A short A & Q between Silvia Kastel & Raymond Dijkstra…

 

August 2017

RD: Can you tell something about the background of ‘The Gap’?

SK: I had recently moved to Berlin and I had a very minimal set up with me. Just my synth, a drum machine, some pedals, a tape recorder and a couple mics. I held on to my gear like it was all I had. It was light and heavy at the same time. I thought a lot about void, physical and emotional. And all the different (or same) ways that people fill it with. The Gap mostly refers to that. 

RD: Did your music change since you live in Berlin?

SK: Most of the music on The Gap was made here. I was living a lot at night at the time, taking long walks on headphones at night. The city lights, the canal, the things I experienced during those walks informed the music on it. 

RD: What do you think of the current state of so called experimental music.
I’m using this term in lack of a better description. Do you think there
still exists such music at all at the current time?

SK: It’s always hard to define what’s “experimental”, but yes, it still exists. I would say that people are definitely a bit more open to “stranger” sounds now, than a few years ago.

RD: Are there things, experiences, people, other artists which have
influenced your work, or your work in a certain period?

SK: Life is the main influence of course. Some artists I really love and draw inspiration from are: Pierre Molinier, Rei Kawakubo, Anne Gillis.

RD: Can you tell something about your collaborations

SK: For many years I played in a band called Control Unit. At the same time me and Ninni (my partner in the band) would play a lot of improv – free jazz shows with other people. Some of those were just one off collaborations, some of them were a series of shows/tours, sometimes we would record sessions and release them. The collaborations I enjoyed most were probably the ones with Ju Suk & Oblivia of Smegma, Aki Onda, Gary Smith.

RD: As a person who likes to spend a lot of time by yourself, how do you cope with social life

SK: I am quite asocial in general. Over the years I’ve realized that Music is what’s really kept me going. Both in my solitary phases and in the social realm.   Thanks to music, I’ve been able to meet and make friends with like minded people. I’ve met my dearest friends through music, very special people. But music has also shown me how horrible some people can be.

RD: Has your music ever taught you something about yourself?

SK: Definitely. Not only it uplifts me when I’m sad, it helps me understand why, it’s like a translator of emotions.

RD: Do you ever think about your public when making music? Or is it a purely solitary trip?

SK: It’s both. The solitary trip is a part of the immersive process. Of course I think about people as well at some point. If you are moved by something you’re making, it’s only natural to want to share that and hopefully convey emotions to others.

RD: You also perform live. Is there a difference with playing in your studio?

SK: Yes, very different.  The tension and energy of a live show are very unique and feed into studio work, inevitably.

RD: Working as an artist involves more than creativity and ideas. It’s also about clarity in perception and the ability to somehow communicate it, wether towards yourself or the public. In my perception this determines if a work of art is good or not.
The ability to communicate. To ‘materialize’ personal experiences. This has taken me personally, years before I was able to do so, because for a long time, the fuzz and chaos of life got in the way.
Do you feel the audience perceives your work (within broad parameters) like you perceive it yourself?

SK: Interesting question. It depends. Sometimes my own perception matches other people’s. That feels good of course. Other times their impressions are very different. Whether it’s a compliment or a critique, it doesn’t matter, it makes you see your own work in a different light, makes you less obsessed with your own self perception so you can discover more in the process. 

 

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