Interview by L. Valena
Please describe to me what you responded to.
It was a piece of visual art- very digital looking. It's very symmetrical, and there are words in each corner- words like 'squish' and 'whoa', and I thought that really spoke to some humorous aspect. I thought it was kind of funny, to have this relationship with a grapefruit. There are lots of slivers of fruit, and each corner has a mouth of someone eating the grapefruit- it's very humorous.
What was your first reaction?
I thought it was funny. I think when I first opened it, I felt very conflicted. I didn't really know what to do in relationship to this because it is very humorous, but also, things with food and humor are very interesting and very particular. There's almost a grossness to it- the 'squish', and the mouth like dripping with the grapefruit juice, so there's an element to it that I thought was funny and gross and kinda cheeky.
For awhile I had a little trouble thinking about what I was doing as far as responding to it. I wanted to do something about the grapefruit itself, but I questioned whether I was being too literal. Was I pulling away from the piece too much, and doing a thing about the theme of the piece itself? But then I realized that no, the piece is very descriptive- it's all there. It's not abstract.
So for a while I was thinking of a grapefruit, thinking about that desire, that 'whoa' thing. I decided to record some grapefruit sounds. I would eat a grapefruit, and record myself eating grapefruit. I decided to cut it up, and squish it around, and make some noise with that, and after that I would take those sounds and make music around it.
And as soon as I started getting some sounds together, I had a little percussion and I had an idea in my mind, and starting thinking about this bliss, of waking up in the morning and eating this grapefruit. The bliss of this grapefruit, and it's dripping on my face, and I'm just so happy and so blissed out that I just do not care.
So I just ran with that. I created a chord progression that illustrated that feeling, and as I went along I got a little lost. I put some guitar in, and after awhile I felt like I was missing something, I'm missing some element- a more human element. I'm missing something that really speaks to myself and the way I'm thinking in my head. I'm missing voice- the 'wow' itself. And with that I just turned the mic on and improvised some voice over it- really far away from the microphone so it had a big room sound. And as soon as I was done with that I knew it was what had been missing.
Then I put it all together with the grapefruit sounds, and I think it translates well. It's funny, it's a little gross, it's very beautiful and has this bliss of grapefruit, and that was the reaction that I had to the fruit itself, but also to the piece. Getting lost in this taste and this experience.
I love that, and I love the brightness of your sounds- I feel like that really translates well from the brightness of the colors- I feel like it has a real vibrancy to it. How does this relate to the rest of your work?
I do a fair amount of different things, I have one project that's more oriented towards jazz, but I also do home productions, and do music for moving image actually. And in that sense, it was a process that is similar to that, because translating something that is visual, either moving or not, has a specific process of discovery for me. The fact that I've done music for animations for example, as opposed to doing it for a still, was actually really interesting, because in my head the piece gained movement as I worked on this. As I wrote this music, I could think of that as a moving image, and I think because of that I was able to think about it differently. Like you mentioned about the brightness- I was able to think about it that way. To represent a mood, that's something that I'm used to. To look at an image and think of a mood, think of a sound, think of texture. What kind of texture goes with that? And some of those things are really archetypical, and easy to see. I think because this piece is a non-moving image, it became a lot for my imagination to think of this in a space, and think of it how it exists in time. I think that the fact that music exists in time, and the visual piece doesn't, is something that I'm not really used to, and that was a great part of the challenge- the game of finding that out. So getting something that's a very different media than what I do was a pretty good thing to respond to.
What else do you have to say about this process? Or about the work itself?
I think as far as the process goes, it was a real novelty to me to work from something that is art, and not decorating something. Sometimes when you make work for moving images, you're just doubling down on some mood. Someone has an idea, they film something, and then you look at it, and ask what kind of mood do you want for this? And then you take that mood and double down- you take what's already on the image, or you contrast in some way, but it always exists as a function of that. For me, to get that image, and to respond to it, but create a stand-alone piece, felt very liberating. I could take any stream of thought that I had and kind of work from there. The work doesn't need to exist as a function of the original- it is a stand alone piece.
Responding to that, with that freedom, is something that is very particular. Responding to the piece, more pragmatically speaking, I tried a fair amount of different things I didn't like. I have a hard time putting humor in music, and I think that piece had that, so I had to step away from being too serious about this because that is a funny piece. For me, the biggest challenge was to just be cheeky.
Do you have any advice to anyone else?
Take the prompt, look at it, sleep on it, take a beat. And then look at it some other day before you even start working. When you actually get to work, you want to be intimate to the prompt, but don't rush the process.
Call Number: C4VA | C6MU.viCi
Pedro Vituri is a composer, producer and instrumentalist based in São Paulo, Brazil. He produces music for visual media, composes and plays guitar in his own projects and is influenced by a wide range of stimuli, from street noise to contemporary art exhibits. Vituri is an associate producer at www.capitaofoca.com and you can find more of his work on www.pedroviturimusic.com