5.5 Questions for Stephanie Cheng Smith

1. What led you to the kind of work you make now?   Musically, I grew up a violinist, but I was always interested in technology and programming. I studied experimental sound practices at CalArts, and that gave me the time and space to experiment with combining my musical and technical interests. It’s taken shape in two branches: making installations and instruments (i.e. the bell controller) and improvising with a combination of violin, laptop, and synthesizer. The instrument-making arose…


1. What led you to the kind of work you make now?

Like most singers I got my start as a young musician in chorus and musical theater, which was very much in line with my own interests in literature and story-telling. Most of my work for the last few years has been focused on creating narrative pieces for vocal ensembles, but recently I’ve turned my attention to voice and electronics. Mostly it started as a practical choice. I…

5.5 Questions for Laura Steenberge

1. What led you to the work you’re making now?

My current output is usually some reinvention of whatever my input was from a few years back. At that time, I was learning about medieval Byzantine chant and Japanese papermaking.

2. Who are some other musicians and/or artists you admire and why?

The Roches for their harmonies. Laurence Crane and Powerdove (Annie Lewandowski) for their austerity. Jerry Hunt for his commitment.

3. What are you listening to these days?


1. A relationship between the body and voice is very present in your performances, but you also produce audio recordings. When conceiving new work, is there a point where you decide “this is going to be a performance” or “this is going exist solely as audio”, and how do you make that decision?

My earlier audio recordings were field recording collages, mainly. For a while I spent a lot of time fascinated by the sounds around me and tried…

5.5 Questions for Dan Clucas

1. What led you to the work you’re making now?

Most of my work is still rooted in improvisation from a group perspective using conventional group settings (i.e. “jazz” instrumentation) but I have always been interested in spatial performance, ever since attending the Los Angeles premiere of Boulez’ Répons in 1985. So this is a great opportunity for me to investigate that part of my musical psyche, and hopefully it will lead to more.

2. What…

5.5 Questions for Bobb Bruno

1. What led you to the work you’re making now?

Just a love for synthesizers, drum machines, and non-traditional forms of electronic music.

2. What was your very first gig?

My first solo gig was at the original The Smell location in North Hollywood, late Nineties i believe. I recreated my bedroom and played in my pajamas. Instrumentation was chord organ, Yamaha SU-10 sampler, vocals.

3. What are you listening to these days?

Let’s Eat Grandma, The new Bixio/Frizzi/Tempera Magnetic Systems compilation Lp, Oiler,…

5.5 Questions for Southern California Sound Ecology

Southern California Sound Ecology

1. The members of Southern California Sound Ecology (SCSE) come from a range of different musical perspectives and backgrounds, from noise to “slow sound” (which is related to lowercase)….how did you come together to form SCSE? How do the different approaches inform the group as a whole?

Jorge Martin: It could be that each member (past, present, future) of the ensemble has their own historical perspective of how the SCSE formed, but I credit Glenn Bach for its start…

5.5 Questions for Matt Barbier

Matt Barbier / sound. at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook: Mural (photo by Don Lewis)

1. What led you to the kind of work you make now?

A lot of things. One of the big ones is my non-music job. I do a lot of woodworking and machining, because of that I’ve spent a lot of time with earplugs in. I’ve started to notice this pleasant difference in hearing between what is close to me [the sounds in my ears] and the sounds outside of my earplugs. It’s made me very interested in how a…

5.5 Questions for Sarah Petersen

1.  What led you to integrate humming into performance? Can you tell us a little about your Hums and how they evolved?

My interest in humming started with an interest in how sound acts on people subconsciously, and an interest in sympathetic vibration. I had been doing installations where I realized, in retrospect, my main interest had been in how sound acts on and pulls people through space, based on their seemingly innate curiosity about sounds whose source was…

5.5 Questions for the Southland Ensemble

This week, the founders of the Southland Ensemble – Eric KM Clark, James Klopfleisch, and Christine Tavolacci – will lead SASSAS’ Kids Play Oliveros workshops. On Sunday, September 7, they will lead students from The Harmony Project in a free concert of Oliveros’ music at 2pm at CFAER.

The Southland Ensemble will also perform works by Pauline Oliveros at Human Resources on Sept. 9, 8pm.

 What led you to the work you’re making now?

The majority of us…