Hypnotique: Mistress of the Theremin

hypnotique looking gothic on the road to a cemetaryHypnotique is a multi-talented artist that incorporates the theremin, one of the earliest electronic music instruments, into much of her work. She has many guises, working professionally as a multi-instrumental musician, actress, performance artists, radio producer and music educator.

In this exclusive interview, Hypnotique talks about her work, making it as an alternative musician, the sensuality of theremin, the challenges of playing it and her thoughts on the state of electronic music performance.

Hypnotique has trained with acclaimed thereminist Lydia Kavina and performed as a thereminist with Zorch, Radio Science Orchestra and in cameos on British television. She’s toured Europe providing vocals, theremin, woodwinds and keyboards in several alternative bands. Her musical influences range from Throbbing Gristle and Lydia Lunch to John Barry and Ennio Morricone.

Recently, she produced several documentary radio programs, including Into the ether, a 90 minute show about the theremin, and “Switched On” interviews with Jean-Jacques Perrey and Bob Moog.

Synthtopia asked Hypnotique about her work:

Synthtopia: Your work covers a lot of ground. How would you summarize your style, and your approach to music and performance?

Hypnotique: I come from the hidden triangle, which is a meeting of the past and the future. You could call my style ‘electronic cabaret’ – as my sound is influenced by music from a global popular music heritage (theremin music from the 1920’s, Berlin cabaret from the 1930’s, lounge music from the 1950’s, through to 1980’s industrial music and even 1980’s pure pop music) but fuses tradition with modern sounds (synthesizers, sequencing, digital production) and styles.

I am a creature from another time, and the Hypnotique solo project is born from a cabaret rather than a pop music tradition, as it started off as a bit of fun with a pianist friend playing jazz versions of Nirvana covers on the clarinet, and later James Bond songs on the theremin! The Hypnotique experience is highly visual, and sonically challenging. Dance and electronic music is so gray and GAP, it’s all about the non-personality and the logo T-shirt – I make a reaction to this by returning to the traditional show – call it a type of modern day music hall, if you will.

Synthtopia: Don’t you think that dance music serves a very different purpose than your music? Dance music and electronica are often quite commercial, “GAP” as you say, but they are also about loosing your inhibitions, experiencing a group high, driving fast, and giving yourself permission to doing things that your logical brain would tell you are stupid. Isn’t that very human, and a valid area for artists to explore, too?

Hypnotique: Please don’t misunderstand me, I’ve absolutely no objections to the more widely spread forms for music for dancing – techno, trance, house – in fact I’ve been known to lose my inhibitions once in a while, too (although I prefer the really naff sort of old school/big beat sound)! But please do not confuse euphoria with taking pills, because the two can often be synonymous in this music. I prefer more strange and esoteric dance music, John Callaghan is a good example of this – using conventional beats with subversive samples and sounds. I had a friend at college who made dance music in 5/4 time, which was really interesting – and fun to dance to!

Maybe I’ve been unfortunate in the live music I’ve seen lately, but what I object to is the way this culture of anonymity of the DJ has pervaded so far that many live electronic ‘bands’ are really just a group of ugly guys in T-Shirts with laptops and nobody dancing! Kraftwerk can pull it off (just about) as their music is classic, but recently I saw four guys ‘larging it’ behind laptops, and what they were doing was so ridiculous.

At least a DJ is a craftsman with tools, the mechanics of the beat matching, which can be a tiny little bit fun to watch – but anyone can press play on a computer. Laptops should stay where they belong, in the office, and people should go back to playing live instruments alongside samplers and programmed parts. Otherwise it’s like The Orb playing a gig via ISDN while they are playing music in their bedroom – it’s not a statement, it’s just lazy.

Laptops have no soul, in the way that analogue synthesizer are ‘little machines with souls’ according to Jean-Jacques Perrey. He has some very cutting remarks on contemporary composers – he believes they just push the button and let the sounds come out, and the music is not inspired, and not carefully considered for the way the sounds affect the psyche of the body. I’m tempted to agree. Bad music really makes me feel very low, it is like being on the edge of the world, in the days when people knew that the earth was flat.

