Interview: Ferry x Canvas Conversations

As part of this year’s Esplanade’s Mosaic Music Series, local electronic acts Ferry and Canvas Conversations team up for a surreal showcase
Mosaic Music Series 2017 Ferry
By Sofiana Ramli |

Teamwork is key in any sort of collaboration – and when we sat down with homegrown musicians Namie Rasma, the vocalist of Canvas Conversations, and Ferry (real name Jean Low), the synergy between the two artists is almost electric. Coming together for the very first time at Esplanade’s Mosaic Music Series on November 10, the duo is proud to showcase their joint project Sudo, a mind-blowing presentation of visual and sound. Ahead of the show, Namie and Ferry discuss what it’s like working with each other, their fascination with artificial intelligence (AI) and why Sudo is a performance you shouldn’t miss.

First of all, what is Sudo all about?

Ferry: When we first started conceptualising the show we somehow ventured into Information Technology (IT), which is of course a very current topic. But we wanted to explore the whole “human-in-the-machine” aspect of it.

Namie: Yeah, basically we delved into a lot of themes revolving around artificial intelligence taking over man. 

Ferry: We tried to impersonate the topic. In the performance, Namie takes on the role of the 'robot' because she came out with a sound that’s a manipulation of her voice, and I play the human. Humans have always wanted to make robots look, act and talk like one of us and we wanted to look deeper into that. Can tech really fully become humans? A lot of the stuff Namie had written for the performance was driven by this topic. 

What inspired it? This really reminds me a lot of shows like West World and Black Mirror. 

Namie: Yeah! We were pretty much into the idea of AI and when I processed my voice to create this robotic sound, we all kinda understood that this was what we were gonna go for in Sudo.

Ferry: We also realised we use a lot of tech in our music, too. So it was just a topic that worked for each of us.

Canvas Conversations

"We’re totally creating a whole new world in Annexe Studio"

How did the collaboration come about?

Namie: Actually we were just randomly put together for the showcase. Esplanade had wanted to feature Ferry in a collaboration and they thought Canvas Conversations would make a good fit with Jean’s music. At first we thought “this is going to take awhile” because we’ve never worked with each other. But thankfully that wasnt the case.

Ferry: I think everyone was just on the same page on what we wanted to achieve. And what we didn’t want to do was put out a typical joint stage performance. We wanted something more immersive. From early on the guys from Canvas just said “aiyah, let’s just write new material!” They were very optimistic! Everyone was very driven when it came to this project.

I hear you guys are working with visual artist Aqilah Misuary for this showcase,  too.

Ferry: Aqilah is our silent member. What she’s doing is really quite spectacular. We’re going to pull the projection screen at Annexe Studio, where we’ll be performing at, to become much wider. This is because we didn’t want just a simple projection above the band.

Namie: The projection done by Aqilah will also be manipulated live. So technically, you can say that she’s performing alongside us.

Ferry: We’re also really trying to push this idea of having a 360 sound experience. We’ll be putting speakers around the space to emulate that idea of “surround sound”. That coupled with the visuals, I think Sudo is going to definitely be a different type of gig than we would normally play or see.

Namie: Yeah and because of that technical aspect it makes the music that we’ll be playing sound a little different, compared to hearing it on a normal stereo. It isn’t flat. This time you won’t just hear the vocals or the bass. You’ll get to hear every piece of the music.

Ferry: We’re totally creating a whole new world in Annexe Studio.

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