Emily Howard, Excavation

British, b. 1989, playing from Exeter, England, UK

Thoughts on the Telephone process

The song I created was an adaptation of a short story by TJ Acena. I read through the words several times to get a feel for what I was about to interpret. The piece had very strong imagery, and the setting of the short story gave me a very strong idea that I wanted to represent in the guitar part. As I read the words over and over, I could see the words transforming into lyrics. With a guitar on my lap and a pen and songbook nearby ready, I set to work. I recorded my ideas and listened back, chose the bits I thought were working, reworked some of the words a little to fit with the music, being careful not to lose their original meaning. I found as I was turning the story into a song, I became even closer with the character who was the voice of the piece, I could relate to her. She wanted to be close to this guy, she wanted to be inside his brain, she could not figure out how, or get her timing right. She was also saddened by the destruction of nature for the benefit of infrastructure and housing development. One of my favourite lines in the song is ‘They’ve cut down all the trees, taken all these precious memories.’ I see this happening around where I live in the UK, they’re building new roads through fields and woodland, places where I used to play. My children will never get to play there. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Telephone assignment. I am very happy that I now have a song, that I would have never come up with alone. I uploaded it to my SoundCloud and it’s been played on a friend’s radio show he liked it that much! It is amazing that the inspiration came from a complete stranger, from a completely different part of the world, where I’ve never been. It is even more amazing that the writer also came up with their work through the chain set up by Satellite Collective, and it has been passed on to another artist to create something different. It’s an unimaginable web of creative minds, working together to come up with completely new works. I look forward to seeing the exhibition, finding out what came before, and what comes after my song.

Prose by TJ Acena