Name: Gisela Fullà Silvestre
Occupation: Composer / Sound Designer
Current release: Crisálida on Cascine
Recommendations: Invisible cities by Italo Calvino / Complete poems by Konstantine Kavafis
Website/Contact: Keep up with NOIA’s music on her bandcamp page.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What is it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I think that I was always drawn to any form of music made electronically, whether it was hip hop or r’n’b or pop. I’ve been a big fan of Lauryn Hill since I was little kid. I remember being fifteen, hiking in the Pyrenees with some friends and a girl asked if she could sing a song to us, and she sang Hyperballad by Bjork. I thought it was the most beautiful melody I had ever heard. When I got back to Barcelona, I bought the record and became a fan. I also realized that it made all the sense to me that the production for each song had a different sonic universe. A snare drum can be whatever you want it to be.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
In terms of music production, I started very late. When I finally got started it was kind of fast and organic to find my own voice; I can try to sound like Four Tet or write a Madonna-style song, but your own voice always comes through naturally.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
I have never been a technical kind of girl. Which is funny considering that I work as a sound designer and mixer for film. My main challenges were to find a flow that was more jamming-based and less cerebral, so I started making beats in Pro Tools since that was my work tool and it’s not very playful. It’s a powerful tool though.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My main set up has been the same for a while. I rely on samples but also on sound design samples (foley, fx etc) and VST synth emulators like Arturia and Reaktor instruments. Ableton is key to my process. My Ableton Push makes me playful with beats, the Ableton Sampler gives me a lot of freedom too.
I bought a couple of analogue machines out of pressure; people saying that you need to feel the sound of real circuits and not just digital stuff. I have to say that now that I have it, my Analog Rtym (Elektron) drum machine is a pretty cool tool to have. Also, the op1 from Teenage Engineering is now a toy I really enjoy making music with.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
I just add things to my tracks that my instinct likes, or that make me emotional. So, we could say the machines do things and I curate them based on whether they give me emotion :)
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
My technological tools (whether they are software or hardware) are everything to me, they inspire me. But at the same time, I remember something that Martin Gore from Depeche Mode said, which is that a good song has to be able work with just a guitar and voice, like a good melody with a nice harmony progression, naked from any production ornament. I try to keep that in mind when I write music.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
I’m forcing myself a bit more because I have always felt really awkward regarding collaborations. I grew up playing in bands so collaboration was always part of the creative process. I think when I started becoming a producer I really wanted to feel like it was my vision and that I wasn’t babysitting somebody else’s vision, which I think as a femme it’s easy to feel like any other dude in a band is more knowledgeable than you.