Oliver Ho (Raudive): “It can look like I am making music in different genres, but to me it‘s all part of a bigger story which is coming from inside of me”
Smala has started its second season in Opium club last month and will finish October off with Raudive, an artist hard to index. Raudive is actually just one of the many aliases of Oliver Ho. For almost 20 years he has been busy trying new platforms for his ideas. Raudive’s sound suits well for dark dancefloors but we haven’t limited ourselves with them in our chat with Oliver.
Make sure anything from Raudive’s stuff on Get The Curse, Macro or Running Back is playing and have a taste of some verbal tar. See you in Opium on Friday, October 25th.
Konstantin Raudive was Latvian, and Latvia is our closest neighbor. Ever played there? Did you have other names to consider when you chose the title for the project?
Yes, Konstantin Raudive was Latvian, but I have never been there or in Lithuania before. When I begin a new project I spend a lot of time thinking about concepts and finding the right name, there were not really other names that had the same energy as RAUDIVE.
As for Raudive project, do you try to create the electronic voices yourself, or you sample the works of other people that were interested in the phenomenon?
In my work, I have used some EVP recordings, this was certainly the initial idea and inspiration for the project.
I also want to use the sound of the human voice in different ways, I often use abstract vocal sounds because I love the way they sound and dissolve into the music. I also like to use phrases that are repeated through the track, this is a reference to house music but also because I love the ritualistic aspect of using a repeated vocal phrase, a lot of religious music has repeated vocal or chanting.
Raudive's first album is called "Chamber Music", do you suggest it's meant for smaller spaces? Also, would you agree electronic music is mostly chamber music?
I used that title because of the traditional meaning, it refers to music played by small amount of musicians, also often in homes and by amateurs. This is rather like how a lot of electronic music is produced these days.
The title also refers to "echo chamber", as the use of echo and delay was important in the album.
What's easier for you as an artist now than it was in 1996 when you started? Also, what's harder?
I think that I now know what I want to achieve with my music, I know what ideas are important to me. I am also much more comfortable with exploring personal ideas that are not part of a greater genre or scene.
When I started I had a more consistent relationship with the British techno scene. This has slowly changed over time, and now I would say my musical output is more diverse and spread across multiple scenes.
In some ways making a record is harder and takes longer now, because I know exactly how I want it to sound, and in the beginning my music would have been more accidental.
What did you do before 1996? What was the major thing or event that helped you focus on music only?
I was at art college for a short period of time, and my intention was to focus on film making. This didn’t work out, so I began a music degree. During this period I was making a lot of my own music, a lot of listening music that was influenced by Warp artists such as Aphex twin and Autechre. I also went clubbing a lot and learned how to DJ.
This all lead to my first record released on Blueprint Records. When this happened I decided to leave university and stop my music degree. It was a good move for me, because I feel I have learnt so much from working in the industry and travelling around the world DJing.
Does your band "The Eyes in the Heat" represent something that you weren't able to express with your Oliver Ho and Raudive releases?
The band is certainly a different set of objectives and ideas, there are a completely different set of goals. In the band there are echoes of some of my techno ideas, but these are fused with so many ideas that are brought by Zizi, the vocalist and Jerome, the drummer. It‘s is about exploring a lot of different ideas, that wouldn‘t normally fit into the techno stuff I do. We are interested in exploring the idea of alternative pop music, taking the idea of pop songs and fusing them with more avantgarde ideas. I think it‘s interesting to have these many different almost contradictory parts of band.
How did you team up with Zizi Kanaan?
When I first started the band I was looking for someone who would have a very open mind and would be a person that thinks like an artist, rather than a musician. Because this suits me more, it means I can explore a lot of ideas that are coming from obscure sources. She made a big first impression, and I thought she had a very unique voice!
Talking about names again, what is the meaning behind the title "Amateur EP" that was released on Ivan Smagghe’s Kill The DJ?
