Behind the Scenes with Zoe Irvine, co-producer of Hairwaves

What inspired the Hairwaves project?

Mark and I had just finished a collaborative piece and we were looking for the next thing to do. This coincided with a particularly bad haircut I received at the hands of a Dundee hairdresser and so it was decided we'd use that as a starting point. Mark, who had less of a personal bug-bare with barbers, quickly broadened the scope to include pet grooming, wig making, and the paranormal.

Why is Hairwaves particularly well-suited for the audio medium?

As with many people who work with sound, Mark and I are aware of the medium's visual power in the mind's eye. There are a lot of descriptive elements in Hairwaves and many experiences others will share. With the recordings we made, we wanted to enjoy both the more abstract sonic elements and the stories people told us. Also, we launched the CD, Hairwaves: A Cautionary Tale , with Hairwaves FM -- a day-long FM transmission in Glasgow, Scotland where many of the hairdressers who'd taken part in the creation of the CD are. For this, we made an open call for any hair and hairdressing themed audio works. We received a really good response to the call and were able to programme an exciting broadcast which exclusively featured hair-themed songs and audio works.** Could you tell me a little more about your production process and the collaborative nature of the project? Have you guys worked together before? We began by making field recordings and collecting stories and then working with the material on the computer. For one reason or another, this took a long time. In fact, it was an ongoing project, with long periods on the back burner over about a five-year period. During this time, we both had our ears open for hairdressing stories and incidents and continually added to our pool of source material

In the autumn of 2006, Mark and I got together in his Glasgow studio and worked intensively on creating the CD. We used a combination of programs for both Mac and PC, but one of the most exciting processes was using a programme for live performance and linking our computers via midi so we could sample and improvise with the material, each on our own computer, but perfectly in synch. We also worked individually, side by side, plugged into headphones, with lots of "listen to this!" moments.