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NEoN Interview – Joel Cahen

Joel Cahen is the Creative Director/Curator behind Newtoy

Newtoy’s Wet Sounds is taking place at the Olympia Leisure Pool on Friday 8th November, running from 8.30 pm till late.

 Tell us about yourself

I work mostly with sound and music. Wet Sounds is one of my projects, and recently I have also been creating underwater listening sessions for children with special needs. Another big project is Interzone Theatre, a sound-based augmented reality theatre app. There’s also Scrap Club, a public Destructivist activity which has nothing to do with sound, but involves getting audiences together around a bunch of household items which we collect, and they proceed to smash them up with sledgehammers. It’s really good fun and quite thought provoking. Apart from these projects, I’ve been playing on Resonance FM radio for years, as well as working on sound for films and dance.

What will you be doing at NEoN?

I will be changing the swimming pool into a sound venue. People will be using it in an entirely different way. There will be sound from speakers in the space which will be quite ambient and then sound from underwater speakers that is entirely different. A local underwater performer, Lindsay Brown, will create something for the show. The movement of the audience between the two spaces is what makes the experience. There will be a workshop the day before where we will create a sound narrative piece with the participants, which I will then mix and play underwater.

What’s involved in your creative workflow?

A lot of my work is geared towards production and making ideas happen. This is often pretty dry and administrative but essential to the creative work. It also helps create the right context for it. The music comes from different places, I record objects, locations and instruments and play around with these sounds to create a setup. When it comes to playing live, I mix up and mangle these sounds to create a surreal soundscape. So it sounds new to me each time.

What was your previous project before Wet Sounds?

I was putting on multi-disciplinary art event series in galleries and venues in London. I was working on sound design and composition for dance productions and films, working with visual artists and other musicians for live performances. Also, I started Scrap Club a year before Wet Sounds.

The theme of this year’s festival will be ‘the spaces in between’- what does this mean to you and how does it relate to your creative ideas and installations ?

The audience move in between two distinct sound space, above and below the water surface, and create the third space from their experience. Each person will hear a different composition defined by their movement. I am interested in this experiential space that is unique to each individual and would like to create work which facilitates this experience to be intimate and inspire imagination.

What else are you looking forward to seeing at NEoN?

I’m probably going to miss everything else, unfortunately!