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INTERVIEW: Nick Abrahams
Luke Turner , June 27th, 2014 10:20

Artist discusses new single and work showing at Horse Hospital exhibition Lions And Tigers And Bears in July

Artist and filmmaker Nick Abrahams pops up in all sorts of unusual places, making music videos, collaborating with Jeremy Deller on excellent films like The Bruce Lacey Experience and Depeche Mode fan doc The Posters Came From The Walls, winning the British Council Short Film prize for Ekki Mukk - things like that. Tonight sees the opening of a new exhibition of Abrahams' work called Lions And Tigers And Bears at the Horse Hospital which, we are told, "refers to the fear of the forest that Dorothy feels in The Wizard Of Oz, as well as a way our imagination plays an active part in our relationship to nature." The exhibition features recordings of a snail eating lettuce, a fox sleeping, and a tree - "The sounds evoke mysterious worlds – the tree is the Martyrs tree in Tolpuddle, under whose branches the first trade union in England met in 1834, to fight for better pay and working conditions… the snail is heard eating, amplified to a level which we can hear and sounding something like a chainsaw – what else would we hear if we could listen closely enough ? And a sleeping fox…. what does a fox dream about ?" There's also a recording of Shirley Collins reading a poem by Abrahams, and the duration of the exhibition will see various live performances, readings and so on - information to be found here, and the recording of a snail eating a lettuce is coming out on Lo Recordings, info here. We dropped Abrahams a line to find out more about this unusual project.

Can you tell us about how on earth you came to be releasing this record?

Nick Abrahams: The single is a continuation and extension of the short film Ekki Mukk I made in collaboration with Sigur Ros. It takes some ideas I was playing with there and extends them sonically. its an aid to set the imagination going. Part of my adolescence was made up of exploring the possibilities of the world through the music I bought in Rough Trade and other stores, so I thought it entirely in keeping with this romantic view of the world to release a 7" single - and luckily my friends at Lo Recordings agreed.

Where did you find the snail? Was it easy to train?

NA: The snail was easily found in my back garden and, as any gardener will tell you, snails are a royal pain in the arse as they eat many favourite flowers. But there is also something very marvellous about this creature that carries its home on its back. I was reading today about further developments at Donald Trump's Scottish golf course being blocked as it might effect the habitat of the Vertigo Angustior snail... Hasta la Victoria Siempre, comrade snails! The snail was a relatively helpful fellow, and with the help of Jens Rosenlund Petersen, we recorded it eating a piece of lettuce. I can assure you this recording is 100% genuine. And a tiny bit scary. Whereas the fox we recorded, who is a lovely fox called Miss Snooks, and who lives near Brighton in her own flat - i am not making this up - we had to go back to a few times and I think we ended up leaving recording equipment by her favorite chair for around days overall to get the few minutes of sound you hear on the record.

snail, eating - from 'Lions and Tigers and Bears' from nicholas abrahams on Vimeo.

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