Using the power of vibrations to protest the current situations, while traveling around boundaries of dark humor is something we don’t witness in our everyday life. Finding the strength to maintain this particular concept as a musician, how much you need to be yourself? How raw you need to be? British musician, composer, and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, the name behind Gazelle Twin illustrates the way of bravery. Both presonas have musical and visual styles. On her way to Sonar Istanbul, We talked to Bernholz about the effects of sharing a life with Gazelle Twin, her creative process and distorted landscapes.
Under the name of Gazelle Twin, you never stop exploring the dark edges of the electronic music and cover the concepts that come with the consciousness for the world. How do you maintain your strength and courage to interpret your themes and concepts?
When making something new, I try very hard to stay tuned in to what matters to me personally and block what is meaningless (unless there is meaning in the meaninglessness!). I think my creative process is driven by a kind urgency (usually to scream or get angry about something!). I have not been short on resources in recent years, both with personal experience and world events.
What is your process of structuring a musical piece?
It really does vary, there is no real method I stick to, apart from trying to get as completely immersed into a theme or idea as possible. When that happens the music usually just follows quite naturally, and easily in most cases. The process of writing an album usually takes me anything between two and four years.
How does your film scoring experiences reflect on your nowadays production?
I’ve not had much practical experience in scoring for film, but I would say that film soundtracks have had a very long-lasting influence over my music. When I create an album, I do tend to treat it a bit like a film, in terms of scale, texture, balance and thematic symbolism.
In one of your earlier interviews, you describe Gazelle Twin as “I think it is more like a very raw aspect of who I am.” and we are wondering what is the definition of rawness to you?
By raw I mean unfiltered, unafraid. Free from pretence, free from judgement. I created Gazelle Twin as a kind of space to be completely honest with myself and others, and to go with whatever that offered up.
Have you ever experienced some sort of alienation while sharing your life with Gazelle Twin?
As a parent, I do tend to live two separate lives. I don’t talk much about what I do as a job when socializing with other parents, but likewise when I’m working, especially when I am gigging and traveling, I feel as though I am a bit out of sync with my everyday life. Sometimes I get to take my son traveling with me and my husband to do shows and although it can be stressful it is brilliant to have both worlds collide from time to time.
If you were to go and grab a coffee with Gazelle Twin what kind of conversation this would turn out to be?
It would probably turn into some kind of horrible therapy session. We would need to go easy on the caffeine.
Freud says that “The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality” and also adds “traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure.” What kind of emotions does transforming plague-some truths into an art piece awakes on you?
Well, the process for me is often a bit unconscious until the work is complete. Sometimes I am not aware of what I am making work about until I have got to the point where it is being released. But there is some kind of therapeutic element to making music about one’s intense personal experience. Obviously. I mostly see this as a positive, strengthening thing.
While talking about Freud, we would love to talk about one of your earlier statement again. “I always loved quite dark, masculine music. I say masculine as in music who is mostly made by men, just cause.” How do you interpret the female empowerment in the music scene?
I don’t believe that music is inherently gendered. Whilst we can talk about masculine or feminine qualities in art, it’s very much a depressingly entrenched and limiting way of thinking. In terms of the politics of the music industry – I support all efforts to increase opportunities for female empowerment and equality within music, art, film, and everywhere else… but I feel this is best done by doing and without too much discussion or justification. I look forward to the day when equality is as commonplace and non-discriminative as catching a cold.
When we first listen to your latest album “Pastoral” our first idea was “Oh, Gazelle Twin is protesting current situations
while traveling around boundaries of dark humor.” Is it okay to describe the album in this way? How would you describe Pastoral to a person who never listened to it before?
Yes, I would say that is fairly accurate! I think it’s important to pick up on the humor of it especially, it was in my mind throughout the writing, that there is such a lot of madness in British history, as well as all of the events happening currently as well. In dark times, humor prevails.
Pastoral has lots of contrast to it! Unexpected melody twists, artfully layered vocal experiments and rough rhythms invite the shadow. How this contrast supports the concept of the album. What does contrast meant to you?
I just really wanted the production to embody those clashes of ideas of old and new, traditional and modern, as well as preserve a little bit of the humor. My approach was just literally thinking of it as a landscape painting – I wanted to make sure that it created a strong setting and a world of its own, but with familiar elements of English heritage and contemporary cliches.
Gazelle Twin will be in the Sonar Istanbul this year! If you describe your ideas about your first gig in Istanbul with a song, which one would it be?
I am really excited about coming to Istanbul, and Turkey for the first time ever. I am not entirely sure that any of my recent songs would describe this feeling especially, but perhaps “Hobby Horse” is the closest, purely in terms of energy.
How does your provocative style of costume matches with Pastoral?
Costumes are essential for me when making an album, as they come to represent the music in various ways. They help me communicate and get immersed in the themes of the album as deeply as I can. With this album, the red costume was an integral way to embody all the different voices on the album. The gestic her to fit the bill perfectly for this purpose as it enables me to caricature (rather than become) these voices.