Musician, DJ and producer Dave Harrington shared with us how he creates movies you watch in your mind, how his preparation process cultivates connections between audience and performer, and what his influences taught him about creating new realities. You can read the full interview below, and come see Dave’s audio-visual exposition at OPUS 1 on October 7th!
Project: Dream Machine
Can you tell us a bit about how you discovered the Dream Machine, and why you were interested in expanding the sculpture’s idea to a performance environment?
I’ve always been influenced by the work of Gysin and Burroughs (and in reference to the Dream Machine, Ian Sommerville), specifically in how they approached the materiality of their mediums. How they sought to bend time and space, to create new realities and to give us new lenses with which to see our own reality. The Dream Machine is a such a classic example of this and such a radical example of the power of simplicity, I thought it lent itself to a large-scale exploration of these ideas; an interrogation of the possibility of large-scale collective experience.
When preparing for a live show, what role does stage design and physical space normally play in your work?
All of the music I am involved in deals in a large dose of improvisation. For me, improvising is about presence and risk – and being engaged and open to the possibilities, good and bad, of both. As such, I always try to be mindful of creating a space where there is the potential for connection between the performers and the audience is deeply important, and the more this can happen, the fuller the experience for everyone involved.
You’ve done a number of live score film performances and now work in creating scores for feature films. What does the notion of cinematic music mean to you?
The word “cinematic” gets thrown around a lot in reference to instrumental music, and not always with the kind of intention I think it merits. To my mind, cinematic music is not simply sound that would appropriately soundtrack and accompany an image, it is music that creates its own image in the mind’s eye of the listener – this is the central goal of the Dream Machine.
What does it mean to you as a heavy guitar shredder to play Merriweather Post Pavilion with the spirit of Jimi Hendrix listening in?
If spirits have eyes, then I hope Jimi closes his and stares into the strobe lights of the Dream Machine and watches the movies in mind with a smile on his face.