Emmanuel Whiteberg: Performer: vocals, vocal treatments and composition
on Singing... Whatever anyone else thinks about my singing voice is irrelevant, the key thing is, I like my voice and I very much enjoy making a noise with it. I went through a phase where I took singing lessons with Margaret Lobo, a Canadian opera singer and tutor, and although I learned a lot from her, I found that the more I improved technically, the less integrity I had in my voice. I strongly feel that integrity is more important than technique, so in a way the exercise was a mistake. I know that my voice benefited; but once trained, you can't go back.
on Music... What we do is only really music by default, since most of it sounds like tunes and rhythms of some kind. However, we believe that it is more correct to say that we are making art; this is an important distinction for us. Admittedly, the notion will sound pretentious to some, but we stand by it.
on Musicians... I am an artist first and foremost, a sonic artist if you like, so I don't consider myself to be a musician, even though I write perform and make music. I think of musicians as people who happen to pick up a certain musical instrument one day and then proceed to spend the rest of their lives attempting to perfect it, by playing a load of old things things that have already been written. But, I realise that some ability to play is necessary. I had constant classical guitar tuition at school, from the age of about seven. I moved on to piano in my late teens and then on to electric organ and keyboards.
on Writing music... I don't really write music, I make a variety of juxtaposed sounds and notes which I arrange to create sonic composition. Most of Whiteberg's output is created through concept induced improvisation. I think that people who take on-board too much musical theory could never work in this way, because they are swayed too much by conventional scales; they can never truly create.
on Synthesizers... They form an integral aspect of our work; people who criticise the synthesiser tend to work with an extremely limited palettes themselves, and so only do so out of jealousy. We use a wide array of both acoustic instruments / objects and electronic ones. We also use samples, and these tend to blur the distinction between acoustic and synthetic. In any case, most music is digitised these days before anyone gets to hear it.
on Success... Whiteberg are not successful. We have to live with the fact that, to the general record buying public, we are as obscure as a Snowshoe Hare in Antarctica. But, we like to think of our obscurity as necessary camouflage against the hounds of mediocrity.
on Whiteberg.. We are an art project that just keeps on evolving; personally, it is my lifework.
on Goth... Not many acts would choose to classify themselves as Goth; even seemingly classic Goths, such as Andrew Eldritch and Robert Smith, seem to shun the term. Whiteberg are not Goth in the truest sense, but we do not mind embracing the genre. We are not so foolish as to be embarrassed by mere classification.
on Life... I think that we choose the type of life that we get, ultimately. It is important to understand the psychology of this process, in order to get the most out of it. Most people, including myself, are only limited by their own mental blocks.
on Age... People are so hung up by the concept of age, like you can't be seen doing things after a certain age, etc. But that can only be if you worry about what other people think all the time. Real freedom is knowing that what other people think is unimportant.
on Food... One should eat food that is fresh. and environmentally sustainable.
Born/year ... Hong Kong 1970
Grew up where ... London/Yorkshire/Hong Kong
Current residence ... Mauritius
Education ... HKU/Cooper Union
Religion ... Vedic
Politics ... Anarchy
Pet you have, or would have if you could... I'm happy with insects
Star sign... Gemini
Alternative career possibilities ... Artist/Architect
If I have time to myself ... Mess about
You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... Massage
You may not know it but I'm very bad at ... Doing things that I hate
Movie heaven ... Daria and Asia Argento
Comfort eating ... Mash potatoes
I wish I'd never worn ... Those types of trousers were the pockets aren't deep enough and you end up loosing stuff
When I was a child I wanted to be ... I had no ambitions to be anything as a child
It's not fashionable but I like .... Just about everything I like
My favourite building ... Probably still China Bank, I love Hong Kong
The shop I can't walk past ... I walk past them all
My favourite work of art ... Black Painting
Soundtrack to my life ... Silence