Miho Hazama’s Musical Journey

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership.

S2: Welcome back to working the show about the creative process and what people do all day. I’m your host.

S3: June Thomas and I’m your other host, Isaac Butler.

S2: Isaac, your interview today is with a jazz composer. Yes, indeed. Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

S3: It actually really depends. For the book I’m working on right now. I actually don’t listen to music. There’s just too much research to synthesize at once and to think about. And I’d sort of like I actually need silence for the most part when I’m working on that. But if it’s a review or something where the thinking has already been done, then yeah, I use music all the time. I have in particular a playlist that is just of Yo La Tengo songs that are over six minutes long with very loud guitar solos in them because that just like is the music of productivity. And in revising the book I know there’s like specific pieces of music I want to use for specific sections. So like any time I’m trying to explain the process of acting through a specific school or technique or system, the book lapses into the second person. And so it’s like, imagine you’re playing the part of Hamlet Bubble of law. And for some reason I just know that Steve Reich’s drumming is the music of like a gradually accelerating process. And so I’ll just be using that. So sometimes I do stuff like that to get in the mood. But for the book, for the most part, I actually need silence.

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S2: Wow. I am one of those people who has developed a way of the only way I can work for the most part is like in a darkened room with silence. Any stimulation just takes me out of my concentration. Of course, sometimes I have to listen to podcasts and so that I can listen to. But but I really can’t take any music. It takes me out of what I’m trying to focus on. But when I was able to do that, I could only listen to music without words or words in other languages. And sometimes if I I would say languages that I didn’t speaks. Actually, the truth is, though, that if I could kind of tune it out, if words could become almost like music, you know, if I wasn’t expending focus and trying to figure out what was being said, then I could use it. But no, not at all. But having heard a little bit of our interview subjects music, I think that her big band signs would actually be quite good writing music or creativity music.

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S3: Yeah, I’ve listened to her into other sort of modern big band, you know, experimental jazz stuff while writing. I find it very helpful.

S2: Now I have to confess I had not heard about her before. How did you come to know her? And tell us a bit about her music?

S3: Yes. So Miho Hazama is a jazz composer and band leader, and her most recent record Dancer in Nowhere is currently up for a Grammy for best large jazz ensemble album. And she’s won a bunch of other prizes. And her side gig is as an arranger. And she’s worked with a truly astounding group of artists, including the legendary rEU Sakamoto. But I actually found her by accident. My friend Darcy James Argue, who has a band called Darcy James Argue Secret Society and who have collaborated with on some theatrical stuff. Darcy linked to a magazine article that mentioned him on Facebook, and I was reading the rest of the magazine and it had a profile of her. And I just got really curious, I guess, you know, like she trained as a classical composer and musician in Japan. She moved to New York for graduate school, became a jazz composer and bandleader. And I just thought that was an amazing metamorphosis. And it would probably lead to some, you know, peculiar, idiosyncratic ideas about process that would be, you know, fascinating for us.

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S2: No kidding. All right. Let’s take a listen. I do want to mention before we get going that there’s a little bit of background noise in mewho side that’s inevitable. We’re all working from home now and I’m talking from our homes. And also, like me, Miho has a bit of an accent. Personally, I am fascinated to hear what a Japanese musician makes of our great American art form. Take it away.

S4: I am joined today by Mehul Hazama. She’s a jazz composer and arranger and leads her own Chamber Jazz Orchestra M unit. Her latest album, Dancer in Nowhere, is currently nominated for a Grammy for best large jazz ensemble album, Miho. Thank you so much for coming and talking to us on working.

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S5: Thank you so much for having me. Hello.

S3: I’d love to start by talking about your band. M M unit. It’s a jazz chamber ensemble. It’s bigger than most jazz combos, but it’s smaller than a big band. It has this really particular instrumentation. Can you tell us about it?

