|Robin Hayward. (c) Cristina Marx/Photomusix|
Explore Robin Hayward’s site here . Recent Releases include Sonic Drift with Martin Taxt and Peder Simonsen and a reissue of Live At ISSUE Project Room with Catherine Christer Hennix’ Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage.
FJB: What is echtzeitmusik to you? Is what might be considered echtzeitmusik connected through any approach, process, or sound result?
Robin Hayward: To be honest I wasn’t aware there was an ‘echtzeitmusik’ scene until I came to Berlin in 1998. I came to focus on exploring a particular approach to free improvisation that, unfortunately in my opinion, later came to be labelled ‘Berlin Reductionism.’ The Echtzeitmusik scene also came to be associated with this, though it’s clear that it was always more than this and that this approach only ever comprised one part of it.
Is there something material - like demographics, affordability, or cultural practices - about Berlin that you think makes such a scene possible?
When I first moved to Berlin I was pleasantly surprised how cheap the rents were, having moved from London. Although I had to teach English for the first two years after moving there, this meant I still had some time to focus on the music. The rents are becoming much more expensive now though.
In what ways do you think the scene has changed since your involvement and what might have caused these changes?
I think the people I was working with intensely when I first moved there - Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann, Burkhard Beins and Axel Dörner - have mostly moved on to explore other musical directions. And there’s a whole group of other people exploring different things too. So it’s more varied than it used to be, at least from my perspective.
In what ways has the scene changed you and your musical practice?
That’s very difficult to say. I never really thought of it as being a scene actually, just a bunch of people whose musical interests overlapped for a while. We all influenced each other in different ways, but it feels a bit strange to say that that it was ’the scene’ that influenced me.
Are there any recordings, labels, venues, musicians, or other participants you would like to shout out for cultivating the scene, or that you feel are essential to it? And is there a recording of you or your work that you feel is particularly representative of the scene?
The recording I made with Roananax (with Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann and Axel Dörner) in 1999 is probably the best document of what I was involved in back then. This was released much later by Another Timbre, I think in 2015, together with the trio Obliq (Pierre Borrel, Hannes Lingens and Derek Shirley). Of my solo work I think the CD / LP States of Rushing (released on Choose in 2009) best sums up what I was into in my first decade in Berlin. Since then I’ve been focusing on exploring the microtonal tuba, though I would like to go back and explore the ’noise-valve’ tuba more if I ever find the time to do so. Of the current venues I’d say the Labor Sonor series at Die Kule is probably the most reflective of the scene, along with Ausland.
What did you find in Berlin that was not in the UK?
The long winters. People can become very self-absorbed in Berlin too (myself included), so it’s definitely important to work outside of Berlin too.
- Q&A conducted by Keith Prosk