Synthtopia: Tell us about the music projects your involved in.

Hypnotique: Apart from the solo Hypnotique ‘electronic cabaret’, I work as a collaborator, session musician or guest musician on any projects people will throw at me! I have co-written and sung a tune with Dawn of the Replicants on their new album “The Extra Room”. The song “Arctic Sails” is a kind of alternative love ballad about two people who meet in the foundations of a shaking building after an earthquake shifts two tectonic plates together in different continents. It includes luscious synths and squiqqly saxophone – my hallmarks on the Replicants otherwise Pixies-esque indie music.

Rhythmicon ( http://www.rhythmicon.com), is a new project with Earthrid Records (http://www.earthrid.com) founder Kevin Busby, which is a mix of avant-garde improvisation with industrial beats & extreme morphological sound mutation, again, part of the ‘stand up’ performance based music to react to the ‘no performance necessary’ laptop music.

I have recorded and gigged recently as a member of Art Terry and the Fairys (http://www.artterry.co.uk) who is an amazing singer-songwriter and pianist who writes really engaging lyrics with a consciousness, and he has a great stage presence.

I recently performed at the Alpha Centauri Electronic Music Festival in the Netherlands with a collective called Intelligentsia (http://www.wisdomcore.com) who again, produce highly visual electronic music using on film divas and masked Japanese techno dancers!

I’m looking forward to a new collaboration this year with John Callaghan, who is a hugely innovative music producer and wild performer (he even gets almost naked onstage) who released a few singles with Warp Records – but hasn’t yet had the recognition he deserves. His music is very witty, because humour is a very important quality in electronic music; as my friend Jean-Jacques Perrey tells me – humouristic music will heal the world!

Sadly, I really don’t get many offers to collaborate or record with others – I have a solitary existence – so I’m keen to do more projects, either performance or even ‘by post’ projects with overseas musicians who have talent and passion.

Synthtopia: What are your cabaret/performance art shows like?

Hypnotique: I don’t get a chance to play live very often, so in the long dearths between shows the style changes quickly! I have done the gay cabaret show thing (which resulted in a near-death threat from the audience), even weddings playing ‘there-aoke’ (theremin karaoke) and jazz standards with a pianist – but now I’m concentrating on my artistic show (smaller audiences, less financial gain – but more wholesome!) as I think it’s about time the theremin was taken seriously.

The shows are focused around traditional songs and noir stories with musical backing. I perform with a backing tape of pre-recorded parts, live vocals & live instruments (woodwind and theremin) – alternating between vocals and instrumental within each song. I vary the ‘strangeness’ of sounds and material depending on the nature of the gig, often using electro-acoustic mind-bending sounds in a few places just to make the complacent audience sit up!

I like the idea of contrast – launching from a melancholic classical theremin solo to a noisy industrial track in a blink of the ear, so to speak. I like to dress up in stylish outfits – at the moment I’m sporting a 1950s secretary look, but it varies! I think live shows should always be about glamour and the visual, showing the audience something they could not merely hear on a CD, or MP3.

I would love to do a tour of some European countries towards the end of this year, I think Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany would appreciate me more than the English!

Synthtopia: Do you write your own music, too?

Hypnotique: My non-commercial shows are all my own music, I’m working on a CD (provisionally titled ‘the hanging gardens‘) to release in Autumn 2004 to the listening several.

My songs focus on lyrics – I’m more of a wordsmith than a vocalist (or rather I cannot sing like Celine Dion – thankfully). I love story telling, but not in the folk tradition – rather stories about strange and funny ideas – a couple who murder the woman’s lesbian lover in a bizarre sex ritual in surburbia, a nation’s leader who doesn’t know when he should jump from a sinking ship, if Princess Diana was killed by a landmine… I hope it’s a little thought provoking. I seem to have a thing about writing about killing children – to date it’s appeared in five songs. (You probably shouldn’t print that…they would send the hit squad round to get me!!).