S5: Sure. So there are three saxophones, double English flute and the clarinets, one trumpet, one French horn, a string quartet which is two violins, viola and a cello and a vibraphone and a piano trio, which means the piano, upright bass and the drums. So it’s total 13 people in the band. And I usually conduct the band. So this was 10 years ago when I came to New York City to study at Manhattan School of Music. That was 10 years ago for my master’s degree, and it was my first time to switch my major from classical music measure to jazz music major. And, you know, in a jazz measure, when you say large jazz ensemble that moves the typical large jazz ensemble is big band. Right. So I had so many opportunities to write for big band at the school, which was a great, great, great lesson. But at the same time, you know, I kept a feeling something is not natural for me to write for big band, although I wanted to be a jazz composer, but I was not sure if that’s a good band instrumentation for me to keep writing for the entire, you know, career. And, you know, since I kept hearing a string of sound, symphonic sound in my head, I decided to try this instrumentation at my graduation recital. Well, I mean, obviously, I wanted to hire the entire jazz symphony that. But then, you know, so many people at the graduate school recital sounds ridiculous. I tried to narrow down the number of the band as small as possible. And then I came up with this number 13 because that’s my birthday. So I thought that that’s a lucky number.

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S4: It’s not every jazz band that has a string section. No, no, no. It’s very rare. What was that early experimentation like of integrating strings into a jazz sound? Or maybe it’s the other way around since you started in classical composition, integrated jazz into a string sound or something.

S5: Yeah. Well, you know, people sometimes expect that Jazz Strings is more like PADD kind of role in the music. Strings are more like a background pad. Boring. Something like that. Right. But from the beginning, since I unfortunately grew up with listening, is so much challenging music such as, you know, Stravinsky or Ravel or Rachmaninoff was, you know, something like that. All the string sections are so challenging for these, you know, composers compositions. I’m just so used to write something very challenging for strings from the beginning.

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S4: Did you always want to be a band leader and conductor or did that sort of come out of that final concert?

S5: My answer is no. I never thought that I’m going to be a jazz composer. First of all, 10 years ago, I never thought about that. You know, I came to New York City 10 years ago only because that I had no idea what kind of a composer I wanted to be. And to say I wanted to meet my heroes in person. And that that was the main reason why I came to New York City to study with Jim McNeely. That was my goal. But my main study back in Japan was to be a famous composer. But at the time, computer was taking over the entire industry that are you have to use a computer. Well, otherwise you’re not going to compose for films. But my because the thing as a composer was to write for acoustic musicians. Net2Phone a computer. And I thought that, OK, I did not start composing for a computer. I wanted to compose for orchestra or acoustic musicians. And I kind of lost my dream in the middle of my college life in Japan. So that’s the only reason why I got really into jazz composition. And then I wanted to meet jazz composers who are alive. And that excited me so much because I couldn’t obviously meet the rebel or Prokofiev or Stravinsky in person. Now I am able to see Jim, Maria Schneider, Vince Mendoza in person, and that sounded like a dream to me. So that’s the only reason why I came to New City. Now, after two years of spending time in my hands, good music. That was a time that I started thinking, OK. Now I feel like I’m comfortable composing for chamber orchestra. As a jazz composer and I try to keep encouraging myself, like, why don’t I say, Hey, I am a jazz composer originally from Japan, because the occupation, the jazz composer is not popular in Japan at all. People think that jazz is all about improvisation. Nothing about composition. But now here in York City, jazz composition, that word itself is much more popular. And then, in fact, that there are so many jazz composers out here. So it’s a normal thing in the U.S. It’s not a normal in Japan, my home country. So at the time, which was 2012 when I was finishing my school, I thought that it’s a great opportunity to challenge myself, to be a jazz composer, to bring this kind of cool music back to Japan, also to keep living in New York City, to learn something more cutting edge art, to keep creating something new. So that was my first like initial motivation to be a jazz composer.

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S4: And then eventually you, I guess, had being a band leader thrust upon you. Right. It’s like if you want to do the music, you got to lead your own band.

S5: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, always my main dream was to be a composer. So all of the auto jobs are coming because of that goal.

S4: I thought a good way maybe to look at your creative process would be to start with one of your pieces and how it came about. So why don’t we take a listen to an excerpt from the cyclic number, which is the second track off of Dancer Nowhere Show. That’s an excerpt from Miho Hazama as the cyclic number Mehul, where did this song begin? What was the first initial impulse or inspiration for you?

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S5: It really depends on a piece, you know, where I am going to get an idea for compositions. But for this one specifically, I got a concept of from No Orders, which is called a cyclic number, and that you can actually use just in a search online because it’s going to take a long time for me to, you know, explain what it is. But the number order is 1 4 2 8 5 7. I thought that that was really fascinating. In fact, actually, my grandfather printed Wikipedia page over the thick week number concept and then bring it to me saying, hey, how did you know about this? And then obviously I didn’t know about that. You know, at the time my grandfather was 95 years old. And then he still is so interested in these kind of things. And that that fascinates me. First of all, and then I was so interested in the cyclical number. So I thought that it’d be really nice to dedicate a piece to not only my grandfather, but also for this number system, which is quite cool to me. So that was my, you know, the first motivation to come up with the piece. So I set up like a baseline using this number. Oduor And then I also like, you know, try to use that this concept of numbers throughout the piece. So I’m not going to reveal everything, but if that was, you know, the secret behind the piece.

