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Katt Hernandez: Spiral Passes

By Published: May 19, 2010
AAJ: I sometimes see a parallel in what you are doing with what Joe Maneri did, Especially at XFest, where you went from a snippet of classical improvisation, to a kind of folk fragment, to microtonal, to concrete. Going in all different directions but somehow making them fit together. But you were doing that before you met Maneri.

KH: Certainly when I met Joe and saw another musician who was much older than me who had done many sorts of things that some people would see as being conflictual, and this guy doesn't see any of it as being conflictual, that probably made me look at other circles I was running around in where they said, "You can only do this." But here's this extraordinary musician and he's not doing this, so I don't have to either. Joe is my mentor. I learned many amazing things from him—he's a major influence.

I was doing many sorts of things before I met him and trying to figure out, how do I make my music, and interact with other people making their music, and give honor to all of this accumulated life experience. And I was thinking about those questions a lot before I met him. So it was more like a continuation of thinking about that than suddenly beginning to think about it.

AAJ: You're going to Sweden, and you've been to Sweden.

KH: I met a man there and fell in love with him and that's why I'm going there.

AAJ: Is he a musician?

KH: He does some electro-acoustic music, he does some poetry, he does some dance, he does street performance sometimes. He was meditating and lived in the woods for three years; he makes clothes...

AAJ: Are you going to be living in the woods with him?

KH: No. I did, I lived in the tent for a little while with him but in the winter it was too hard. It was too hard for my violin....A year ago fall I did a residency at the electronic music institute in Stockholm, because he was working there and I found out about it through him. A lot of my work with microtones, I try to find like b-tones, and other acoustic artifacts that are not what you're playing but are the result of things in the air that you're playing, and analog synthesizers fascinate me for this reason.

AAJ: b-tones?

KH: If you play unisons that are not unisons, if you play the distance you get all these acoustic artifacts, you get these other sounds in the air. The waves hit each other and make small rhythms. Or you hear partials that are very far away from the tones you are playing. I spent a great deal of time studying how to make those sounds a lot more prevalent than the tones that I play here. I work a lot with harmonics that way and other extended techniques on my instrument because—I like the way they sound.

And I like the way you can make electro-acoustic music out of a piece of wood that way. I suppose it's sort of a commentary that I play this antiquated object that's made out of wood.

Selected Discography

Katt Hernandez/Steve Norton, Modern Antique (Means of Production, 2010)
Psychotic Quartet, Gliomas (Fire Museum, 2010)
Katt Hernandez, Flight (Desperate Commodities, 2009)
Katt Hernandez/Evan Lipson, Hisswig (Self-produced, 2008)
Katt Hernandez, Unlovely (Self Produced, 2007)
Damon & Naomi, Within These Walls (Damon & Naomi, 2007)
Ex Reverie, The Door into Summer (Language of Stone, 2007)
Noah Babayoff, From a Window to a Wall (Language of Stone, 2007)
Assif Tsahar, Solitude (Hopscotch, 2004)
Katt Hernandez/Marc Bisson, Seven Gingambobs (Self-produced, 2003)
Dan DeChellis Chamber Quartet, Making the Argument for the Line (Sachimay, 2003)
Dan Dechellis, Chamber Music (Sachimay, 2002)
Katt Hernandez, et al., High Zero: The Long Awaited Etcetera (Recorded, 2002)
Katt Hernandez/Adam James Wilson/Arto Artinian, Darker (Stone Quarry Records, 2001)
Katt Hernandez/Adam James Wilson/Jonathan Vincent/Aaron Trant/Arto Artinian, Unify (Stone Quarry Records, 2001)
Frank Pahl, In Cahoots (Back of Beyond, 1993)

Photo Credit

Pages 1, 2: J.H. Kertis

Steven Leah

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