_________________________________________________________________ || | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | || ||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_| Siick Ascii art by Dan and Prue. MESS legends 2023.

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Naretha Williams

MESS Commissioned Artist, Sonorous VIII – October 2023

A First Nations Wiradjuri woman of mixed lineage, born and based in Birrarung-ga/Naarm Melbourne on the Sovereign Lands of the Kulin Nation, Victoria AUS. Naretha works across contemporary music, composition and sound design with a professional creative career spanning 20 years.

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

I discovered electronic dance music in the thick of the 1990s and really only participated as a dancer, however I do recall getting my hands on a Roland MC-303 Groovebox at some point. My arts practice then did a wide arch around a multitude of things and I circled back to it probably around the late 2000’s on Macs in DAWs. I was working at Ilbijerri in the Meat Market when MESS moved in and this really started my journey with analogue hardware.

How would you describe the sounds you make today?

They are usually fairly layered and built around cycles of time. I like to create textural spaces and sonic territories that connect the body or place in some way. My movement background definitely informs how I hear and experience music.

Where do you find inspiration, what motivates you?

Life, nature, intense experiences, silence, noise. My music is an archive of how I experience the world and what I bring in to it. I have to feel what I’m doing, it has to be honest, I always start from there.

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

The MESS Residency in 2021 which was the scaffolding for my latest record, Into Dusk We Fall. Performing this work in two states of assembly, first as an instrumental at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl with the OSCar and recently in The Tank, a vast underground cavern at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, as the developed studio version.

And the most challenging?

These machines (or the ones I am drawn to) are beasts – I feel I am constantly oscillating between joy and frustration as I try to align tidy studio practice with misbehaving signals in analogue instruments. I have grown used to having such a high level of control using DAWs but you have to let these synths lead sometimes and that’s what I love about working with the MESS collection. They really help you to get out of your own way and discover new things. Other times, I wish they would just do what they were told 🙂

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

The Moog Voyager and the Oberheim OB-X8 are my current crushes. They have a certain texture and colour that I really like. I plan on spending some more time with these.

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

I ventured out and sat down with the Buchla the other week, interesting sounds but complex to navigate. I really don’t know my way around the modulars very well, that’s something I would like to understand more and experiment with. They require a little more patience than I usually have time for. Perhaps a retirement activity instead of knitting and gardening?

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

I don’t know about one piece of advice but these are the things I try and keep in mind: Find instruments and sounds that you connect with, that mean something to you. Feel free to move around on other gear or change tactics. Split your time equally between free form experimentation and focused process for specific tasks. Hold the space for new things to emerge and allow your process to adjust as you

Connect with Naretha


Naretha performs at Sonorous VIII

Date: Saturday, Nov 4
Time: Two performances 6pm-8pm or 9pm-11pm
Venue: The Substation