08 March 2010

Fresh Meat Monday - Fiona Soe Paing

Would you care to introduce yourself?

I am Fiona Soe Paing. I'm a musician/vocalist from Aberdeen. Fiona is the Aberdeen half. The Soe Paing half is because my dad was Burmese. I am the audio half of the audio-visual duo Colliderscope. The visual half is an amazing animation artist called Zennor Alexander who lives in New Zealand. I perform live with projected animations for each of the songs, like a live soundtrack to a cinema showing...

How would you describe the music you make?

I have a handy wee caatchphrase which is "skeletal, off-world electronica..." skeletal, in that its pretty sparse and minimal, just the bare bones of arrangements - off-world because a few people have said some songs sound like aliens from another planet trying to make contact with earth!! I like to call them alien lullabies too, because it also can sound very soothing and warm, like the sounds are tucking you up in a fluffy blanket. But some are also harsh and stark.... and lush, and minimal at the same time.. eh, what? The Guardian said it was "hybrid going on mutant" which i think is pretty apt, and I hope a sort of compliment too...

How did you start out making music?

I first got into music through being a dancer and training in choreography . I wanted to make up dances to music that came out of the dancer's body, instead of having to make up steps to someone else's music... I made an electronic soundtrack for a piece which was triggered by a dancer's brainwave patterns when she was hooked up to an EEG machine at St Thomas' Hospital. It wasn't very good though. Then I discovered I loved singing, which was the easiest way to make music coming straight out of your body...and started writing tunes... I sang for a few bands but nothing really clicked until I bought a computer and started writing my own material. I am still figuring out how do do the dancing thing as well though, without it turning into a horrible Kate Bush type performance art joke ....

What process goes into the way you write songs?

I usually start with playing around on the computer ( I use logic on my laptop) until I find some interesting sounds I like , and just build up layers , until a structure and rhythm evolves. Then I improvise a vocal melody with random sounds. Sometimes I go back and write "proper" words, but usually I like the sound of the random noises better than the words, so they become the final vocal line. If I need to do a re-take, I write down phonetically what I said first time around, and then "learn" the words so that they match up if I want to do a harmony or whatever.

What can people expect from your live shows?

As I said its like a cinema performance - I project Zennor's films and sing live to the audio soundtrack. It can be quite hypnotic, darkly mermerising in a way , very downtempo... its been described as 'beautiful, sensual and soulful" and well as "stylish, elegant and sinister... " other people have said its maudlin music to slit your wrists to, so make up your own mind....

What are you all listening to at the moment?

I've been away from Scotland for years, just moved back, so I am trying to catch up with what's happening on the music scene here by tuning into some great local podcasts... like the Glasgow PodcART and We Sink Ships on Radio Magnetic. And having been living in New Zealand for three years where the music on the radio is mostly bleh.... I am actually really enjoying listening to Radio One and Radio Four again...

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?

A lot of shouting- about the abomination of a "concept" that is Sir Ian Wood's "City Square Project" . His masterplan is to concrete over the beautiful and under-used Union Terrace gardens in Aberdeen, destroying the green space and mature trees and to build a shopping mall/plaza on top... "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, with a pink hotel and a swinging hot spot" (as in the poignantly apt words of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi") Ok, rant over.... Oh, yes, and hopefully lots of audio-visual gigs at festivals - got my fingers crossed for something at the newly revamped Roxy Arthouse in Edinburgh...would like to do a few gigs in cinemas too... Zennor is just finishing off the last couple of videos, so we will be looking for a label and distribution for that when its done..

If that's sound like it'd be up your street then you can download/stream Fiona's track "Deep Song" below, it's taken from the DVD album "No Man's Land" which is coming soon, watch this space......

Fiona Soe Paing - Deep Song (MP3)


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/3/10

    Damn straight Fiona, stick it to Ian Wood!