Chagall: “You don’t have to be Beyoncé to put on a good show”
Anyone who’s seen Chagall perform on stage, sees a woman who uses her body to make music. She uses her hands to direct her voice, from high to low and from fragile and gentle to loud or multi vocal. She can even capture her voice and distort it. Why does she do this? And what does it have to do with sustainability? During the CWF 2019, she talks about what got her into this. And seeing is believing, so the singer-songwriter and electronic music producer will also perform.
“I have always loved electronic music”, says Chagall. “I used my computer to produce every sound and use all the possibilities I could think of. But when I started performing with these, I had a problem: I was on stage, bent over my computer, but the audience could barely see what I was doing. But performing live is very important to me. I have a story to tell and when I do, I open up. If this only happens on a screen, I can’t connect with the audience and it doesn’t feel good when you lose their attention.”
When Chagall came into contact with the developers of the MI•MU gloves in London, everything changed. “At the time, the development of these music-friendly gloves was still an R&D project and I was able to use them. I can connect the gloves to the music software. The sensors on the fingers register the way in which I bend my fingers and the software registers bigger movements through my wrist. This way, I’m the one who determines what my music is like.” Chagall is also able to control the visual effects on the screen behind her using the smart gloves.
“The possibilities of technology increase my artistic value”
For her, this is now the most natural way to make music. “I now also work with a motion capture suit. I use my entire body, from my head to my toes, to control the music. I have always loved computers and technology, and I now also work as a UX designer. I wouldn’t call myself a dancer but it gives me more confidence knowing how to behave physically to be able to visualise my music. The possibilities of technology increase my artistic value
And the technology behind it? Chagall would love to share it. “I don’t want to keep this to myself. In 2020, we would like to continue to develop this for other musicians, to strengthen and enhance the way electronic music is experienced. You don’t have to be Beyoncé to put on a show.”
“I would like to invite other young women who also want to make electronic music to do it”
That’s art and technology for now. But what is Chagall’s view on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? “Sustainability is extremely important to me – my texts are, for instance, also about climate issues. One of the SDGs I link directly to my project is SDG no. 5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. I want to invite other young women who would also like to make electronic music to do it. I want to inspire them: you can do this too, technology isn’t only for men, you know. Women need role models.”
“Being together at a concert is important for our feeling of belonging together, of being together.”
Besides this, according to Chagall playing music and certainly performing it live play a part on a different level, considering the challenges the world is faced with. “Music and live experiences bring you into contact with a different part of your consciousness. Being together at a concert is important for out feeling of belonging together, of being together. I don’t want to sound woolly but what we saw happening in the sixties is reality. We need to solve big problems together. Not in groups or per country, but globally.”