Ugly Object, a collaboration of musicians Rachel Margetts (Yr Lovely Dead Moon) and Bethan Lloyd (Bruxa Cosa) operates at the intersection of (vocal) improvisation, looped electronics, psychic exploration and ancestral pull…They have toured the Balkans in May/June 2018 and during this time we made this interview…
Popscotch : Hi Rachel, can you tell us something about your musical beginnings and starting of a musical companionship with Bethan Lloyd?
Rachel: Hey Marko, me and Bethan met in Berlin, hit if off, and basically realised that we were interested in similar musical contexts: Improvisation, psychic exploration, absurdity and characterisation and epicness. We tried to have a Jam immediately but took about year before we made any music because we’d just be chatting shit for hours instead! Similarly, we came up with the name “Ugly Object” before we started the project.
Yr Lovely Dead Moon is the oldest of the three projects, a musical but also poetic/ spoken word narrative which has been compared to a soundtrack for a virtual film and entangled in monologues of messianic troubadours. Who’s a part of it, and how would you describe your music (live and on a upcoming release)?
Rachel: Yr Lovely Dead Moon is a project directed and composed by myself but with collaborations from other artists- Joe Campbell, Ben Osborn, Greta Buitkute and Henry Mills. The form is basically maluable! Live performances take place with just myself or a full band, with a performance or video artist, whatever comes up.
Yr lovely Dead moon is trying to fuck with you a little bit, playing with your language and withholding the climaxes. It’s part satire, part realist, about the self and other, sexuality the body, history… Its genre-confused, musically manipulative, twisted lounge. Big influences are theorists Paul B Preciado and Silvia Federici.
Bruxa Cosa’s is a bit creepier, it sounds like part medieval spirituals, part black plague procession, interspersed with witchy excorisms and electronic beats, sung in Welsh. Bethan, can you tell us more about the driving forces and influence of local folklore on this release?
Bethan: I definitely feel a difference between singing in Welsh and in English. They both draw out different characters in me. When I sing in Welsh I feel this strong ancestral pull within me like I am singing with the weight of thousands of years of deep communion propping me up and driving me forward. Voice, music and song are extremely important in Wales and the practice of the Bard used to be revered in our lands. It is for that reason that I really cherish singing in my language.
Ugly Object does seem to veer in the similar territories between witchy invocations, but spiced up with more glitch and droney action. It also doesn’t have a release yet…how does it sound live?
Rachel: It’s all improvised so can go in any direction and thats something we get off on like. It’s like Yin and Yan in flux, it’s a madness and clarity. Nonsense and sense.
Bethan: I really enjoy entering into trance and trying to puke back exactly what I am reading from the room and between us. This can be both exquisitely mad or hauntingly beautiful or a twist of the two.
When did you start experimenting with voice and which are you key influences (singers, but also electronic musicians…)
Rachel: I find my power through words and spaces (narratives, scenes) in which the words interact. The first thing I tried that is related mostly to what I do now was when I started making weird poetry and beats things of an SP404 sampler. Also always wrote songs on guitar and piano but loads were crap- but actually I just hadn’t discovered electronic music- I basically wanted a whole sonic environment when I would write but was limited to one instrument.
Mine are all proper classics lol! Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Jenny Hval, Brigitte Fontaine, Scott Walker, Bogdan Raczynski, Autechre, Lena Platonos, Boards of Canada, Broadcast, Hannah Silva (recently- check this out!).
Bethan: I first started singing on stage when I was 7. Getting involved with the ‘Eisteddfod’ which is a traditional Festival in Wales where people come to compete in voice, poetry, dance and acting. From there I trained in classical singing and sang in the Great British choir. But I was really stifled by the constraints of classical music and after a stint of involving myself in the traditional folk scenes I started to compose at 21. I was later inspired by incredible singers like Meredith Monk, Diamanda Galas and Tanya Taqaq all of whom talk about entering into altered states when they sing in order to retrieve something from the collective consciousness to bring back into society. That and my endless personal research into various rituals, ceremonies and magical play around the world have led me to drop all filters when performing and let whatever creatures and characters who wanna come out of me to come. I am endlessly inspired by periods of silence in nature and I am especially moved by the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia.
Integration of vocal and experimental parts in your music sounds rather seamless. Is it a challenge sometimes to work in the intersection of primal inspiration and modern technology?
Rachel: Yes ha. Work-in-progress. So many times bursts of madness/inspiration didn’t get recorded properly or at all… At the same time the intersections of these two worlds allow for uncertainty… in this way I love accidents, letting chance in and the challenge of adapting to play through different sound sources- it’s a kind of improvisation practice.
Bethan: To be honest my set up is not that complex and I like to keep it like that. I just work with loopers and effects so it is so seamless that it almost becomes like an extension of my body. I’m not into body modifications as such but one thing I have always said is that if I could have a looper and recorder implanted into my fingers I would so I could just record whenever with complete ease!
What are your future plans with touring and releases?
Both: Forever touring, getting some proper tracks down (as opposed to improvisational structures) an Album by the end of the year, more performance pieces, video pieces… etc.
Ugly Object on Facebook
Bruxa Cosa on Facebook
Yr Lovely Dead Moon on Facebook