I asked Sophie about creating her second album, being a musician in Sydney and things like that.
Sophie Hutchings has a special place in the modern classical scene. Her romantic music is based on piano, but it is also rich in violin, cello, flute, harmonium and other mysterious details of mechanical sounds by playing the instruments.
Night Sky is your second album on the Australian experimental label, Preservation. How did you get in touch with the label?
Andrew who runs the Preservation Label had previously been associated with my music. He also knew one the of the Engineers (Tony Dupe) who involved in the recording process of Becalmed. He contacted me when he heard the mixes of Becalmed and asked if I would be interested...
Two years passed after your debut, Becalmed. How did your music change during these two years?
As the writer of these pieces they tend to induce the same affect on me personally. I write in the same manner and thought process so for me as the composer of these pieces I find I connect with the music on a similar level to Becalmed so I don't feel it's changed so much. If I had to say something I would say it has possibly expanded in it's instrumentation and more ornate sounding perhaps?
Did you record the album with the same group of people? I saw on Facebook that your father joined the project. How was the co-operation?
I worked with Tim Whitten again recording it. He was involved in the last one. As we are good friends it was pretty easy working together..... Jeremy Kong has stayed with me on Violin. On Cello I now have Peter Hollo who has been performing live with me for a while.. He has a fantastic radio station he hosts here in Sydney and I love having him play. My Father.... Well I specifically wrote parts with him in mind as he's an amazing musician who has played with the likes of Frank Sinatra etc. and I felt it of sentimental value to have him involved. We are very close but It was funny as we kept arguing all the time!...
Have you always wanted to be a musician? I guess you grew up in a musical family.
This is true. Music has always been the life blood of our family as we're all involved in music one way or another. I never especially thought about becoming a musician though. I was actually very shy about performing and playing in my childhood. It was just something I enjoyed doing and it led to this some how....
Night Sky is another masterpiece of the modern classical tendency, which lives its golden age nowadays. I don't know very much about the situation in Australia - what does it look like? Is it a well-known type of music? Do you have "capital cities" like Berlin in Europe?
Europe has far more accessibility and diversity when it comes to this genre of music I think. Sydney can be difficult and challenging in this regard.. Having said that there are people passionate enough and working at keeping it alive. I love Sydney and I also love Berlin.. But they are very different.
After your first album you made an amazing video clip for the track Sunlight Zone. As for now, you chose Shadowed to make a clip for. How did you create it?
I liked the idea of taking a look at the Eerieness of the Australian Landscape and I had this vision of an old burnt out shack and we discovered one on a trip up the Mid North Coast .. Then enumerating the dreamy imagery of this young girl gave it another angle in a lost kind of way... I don't like instrumental film clips to have a set story.. With instrumental music I think it's worthy to keep themes open for the viewer & the listener to engage their own interpretation and in a way to convey a strong sense of feeling rather than just a story. My brother filmed and produced this.. He has a really great eye with imagery and he's quite nostalgic so I think you get a feel of that within the motion.
The tracks on Night Sky are quite various, structurally and emotionally too. I wonder which was the most difficult to create and why?
This is a difficult one to answer as I can never remember exactly when I write my pieces.. They all stem from improvisation and then breed into one piece usually... They tend to find their own way eventually.
How much of the final content is improvisation?
I would say it's a little of both. There is definitely a structure that is used to build upon.. I wrote the pieces and other instrumentation and then I had ideas that I wanted to develop in improvised form. So we took one day in Oceanic Studios where i used improvisation, like harmonium, tacked piano and other bits and pieces..
I always ask this from the artists: what other artists influence you the most?
I think this is a sub conscious thing. I listen to a broad range of music and I think if it's emotionally convincing then it sits within you. It stays with you and influences you in ways that you're not really conscious of. On an instrumental level I'm a big fan of Artist like Arvo Part and Alice Coltrane and a Huge Fan of the Rachels and in the last year I've had Arve Henriksen, Cartography on high rotation and lately every morning I play Brian Eno's Descreet music. I grew up listening to him. I love listening to Ambient music late at night...The List goes on..
So, Night Sky is done and feedbacks are great (obviously). What's next?
I have many ideas so it depends what mood it takes.