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The Echo Society: writing for and performing with an orchestra
Old 15th June 2018
  #1
The Echo Society: writing for and performing with an orchestra

Hi Brendan, a few questions please about the pieces you did for The Echo Society:
I found this picture: Is that you performing on stage with the orchestra? (Winter and Solstice at the Mack Sennett Studios)
The Echo Society: writing for and performing with an orchestra-winter-solstice-after.jpg
I've found this recording of a piece called Solstice. I assume that is the one from the picture:

How does the writing process take place for these Echo Society pieces? What did you want to tell the audience?

Could you tell something about the practical side of this setup, and how that came about? How do your instruments interact with the orchestra on stage? Are there pieces written for just the orchestra of is there always a synergy?
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Old 21st June 2018
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Hi Brendan, a few questions please about the pieces you did for The Echo Society...How does the writing process take place for these Echo Society pieces? Could you tell something about the practical side of this setup, and how that came about?What did you want to tell the audience? How do your instruments interact with the orchestra on stage? Are there pieces written for just the orchestra of is there always a synergy?
We started The Echo Society by first just getting together to check out various concerts in Los Angeles. At some point in 2013 we decided to put on our first one, which took place at that photo you posted, and we decided to combine orchestral and electronic elements. One of the main goals was to try and transform the space we were performing in. Each consecutive show follow that. There are 7 main members and for each show we invite guests.

For each show, we collectively put our heads together and figure out what we want to say or what exciting thing we could do next. It's always super collaborative and evolving.

For our first show, and the next 5 that have followed, we push ourselves to each write a brand new piece that is written for that shows particular ensemble. For example, at our second show which you posted above, I believe we had a 10 piece ensemble that we put together of rad LA based musicians who record on all the films down here. Each of us 7 members of Echo each write a piece made for those 10 players and that particular instrumentation lineup. The guests we have for each show are also encouraged to write a new piece for that ensemble.

So essentially, as soon as we nail down the instrumentation for the upcoming show, we get to work writing. We have had anywhere from a 9 piece ensemble to a 40 piece orchestra and 16 piece choir to a 3 day show with 7 of us, 14 guest composers and 60+ musicians throughout a 3 day weekend of a show that took place in a mansion in LA where people could walk around the rooms and hear different pieces on different floors and different rooms.

For each show, every composer has their piece notated by an orchestrator. For me, that means taking my logic session and sending that to this guy who then notates the whole thing for the players to read as they are playing. Then, we rent a rehearsal space for a couple days before the show. We go through every piece, revise some of the playing if needed and then do the show.

For shows 1-5, it was always on a stage. So normal live orchestral micing combined with electronic backing tracks or live electronics being played. For Family, our mansion show, it was a small ensemble in 7 rooms a day, so those were using small little setups, intentionally.

Echo influenced my, mostly, electronic stuff I was making before, which then influenced by album Sol (2015) which then landed me the scoring job for Billions. I was intimidated in a way to release something not beat oriented for the most part and follow where Echo was inspiring me and I'm glad I did.

Some various pics attached

My thought process for our shows:

Winter (in a sound stage, 2013, 10 piece ensemble).
I created THIS. I wanted to make something that felt rhythmic, straight forward and off timed. I ended up playing water jugs on stage with the other musicians.

Solstice (in a sound stage, 2014, 12 piece ensemble)
I created THIS. I had just experienced a breakup and the death of my father in the same month. I wanted to make something that conveyed the idea of me choosing a particular perspective with it all. I ended up collabing w an icelandic musician Kira Kira, who later became a friend through the process.

Bloom (in a church, 2015, 20 piece orchestra)
I created THIS. I wanted to create something beautiful and uplifting.

Veils (in a warehouse, 2016, 9 piece ensemble)
I have the audio for this but haven't mixed it properly. I made something that would work well for a large acoustic space like a warehouse. Ended up using field recordings from the train stations in france for the main melodies.

V (at the Ace Theatre, 2017, 40 piece + 16 piece choir)
I plan to release it with a proper studio recording. Very minimal, essentially one phrase over and over that builds into the 16 piece choir rubbing their hands and clapping along.

Family (2018, 50+ musicians, my piece was 3 players and me)
This was written for 3 cellos. I played piano live along with them, while my fiance painted me and her sister, who is a professional ballerina, first dancer from the royal ballet in london. My lady created a mural on the spot as well on a number of cardboard boxes. I plan to release this piece as well.

There is so much info to share about echo all in one post, hopefully it helps clear anything up as opposed to the opposite? 8)
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The Echo Society: writing for and performing with an orchestra-download-4-.jpeg   The Echo Society: writing for and performing with an orchestra-_mg_5978.jpg  
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Old 21st June 2018
  #3
Wow! Thank you for the detailed answer, I'll check out the links rightaway!
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