Artist Feature ://
Posted August 2018
Frazer Merrick enjoys blurring the line between sound and music. Utilising both field recordings and synthesis he explores music and sound as escapism, incorporating interactive technology and game design into his practice as both an artist and a facilitator. Frazer’s installations sit somewhere between collaborative multiplayer computer game and generative musical instruments, creating experiences that transform a space or object. Collaboration is key to his process; with artists, the audience and with himself.
As an emerging sound artist he works across film, installation and performance art. He studied BA Music Technology and Popular Music Studies (Hons) at the University of Huddersfield where he graduated in 2012 with first class honours.
Thread, Frazer Merrick. Field recordings and synthesis, 2018.
Q. You have worked on a number of interesting collaborations. How do you find the process of collaboration? What are the positives and negatives (if any)?
I find comfort in collaboration. The safety of working with others I admire allows me to take creative risks and pushes me to be more adventurous with my ideas. Plus, it often allows me to realise ideas I just wouldn't be able to on my own. Of course with any partnership there will always be compromise, something I've found most challenging on larger scale film projects with multiple people to please, however the benefits still outweigh the negatives for me.
Waves, Charlie Bryan and Frazer Merrick. Video, 2017.
Q. During the summer of 2017 you were awarded a place on the Audiotalaia residency programme in Spain, tell us about this experience.
This sound art summer camp was an incredible experience, 16 artists from around the world living in a hostel on the side of a mountain in rural Spain for 10 days. It was an opportunity to experiment with sound where we made field recordings, gave improvised performances, built DIY microphones and devised installations in the arid landscape. Freelance life can be stressful, and at that particular time in my life I was defining my self worth by my productivity. What I took most from that experience was to be reminded me of the importance of ‘play’, creativity for no other purpose than because we wanted to – and it was beautiful.
Toca L’arbre I Escolta’l / Touch The Tree and Listen, Frazer Merrick and Soeria van den Wijngaard. Field recordings and microphones, 2017.
Q. Tell us about the life of a sound art workshop facilitator. How did you get the role? What does it involve and what do you gain from it?
In 2015 I joined YAK and through volunteering at Firstsite I was taught how to devise and deliver workshops. This led to me meeting artist Simon Keep and in 2016 we formed CLIP, a weekly experimental music meet up. I was craving the collaboration I lost by no longer being in a band, so I setup CLIP to make music with other like minded individuals. Music technology is often something we associate with small dark rooms - so I want to bring it into the open and create a social environment for people to come together to collaborate, improvise and learn.
Circuit Bending, Frazer Merrick and Simon Keep. Workshop as a part of Clip at Firstsite, Children's toys, 2018.
Q. Is music arguably the most accessible form of art?
Music is universal, its something almost everybody appreciates. It soundtracks most of our lives and facilitates you to get back in touch with your feelings - something stoic values don't always permit. I think its this ability to make you 'feel' something so easily that makes it so accessible.
Music with Bikes, Frazer Merrick. Reel to Reel and bicycle, 2018.
Q. How do you see or hope for your career to develop over the next ten years?
I'm interested in finding ways of collaborating with myself. I struggle with patches of creative drought and I want to understand how to take the energy I get during collaboration/improvisation with others and apply it to my own core practice. So far this has meant recording 'experiences' e.g trips to the arcade, nature reserve walks and bike rides - things I love doing anyway and that are void of creative pressure, then using these recordings to create new work and devise new performances.
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