I have always liked the idea of the 'amateur'. It‘s a way of destroying the idea of the 'professional'. Because 'professional' means there is only one way to achieve something, the 'right' way. I have always felt that to really find something interesting inside yourself you must never thing about the 'right' way, but you must find your "own' way, the way that reflects your unique character. A lot of art and music I like is by people that have created their own style, and abandoned the idea of making something that has to obey a set of rules.
Genre-wise, you are an artist that really manages to shine in many fields. Do you first hear something you enjoy and then think – well, maybe I should experiment in that field, or do you simply let the music flow and other people stick genre names to your music?
It‘s very much an organic flow really, it depends on what I am feeling at the time. I have a lot of ideas which I tend to return to, but I also like to try different ways of expressing myself, so it can look like I am making music in different genres, but to me it‘s all part of a bigger whole, a big story which is coming from inside of me.
People can attach genres like house, techno, new wave, industrial to my music. I think my music has lot of different influences but I also feel there is a sound and attitude, which can be heard in everything I do.
There is some amount of video work that accompanies your music. Are you trying to enhance the same ideas that you express with your music, or is it a totally separate sphere to interpret and explore for you? Who help you with the videos?
In some cases, with the music of the band, we have worked with video artists, and in some cases I have created the videos myself.
I see the videos as part of the central idea, the music and the video are definitely expressing the same things. I often have visual ideas that influence my music, or ideas about physical process like transformation or decay.
In much of my Raudive music there is a recurring theme of organic and synthetic, the idea of fusing nature with technology. I like the idea of technology being broken down into natural elements, and the idea of nature and technology being used in religious rituals and magical spells.
Among the various aliases, have you had any projects that didn't really seem to work out so you had to abolish them?
Well, I have a project which I have been working on since 2006 called ZOV ZOV. My friend and I we have done a lot of material for this project, but very little has been released. We are very happy with the music we have made, but want to have the right label to release it, and this hasn‘t happened yet, so we are being patient and are looking for a perfect time. The sound of the project is experimental /sound stuff.
Your new album “A System of Objects” is about the dependence on technology. Are you? Do you feel the need for nature, as well, or computers and digital world is enough for you?
The digital world is a small part of the greater world, it‘s important for us as human beings to unplug from the technology and slow down to experience the world in different ways. The world is an amazing place, this can only be experienced by getting dirty, by taking risks and allowing our inner animal to come out.
Is it important for you that people listened to your albums from A to Z, as a whole, rather than pick out separate tracks or shuffle them around?
Yes, I would prefer that they listen to the album in the right order, as they would not watch a film in messed up order or read a book all mixed up. But I know a lot of people like to shuffle the music and arrange it in a different way, so that‘s fine too, but not ideal for me.
Is there any place or occasion where or when you prefer silence to music?
I love silence, I have to have a period of silence every day. This allows my ears to rest, but also lets my head slow down and start to breathe. Working on music can make my head feel very compressed sometimes, so it‘s good to rest. There is something beautiful about silence, you can hear your own thoughts more clearly.
What do you do when – if – you experience writer's block?
There is no single solution to this, sometimes it‘s good to take a break and do something completely different, sometimes you can break through and achieve something amazing if you keep going. It‘s all about trusting your instinct and giving yourself time, not being too impatient.
Would you consider creating a soundtrack for a movie, and what kind of movie would it be? Also, what kind of music?
Yes, I have always loved soundtrack music, from David Lynch and Wim Wenders movies to Matthew Barneys project The Crematic Cycle. I would like to work on a film that would be quite experimental. I think the type of music would have to reflect what was going on in the movie, I love live instrumental movie soundtracks, and I also love electronic ones too.
What other art forms would you like to try for yourself?
I am working on some video art ideas at the moment, I would like it to reflect the ideas I have in my music. I am interested in working with tones and textures, quite abstract ideas. At some point I would also like to experiment in some performance art, as I like the ritualistic aspects of it, and I think it would mix well with my ideas about religion and magic.
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