Composer-Curator 2020 Q&A: Stephen Ives / Farmer Glitch

Negative blue picture of a man in a WW2 style gas mask

To celebrate the selection of this year's Composer-Curator cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists, composers and creators for a quick chat about we can expect from their projects. We also talked musical influences, plans for reshaping events in light of COVID-19, and what their lockdown listening has been!

Here, we speak to Composer-Curator Stephen Ives (a.k.a. Farmer Glitch), a Somerset-based sound artist, audio producer and curator who creates unique, hand-built instruments from discarded objects and bespoke electronic circuits.


So, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a sound artist, audio producer and curator brought up in Somerset, with a background in experimental DIY music during the 70s and 80s. I lived in Hong Kong throughout the 90s, where I developed an interest in working with electronic music through emerging digital technologies, and with musicians from different parts of the world. Moving back to Somerset in early 2000, I began to work with locally sourced materials, and developed an interest in using discarded objects and sounds that resonate with the surrounding environment. Trained in electronic engineering and computer science, I am keen to return electronic music making back to its roots!


Could you tell us a little more about your project?

Chaotic Behavior is a series of events bringing together different groups of musicians/makers/artists/young people to develop their interest and skills in DIY electronic music. It will take place in Somerset, a rural area with dispersed artistic communities that lacks a cultural infrastructure to allow new music to develop and flourish.

The aim of the project is to :

  • Promote and bring an interest in experimental DIY electronic music to Somerset through participatory activities and performance/showcases.

  • Offer artistic collaboration, exchange and skills development opportunities for artists/musicians in the South West.


How have your original project and plans been affected by COVID-19?

Instead of taking place in physical locations due to the social distancing rules, there will now be additional online workshops, discussions and demonstrations. Working with partners and participants, we'll direct audiences to a bespoke website with information and activities related to the project.


And has it enabled you to develop your work in any unexpected directions?

As the project will now embrace digital technology, potentially more people will be able to be involved and participate in the project. The project will focus on building an online portal, including resources and a showcase in relation to the project. The first part will focus on building an online community and audience to support future activity, including live performance when safe to do so.


So, what should we expect to see and hear?

A series of educational workshops/lectures, primarily for the target groups as planned in the proposal. This will then be expanded to a showcase and resources resulting from the workshops, alongside with a programme of experimental/improvisational performances using hand built electronic instruments created by invited artists, in solo and collaborative sessions.


What else is exciting you in the UK new music community at the moment?

The collaborative output that has occurred during the forced lockdown due to the pandemic. From online tutorials, virtual meetups, performances lectures and sharing/caring. Something positive emerging from the current crisis.


And lastly, what have you been listening to during lockdown?

I'm proud to be part of this new online initiative - ‘The Neon Hospice’. Broadcasting 3 days a week from all parts of the globe, there's something for everyone!

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