Interview – HYENAZ

For our latest Interview okpk, after playing with Hyenaz in Victoria, asked them a few questions about themselves.
Also r/n is proud to show a preview of Hyenaz unreleased track from their forthcoming album Critical Magic coming out on SPRINGSTOFF.

Check out our Exclusive preview at the bottom.

r/n: A/S/L?

We are pre-Hadean androgens, presently positioned in Berlin.

r/n:What is your spiritual conception of your work? Or to put it another way – what does your work mean to you?

We don’t have an easily-defined spirituality. We feel as uneasy in the rationalist tradition as we do in any Pagan spiritual tradition. And yet it is hard to be anything but spiritual in some sense when the cutting edge of physics describes a world that is as far from vulgar-materialist descriptions of the universe as any creation myth. For instance, quantum computing imagines computers that calculate based on the principle that a particle can exist in multiple places at the same time, yet astral travel and telepathy are considered as fantasies.

To some extent, we feel like the spiritual traditions almost certainly do not describe the world in any kind of straightforward way, but that they touch at certain features of reality that current scientific paradigms deem impossible. In essence, they are the only pathway available to us to commune with unknown, indescribable forces that still somehow present themselves to our awareness. We believe that inward awakenings are essential for social transformation. As such, we draw on magic in our work, in particular the Chaos Magic paradigm, which provides a ritual framework that accords with our identities as queer bodied, post-capitalist, free-movement, pacifist artists.

Social change cannot occur outside of something which we could call spiritual. We cannot just invent our way towards peace and sustainability, the solution is not, or not only, technological. The simplest changes are also the most profound. Perhaps this is why in part we work on a subconscious level on stage in performance through the body. The body is one of the first resonating musical instruments and instrument of struggle and movement.

You draw on a lot of different artistic styles in your work – what is it that will attract you to a particular form of expression?

HYENAZ:In order for an idea to be immersive and extensively explored it must be expressed through a multitude of media. Any idea is hyperlinked to infinite threads of past and future, an infinitude of expressions. So we choose a particular modus based on its utility, its beauty, and its connection to the now. A gif, a dance, a text: they are placed and performed within a contemporary context. One could say a life’s work is the multitude of expression of one idea.

r/n: There is a tremendous physicality to your live performance – how does that relate to audiences experiencing your work through recordings?

HYENAZ:It doesn’t necessarily relate. The idea of listening to our album on its own will be influenced by the context of the listener- – in her car, in the club, while having sex. We like to let this arbitrary context become part of the story. We have no need to control the story. We have just given the one input there, of the musical texture, which for us has its own history, its own context. We hope that the listener catches some of it, maybe he or she will. It’s not up to us to control it. If they come to our show, we can show them how we interpret it, how we move to it. We can share with them some of what it makes our body do. We invite a participation, a mutual exchange. We are open to that, but none of this has to happen in any particular way.

Relating to what we said above regarding the spiritual, the moment of physical contact can be profound in ways that cannot be described, but only sensed. Touch has become so negatively defined in our culture now, associated with danger, assault, rape, the crossing of boundaries, that we are left with a paranoid anti-touch which is defined by and therefore the mirror of that which it wants to escape. We use the display of our bodies, both vulnerable and powerful as a means of welcoming others to lay their hands on us, to encounter another physically, and hope that this can begin to heal this deep cultural trauma that our bodies and minds are woven into.

r/n: What is driving you to create right now & why?

HYENAZ: No borders, is the first thing which springs to our minds, and an urge to fight violence and oppression. The idea that one body with one piece of paper can move more or less freely across national borders, and that another body with another piece of paper, or without a piece of paper at all, cannot move across these bodies is arbitrary, and violent. We are artists who have a positioning within a complex structure of violence and embody an intersectionality which includes, among other things, whiteness and privilege. So we are struggling to articulate a position to overcome this dividing of bodies through our music and cultural output, but we struggle on nonetheless because it is important, it is vital, for our futures as interconnected selves.

Binaries, the first single from Critical Magic, is simultaneously more organic and more mechanised than Hyenaz’s previous record. Clattering metallic sounds frame a duet of distorted howls that slip in and out of a pounding groove, building to a wild crescendo before suddenly coming to a halt.

interview by okpk
illustration by Vincent Parker

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