Jordan Hunt (En)

©Emma Hardy

Music for me is emotional, a language that can be learnt in order to express yourself

—You have fingers in so many pies, but what do you call yourself? How do you describe what you do at the moment?

I was talking to a friend today about ‘what I do / what i call myself’. We concluded that I just do what makes me happy. I’d call myself a composer or a musician. At the moment I compose, play (violin and piano), perform (dance / performance art), make costumes.

—Who is your muse?

My muse is ever changing, other composers, pieces of music, dancers, artists, those I love, my own experiences. I take inspiration from the people I work with, and the more I work with someone, the more focused the collaboration becomes, and the more ‘like itself’ the work becomes.

—Reason why you work with Theo Adams and company. How did you start? What do you get from them?

I first worked with Theo and co. in January 2008 on a project at Tate Britain, an evening of performances curated by the !WOWOW! collective and it was a baptism of fire for sure. I love Theo’s energy and passion and his lack of self-censorship and that’s a constant inspiration. Also his company of performers (dancers, singers, musicians that I’ve either met through Theo or introduced into the company) have the most diverse talents and characters and together we produce extraordinary things. There’s still enormous untapped potential within the company, which is still in its early stages I think.

—How do you describe the characteristics of your style which makes it different from others?

I love melody, colour, delicious complexity and and clarity, contrast; huge, bold ambitious statements in counterpoint with very humble or simple ideas and dramatic changes of mood. I hope there’s a sense of humour or wit that comes across in my work. It’s different from others as it’s all informed by my rather specific set of experiences and influences.

—What inspire you at the moment?

At the moment I’m writing a short opera with my long term collaborator and friend la JohnJoseph; a performance artist in his own right, we first worked together on absurd, Dadaist plays or skits in a troupe called BoyfriendRobotique. I want to capture some of the humour and nonsense in classical framework, an opera, which will be presented to unsuspecting members of the public throughout London this summer.

—Where do you get inspiration from? How do you come up with the ideas?

I could never work in a vacuum. Musical ideas come to me whilst listening to other pieces of music. I feel i can compose most fluently when sat in an opera house with a wash of music around my ears. It’s much less inhibiting to compose with this music playing than with silence as there’s an inherent energy in the atmosphere that you can feed off, and which is a very difficult feeling to create from scratch when composing at a desk in silence. Though of course, eventually I have to turn the music off so I can hear the notes inside my head properly!

—What would you like to challenge next? How would you like to be in the future?

My next challenge is to try and combine all the tangents of my creative life as a composer, performer, curator, costume maker etc. into one large-scale theatre / opera / dance work. I feel a little out of my reach at the moment, but I’m confident it’s there bubbling away at the back of my mind.

—Is there any person you would like to work with?

All the people I already work with. I have developed the most amazing group of collaborators. I’d love to work with Robert Lepage, the theatre practitioner, who manages to create these epic one-man shows from scratch and shows all of his phenomenal skill within one performance whilst doing so unpretentiously and with an enormous amount of wit and humility. I’d also like to work again with the singer Katherine Broderick who sang my first chamber opera whilst we were at music college together. I think there’s still definitely untapped potential in that collaboration.

Left©Jordan Hunt Right©Ulli Richter

—Do you call yourself an artist or composer? What made you want to become an artist? Is there any artist or person that had a strong influence of your career?

I’d call myself a composer. Everything else is just an extension of that. If pushed, I’d call myself a musician as I also play, teach and lead education workshops, but fundamentally, all the work I do is related to music in some way, whether it’s making costumes for my band The Irrepressibles, choreographing a dance with my amazing friend Masumi Saito, making a collage or soundtrack for Theo Adams, playing piano and writing songs with La JohnJoseph, playing violin for one of Scottee’s musicals, teaching a class of children about classical orchestral repertoire with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, giving artist Matthew Stone a composition lesson to facilitate the music in his own head, or curating concerts and events with the London Sinfonietta.

—How did you start creating music? When did you start playing musical instruments?

Music was always playing at home. We were a family of karaoke stars and would always be singing. it was a wonderful home in that sense. I started playing violin aged eight and quickly found I had a certain natural ability. I started composing at school and didn’t really take it seriously until it came to University auditions, when I thought “I’m probably a better composer than violinist” and applied on that idea, and got in!

—What is music for you?

Music for me is emotional, a language that can be learnt in order to express yourself. It’s so richly complex in terms of signals and being able to affect mood. I learned so much about the enormous potential to move and affect people in my studies to become a workshop leader at the Royal College of Music. To me, music is ever challenging, ever changing and always there, even in silence.

—Why did you start costume design? Is there any link between your costume and style of your music?

I started making costumes for my band The Irrepressibles more than a year ago. I saw it as a compositional task. “How do I make ten costumes in three hours, with a bag of safety pins, no budget and still keep a clear, unified message / style and still make the players feel sexy?” I loved the restrictions. Now I have a budget, deadline, weeks in advance, an intern and can let my mind run wild. It’s much more difficult without the limitations, but ultimately more satisfying I think. I always thought of a great designer like a great composer – Prada and Beethoven are both genius creators in my eyes; they both take a simple, possibly cliché idea, and play with it until the idea practically expires, and then at the last turn, completely reinvent the idea, with such a sense of play and wit that I’m astonished each time a see a new collection or listen to a String Quartet again.

—How do you come up with the idea for the costume?
I work closely with Jamie McDermott, the visionary behind The Irrepressibles, who has very clear ideas about the visual spectacle he wants to create, and then within reason, I’m free to run riot with my ideas. In my eyes, the more fantastical, the better. Nobody wants ’safe’. People want to be beguiled! It’s a great mantra for any artist within any discipline.

©Darrell Berry
Interview/masumi saito, Masaki Takida, Text/Masaki Takida

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