The Hush Delirium project is the brainchild of abstract artist Simon Welford, who is based in the UK. The concept is simple - Simon began thinking about using atmospheric instrumental music as the inspiration for creating various pieces of art. After careful consideration, he decided to enlist ex-Ride frontman Mark Gardener and ex-Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim to compose these atmospheric tunes. Who better for the job, right?
Upon receiving submissions from the musicians, Simon works away creating new art inspired by the music until a complete art / music concept is formed. The music is brand new to prevent any preconceptions before listening. On completion, the aim is to produce a gallery exhibition of artwork inspired by the music as part of the Hush Delirium project. The exhibition will not only involve traditional art on gallery walls but also large screen projections played alongside the music to give the exhibition visitor the full experience of how the pieces of work come together.
The Hush Delirium project is now a full fledged ongoing work-in-progress that is generating quite a bit of global interest. Additional musicians are continually being recruited to help push the project forward. The project has enjoyed an ever-growing roster of amazing musicians; in fact, many of the participating musicians are friends of ours, which is so wonderful to see.
Make sure to follow the Hush Delirium blog and their Facebook page to stay up to speed on the latest additions. Thus far, the response to the project has been amazing. Galleries in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia have all shown major interest. This is exciting stuff!
When The Sun Hits is understandably thrilled to present to you the following interview with Simon Welford, artist and founder of the Hush Delirium project.
How and when did you come up with the idea for Hush Delirium? Is there a story behind the project's name?
I have wanted to come up with a project that combines art and music for some time. They have both been massive parts of my life, so combining the two seemed like the natural thing to do. I did an exhibition back in November of last year where we had music legend Alan McGee as the guest DJ for the preview night. It was great how we had a soundtrack to the evening as people walked around looking at the art on the walls and I thought there and then that I might be on to something. Mark (Gardener) was also in attendance that night, but I didn't approach him until a few months later about the idea. I cam up with a name in the same way as a lot of bands think of names, I guess. Hours of racking my brain and trying to think of something cool. I wanted two words that almost contradict each other; two opposites almost. After much deliberation I came up with "Hush Delirium". I suggested it to Mark and he thought it sounded great, so that was that.
Can you tell us what is currently going on with Hush Delirium and what you've got forthcoming in the near future for the project?
I pretty much have all the music now in place for the project. We have some really cool artist involved and also promises of involvement from some musicians who are currently in the studio or on tours. At the moment I am working on the artwork to go with the tracks that have been submitted, as well as starting to look at some venues to hold out first exhibitions. The exhibitions we are hoping to put on will involve the music and the art but also hopefully some of the musicians that have submitted music will be playing, too. The best thing for anyone interested in Hush Delirium to do is check out our Twitter, Facebook, and blog, as things change on a weekly basis.
Mark Gardener (Ride) and Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses) are two high profile names involved with Hush Delirium. How did you go about involving them in the project and what sorts of contributions have they made thus far?
As mentioned earlier, Mark was involved from the start. Ride are one of my favourite bands and I respect Mark as a songwriter and guitarist hugely. I was delighted when Mark liked the idea of Hush Delirium and supplied some music for me to work on. He has been really helpful with all sorts of things regarding the project and with his knowledge of the music business, his help and support is invaluable. In regard to Aziz, I have heard him play live over the years with Ian Brown and always thought he was an amazing guitarist. When I was putting the project together I had a wish list of great musicians and Aziz was on the list. His fusion of Eastern and Western music styles give the project something different and he is a fantastic musician and a really nice person. The piece of music Aziz has contributed is really beautiful and is played on a Sarod. It is very great and unique.
Do you consider Hush Delirium to be a project with a timeline and endpoint, or is it something you want to keep ongoing indefinitely?
I have always said from the start that Hush Delirium can run and run. As long as we have musicians who want to supply music to the project then we can make this project last as long as we like and go in any direction we want. Mark and I have big ideas for the project and really want to make it a success so hopefully with hard work and commitment we will achieve our goals.
What is your personal connection with shoegaze and dream pop music? How does it influence your artwork? Furthermore, WHY do you think it influences your artwork?
I was heavily into Ride when I was younger. I had Going Blank Again more or less on repeat for about six months when it was released. I always liked other bands that were in that scene such as MBV and have always loved the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain. Some years later I got involved working directly with Ride, working on designing artwork for posters and prints. That was brilliant, as producing work for one of my favourite bands was a dream come true. In regard to influence, I always have music on when I paint or create any sort of art work. It's not always shoegaze type music but I have found in the past that I am more creative when listening to that sort of sound. I think it's the layers and the sonic sounds that open up something in my brain that help me create more freely. When I paint I don't usually set out with a particular idea in mind, so I think listening to shoegaze/dream pop certainly lives inspiration and opens up the mind.
Ride. Leave Them All Behind. Going Blank Again.
What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop artists, any favourites?
