’s about expressing meanings, it’s about inspirational processes, it’s about touching people and getting touched. One of the most important things might be that art is another way to communicate and express thoughts or emotions. What I like about interdisciplinary art forms like the audiovisual apporach is that artists are getting together in order to create something new. It’s not always easy to work together with other people and one should never lose sight of his or her own aims. But when two strong collaborators find each other it can be very inspiring.
Natascha: It’s a way of life and there’s just nothing more I could be dedicated to. Art is freedom! It’s probably the only one and unique area where you can discuss all types of problems in a different planes with interested people. Interested for real.
Would you like to tell us anything else?
Eva: Thanks for the interview!! And all the best for C-Heads.com!! See you soon!
Thank you again, ladies… and I really hope to see ya on Sound:frame 2013!
Interview by Simona Hypsová