I like to write about the dark psychology of life, things we all think from time to time – about death, murder, deception – and a few people take the extra step and actually carry it out. It’s not a glorification though, just a sort of expressive violence about what lurks beneath the surface. I like the idea of the checkout girl secretly wanting to smash the bottle of wine over the rude customer, or how office rage can explode over a tin of spilt paperclips leading to a bloody end… small but bitter revenges. The songs are very English, and quite political, but it’s a sort of ‘soft politics’ – highlighting situations and attitudes rather than the shouting politics of Billy Bragg. I want my music to represent the frustrations of my nation, the apathy, despair, the ridiculousness – but also to be fun enough to not take itself too seriously.

Of course, like many electronic musicians, I use many samples of words from records, loops, and little quotations for extra resonance (Jean-Jacques Perrey also taught me that quotations are a valid and good way to compose). I believe copyright laws are outmoded – if people like it, it should belong to the people, not Walt Disney or Elton John, but only if it is re-invented in an original way. I hope I don’t get caught out like VVM (a small record label who did an album of covers of ‘relax’ by Frankie, and were sued by EMI despite not making a profit on the record).

Synthtopia: I understand you cover Celine Dion tunes. How do you approach interpreting her work, and transmute it into something worthy of a theremin goddess?

Hypnotique: Ah, a musical interlude from my cabaret days! I was doing daytime TV and all kinds of other sickening crimes.

Unlike fellow theremin player Peter Pringle (http://www.peterpringle.com) who has sung with Ms Dion, I can only admire her vocal grandeur from afar – as far away as possible (Vegas is good – at least if she’s there, you know where she is).

Funnily, just today I heard one of the most inspiring pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It was a show on Resonance FM (http://www.resonancefm.com) of a children’s music making project. Most of the show consisted of children playing the Titanic theme tune very badly on toy keyboards. The tune would keep coming back, but with a different backing beat – maybe a rumba, maybe rock, maybe reggae – but always the same melody for nearly one hour. It was hypnotic, and hilarious! Obviously a hit in the playground. You can’t hold a good tune down – and Titanic sounds just so silly and outrageous on a high pitched instrument like the theremin. Funnily, I hear that Celine has a video of a show where she sings Bohemian Rhapsody (which I also play on the theremin) – which is supposed to be hysterical. Perhaps it would be good for myself and the ‘muse’ as she calls herself to do a show together – it could be called ‘the mistress and the muse’. I would insist on my own dressing room.

I’m fascinating by characters like her, and why housewives are so moved by her obviously ridiculous music and shallow personality. The mother of Paul Vickers, from Dawn of the Replicants, is convinced a song we wrote would be a hit as, according to her, it sounded like Celine Dion. I suppose it depends on your musical points of reference. My parents thinks everything I do sounds like ‘The Spinners’.

Synthtopia: You’ve worked as a musician, performance artist, radio producer, and music educator. How much of this is a conscious choice, and how much of this is a necessity to survive as an avant-garde musician?

Hypnotique: Ha ha! I really don’t see how any man (or woman) can live on avant-garde alone. I suspect music will always be a loss making activity for me, despite my music degree and abilities to multi-task. I have a day job like everyone else. Anyone who doesn’t is obviously lying, signing on, or sleeping with the head of A&R at EMI (who, ironically, used to manage Dawn of the Replicants!).

At the moment I’m ghost writing a book on golf, amongst other stimulating tasks. It’s a depressing state of affairs that in a cynical and selfish country like England, music talent is so rich and considered ‘two a penny’ that promoters short change artists, and we still have this ‘pay to play’ mentality. If you ask for money – you are perceived as not being a ‘true artist’ and exploitative – which is ridiculous, as you wouldn’t ask anyone to work for free just because they enjoyed their job, otherwise society would collapse.

