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Stephanie Richards: Creative Music

Kevin Press By

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AAJ: What's next?

SR: I want to release a record that explores how space can influence what we play. So I got together with the scent artist Sean Raspet, someone who designs smells. I thought, what if a scent could be one part of a musical composition? It could be one of the controlling structures that musicians are improvising and responding to. Part of the equation is that they have to open a box, smell something and allow that to influence their musical choice. So it's a scratch-and-sniff record.

I was so lucky because I had amazing musicians in the studio who were so game. It was Jason Moran playing piano, Kenny Wollesen on percussion (he brought all these amazing instruments that he built and designed) and Stomu Takeishi on bass. Three people I absolutely love and admire so much. And they were totally down to try out this completely wacko idea.

But while it's kitschy and fun, at the same time there is a genuine curiosity behind the project. A lot of times we can't articulate what a song is about. We try to describe it. But you know, you have a song about loss, and well, what does that sound like? Scent is really similar to music in that it's its own language. There's actually no codified way of explaining what a smell is. So we have all these descriptors and metaphors to try to explain how it makes us feel.

I'm excited about the project, it's going to come out next year. We're going to play it live, with scents. And because you can't sell a smell on iTunes, there will be a chance for people to engage with a record. They'll have their own physical experience with the music, if they can buy the record. That's something I'm really excited and curious about.
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