Sound Matters in Vélez-Blanco: An interview
I (Spain Buddy’s Elle) met with Mike Edwards and Harry Coade from Sound Matters in Vélez-Blanco yesterday evening, to chat about the project they are currently working on in the area.
About Sound Matters
Sound Matters is the lovechild of Mike Edwards, Harry Coade and Julia Metcalf, all of whom are accomplished musicians but much more besides. These are not “tree-hugging hippies” (not there’s anything wrong with that if that’s your thing) but they are intelligent, driven and passionate about how we can use sound and music in order to make our planet a better place in which to live by way of motivating us all to pay more attention to it. They explore and utilise ways of using ambient sounds from our environment to better bind us to it and, hopefully, save this planet that we all call home.
Environmentalist, public speaker and musician Mike Edwards completed his Ph. D in Australia – studying the links between security and climate change. He travels regularly, speaking publicly about the planet and our environment while instilling a love of nature in everyone he encounters.
Mike has performed publicly many times on stage and recorded several albums – including stunning performances with a didgeridoo.
Mike is also an advisor to The Elders Foundation. he is considered one of the top thinkers, writers and speakers in his field.
Since completing his degree at the Academy of Comtemporary Music, Harry has proved his worth both sides of the mixing desk. His client list is certainly not to be sniffed at, having worked with such well known people as Jamiroquai, Little Mix, Disclosure, Roy Ayers and Shannon Saunders.
Now a sought-after sound engineer, remixer and producer, Harry is based in east London where he manages a music studio complex called The Blue Studios.
Passioante about the environment, Harry uses sound to engage people on the subject and issues surrounding it.
Oh and he’s a fan of using the Google Translate app to make new friends when language may be an issue.
Julia is a logistical and organisational whizz. With decades of working for human rights organisations in such countries as Nicaragua and Columbia, she is a driving force in team management and motivation and loves organisation and logistics.
A strategic thinker, Julis is the vital organisational backbone to Harry and Mike’s creativity.
A classically trained Oboist, Julia has performed as a soloist and with orchestras all over. A new mum to twins, Julia couldn’t be with us last night – but she was sorely missed and we hope there will be opportunities in the future to meet up.
Sound Matters meets Spain Buddy
Mike and Harry met with me (Elle) last night at El Palacil Hotel/Restaurant to chat more about their reasons for being in Vélez-Blanco and what they hope to achieve on an ongoing basis. Dietmar Roth (Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture in Vélez-Blanco) organised the introductions.
Elle: How did you guys meet?
Harry: We were in a band together but Mike and I started talking about his environmental knowledge and drive to make the world a better place. When the band eventually ceased playing… we both knew that we wanted to push the marriage between music, sounds and the environment much further.
Elle: What are you doing here in our town?
Harry: We really want to explore more how sound can help inspiration, particularly in Los Vélez. We want to find out what sounds can tell us about this area.
Mike: Exactly. This area has something really special, and we’re having great fun exploring the ambient sounds while also collaborating with local musicians. We are working closely with AlVelAl and looking at ways that we can inspire the younger generations to see their home in a different way – hopefully binding them more closely to it and avoid the exodus to the cities.
Elle: How long are you here for?
Harry: We will be here until September 30 (Ed: 2017). We are recording sound scapes of the environment… “found sounds” if you like.
Mike: … yes, sounds that really epitomise the area. Church bells, goat bells… items that when hit or otherwise interacted with can provide sound scapes that we then manipulate and use alongside traditional musical instruments to make music that we hope will inspire or move people to appreciate or view their environment in a better way.
Harry: Yes! Just by getting out and meeting people, looking at how they live and how they already see their environment but then showing them another perspective.
Elle: Why Vélez-Blanco?
Harry: We visited last May and loved it. There is something really special about the area and we knew that we had to come back and explore it more fully, with this project in mind… and get the locals to approach their environment with fresh eyes.
Elle: Or fresh ears?
Mike: YES!! Fresh ears exactly! Hearing is one of the faster of our senses and you can recognise a place, recall a memory, place yourself somewhere or somewhen very rapidly with sound. The sounds unique to this area will form the basis of what we create together.
Harry: We’re meeting with locals such as Antonio Capote, Paola Requena and Paola’s husband Victor Bravo. Between them, we have classic guitar, flamenco guitar and vocals. The monastery in Vélez-Blanco is set up for music and we’re enjoying hearing it all come together.
Elle: So you’ll be back here again then?
Mike and Harry: Yes! We’d also like to explore the possibility of holding retreats in the area to bring more musicians and likeminded people out to enjoy what we have found here.
Elle: Mike – as an environmentalist, you’re obviously extremely passionate about this world we live in, climate change and other factors that affect our planet. How would you sum up the effect you hope that Sound Matters can achieve?
Mike: With a world that’s gone to sh*t… and having seen such changes with the climate… we’ve come to a point in human history where we need to create something aesthetic that will show the beauty of the world while not shying away from seeing the bad. That’s what Sound Matters is trying to achieve.
Elle: Thank you both for meeting with me this evening, and also to Dietmar Roth for making the introduction. I think I have everything I need and am looking forward to meeting up with you again over the coming days. I still have a glass of wine to finish… so anyway… onto politics…. you’re not a fan of Trump then, Mike? … … … … … …
Mike, Harry, Dietmar: *laughing*
- Sound Matters Website – Visit the SM Project page to hear examples of their work
- Sound Matters Facebook Page
by Elle Draper
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Gandy-Draper. Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.