I’m playing more illegal type venues run by enthusiasts rather than proper venues nowadays. I vote a return to Communist Russia attitudes – then you could audition to be a state musician and put on a state salary to do your thing. Nowadays, you have to pretend to be a humped black Jewish lesbian to try and get an arts council grant, which is the nearest equivalent. It seems you cannot hope to make money from CD sales, or so they say, nor gigs – but remember if you do if for the love – someone is making money out of your love from some angle.

I should say to music enthusiasts – don’t be apathetic, or good music will die. Buy CDs, don’t just download the MP3s, but buy them directly from the artist if you can – and don’t make excuses, go to that gig you heard about – bring £10, don’t spend it all on beer, and buy a CD. If you have no money, support how you can – tell the artist you appreciate them, send them a nice email. Because if you don’t, another artist like myself will just go home dejected, lonely, poor, and ready to throw in the towel.

Synthtopia: Most of your work seems to revolve around the theremin. What turned you onto the theremin?

Hypnotique: I studied electro-acoustic music composition as part of my music degree, in 1999 I decided to write an essay called ‘Space Age Music and the Moog’ – which has become the basis of most of my work to date. Then I researched electronic music pioneers and the inventions of electronic music since the turn of the 20th century, and also how the lounge music tradition had been revived. Amazing, strange and unbelievable things like the 200 tonne sand, cement and water constructed Dynamaphone, the first electronic instrument, the trautonium, the only instrument to produce sub-harmonics, and of course the world’s only space-controlled musical instrument – the theremin.

After Steven Martin’s documentary theremin, an electronic odyssey, there was a lot of interest and a revival in the instrument. I saw the Flaming lips and Cornelius play one, and I soon became hooked, and asked my brother to try to make one as a present. My theremin heroine is the great Russian virtuoso, Clara Rockmore. She has such poise, such talent, and such style. And she was the original primadonna! Once I heard her album The art of the theremin, playing great Russian classical music, it is so beautiful, poignant and emotive – far more so than a violin – and that made me try harder to play theremin seriously.

Synthtopia: You play a lot of instruments, including keyboards, alto sax and clarinet. How does the challenge of performing with the theremin compare to other instruments that you play? Do things like the temperature or humidity affect your performance? Do you think playing the theremin offers unique expressive possibilities?

Hypnotique: Absolutely. The theremin has been described by its players as ‘the everest of musical instruments’. Although in the 1920’s the RCA corporation marketed the instrument as something ‘anyone who can hum, whistle or sing’ can play, it is probably the hardest instrument in the world to play! There is no pitch reference points, you can only guess where the pitch is in the air, and everything affects the pitch arc – temperature of the room, stability of instrument, object within the playing sphere (around 2ft around the antennae of instrument), even your body weight and density of your hand. It’s also a temperamental beast (even the modern instruments) – so you have to be nice to it, otherwise it may decide to pick up a bad karma hum from the PA system, refuse to switch on, or blow itself up!

It is incredibly frustrating and hard to master as a precision instrument – I have been playing for 4 years and I’m only still at the foothills of the Himalayas. You must be disciplined to play, and have some kind of prior musical training. Sadly, the estimated drop out of serious theremin technique is 90 – 95%, and most people (notably Goldfrapp, Polyphonic Spree) resort to crappy toy instruments and noisy squeals and swoops – which is a bit ungraceful, as the theremin can be very graceful like a Chinese stringed instrument, or female singer, and this lazy style of playing is why it has such a poor novelty reputation.

hypnotique with kavinaOn my theremin radio show people from all over the world – Russia, Japan, America, Holland – sent in fantastic and highly original recordings of all kinds of intelligent music with the theremin as star. It was truly inspiring. As theremins become cheaper and easier to buy, more players will raise the standard, and my teacher Lydia Kavina (shown in photo with Hypnotique) can demonstrate just how versatile and dexterous the pure theremin sound can be, performing her own contemporary compositions, classical music and even surf-rock. Pure inspiration.

