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Camilla Hannan

Focusing on contemporary and avant-garde music, Ashley embraces microtonality and improvisation. She’s a teaching artist, chamber musician and soloist who lives in Los Angeles.

How did you first get involved with synths and electronic sound?

I first got involved with electronic sound as a student at RMIT in Melbourne studying Media Arts. My first exposure to synths was with a Yamaha DX7. My first piece of outboard gear was an Ensoniq ASR10 that ran on floppy disks and had a 5mb sample capacity! It was also extremely heavy to carry up and down stairs.

How would you describe the sounds you make today?

The sounds I make today primarily come from a long practice in field recording. Using a broad range of recording techniques and source locations taking the listener from the industrial heartland to the open landscape. I tend to layer sounds to create new hyper real worlds which engage the listener’s psycho acoustic processes.

Where do you find inspiration, what motivates you?

What motivates me is listening to the world. This is in a couple of ways. The first is the most obvious – listening to our environment, how it shapes us, how it shapes how we live together in the world, how we interact with the landscape -both natural and built. The second is through art and creativity. How artists can offer ideas on how to perceive the world in new and challenging ways. That moment as an audience when our heart sings with delight or questions or fire.

What’s been one of the most rewarding or satisfying moments of your journey so far?

I produced a series for ABC RN a couple of years ago called Oz Gothic which is a series of audio stories about what lies beneath the beating heart of this country. The series commissioned 6 writers to give their take on Australian Gothic. It allowed me to interrogate how we live in this country and mirror an identity that is a lot more nuanced than beer and football.

And the most challenging?

The last couple of years as it has felt the world had gone quite dark. But even through that, being able to be still and listen has been a great salve.

Do you have a current ‘go to’ set up at MESS? Any favourite machines or combos that you’re currently digging?

I’ve really been enjoying the ARP2600. It’s felt very intuitive and the filters are gorgeous.

Are there any machines in the MESS collection you’ve had your eye on but haven’t tried yet?

The Fairlight! I have a secret (or not so) desire to make some wild 80s beats!

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you first started what would it be?

Be kind to yourself – don’t be afraid to stand still for a while and listen.

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