Bree van Reyk hails from Sydney town. She is a percussionist, drummer, composer, sound artist and bloody excellent human being. For our concert on November 26th, 2016, Bree has written a piece called Six Scenes. Bree will also be performing with us on the Vibes. Read on to find out more about what makes her tick musically - to Beyoncé and Beyond!!
To hear the world premiere of Bree's composition Six Scenes come to The Melbourne Recital Centre, Salon on Saturday November 26th - shows at 4pm and 7pm. Book those ticketsHERE.
When did you know that you wanted to be a musician?
When I was 11 I learnt that my drum teacher was called a ‘Professional Musician’ and I figured that was what I wanted to do. I didn’t really think about it again until approximately 3 weeks before my university graduation recital, at which point I realised I wasn’t going to get a ‘job’ and it was probably going to be hard to make any ‘money’ and shouldn’t my parents have encouraged me to pursue something more ‘sensible’? Previously I had wanted to be an astronaut and a mechanic, and I’m hoping to develop some kind of woodworking skills in my old age.
What was your first instrument?
Piano when I was little, then drums from age 10.
What is the strangest music gig/job that you’ve done?
Darren Hanlon and I once played in a topless bar in Arnhem Land. We also once played a dirty basement in Omaha and some kid threw a beer can at the ceiling above me, and I was showered with flouro light fragments. A few months ago I recorded some songs with Sally and Darren Seltmann for Susanna Hoffs, which was not weird in itself, but would have been unthinkable to my Bangles-loving pre-teen self, still planning to be a mechanic.
What is the strangest non-music job you’ve ever done?
My sister and I spent a Queen’s Birthday long-weekend sitting in a bunker shielded by a dirt mound, marking targets at a rifle range.
You work across many different styles of music, what was your first love as a listener and how did it lead to playing so many different styles?
I cried with joy when my parents gave me the ‘Chariots of Fire’ soundtrack on LP when I was 8. I still haven’t seen the film, and am not sure how I came to love the music so much (did they play the main theme between cartoons on ABC or something?). The next LP I got was Jive Bunny. No tears this time, but it did kick me into a Glenn Miller phase at age 11. Then I fell in love with Sonic Youth and remember hearing Xenakis and Javanese Gamelan around the same time and having my mind completely blown. Part of learning music for me was having jam sessions with my dad where we’d play Eagles and Beatles and Eric Clapton hits, and another part was going to youth orchestra and playing concert band arrangements of Debussy and Beethoven, while also learning jazz drums and playing stoner rock with my friends.
Tell us about the music you have composed for TLSQ:
Six Scenes is the first piece that I have written for a string quartet. The piece is a collection of small scenes which explore different aspects of texture, melodic density and polyphonic democracy. I’m interested in creating music which allows performers a high degree of freedom in their interpretation of the dots on the page and the way they relate to the other performers. A predominant amount of my time as percussionist naturally involves a dedication to rhythm above other musical aspects, but I’m happily ignoring that pre-disposition in this work. I imagine each of these scenes as a landscape sound painting.
Last year you worked on a large-scale project called MASSIVE BAND. What was the inspiration for this project and will it happen again in the future?
I was invited to be Artist in Residence at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, and given the opportunity of an open book in terms of what I wanted to do. I’d been wanting to do something to inspire young high school girls to pick up rock’n’roll instruments and I also love the sound of heaps and heaps of people playing together, so I put the two things together and made a MASSIVE BAND of 100 high school girls and women. I had an amazing team of mentors working with me, like Lindy Morrison and Amanda Brown from the Go Betweens and Alison Galloway from Smudge. We played versions of Gloria and Respect and Wild Thing interspersed with improvised soundscapes. Most of the girls had never really played before, and those who did were often lacking the courage to stick up to the boys in music class, so we were able to make a space for them to be heard. I’d love to do it again anytime, anywhere.
What is the next project that you are working on?
I have a project called Superclusters in progress at the moment which involves a large cast of performers interpreting the same modular/cellular-based pieces. The individual recordings will be compiled together into finite versions of each piece on a series of recordings, and the composite parts will also exist in an online environment where the audience/users can create their own versions of the works. Like a choose your own adventure novel, but with improvised, textural soundscapes. I also have a show coming up with my duo with violinist Veronique Serret, am writing a piece for Ensemble Offspring next year, and I’m expecting a baby in a couple of months, so that will be a rather large project!
What music are you enjoying listening to right now?
Just loving Beyonce’s Lemonade. Totally addicted, and it’s broken the drought on a considerable period of time where I was kinda burnt out and couldn’t listen to anything at all. I did break out with some Fausto Romitelli the other day, but mostly it’s non-stop Beyoncé in the car and Laura Jean on the record player at home.
What is your favourite podcast?
Geez, I’m so podcast illiterate. Does Beyoncé have a podcast?
If you were not a musician or performing artist, what would be your ideal occupation?Carpenter/joiner. Making things with wood.