Who's to say electro music and flute can't combine?
Flautists Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull, the duo behind Flutronix, will be performing original tracks from their album of electronic flute music on Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. in Moeser auditorium. Staff writer A.J. O'Leary spoke with the duo about their background and musical influences.
The Daily Tar Heel: First off, could you tell me how you decided to form Flutronix?
Allison Loggins-Hull: I love telling this story, because it’s kind of funny how we met. A few years ago, back in the day when MySpace was popping — I don’t know if your generation is familiar with that social media platform — but MySpace was popping and artist page was a great way for musicians to get their music out there. And her and I both had MySpace pages, and we were both playing our flutes and experimenting with using electronics and technology, and somehow Nathalie had stumbled across my work, and she reached out to me.
She was like, 'Hey girl, I play flute too, and I’m doing this similar stuff, we should get together,' and we saw that we had mutual friends in common and were in the same city, so I was like, 'Yeah, okay, come on by my house,' and she did. And so we found out that we actually lived in the same neighborhood which was really crazy and serendipitous. So she walked on over, and we really just talked, got to know each other better, we talked about our experiences as young flute players just trying to make it in music and figuring that out. And we realized we’re very like-minded with musical taste, and kind of everything really. And really that day we just decided to start working together and keep working using electronics. That day, Flutronix was born, and the rest is history.
DTH: What skills do each of you bring to the duo?
AL: I think, first of all, one of the biggest reasons Nathalie and I work so well together is because we both have a pretty strong work ethic, and that was evident from the beginning, when we first met, and still stands true to this day. So I think we both bring that to the table, for sure. Nathalie is the vocalist for the group, so she’s responsible for all the vocals you hear — and in terms of competition, it’s something that we both tackle together. And especially after our second album we realized that writing this music in a more collaborative way was a more successful way of creating the true Flutronix sound.
I think this speaks to our success — we really go in on these things 50/50, both creatively and in terms of running the ensemble, taking care of business, that kind of thing. So I would say it’s an equal share, other than like Nathalie does the vocal work, but we’re both hammering away on our flutes. That’s for sure. We’re both working together compositionally, and when we sit down and work together on developing the electronic sound, and choosing which direction to go with all of our pieces. I think it’s very important for us both to have equal collaboration. It’s more or less our M.O.
DTH: How do you combine flute and electronics?
Nathalie Joachim: For us, we really think of the electronics as another member of our ensemble. We try to work with creating as cohesive a sound as possible, and I know we’re really making sure that the acoustic sound is as integrated with the electronic sound as it can be.
DTH: What are people’s first impressions of your music usually?
AL: I’ve had people come up to me after a show saying things like, 'Oh wow, I’ve never heard flute played in that way. This is really innovative.' And definitely with other musicians, and younger musicians in particular, they come up and they’re like, 'I’m really curious about trying this myself. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s really inspiring.' So that would be the typical response.
DTH: Who are some of your musical influences?
NJ: I would say, if we were to do our top five musical influences, especially early on — Björk for sure, Erykah Badu for sure, Hubert Laws, for sure, Radiohead, totally — and probably A Tribe Called Quest, to be honest.
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