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Kaitlyn Aurelia-Smith

International Artist in Residence, January 2023

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is a classically trained composer, performer, and producer who creates experimental electronic music using analog synthesisers, known for creating intricate, layered compositions. Smith’s practice is centered around her use of synthesisers, orchestral instruments and the voice. She is interested in creating immersive, otherworldly sounds.

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

I studied classical guitar, sound engineering and composition/orchestration. Synthesizers came into my world in a very serendipitous way.

I actually decided to give up on pursuing music as a career and within a few days someone offered to lend me a Buchla 100.

I had never heard of a modular synthesizer and because I had just surrendered my pursuit of music as a career, there was an ease in any pressure to make music with it.

I spent a year just creating a relationship with the Buchla 100 – just listening to what I could hear in two tones oscillating and from that process a new way of creating music was discovered for myself.

How would you describe the sounds you make today?

For a while I was focused on pure exploration without expectation and now I am focusing on how to express myself with fluidity and fluency… and how to combine the two.

Where do you find inspiration, what motivates you?

Reaction – an impulse to respond – I haven’t fully identified it yet – it changes form constantly.
Learning something new.

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

Every creation / discovery of a sound and witnessing that sound turn into expression.

And the most challenging?

travel / sleep deprivation / doubt 🙂

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

In general, I don’t have a “go to” and I like to approach the creative process with the mindset that there is music that can be made from anything.
I have really liked everything I have played at MESS – it’s so hard for me to pick favorites – the moment I start to, another one pops up that the term favorite begins to encompass, so I have surrendered to an appreciation for all instruments & hardware and focus mostly on my musicianship / my ability to listen and my preferences.

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

Serge System 🙂

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

Love this question! Allow yourself to “fail” because it is never actually a failure, it is just the middle point to discovering something new about yourself.

If you don’t reach that middle point, “failure” you won’t be able to reach that new discovery.

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