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S4: So the baseline is actually playing those intervals that are in that no order. Oh, wow, that’s fascinating. You said you get inspiration from a lot of places. What are some other places that you’ve gotten inspiration from?

S5: One of the most important inspirations is player like a few I am writing for. And especially, you know, for my chamber orchestra music, my band members has been a huge part of my inspiration that I’d like. You know, I always think of, OK, I’d like to challenge him on this fellow fiction or, you know, his tone color to be really good fit for this section or this melody. You know, these kind of things. So that’s definitely one of them.

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S4: How do you create space to be kind of open for those moments? That’s kind of eureka moments where you’re like, wait, this idea, you can make a song out of it. How do you create that sort of environment where you can do that?

S5: I usually take a lot of time thinking about a composition, just a long composition. Like even if I’m not writing a composition, I usually keep thinking about the piece. And then I usually need a more then at least a three months to do that. So while I’m thinking about that, I don’t necessarily work on that composition, but some order words such as like a car conducting jobs, writing arrangement jobs, these kind of things. But in the head, I always keep a fact that I will be writing this composition. Then finally I tried to go to piano and then write it down to my ideas or play, you know, my ideas and run on my piano. If I like it, then I’m going to record it in a voice mail or, you know, I write down on the sketchbook. So that’s been always my process of composition.

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S4: Sometimes you’re leaving voicemails for yourself with like perhaps a melody on them and stuff like that. Yeah. I do a lot. Once you have that initial idea and you’re sitting at the piano, you know, how do you start to expand it and develop it into kind of a larger idea or link it to the next idea? Maybe so that it starts to turn into a piece.

S5: Right. I always actually try to make up for it before I start writing, although it doesn’t go as planned. But I’m having something like, you know, as a guide is a big help for me that in a way I’m kind of forced to do as a guide if it doesn’t work. It’s totally fine. But you know, for this music, that’s the click. No, I put all that the number system in a certain place with idea. Using that number system for each section. And then I put it to those ideas in like form section in. It’s like a puzzle that I have this section for this idea. I have this phrase for this idea. I have a. BELLOTTI for this idea, and then I put together all of the puzzles in one piece as a form.

S4: Do you have techniques you use when you get stuck or when you have writer’s block to kind of push through it?

S5: I usually leave it there. I always like to leave it alone away from myself for a while. And then I’ve found so far that’s the best way to do it. To be objective and to bring back my objectives. Sight vision. So while there is a one piece in my latest album, Darci Nowhere. It’s actually that title team that’s I know nowhere. That I was working on the middle part for a while and then I did not like that at all, and then I felt completely stuck in the middle of nowhere. So I lifted that piece for three months and I came back and I discarded the middle part completely because I did not like that at all. So it doesn’t exist anymore. I can’t even remember what it was.

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S4: DELETED the file and everything.

S5: Yeah, I did. And then now I don’t have anything left.

S4: You compose using the piano. Correct. Right. You’re not like a you know, for the saxophone player. You’re not picking up your own saxophone to play it or whatever. So how did you learn how to compose for instruments that you don’t play and to figure out their kind of their voicing? Because I imagine that’s also a large part of your arranging job. Right.

S5: I grew up with learning this classical piano, classical composition and also electric organ back in Japan. And the electric organ is something like a synthesizer that you can play everything with your, you know, keys and also pedals with the feet. I started playing electric organ when I was five years old and the one I played on was old as symphonic music, like a classical symphonic music on the synthesizer by myself. So what I did as a kid was to transcribe, to learn from symphonic score, to combine like, you know, how you can play this symphonic music by yourself. Oh, well, OK. This melody is played by, you know, strings. So like, you know, I’m going to program right hand with the string sound harmony with string and the brass. So I’m going to program the left hand as the accompanying string plus brass, tuba and the contrabass, something like that. So without any score reading education, I naturally got that kind of orchestration sense by playing electric organ system. Five year old, huh?