The problem for the theremin is shaking off the shackles of its sci-fi reputation, only then can it become a serious instrument in its own right. I once wrote the London Symphony Orchestra, they wrote me a snooty letter saying they have no need for such instruments. When the young Bob Moog met the great Hollywood movie thereminist Samuel Hoffman and told him about his new idea for making a new instrument called a synthesizer, Hoffman laughed and said it will never catch on. Times will change.

Synthtopia: As “Hypnotique”, you’ve developed quite a persona. Your site describes you as a “mythical space-age enchantress” and a “germanic dominatrix”. How did you come up with Hypnotique as a performing persona? Is Hypnotique an extension of your own personality, or more of a complement?

Hypnotique: An alter-ego is a strange creature, I like having a ‘working name’ as it means I can differentiate it from my other life. Hypnotique is really the name for my band – but there is no one else in it anymore! I won’t form a band now, it’s all about politics and power. I feel it would be arrogant to ask someone else to play my music, and I would require such unusual and exceptionally gifted people to play my music – I would spend a lifetime searching for that supergroup so for now it’s just me. Collaboration is a better option – a meeting on the bridge, which can benefit both parties.

I liked the idea of taking everything that has inspired me to date – gothic lyrics, dark stories, electro-acoustic music, easy listening, pure pop, film soundtracks, Romantic classical music, avant-garde electronic music – and mixing it up into a potent cocktail. You really will hear it all! I aspire to be a timeless sort of performer, classic songs, classic style – and hopefully people will be able to relate to my style in the future and speak to future generations, like Clara Rockmore or Edith Piaf can continue to inspire. There just aren’t enough great female divas – or rather there are many great female musicians, but they never have the success or longevity they deserve.

My alter ego can sometimes frustrate me – I’m really not as much of an ice maiden as her, and I’m really much more fun and less moody. She is often more my temperamental, and depressive side. You probably wouldn’t recognize me in my casual wear in the supermarkets of Tottenham!

Synthtopia: How important do you think it is for a musician working in the electronic or avant-garde to have a unique image?

Hypnotique: I think it counts as a negative, rather than positive element in most aspects of the British music scene. It’s a culture of blandness, that whole anti-performance thing in electronic music. I would stand more chance of success and getting gigs in high places playing wibbly noises with a laptop and theremin whilst wearing grey overalls than trying to do my vocal set. Sony tell us to ‘go create’ by having means to download or copy identikit music, or taking stupid pictures at 50p a go on a mobile phone and send them to your mates. That’s not creation – it’s just part of the whole Blairite Britain of ‘choice’: they want you to cast your vote by Big Brother style text message. No, creativity and uniqueness are not encouraged. It can be a frightening thing to do, tackle the music scene with something not done before. You need to have a lot of courage, and you get a lot of knocks for it. No one should be afraid to be original. Except maybe those fashion student sort of girls who go to parties dressed up in crazy clothes they’ve made our of traffic cones – that is shameful.

Synthtopia: In addition to calling yourself an enchantress, and a dominatrix, you’ve called your performances “highly sensual”. How does sensuality figure into your performances and your appeal as a performer?

Hypnotique poses with her thereminHypnotique: The theremin is a highly sensual instrument – to play is as if to cast a spell. It does feel as well as look very elegant to play.

Some people, mainly men, think the theremin is quite phallic, but I disagree. If by sensual, you mean sexual, I would say my music has sort of dark and seductive undertones, but you have to listen not just to the mood, but very carefully to the words. You must listen very quietly to let the emotion come to you, slowly.

Synthtopia: Men think that the theremin is phallic?!! Is it the antennae? That’s a little odd!

Hypnotique: A man’s thoughts are little, and odd.

Synthtopia: Ouch! Back to your comments on the sensuality of the theremin….theremin performance requires an intensity and focus in the performer and is almost like an abstract dance…is that what you’re referring to?

Hypnotique: Lev Termen (Leon Theremin) invented an instrument called the Terpsitone, which was a giant theremin which you played by dancing through the air. He tried to get many dancers to play it, but none could hold a melody – so the great theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore performed on it. It doesn’t exist now, but I would love to play that instrument; to me, this would be the ultimate expression of the complex gestured movements, the little dances, of the theremin.

