Hidden Orchestra Transformations

Hidden Orchestra Transformations

Interview with Joe Acheson Hidden Orchestra

joe acheson

anna:Hello from DJambore.com – the independent Bulgarian media for music. I love your music and I am looking forward to see you in Bulgaria on 21th of November! I’ve been expected you since April 2014 when you were supposed to perform with Tricky here in Sofia but there was a car accident. I hope now everything is going to be fine.

Now you have released a new album Reorchestrations so the excitement is even greater. Tell me, please, what has changed in your “interesting cross-discipline venture” for the past year?

 Joe Acheson: Hello. In the last year I’ve made a lot of changes to the live show – particularly by switching from using just electronic hardware (though I still use this a lot for live effects and looping), to using the software Ableton, which has opened a whole new world of live musical expression, allowing me to explore and manipulate the arrangements in a whole new way.

Also, we have continued to develop the live visuals, as part of a long-term collaboration with visual artist Tom Lumen, who is accompanying us for the whole tour.

And what Hidden Orchestra is trying to show for the last 5 years performing?

Really we are just trying to play my music live – there is no deeper ‘mission’ or anything. I guess from the start I’ve tried to find a way of translating a solo studio project into a live performance experience, without just doing a DJ set or ‘live PA’.

How did you met with the other orchestra members – Poppy Ackroyd, Tim Lane and Jamie Graham?

Poppy and Tim were studying music at the same time as me in Edinburgh – and we played in a band together with a couple of other guys. When I first got asked to perform my solo music live, I asked them to join me. We soon realised that one drummer was not enough to cover all of the many layers of drums and percussion that I program for the Hidden Orchestra music – we met Jamie on the local music scene and asked him to get involved as well.

What does it mean “Reorchestration”? Do you want to change something in your orchestra?

Reorchestrating is a traditional classical music technique, where composers (or orchestrators) take a piece of music by another composer, and change the arrangement to bring out different colours and expression – for example, Maurice Ravel’s reorchestration of Modest Mussorgssky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’. I wanted to apply the same principle to various wonderful pieces by other musicians – not destructive remixes, and not improvements – just different interpretations, turning these pieces into music that fits well in the Hidden Orchestra style. I have mostly left their original pieces intact, and added layers of harmonies, drums, orchestral textures, and basslines, to expand the subvert the original arrangements.

Do you have a recipe how the non-mainstream music could reach wider audiences?

Personally, I have always tried to make my music interesting and experimental, but always accessible to as many people as possible. It’s important that there are musicians out there breaking boundaries with more extreme concepts and ideas – but for me, it’s important still to try and make music that people will enjoy.

Hidden Orchestra & Sofa Surfers – 21.11.2015 @ Mixtape 5.