30 seconds with...Tanya Auclair

Multi-instrumentalist Tanya Auclair builds her songs live on stage, sampling her voice with a loop pedal and playing ukulele, guitar and percussion. She has recently collaborated with Charlie Dark on a critically acclaimed live re-score of Black Orpheus. Her latest EP Origami is out now.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 8 Feb 2012
  • min read
Hailing from west London, via Canada and Rwanda, Tanya Auclair's musical upbringing straddled very different worlds. Her influences range from Bongo Joe Coleman, Juana Molina, The Staple Singers, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Herbert and E.S.G.  Early vocal-body percussion work with jazz pioneer Leon Parker and an excitement for music made from ‘minimal means’ gave rise to her distinctive sound and compelling one-woman-band show. She builds her songs live on stage, sampling her voice with a loop pedal, playing ukulele, guitar and percussion.



The multi-instrumentalist has worked with the likes of Matthew Herbert’s Big Band Ensemble, Stateless, Yult and recently collaborated with Charlie Dark on a critically acclaimed live re-score of Black Orpheus. Her latest EP Origami is out now.

How long have you been making music?
As a solo artist, 2 years now. But I fell in love with singing really early, growing up our stereo was cranking out everything from 60s doo wop to Congolese soukous, Springsteen to Doris Day. It made me very open and curious about music, I took to the piano, got into choirs and different instruments. I'm no virtuoso on any of them but I've always felt so right making music and that lead me to play in a bunch of different bands/projects for years, trying out different styles. Then I saw Juana Molina and worked with Leon Parker and that changed the way I thought about myself as a musician. I started recording on an old 8 track and the rest is (her)story..

What inspired your latest single/EP/album?
I decided to set myself these dogma style 'rules' before setting out on 'Origami'. 1) no love songs 2) write everything live before touching a computer. The rules were a way of pushing my songwriting skills. You don't have to go far to write about love or desire and I knew I wanted to get better at telling stories. What came out were a trilogy of songs about origami, fluke and a road-trip around Sweden - in hindsight they're all allegories for making something and putting it out there.

What process do you go through to create your music?
Its not really set in stone, I like to work off instinct, so it can be a sound, a melody, a rhythm, a word.  The starting point is often a sonic one which sets something off or chimes with something in me. The songs rarely start with a defined meaning, that usually comes out as i go along. With recording, I've been trying different approaches and tools. My first EP Thrum was made in my room, just me, FruityLoops and a digital recorder. For my next EP Origami, I got to work with Jack Allett at capturing something I was exploring with the live shows, so less programming and more live recording. With my next release I'm learning how to use Logic and working on some collaborations.

How would you describe your sound?
Experimental pop.

What would your dream collaboration be?
It'd be great to work with Micachu, her way with sound is so exciting.

Where can we catch you performing next?

I'm playing the Late Shift at the National Portrait Gallery on 10 February, then performing a live score to The Female of the Species by D.W. Griffiths for Birds Eye View at WOW at the Southbank Centre on 9 March.

www.tanyaauclair.com

Watch Tanya perform