Thursday, 6 August 2015

An interview with Svan Darc

Some of you might have seen me mention Dan Svarc on here before and if you’re local or into some pretty niche stuff you’ll have heard of his magickal alter ego Svan Darc. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with him making costuming bits for his stage shows, photographing him and making colour your own art for his recent communal e.p, I already love him like a brother and adore his music but it introduced me to what else he had going on, something I reckon you lot are going to want to know about, it’s interesting stuff, stuff that I’ve not seen before and Lincoln definitely hasn’t experienced. I've not met anyone who’s brain works the way Dans does and I’m so excited he’s moving into visual art and craft too.

Dan Svarc, Svan Darc

So Dan, Andrew W Kelele is probably your most easily graspable project, what made you want to pretty much become Andrew W K for a bit?

It was just something I said as a joke after people were making fun of me  for my interest in his party philosophy, but the idea of doing that, as a live show, on an immediately accessible instrument such as the ukulele became more and more feasible and it was like you know what, lets run with this. After trawling the internet for ukulele tabs and finding none (because why would there be,) I took it upon myself to work out some new arrangements of his hits for a solo performance. I can still remember most of the arrangements, if I do another I’ll get some ukulele lessons up online and we can all party together.

Promotional flier for Andrew W Klele and friends playing live for General practice, artwork by me.

Could you tell us a bit about the purge e.p? what kind of things inspired you? what kind of themes were you playing with? any kind of story or narrative?

Purge was written in the midst of fall out from working and commuting in a call centre environment and even though I’d left to pursue my own business and my own creative endeavors the isolation and mental illness you typically get dealing with those environments stuck with me.  The idea stemmed from a need to remove that from myself, a kind of cleansing ritual, removing sickness through sickness. Because of that, the narrative is more of an abstract, but the story is of existing as a non-participatory organism, present in life without living it, the loss of control inherent within that and the journey towards awareness of self.

Svan Darc performing and live mixing the Purge and "Penny A Purge projects at X-church X-24 festival, photography by Fenia Kotsopoulou

Aside from a few sketches the cover for purge was the first bit of visual art I’d seen from you, what sparked you to go more down the visual route? 

I wanted to release it and I just figured I’d have a bash really. I’d kept seeing reoccurring images in my dreams and I knew I wanted something like that so the themes were already there, all that remained was the execution. I like working visually. I’m teaching myself all the time.

Cover for Purge E.P by Svan Darc

As well as photography you've started making glitch art, what is it and what's your process for making it?

The term glitch art is itself a wide umbrella of media and process. I read a few tutorials (google is your best friend), started importing uncompressed images into software they shouldn't go, like Audacity which is predominantly used as an sound editor and then re-exporting back out into an image file. Sometimes I'll glitch using a hex-editor by adding in values that corrupt the way the files read, it's a bit hit and miss but sometimes comes out with great results.

I've used the sound of the raw data of images in my own live performance since, taking that sound through the same process in audio production software and that seems to yield distinctive results.  

Bent selfie by Svan Darc, the sounds from the image were processed in his piece "THEY BENT MY FACE"

The Penny a purge e.p was a fantastic idea, what made you want to make it communal and multimedia?

Purge was deliberately a very open concept and I still find that some people relate to it in a very different way to myself, the idea was to highlight that inclusivity. It always was supposed to be for everyone. I don’t envision a world where the separation between musician or artist (visual or otherwise) has to exist within a binary. I believe people have the right to make what they want to make and see themselves how they want to see themselves. It’s an ongoing project and the individual files that I used to make the EP are still available online via mediafire and the Penny A Purge facebook group.

Penny a purge album cover, a collaboration between Svan Darc and myself

Any advice for artists and musicians putting on communal projects?

Be patient and cultivate freedom.

How are you finding the art scene as opposed to the local music scene? Is there much difference? anything that's helped you feel more at home there?

I’ve received a tremendous amount of advice and support from Lincoln based artists General Practice, Over+Out and of course  G Â S T.

The fundamental difference between art and music seems to be approach, but I wouldn’t consider that universal in the least. Everyone I know has been really supportive, even if they haven’t entirely understood where I’m coming from or think some of my ideas have been dumb.  It’s not just about me though, it’s bigger than that, it’s about having an extended network where we work as a collaborative community generating content without getting to bogged down on details like is it a music piece or is it an art piece. I’ll leave that to people that want to work in marketing.

"Purge 8" by Svan Darc available on Bandcamp

I’m not even going to pose this one as a question, tell everyone about your new project, I love it so much, they need to know.

I’m going to be exhibiting some digital artworks that I made for “Penny A Purge”  in association with glitch artist Dec Ackroyd.  All of the works are going to be designed to fit onto a stack of floppy disks and as a result will only be able to be viewed on a computer screen which forms part of the installation itself as we seek to address questions regarding the nature of the way data is collected and viewed around us, using the tactile and nostalgic (for me at least) of the insertion and ejection of physical media. If anyone would like to also exhibit feel free to contact myself, date and venue is currently to be confirmed but I’m hoping for mid September. Because of storage limitations any files sent in need to be less than 1.44 MB to be considered eligible, other than that the more the merrier! 

Here are his two E.P's available on his band camp, you can find more of his unreleased music and   sound art on his soundcloud (including an awesome Daphne and Celeste cover and remix of his dad,  Karl Svarcs poetry written for him, also by the name Purge.)You can find Svan Darc on Facebook and Twitter.

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