It does feel magical, to play in the air with no weight or forces to hold you down, and the magic dust tends to rub off onto the audience. But people must learn to appreciate the instrument not just for its strangeness, but also for the originality and musicality of the performer. I like the way The Man From Uranus (http://www.manfromuranus.com) plays the theremin, using many Mooger-Fooger and other FX to sound like a machine from a Science Fiction film, but not in a cliché way. Although he does not play melodically, it is a very original way to play.

Synthtopia: Do you think that sensuality of it is one of the reasons that the greatest thereminists have been women?

Hypnotique: My three favorite thereminists – Clara Rockmore, Lydia Kavina and Pamelia Kurstin – are all, like myself, petite women, and this is no coincidence. The answer is simple, men cannot multi-task, and playing the theremin is like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, as the movement of the hands is quite dissimilar, compared to most instruments. And men cannot be bothered to be disciplined with such studious tasks. I think the fineness of the instrument suits a small hand and a little arm that can move nimbly. Women also look far more sexy playing the theremin than men!

Synthtopia: For the electronics freaks, what sort of theremin do you play on stage?

Hypnotique: I recently purchased a T-Vox Tour theremin, which is designed by the husband of the great theremin virtuoso Lydia Kavina. It’s a joy to play, with a seven octave range, a very pure electronic tone and a wonderful space age pure white lightweight case. I tend to favor the pure classic style of playing with no FX (which is the best way to practice), but during the set, I sometimes have a more wild number using FX like distortion to sound like a screaming guitar, or an echo chamber effect from a Behringer V-Amp unit. I also put the saxophone through this to give reggae style long delays. For Rhythmicon, we put the theremin through a lot of extreme modulations on the computer.

Before that, I had an Etherwave theremin, the most popular theremin in the world, which is made by Bob Moog. It is the best instrument to have to start to learn precision playing.

Synthtopia: You’ve recently produced several radio shows, including an introduction to the theremin, and profiles of Jean-Jacques Perrey and Bob Moog. How did you get involved in these shows? Can you tell us a little about them?

Synthtopia: Resonance FM is a new art music radio station which started in London in 2002. It has an ‘anything goes’ attitude, and I thought it would be fun to pursue my dreams of being a radio producer.

The first show, Into the Ether: the Music of the Theremin was a showcase of new and old rare theremin recordings from around the world, including old 78’s, bizarre and inappropriate lounge music and recordings sent in from the growing community of theremin players. We interviewed Steve Martin, the acclaimed documentary producer of Theremin: an electronic odyssey. I even produced three plays about famous theremin players with an actor friend, which was great fun, especially ‘the ether disco’, a fictitious comedy about the meeting of great thereminists, past and present. Sort of jokes to appeal to maybe 20 people in the world, but why not be indulgent! This was for the 10th anniversary of the death of Leon Theremin. I knew he was watching us, because I had a big power cut which affected just my street the night before. He knew we were laughing at him recording the play, and he wasn’t amused. And weird sounds kept leaping onto the broadcast when we listened back that weren’t on the original tapes. There was definitely a strange force in the ether for that one!

I have always been a big admirer of Jean-Jacques Perrey and Bob Moog, who I wrote about in my university dissertation, “Space Age Music and the Moog”. I got together with Bruce Woolley, who is a maverick record producer and songwriter who found is fame in the 1980’s writing hits like “video killed the radio star” with Trevor Horn and he had his own band, The Camera Club. He doesn’t like talking about it, but I think it’s really cool, all those quirky and funny songs from the 80’s are really amazing and original, and will come back in fashion, just as the quirky electronic music of Perrey has come full circle. We decided to produce a series of shows to celebrate a 125 years of electricity called ‘Switched On’, by interviewing some of the most important names in electronic music; many, like Gershon Kingsley, are in their 70’s and 80’s, so we may not have long left!

