Actor, musician, composer and studio engineer Christo Squier says he became fascinated with sound after moving to London to study music performance, writes Michael Holland...
Christo was encouraged to pursue his interest in the performing arts by his understanding parents, so after studying he ‘continued to explore the worlds of theatre, music and avant-garde performance’ while working at a rehearsal and recording studio.
These days, he claims, ‘Lots of my energy goes into creating material for 9 piece art-brass band Perhaps Contraption’, but his musical career – Pre-Covid – saw him touring Europe and performing in ‘sold out houses every night in really amazing venues.’
Another highlight for Christo was Perhaps Contraption winning the Haizetara international street music competition in Spain in 2015. ‘We had no idea we would win so it was a huge shock and honour,’ he remembers.
And there was also playing at Glastonbury, although this didn’t leave many joyful memories: ‘One year we performed 10 times throughout the festival; far too many shows to pack into 3 days! It was a really wet one, and it was just far too exhausting!’ Christo recalls that trudging around the festival quagmire left an overall memory of ‘mud and drudgery!’
I wanted to know what it is that Christo loves about his work.
‘I like to surprise audiences, to try to instil a sense of wonder,’ he begins. ‘The social aspect of working in the arts is very important to me, you get to connect with a huge variety of people.’
How has Covid-19 impacted on your profession?
‘All of my performance work has disappeared overnight. It’s completely destroyed the way the band survived… This, combined with visa restrictions for touring Europe caused by Brexit has completely destroyed what we do. It’s so depressing.’
I could feel Christo’s depression. ‘We’re trying to be as creative as possible and create new work for digital platforms; thankfully we have a bit of funding for a couple of things, but apart from that it’s looking very bleak indeed.’
How have you got through this crisis?
‘I’ve just tried to keep creating and keep practicing. I’ve mainly been working on finishing our latest album, Nearly Human, so it’s allowed me to channel lots of energy into that and some new compositions.
If I just stop making things that’s when it gets more difficult for me. I have to find ways to stay nimble and enthusiastic with my work – Getting outside and in the sun every day is also really important for my mental health.’
How has your life changed as we try to get back to normal?
‘I’ve definitely got better at home-schooling my 10-year-old son!’
Anything you’d like to add?
I have a new single coming out on February 5th, it’s a collaboration with Fiona Fey and it’s a cover of an Ivor Cutler song called ‘In the Chestnut Tree’. I’m very proud of it! It will be on all major platforms.’
‘Perhaps Contraption will also be streaming some new material Thursday 25th Feb as part of an online concert.’ Tickets from £5 https://budsspawn.nutickets.com/54971559
Check out the world of Christo Squier and Perhaps Contraption with these links:
Images: TAYO LEE NELSON