We chatted with Soft Soft Loud Artistic Director Matthew Hoy to find out more about the history of the program, a firm favourite on the Perth International Arts Festival calendar, and find out what to expect with this year’s show Future Shock.
Tell us about Soft Soft Loud. What’s the concept behind it?
It’s music made for an occasion. Inherently collaborative, Soft Soft Loud brings together musicians to realise a truly unique listening experience for the audience. Such an experience requires exactly that of the performers – a heightened ability to listen and to respond to the moment yet remain committed to music making of the highest order.
Rather than be bound by genre or style, Soft Soft Loud can be considered part of a sound continuum – reflecting, looking immediately around and ahead of now – to ensure music is relevant today, both in how it responds to and leads us as people.
How did it first begin?
Some time ago now, FAC Director Jim Cathcart approached me to program a series of concerts that would see chamber music repertoire incorporated alongside the many other amazing musical experiences FAC offers audiences. These concerts demonstrated the excellence, depth and diversity of the WA classical music scene, and presented a platform to showcase this alongside visiting artists from elsewhere in the country and from around the globe.
As years passed, audience and critical praise grew around the collaborative aspect of the series – particularly the somewhat unlikely or unexpected artist combinations! The name Soft Soft Loud was coined and has come to embody this type of musical approach among performers and the experience for audiences that it delivers.
You’re working with renowned US composer William Brittelle for this year’s show. How did that come about and what can we expect for Soft Soft Loud: Future Shock??
I became familiar with William’s music upon discovering his 2012 album Future Shock and have continued to be captivated by how his music keeps evolving in such original and compelling ways. For me his music is emotionally attuned, rationally complex (while not alienating) and sits beautifully between the visceral and intellectual. Whatever the character or inspiration, there’s also this luminosity surrounding William’s music that I find extremely compelling and exceptional in today’s music scene.
William’s also invited Aaron Roche, his good friend and powerful musical presence from the other side of the pop/classical divide, to share the stage at Soft Soft Loud this year. Aaron’s music often features beauty startlingly juxtaposed with experimental noise. Strings, live electronics and percussion magnify that contrast, accentuating the beauty in his writing while further articulating the intertwined dissonance, so elemental to the narrative of his songs. On the other hand William’s music is reflective of his mutual love of classical, jazz, punk rock and experimental electronic music.
Together over the course of this week, William, Aaron and our own amazing musicians have created their own community that welcomes listeners to what will be a unique and compelling sound experience.