By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[Photo provided by Salva Bryn via Instagram]
The 2021 Battle of the Bands took place in Athens at the Union on Nov. 11 and it was a night to remember. An array of wonderful acts came to compete, not the least of which being Salva Bryn, an experimental electronic artist who put on the most unique and energetic show of the night. I was able to sit down with her and ask a few questions about her music, the show, and her plans for the future.
Who are you?
Salva: I’m Salva Bryn, I live right outside of Athens off-grid, and I like to make electronic music and live simple.
How would you describe the music you make?
Salva: My music is just me trying to express myself, heal trauma, do musical therapy, and express all those emotions: anger, happiness, sadness, you know. Any instrument I may use to do that is fine, but that is what it’s all about.
How do you start the creative process for music so textural and formless?
Salva: Specifically for that kind of music, I just set up my samples and my keyboard voices, and just mess around. I like to record almost everything I do to be able to listen back to it. It all comes from learning to improv on the piano, really.
What attracted you to the styles of music you play?
Salva: I grew up on trip-hop, stuff like Gorillaz who do a lot of different genres, and System of a Down which is actually a huge influence, because they can get really beautiful and then go as hard as you’ve heard in your life. I didn’t have a good childhood so my ears were always in the headphones, you know? I went through a metalcore phase, screamo, I listened to harsh noise for a while, but Joanna Newsom is actually one of my favorites of all time. I just love music.
I do want to talk about your 2016 album Hurry Up and Wait, as there’s this strong motif of water sounds throughout the track list. What is the connection you have to the water in that release?
Salva: I was traveling a lot, and I hitchhiked through Europe and part of it was recorded on my iPhone on GarageBand. After that, I moved to Oregon and started recording the rest of it, and I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. On top of that, the first music we ever hear is our mother’s voice in the womb mixed with these amniotic water sounds. I love water sounds in music because there is this rhythm that nature has, like the tides, and when I’m improvising piano, I’m thinking about a tide coming in and out.
What kind of a headspace are you in on stage in front of all that musical equipment?
Salva: I don’t really look at the crowd – I forget they exist a lot of the time. The day before a show, I get a little nervous, like “I’m actually gonna play in front of people” but I feel like I do better in front of people because I don’t really like bothering my neighbors with loud noises, and at shows I can play loud. The headspace is “this is it, I can be loud and nobody is going to tell me to stop.”
How do you keep the energy up on stage when playing long sets?
Salva: I’ll tell you, my neck is really going to hurt after this. The energy I show is in the hope that it gets passed on to the crowd, that they feel my energy.
What’s next for you?
Salva: I’m just going to keep making music and promote it for the first time in my life. I have an album coming out at the end of the month called “Breakup Infinity Part One”, I have an ambient album coming out, a piano album coming out, an electro-punk album coming out – stay tuned. These are my diaries; they are experiences I have that I am able to put out into the world.