Jean-Jacques was the most inspiring person I met. I went to his flat in Switzerland by a big lake, and we spent two days making a very, very long interview where he talked about his amazing life, working with Jean Cocteau, Edith Piaf, Django Reinhardt and Jacquel Brel in Bohemian Paris, and then his dreamlike time in America composing crazy tape loop music for albums and adverts, where he met many legends – Walt Disney, Hitchcock, Salvador Dali, Serge Gainsbourg – so many stories! His philosophy on life is very important: he believes in the healing power of music, and that electronic music should be a source of joy and fun. He even carried out experiments with dolphins in Canada, whom he believes know the secret of external life (it’s to do with a substance they excrete, apparently), but he won’t tell the world the secret, until all healing is brought to man, and there are no wars. As he is 75, we may not yet get to find out his secret in our time. Jean-Jacques is the most pure and un-cynical person I have ever met in music. Jean-Jacques is a true showman. I saw him play in London recently, and he charmed a huge audience with his funny stories, jokes and music. I’m very proud of the documentary – which also features contributions from Angelo Badalamenti, Air, Stereolab and others.

The Bob Moog documentary is in production but follow a similar format of a face-to-face interview and lots of rare recordings. Bob, too, is a very inspiring and amazing individual who has literally changed the sound of modern music heard in the world today with the invention of the first commercial synthesizer (minimoog). Both Jean-Jacques and Bob do believe that electronic music has a connection with the cosmos, and those strange machines like the synthesizer do have a direct connection with the musician, they are mini-creatures needing love! You just don’t get that connection with a laptop, I don’t think. They are not as advanced as the old analogue equipment. I remember using a Publison (sort of tape delay unit) at university to make tape music – if you turned it on a bit too much it would get very hot, and spin the sound around and around in a terrifying way until you had to switch it off in fear! Crazy device.

We hope to continue the series with the big fish, Wendy Carlos, if we get an opportunity. There’s no money in all this, so it’s another ‘for the love of it’ project we have to try and fit in around the day jobs. When I wrote my dissertation, I didn’t ever believe I would come to meet and be friends with these legends of science and music! I didn’t even know they were still alive when I wrote the paper. It’s amazing when the abstract comes into focus, and I feel honored to have shared in a small part of their life.

Synthtopia: Are your radio shows available online?

Hypnotique: Yes, you can download the theremin one from my web site http://www.hypnotique.net, and ‘Switched On’ Perrey and Moog documentaries from www.switchedonradio.co.uk

Synthtopia: Do you have any recordings coming out?

Hypnotique: A mini CDR by Rhythmicon entitled Feedback Machine in Autumn 2004 on Earthrid Records (www.earthrid.com).

Dawn of the Replicants’ The Extra Room is in the shops now (www.dawnofthereplicants.com).

I’m not sure what to do about my solo record (provisionally titled ‘the hanging gardens’). It’s almost finished recording; it’s a little lo-fi in quality but has songs & instrumental music of which I am exceptionally proud, and I hope people will enjoy it. I’ve not exactly been flooded with offers to help me release it, and I have to go through the nightmare of finding a good distributor who just might give a small shit about it. I’m at that hard stage of deciding whether to make 500 CDs or just make CDRs by hand for the listening several who want one.

Oo it’s a glamourous life in show biz! Anyone who can help, or even offer some moral support, can contact me (below). This is one of the most heart-breaking and depressing decisions I’ve ever had to face in my artistic career, when you realize you are at the very bottom of the food chain. I will be selling a budget price MP3 album via my website. I’m thinking of nice packaging if the CD comes out – textured materials handmade – a bit Laura Ashley, but hopefully it will be very sensual!

Synthtopia: If readers want to find out more about you, or if they need a theremin goddess for a gig, where should they look?

Hypnotique: http://www.hypnotique.net or email [email protected]. Look inside yourself – you too could become the next theremin goddess!

Goodbye Synthtopia…and thanks for the great website and nice questions. You guys rule!

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