What was it like being invited to respond to an existing piece of art?
DO'G: It's very flattering to be invited to express a reaction or response to such a great piece of work. Sometimes songwriters get stuck in a whirl of similar ideas to draw inspiration from but unfold has allowed me to write from a different angle and perspective.
RB: For me it felt like serendipity, as I had been to see unfold before I was asked to compose a song inspired by it. It's something I would be inspired to write from even if I hadn't been asked to. The best works of art, the ones that resonate with you, will always find a way to influence what you create.
MB: I enjoy participating in events that cross artistic disciplines and was interested in how Kurokawa used scientific data to create his art, which now leads to the art informing my musical response.
NE: For me, being invited to respond to an existing piece of work by an artist like Kurokawa was not only a pleasure and a privilege, but a chance to work outside of the usual comfort zone.
How does this differ from your usual songwriting process?
DO'G: As a songwriter your work (in my opinion) is to draw a reaction from the listener and for them them feel something, so working off Kurokawa's installation has flipped the dynamic, as it's now my music that is the reaction, not a catalyst.
RB: It quickly helps remove the terror of a blank page, provides you a framework for your ideas, and gives your ideas boundaries to work within; but also I have to finish a song on time or I could let some comrades down. In that way it is very different from my current song writing process of never finishing a song!
Luna: I usually write about my own experiences or emotions, so to write about someone else's experience and emotions, especially when displayed in art form, is very different for me.
TM: Normally, I sit down at an instrument and play around, or I end up having a little idea in my head and sit down to flesh things out around it. I start with clusters of nonsense that end up becoming one total thing - this way I start with an actual premise.
Where do you normally find inspiration?
NE: I normally find inspiration from everyday things. People, incidents or overheard bits of conversations. But visual art has always played a part in my music ever since I saw saw Jackson Pollock's Summertime in 1995. To me, it looks like it's been painted with some kind of jazz music on in the background. The rhythms are there. The separated colours. The simplicity. The Space. I also found this search for space and rhythm in Kurokawa's installation, ironically.
TM: Usually a particular mood takes me, and I end up making something - it's like grown-up lego for me. If there is something concrete that motivates me it's usually a piece of music. This is a completely new experience.
Had you ever thought about writing about space / the universe before?
RB: At 9 years old I wanted to be the first man on Mars; the first man, not just the first Irishman. I have since redefined my dreams, but my wonder and love for the cosmos remains undiminished. That being said I have yet to write a song about the Universe. It is hard to translate that awe. I am hoping this project may break that spell.
Luna: I've written a number of songs about space and the universe - I am fascinated by the matter and see it as a huge source of inspiration. I have a telescope and a number of Brian Cox DVDs so I suppose I'm a bit of a space nerd!
NE: Yes. In my early twenties, while at music college, I created a piece of music that was a series of musical parts that was called The Celestial Map in which it represented various areas and galaxies of the Universe. Also, listening to things like Pink Floyd's soundtrack work and songs like Echoes had a distinct effect on thinking Universally with sound. What I found interesting about Kurokawa's interpretation was the fact he used already existing information and media of the Universe. The palette of choice was there to be exploited. And he has with stunning visual and sensory effect. It's both moving and beautiful. Especially his use of sound.
And last of all, if you could travel anywhere in the universe, to any time or place... where would you go, and what would you want to see?
DO'G: If the theory of the universe being ‘infinite’ is true, I'd like to witness the other variations of ourselves. By the rule of infinity, whatever we are doing, that exact same ‘scene’ is happening somewhere else (at the exact same time) in the universe except we all have elephant heads, or we speak Klingon.
RB: The restaurant at the end of the Universe perhaps; although, can you change your perspective of time and space? If so I would love to see how the Universe came to be and watch the first few billion years play out. Or maybe watch the Milky Way form, or our Sun grow into a red giant and devour the Earth, or the first contact between human and intelligent alien life! There are too many options. That being said, at The Restaurant at The End of the Universe, the dish of the day consents to be eaten.
MB: I'd travel to the edge of everything with my best mate Scout.
TM: I'd like to see some kind of big-bang type event - some sort of giant, universe-defining moment.
Luna: Everywhere and everything! I would want to travel out of our galaxy and into as many other ones as I could to see how other solar systems differ from our own, and of course, what other life forms exist out there.
NE: If I could travel anywhere, I'd like to see the Universe's end. Not the disintegration of it, but the actual furthest reach. To see it's further birth. The colours, shapes and the sound. It would be a true spectacle. The nearest thing to what we could describe as Heaven. But, that's the point of imagination and creativity. With this we CAN go there. And that is a beautiful miracle in itself.
Thanks to Mellowtone and Jacaranda Records for their support on programming this event in collaboration with FACT. Find out more about the night which takes place Thursday 5 May.