From Iceland — Holly Herndon On The Excitement Of Live Performance

Holly Herndon On The Excitement Of Live Performance

Published February 4, 2016

Holly Herndon On The Excitement Of Live Performance
Photo by

Ahead of the forthcoming Sónar Reykjavík festival, we recently spoke at length to rising electronica star Holly Herndon, who’ll be performing on Friday 19th at SonarHall.

You can read our particularly edifying interview in our next issue, out on Friday, which features an eight-page Sónar special. In the outtake below, Holly explains her artistic approach to stagecraft, and her attitude to keeping performance fresh.

“The live show has a couple of different forms,” said Holly. “Sometimes we’re a trio and sometimes we’re a duo. At Sónar we’ll be a duo. I’m performing he music with my laptop. I have some synthesis and vocal processing going on, and Matt Dryhurst is doing the projection on stage with me. We have this really cool programme from Akihiko Taniguchi who created a virtual world that we can populate with our own objects and backgrounds. Matt does some somewhat site-specific work—he’s usually responding to what’s been in the news or the conversations he’s been having, and he’ll improvise and text with the audience.”

“We’ve been doing a lot of electronic music festivals,” Holly continued, “and there’s a tendency towards seamless perfection in the light and video that removes the human ability for error. It can create something spectacular, but that’s also a bit… anti-bacterial, maybe, or stale. So we try to make it as human as possible, and share that moment in the concert hall with people. It’s hard to tour and be excited about a show every time, but being able to share time with people on the stage is a wonderful privilege that I should always be excited about. We build these things in so we’re reminded of that.”

Explore Holly’s world further at

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!