Amek nl_21: A droning weekend
Two upcoming shows, radio updates and an interview with Marie LeBlanc Flanagan
Music-wise we kept mostly quiet this month, gathering energy for the two concerts we will end May with. Quiet but never inactive, we managed to conduct a bunch of interviews. You can read some of them below.
Concerts and Interviews
Just as a reminder, we are organizing two concerts this weekend. On Saturday, we are celebrating Sofia Дrone Day with Crosspolar, scav, and Shentov, Simitchiev, Lukanov. It’s a prix libre show so there’s no reason to miss it.
Now, you can also read our interviews with Crosspolar and scav, as well as learn about Crosspolar’s five favorite New Age records here. They are all in Bulgarian, but will be available in English in the next issue of our zine.
On Sunday, шумна неделя finally returns in physical form with a concert by Jerusalem In My Heart, Jessica Moss, and OOHS!, which we are co-hosting with partners in crime Alarma Punk Jazz. You can still get advance tickets here and read Maxim Mokdad’s (1/2 of OOHS!) write-up on Jesusalem In My Heart’s latest album here.
In case you’ve missed the episode of Comfort Club on Black Rhino Radio (Bucharest) from earlier this month, you can find it here. It’s dedicated to the 100th release of Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere., one of our favorite European tape labels by dear friend Niels Geybels.
We are here together - An interview with Marie LeBlanc Flanagan
It’s been six years since we’ve been celebrating Drone Day in Sofia but it’s an initiative that next year will turn 10. It was initiated by Montréal-based artist Marie LeBlanc Flanagan. We’ve been wanting to make this interview for a few years now and we’re beyond excited to be sharing it with you just a day before the world celebrates another Drone Day.
Would you share with us how you first came across drone music?
I must have heard drone music first in the womb, first as a vibratory physical sensation, and later with my ears. I remember many drone sounds from my childhood: of insects outside my window, of machines, of so many instruments: bagpipes, tambura, open strings and vocal drones.
Has your taste for drone music expanded during the years since you’d been doing Drone Day and which are your top 5 current drone artists or projects?
My taste in drone sounds seems to shift depending on my own state. There isn’t one drone for every occasion. There are more joyful drones, mournful drones, stressful drones, almost inaudible drones, loud drones, so many drones. I’m incapable of picking favorites, not just with drones but with everything. I simply can’t do it, I can’t even imagine choosing a favorite because they all exist relationally for me.
What inspired you to start the Drone Day celebration and did you ever foresee its global popularity? Did it grow from a personal celebration of this music or from the start you aimed big?
I had no idea it would become a global event. The first year, it was celebrated only by people in Canada, with friends in every province and territory. For me, I celebrated the first year on my rooftop with people from my local community. Then, as we continued, people around the world asked to drone with us.
I am delighted to drone with people around the world. It is an honor.
Drone is a part of the more atmospheric yet quite demanding side of music. Why Drone Day and not Ambient day for example?
I can only answer this in sound.
What were the first reactions to Drone Day?
From the very first moment I mentioned it, people have been delighted and bewildered. People get a little playful and curious. Sometimes, they don’t believe it’s real.
Since the beginning, there has been a lot of delight and mayhem around the openness of Drone Day. I mean, all Drone Day celebrations are organized locally, which means that you can make a 24-hour drone marathon, you can drone with a friend in a culvert, you can do drone therapy, you can drone with insects or machines, you can livestream in your bedroom or in the middle of the street.
We’ve seen more and more places around the world joining the Drone Day celebrations with the passing of each year, how did the pandemic change this dynamic?
When the pandemic hit, we stopped gathering. Many people live-streamed their drones, and it became easier for many people to participate because the general idea of “make a live stream with drones” feels much easier than “make drones and create a day of the ritual celebration of your dreams, whatever that looks like and whatever that might mean, together with others around the world.”
Even with live streams (which are welcome and very much wanted), I hope people will hold onto the core of Drone Day, which is not just about producing drones, but came out of a desire to make space for ourselves, for each other, for vibration, extended tones, and being in relation with all things as we continue to exist in these soft bodies. There is a lot in life that’s very hard, a lot of unspeakable pain, and I believe that making time for real connection and celebration is a way to touch source and remember that we are not powerless in all this. We are here together.
Talking about the pandemic, in 2020 Sofia skipped an edition but we released a tape with recordings from Drone Day 2019. What were other creative examples of people celebrating Drone Day in the pandemic?
I love what you do. Yes, many people did creative celebrations. Some people found ways to bring their communities together through complicated live stream orchestrations. Others brought their drones back to nature, in forests and fields and on rooftops. As for me, I spent one Drone Day with a tree and another with phosphorescent biogas collection wells in an old dump.
What are your hopes for the celebration, where do you want to see it in let’s say five or ten years from now? Do you want it to keep this DIY spirit, to remain more of a communal gathering, more intimate, or do you hope it to become a celebration of, say, a festival scope?
A few days ago, I was thinking of how wonderful my life would be if I never agreed to do anything except for right now. Right now, I would love to do anything. But I want to leave my future selves (if those people even exist) to find their own way.
Next year is the 10th year of Drone Day (I think!). Every year I invite a few new people. I’m always looking for voices from other places, from other realities than our current shared pool. I’ve found that different people living in different places with different lived experiences bring depth to our shared drones, they change the movement and shape of our global drone.
What are your favorite places to experience this music – be that cities or venues?
I love outdoor drones. I love musical shows where I can lay back, close my eyes, and enter the healing pitch of the sound. But I’ll listen anywhere.