OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Artist Q&A with Han-Earl Park, Eris 136199

Described by Brian Morton as “a musical philosopher… a delightful shape-shifter”, guitarist and composer Han-earl Park is drawn to real-time cyborg configurations in which artifacts and bodies collide. He has performed with some of the finest practitioners of improvised music, leads Sirene 1009 with Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders and Caroline Pugh, and is part of Numbers with Richard Barrett. Together, Park, guitarist Nick Didkovsky and saxophonist Catherine Sikora forge an improvisative space where melody can be melody, noise can be noise, meter can be meter, metal becomes metal, bluegrass turns to bluegrass, jazz transforms into jazz, all there, all necessary without imploding under idiomatic pressures.

Ahead of Eris136199's performance on Monday 12th August at the Fumbally Stables, Han-Earl told us a bit about his approach to music, unusual inspirations from politics, to cinema to pop music, and the particular collisions which make up the music of Eris136199. 

Q. What is the most important thing to you when making music?

I am drawn to musical meetings and collisions. And in those meetings, I like to hear performers who do not shy away from who they are—their personalities and predilections, their appetites, their egos, their histories and traditions. Given that, I seek performers who make striking choices; choices made while being cognizant of context and sometimes conflicting desires; choices whether apt to the point of seemingly prescient, disruptive to the point of transformative, or left-field to the point of seeming, at first glance, inappropriate. Or choices that are difficult, and snowball a cascade of challenging musical decisions. Or choices that initiate a creative border-crossing.

Q. Who or what inspires you at the moment - be it in music, arts, politics or your personal life?

Politics. Especially in the intersections and interactions between ground-level activism and the various facets of the entertainment-division of the military-industrial complex (to borrow an expression from Zappa).

Cinema. In particular the ways in which genre tropes can be (re)appropriated to illuminate some unexpected aspect of the macro- or micro-social, or that betray some collective concern or anxiety.

Or fiction that rides the border between pulpy goodness, and the weirdly crafty and the craftily weird, all the while expressing very human truths. (I won’t spoil it by telling you what I think it’s expressing, VanderMeer’s Borne definitely fits the bill.)

But, lately, of all things, the production of recorded pop music. Maybe not inspiration as such, but I’m fascinated by the way in which things are orchestrated and mixed to saturation; seemingly everything is foreground and rendered hyperreal. It shouldn’t work—it sometimes goes against all the things you’ve been told about good orchestration and arrangement—yet here is what a large chunk of the population is consuming.

Q. How would you describe the type of music that Eris 136199 creates? 

Noisy. Discordant. Melodious. Pretty in its own not alway predictable way. And by discordant, I don’t mean in terms of harmonic intervals, but in terms of on-stage, real-time musical interactions; in terms of a kind of heterogeneity of idiom and tradition. For me, Eris’ is a music that doesn’t desire to create, necessarily, a synthesis or a coherence or even an agreement, but one which trusts, and takes pleasure, in interaction itself. It’s a music that’s, in a way, compromised, or a music which is a succession of collisions—of idioms, of traditions, of histories, of desires, of tactics. But the music creates a situation that is, in its own way, beautiful.

Q. In your ideal gig, what experience/response would the audience have?

I hope the audience have a ball; find something surprising, something pretty, something difficult, maybe prickly, something valuable. I hope it gives the audience something that helps them face the world with new eyes and ears. A catharsis, maybe. Maybe something that helps them go back and see something about them and their lived context in a different light; a way to access or illuminate something about your context.

Q. What direction do you see the music industry going in the next 20 years?

I have no real answer. But: seize the means of production!


Thanks Han-Earl!

Don't miss Eris136199 at the Fumbally Stables
Monday 12th August, Doors 8pm/Music 8:30pm
Tickets €12 online/€15 at the door, available now


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