An Interview With Anthony Kelly – Handmade Electronic Music Extraordinaire

Following on from the previous post about the super cool NI Science Fest, Thom interviewed a few musicians who will be taking part in the handmade electronic music night. All information can be found here:

First up is Anthony Kelly, who gives us an insight into the kind of music he makes, his influences and how he goes about getting his sound…


1) Anthony, how would you describe the music you and David Stalling make, and how long have you been working together?

We have been improvising together for around 5 or 6 years in different combinations. Often as a duo and sometimes with other artists. Sometimes the performances can have passages that are intensely quiet which can then be balanced by outbursts of pure noise. We have also performed with other sound artists such as Danny McCarthy, Mick O’Shea, Irene Murphy, Steve Roden, David Toop, Jennifer Walshe, Stephen Vitiello amongst others.

2) What would you say have been your biggest influences on the music you make?

I am interested in the works of Nam June Paik, Agnes Martin, Rolf Julius, Robert Ryman, John Cage and the Fluxus movement.

3) Could you briefly describe your setup and instruments you use?

The instruments on my floor & table surfaces include found objects, radios, various types of paper, table guitar and various small percussion instruments. Often I like to incorporate field recordings into the unfolding improvised composition.

4) Have the instruments/setup you use influenced your compositional approach?

I try to vary the instruments and devices that I use within each performance. Before a performance I try not to think too much about what devices I might want to use but often I find the very first sound(s) that I (or we) generate can set the tone for some of what is ahead.

5) Do certain elements of your setup allow greater or less freedom when improvising?

Sometimes restriction can be a good thing and as David suggests; “it can be exciting to work with more resistant or robust setups or materials, as the challenge often produces stronger results.”

6) Are you looking forward to playing the Blackbox as part of the NI Science Festival on Sat 28th Feb?

It’s going to be a really good event!

You can learn more about Anthony here:
Aaaaaand David, here:


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_maker was founded in march 2012 by Bryan Dunphy, Colin Maher and Thom Conaty with the mission of showing the world that electronics is practical, fun, and not nearly as complicated and inaccessible as some bad experiences from our school days may have made us think. We believe that by teaching DIY electronics through structured, music based projects and contextualising the theory through these projects, learning DIY electronics can be a fun and rewarding experience. Almost as important, is the freedom that DIY electronics provides the electronic musician, allowing to sculpt their own sonic palette. Through an understanding of the underlying electronic principles, musicians can modify their equipment to their own tastes, which means no more boring, off-the-shelf tones! Lastly, knowing how to make your own electronic equipment from kits can save you a lot of money versus the cost of retail products. All you need is the kit and a soldering iron.

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