by Gilda Davidian

I met Faith Coloccia at a vegan Friendsgiving (Friends + Thanksgiving = Friendsgiving) feast out in the desert many years ago. Faith studied art at Otis and went on to play in the experimental sound band, Everylovely Lightningheart. She currently lives on Vashon Island where she  just finished a full length record (as the band Mamiffer) called We Speak in The Dark with her husband Aaron Turner. She is an amazing person, musician, artist, and friend. Any time you hang out with her, anything is possible and conversations with her feel like hands clasping.

Hi Faith! So how did you start making music? I started to create compositions on piano in high school. I would come home from school and try to play Swans and Three Mile Pilot songs on piano. I would usually play just the vocal melodies.  A friend who was classically trained showed me how to play a Beethoven song, and from practicing that I eventually taught myself how to play chords and to use different timings.  Then I went to college and focused on visual art and didn’t play piano again until my last year of school.  I started to do performance and sound work with a collaborator named Christopher Badger. We formed a musical collective called Everlovely Lightningheart. Daily practice and sound exploration led me to start experimenting with solo piano compositions and eventually creating my own band Mamiffer.

How would you say that being a visual person plays a part in the music that you make? Being a visual person influences the music I make in many ways. In photography, I feel like I am always seeking an answer. The interaction of location, light and subject create a hint of something that is like an answer, or a feeling, like a continual process of capturing, that helps to create something like a memory. There is a feeling of colors, or oddness, or evenness with how light makes me feel, but most specifically with sound and composition.

In music, I feel like I am also searching for an answer using sound and vibration like photography uses light.  Memory plays a big part in my compositions because I do not write out the notes, but have them memorized in a visual way in my mind forever until they are recorded onto tape.

A large part of how I write is based on a feeling I have between my ears and eyes (like a 3rd eye?). It is something like synesthesia. An answer in a composition can be answered by a sound color that is “right”. For example, a note choice  can be validated by feeling if the notes together create a Blue or Red feeling (Cold or Hot, Even or Odd, Minor or Major chord). The subject matter of the lyrics or the artwork that come with a music release (CD, LP etc) often relates directly to what I am working on in other visual artworks.

Also, working on the visual component/packaging of musical projects I am involved with is an important part of the process and final result of those projects.

Lastly, what are some things that influence you? My influences include mostly everything about life and how people relate to each other.  Everything about human/plant/animal/life/death/earth/space/subject/object interaction influences me.  Paranoia, conspiracies, psychic phenomena and abilities, elemental mysteries, feminism, biophelia, inaccurate or hidden history, family narrative, the collapsing of the idea of time as linear, emotion and inherited memory all influence me right now, especially in the different cultural forms these things arrive in, such as catalogues, magazines, the news headlines, grocery papers with coupons, advertisements, words and language/sound structures from all countries, but specifically America.

Also: recently heat and decay in the body but also in plant life and fermentation have been influencing me. Living on an island and growing my own food, and storing it, being a part of a community based on survival and compassion is a big influence on how I am creating work right now. Especially finally having a studio.

With the record I just finished, my biggest influence was the body cavity of the piano, and the room it was in. The overtones created when vibrated notes spread out into space. And the internal space of my mind and skull, where I feel notes vibrate, and where I feel the note choices in my compositions come from.

I also have a lot of questions, that is a huge influence on my work.

Thank you, Faith!

Fire in Fog / Flickr / Mamiffer