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The Eighth Note: Elliot Vaughan

Last edited: 03.05.19 | Comment? | By











‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Today we interview performer and composer Elliot Vaughan.


Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
My name is Elliot Vaughan. I am a composer, viola player, and performance artist apparently. Before moving back to Wellington I had a collaborative musical career in Vancouver which encompassed a lot of music for dance, experimental theatre, arrangements for pop records and having my own art-pop acts The End Tree and Iffy South. The last year in Wellington I have been really interested in the multi-sensory concert: writing music to look or smell a particular way, to be a particular temperature, to be tactile, alongside the sound of it. Sometimes this kind of thing can seem academic, but it is also important to me to always make something pleasurable for the players and audience.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
Right now I am doing string arrangements for Martin Reisle, a phenomenal Vancouver artist I have worked closely with for years. He has been sitting on some beautiful, unusual songs for a while, and the timing is finally right to make an EP. I am also putting together a one-night show called Minter with Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and Marcus Jackson at play station gallery on May the 4th. I am looking at May 4th deaths, events and billboard charts. Informed by this, the plan is to make a handful of absurd, imagistic vignettes that move through the space.

Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
Find some pop music here:
And one day my personal Website might one day reflect what I am doing.

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
Lodger by David Bowie.
Third by Portishead.
The Bartók string quartets were a revelation.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
I want to do string arrangements for everyone’s records. Everyone’s.

What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
In January I did a large show in the Adam Art Gallery. We did ‘performed installations’ throughout the three levels, then a ‘staged concert’ in the long, narrow gallery of the bottom level. The unique space really informed the music. They are rarely able to accommodate an involved concert like that, so we were really fortunate to do that. Otherwise, I am really excited about intimate house shows.

In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
These days I need an instrument in my hand. It’s not that I have to hear it, it is that I have to feel it when I squeeze, rub, swing it. I’ll spend hours playing about, making a vocabulary of interactions with the instrument. Concurrently I will be thinking hard on concepts and structuring principles. Normally I do a first draft, get stuck, and ten years later accept that it is in fact finished.

Where/when is your next gig?
Minter, May 4th at play_station gallery, with Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and Marcus Jackson. Come.

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