A Conversation with Salvador Breed

A Conversation with Salvador Breed

Art is no longer merely a visual medium, thanks to people like Salvador Breed, who combines sound and technology to expand the viewer’s perspective in new ways with varying methods. Perched at his workspace overlooking Het IJ – Amsterdam’s picturesque harbour – the Dutchman appears content. “The studio is only a ten minute bike ride from our house and in summer we like to swim in the water directly outside,” says Breed, who shares a home with his partner, the fashion designer Iris van Herpen.

As a self-proclaimed “audiofreak,” Breed focuses on creating dynamic sound installations. “I think one of the main reasons why I call myself a professional audiofreak is that I work in so many different contexts, whether they be visual or completely sound-driven, yet the only common thread is that I always think from a sound perspective. I am the ears of every project and collaboration I work on.”

While discussing collaborations more generally, the artist remarks on the scope and variety of projects he continues to take on. “They vary from building entire software or hardware packages to creating and designing sound for fashion presentations, live performance pieces, and brand installations.” For Breed, actively avoiding being pigeonholed as simply a producer or engineer is of huge importance. “Just like in nature, the most interesting things tend to happen on the cusp of professional fields,” he says, before noting similar patterns can be found in behavior inherent to animals and humans alike.

Sitting at the nexus of sound and technology, Breed continues to sculpt the gap that exists between both, while ongoing projects with Iris van Herpen, architect Philip Beesley and the spatial sound collective 4DSound live at the forefront of his mind. “Philip Beesly’s thought processes, abstract thinking and poetics, combined with an incredible technical knowledge still impress me,” says Breed, who regards the architect as a personal mentor. For Breed, the value of ongoing collaborations is priceless, as each collaborator slowly begins to understand the other more clearly, allowing various nuances and intricacies to become second nature. While speaking about partner Iris van Herpen, Breed’s admiration is infectious. “She communicates using such incredibly strong visual language, all while covering so many topics that continue to interest me.”

Fast and intuitive technical tools are what drive the Dutchman, who reaffirms the importance of creating new technology in a collaborative context, mostly for others to use and explore. A trained sound technician and engineer, Breed comments, “I know the technology and I know how it works. If you are good at playing an instrument you should understand how it actually works so that you can begin to explore its limits and stretch the meaning of what it means to play that instrument.” Yet in terms of technological constraints, Breed sites the MIDI Protocol, which was introduced in 1984 and continues to embed artists and engineers into a certain musical matrix with structural limits. The solution? “It’s great to explore other ways of creating instruments and making them more expressive. Having knowledge of the technology you are playing will ultimately help this expression.”

To learn more about Salvador Breed and his ongoing projects, click here. Be sure to catch BREEK – YOKAI, Salvador’s latest release available on vinyl starting 4/21 and digital on 4/28. Preview it here.

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