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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

echtzeit@30: Q&A with Eric Wong

Eric Wong. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix

Explore Eric Wong’s site here . Recent releases include Panomorph with Joseph Kudirka, Margareth Kammerer, Brett Thompson, Beat Keller, Wizard Ashdod, and Hannes Buder and Multiple Portables .

What is echtzeitmusik to you? Is what might be considered echtzeitmusik connected through any approach, process, or sound result?

I think the definition of echtzeitmusik branched out quite a bit over the years. From what I see it is a blend of musicians coming from different musical backgrounds working together within the broader sense of experimental music in Berlin, and usually with a certain degree of improvisation in the music, or sound.

Is there something material - like demographics, affordability, or cultural practices - about Berlin that you think makes such a scene possible?

The reputation of Berlin itself is already attracting a lot of musicians and artists to move or travel here, which is crucial to keep the scene vibrant. There is also a lot of support from institutions for artists who are based here as well as for venues. Also, when it is a norm to have such a large amount of great quality cultural activities, one gets more inspirations simply by getting involved.

In what ways has the scene changed you and your musical practice?

I am a better listener than before, and I play fewer notes.

What did you find in Berlin that was not in Hong Kong or the US?

I left the US more than a decade ago and I was more into indie rock back then, so I cannot compare the experimental music scene between Berlin and the US. To compare Berlin with Hong Kong, one of the most obvious differences is the amount of musicians and events. You wouldn’t see ten concerts of experimental music going on in the same evening for five days straight in Hong Kong, but it is common in Berlin, at least before COVID. For the same reason, you have more exchanges and collaborations in Berlin. Even if one mostly plays solo, there is a greater chance to meet someone who shares similar interests. Also, people are less judgmental here. 


- Interview conducted by Keith Prosk