We caught up with squareglass, developed from a student project at Goldsmiths by BMus Popular Music graduates Guy Baron, Robin Paul Braum and Aviram Barath, to find out more about their time at Goldsmiths and what they’re currently working on. squareglass is currently featured in the latest edition of Goldlink, the alumni magazine.
squareglass is a collective of South East London-based artists. Guy Baron, Robin Paul Braum and Aviram Barath, who formed squareglass, have also begun to establish their careers as individual artists: Semi Precious, a sample-driven musical act, released his self-titled debut in September 2014; electronic producer and singer Ballerino uses technology to slip into new roles and personas released his debut EP Amateurs last November; and electronic producer Bunki, who generates all elements of each track through the processing of a single loop – he released his self-titled debut EP last January.
What was your experience of being at Goldsmiths? There’s something quite communal about the Goldsmiths experience. You get to know and work with people from different backgrounds and you gradually become part of a small community that feels like a home-away-from-home. For us it is was a very immersive experience… studying, living in Southeast London and the people with whom we hung out and made music with were all part of same the ‘bundle’.
What brought all of you together? Each of our solo projects has evolved as part of and during our studies at Goldsmiths. This was a process of establishing our identities as artists and realising what are our interests are as individuals. At the same time, it was important for us to maintain some kind of mutual discussion and to surround ourselves with people from whom we could get feedback on our work. So establishing squareglass was quite an “organic” move – something we felt would empower us creatively and practically and would enable us to further establish our careers as individual artists.
What inspired you to create squareglass? The name comes from an installation we created together during our third year. Essentially this was a MIDI controller made out of four squared, glass plates, which enabled us to manipulate and create different frequency “mixes” of a looped recording by moving the plates around. This project reflected some of the ideas we were (and still are) interested in, in terms of challenging common conventions of composition and arranging. Although we don’t do a lot of installation-based projects these days, this project triggered the formation of squareglass.
Are there any particular experiences or events that characterised your time here as a group? The final degree performances were quite an important step for us as they were, in many respects, the opening shots for each of our individual projects. It was also around that time when we started playing in each other’s live bands. This taught us quite a bit about the dynamic of working together as a group.
How do you think your studies have impacted your work now? Our studies enabled us to better define our practice and the things that we’re interested in exploring. It’s good to experiment and get a bit lost sometimes but it was also good to be able to frame our work within a slightly broader context. This is something we think we’ve improved at quite a bit throughout our studies. It’s also a key skill for us since we’re essentially a self-managed label and have to pitch our own work.
What is your greatest achievement so far? We’re proud of the label compilation we’ve put out last April called Transparencies, which included previously unreleased tracks by our acts as well as some tracks by guest acts. We also take pride in our live events – we put quite a lot of effort into creating unique live experiences for our audience and try to think of new and original ways to translate our recorded music into live shows.
What are you currently working on now? We have quite a busy schedule of releases next year, including some larger-scaled releases.
squareglass just celebrated their one year anniversary – you can find out more on their website.