Having had over 50 bands submit music for consideration for Hush Delirium, I have certainly heard a lot of music lately. Most of it was really great. American bands seem to have the edge at the moment, from what I have heard. They seem to have a real scene over there, where as in the UL it just seems to be the odd band. I really enjoyed listening to SPC ECO, Chatham Rise, Bliss City East and Her Vanished Grace.
How do you choose the bands that are involved with Hush Delirium?
Originally I just approached people who I had heard and wanted to work with, such as Mark and Aziz. The influx of bands approaching us is all down to a guy called Vince Farina, who runs Ambient Airwaves, which is a great Facebook and Twitter collective of likeminded music fans. Vince bought some of my Ride artwork a few years back and we have kept in touch since. When I spoke to him about the project, he said he would put word out to bands and musicians he knew. I didn't realise when he said this that he pretty much knew every band on the planet. Within a week or two, I was inundated from tracks from bands from all over. The only real requirement for music submitted for consideration was that it needed to be around six minutes long and be predominantly instrumental with maybe minimal vocals. We don't discriminate against any style of music, but it just so happens that a lot of the music has been shoegaze/dream pop in style. I think this has been most suitable, as it is so atmospheric and it is easy for me to relate to in regard to using it to create art. In regard to choosing the bands, it was just a matter of listening to each band's music and picking out the best songs. I often drew up a shortlist of who I liked and then got a second opinion. Fortunately, my wife Lynn is a big music fan, so she was very helpful as a second pair of ears. After listening to twenty or so songs in an evening it can all get a bit blurred after a while.
How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it's positive at all? Do you see any connections between current trends in music and current trends in other types of art?
Ride. Crown of Creation. Carnival of Light.
Ride. Crown of Creation. Carnival of Light.
Mark would probably have a better view on the state of the music business, as he is still involved. From what I can see from my perspective, it looks like massive changes are happening in regard to labels and how and why they sign bands. It appears most bands make their money now from touring and merchandise rather than signing big deals to labels and releasing traditional albums. Things sound pretty tough for bands these days, unless you are in the U2/Coldplay level of things.
Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
I love vinyl. I still have a stack of it. Ride's Carnival of Light on gatefold vinyl with the front cover photograph by Gered Mankowitz is a work of art on its own. Along with the Stone Roses' 12" singles with the John Squire artwork, Ride's front covers on vinyl were my favourite sleeves. When you bought a 12" single, it felt like you were getting a piece of artwork and a record all in one. I understand the functionality of downloads but it doesn't compare to going to your local record store on a Saturday morning and thumbing through the vinyl looking for something to take home and play.
What artists have most influenced your work?
I guess in regard to art, I don't feel like anyone has influenced my style particularly. I appreciate the likes of LS Lowry, Dali, and Warhol but I don't think any particular artist stands out. I recently watched 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' and I think the artist "Mr. Brainwash" is insane. I would recommend any budding artist watch that movie, as it certainly makes you think.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist? Your past projects, your vision, etc?
I first started off as a painter and trying to sell my work like most people, online through websites. I got a lucky break when Ride's management spotted some work I had done and asked me to design a range of posters for the band to sell to their fans. The posters sold really well, all over the world, and people who bought these then bought more of my work. After designing more work for Ride, I designed logos, artwork, posters and prints for other musicians too, alongside creating my own artwork. I contributed some artwork to be used in the Creation Records move 'Upside Down' (check my name in the credits) and also started to put on some exhibitions. In late 2010 and early 2011, I put on some shows in Sydney, Australia and then in November of last year I held a two week exhibition in Leicaster. I am now represented by a gallery in the UK, which is great. My time for the moment is predominantly taken up with Hush Delirium and the long term vision for making that a major success. I get approached all the time by bands wanting me to design artwork for them, but at the moment I am having to pick and choose my projects a little, as time is short.
Who would be some of your dream bands/artists to join up with the Hush Delirium project?
Wow, that's a tough question. I think the number one would be Billy Corgan. I have loved Smashing Pumpkins for as long as I can remember and I think he would be amazing to work with. Kevin Shields from MBV would be another, as I think some of the music he makes would be perfect. With some of the musicians already involved, we have the beginnings of a guitar lovers super group, so if we got everyone together on would stage it would be really special.
What is your ultimate goal for Hugh Delirium?
Well, I approached Anton Newcombe from BJM and his response was "I want to be a part of something that rules" ha ha. Everyone involved wants to push Hush Delirium to the limit and make it as successful as we can possibly get. We have some great people involved, helping us with booking exhibitions and PR so hopefully we can bring our art and music around the world and meet many great people along the way.
What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
I don't really have any particular philosophy, to be honest. I have recently been reading up on Aleister Crowley and his 'Book of Law'. I understand his principles and his 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law' which sounds like a pretty cool way of living and makes a lot of sense. We were both born in the same town, too, so perhaps there is something in that? I won't be taking up devil worshiping any time soon, though.