S4: So you’re playing the bass parts with your feet. Yeah. And the strings with the right hand of the brass with your left and kind of like.

S5: That’s amazing. Yeah. And then like you know, you have to program your, you know, classical percussion part as a then and then you control everything with the right fit and that left leg with the pedal. So it’s like a circus, you know. But I love how I learn all of the orchestration sound. And, you know, all of the symphonic sound. And then because of that, my brain natural sound is completely symphony orchestra. Yeah, that’s just how you hear. Yeah, that’s what I hear. Yeah. Always. Always.

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S4: Mm hmm. Is the membership of M Unit basically fixed? I mean obviously if someone can’t make a gig there’s a sub or whatever. But is it usually the same 13 people that you’re rehearsing with him recording with and performing live in the past three years.

S5: Yes, I would say so.

S4: And did that change your process and your writing to have a somewhat stable group of collaborators?

S5: I think it did, especially for the string section. I used to call a lot of people because I did not have that much connection to that industry, especially in New York City. But now I, you know, keep working with my recording members for at least three years straight. Now I know about them a little bit more. And then that makes me more comfortable to write something specifically for them, knowing their tone color and then knowing what they can do, what they don’t want to do.

S4: Yeah. How does collaboration work within M unit? I mean, do they give you thoughts on the piece and you know, are you guys talking about it or is it that you give them the piece and they do it? You know, how how does the relationship between you and the band work?

S5: I think it’s been more like the you know, the unit is my castle by them in a way that I can do whatever I want and that the band members kind of understand. And that’s what it is for me, because I do a lot of commissioned works and this is the only band that I can do whatever I want to get getting those messages and the challenges from me, me. And then if it doesn’t work, then they actually talk to me like, hey, this is really challenging. I don’t think I can do this or sometimes see that they’re just a tune genius so that they try it, then they can do it. So if I don’t like it at the rehearsal or, you know, if they want to change that and then, you know, talk about it, then I wouldn’t change that. But. That’s actually doesn’t that doesn’t really happen often. They try their best to get it and that they usually get it. And then I appreciate it. I’m so grateful for that, too.

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S4: You know, one thing I really love about your music is that there’s this tension between the parts that are tightly composed and the parts that rely really heavily on improvisation. And in the cyclic, no, it really switches back and forth between those quite frequently. How do you find that balance? How do you know when’s the right moment to throw in a solo or when it’s time to relax and let the band take over that moment and when it’s time to rein it back in and give them up, you know, heavily syncopated, complicated, tightly composed moment.

S5: Right. That’s a great question. I don’t even know. I think, you know, I just trust my sense to see the entire music objectively. And then that’s what I always tried to do, that so that I can see the whole picture of the music all the time, but often use playback system technology. I ran on a technology to use the playback system in my computer to playback my score at some point and to see the balance of it. Sometimes I feel like this is too long. Sometimes, you know, it’s it’s too short. I have to develop more.

S4: Yeah. We’ve mentioned a couple times that you do a lot of work as an arranger. And I have a feeling, you know, some of our listeners, they see that credit arrangements by or whatever and they have no idea what it means. So what is an arranger?

S5: OK. So arranging job is very different from commission composition works. There is first of all, original music already existed and then there is a client who wants me to change that in a certain way. So they there is original music already. There is a client. There is a request that are you have to follow a lot as an arranger. So, you know, as an arranger, I often get jobs to orchestrate things. Let’s say he sends me, you know, piano charts with just melody and a piano. And then he wants me to change that to orchestral piece so that I orchestrate it to make, you know, parts so that the entire orchestra can read and then play the music with that. You know, Christian, right.

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S4: So sometimes the client is really just sending you the melody and then you’re fleshing everything else out of that.

S5: Yeah. There are a lot of cases like that, too. Or just in a voicemail recording. And then, you know, someone wants to make sure that it’s playable for the rest of your band or something like that to wait.

S4: So they’ll literally call you and leave a voicemail where they sing scat, sing the melody or whatever for you. Uh-Huh. And then you have to just turn that into an actual fully fleshed out piece of music.

S5: Exactly. And then like there’s a one crazy gig for me that I still remember that my boss, he’s a free jazz pianist in Japan named Euskadi Yamashita. And my very, very first gig as an a writer was to orchestrate his piano concerto. And then I was at the time 20 years old, and he asked me to orchestrate for a piano concerto. That’s a big gig. And I was very nervous about it. But first movement was really cool that he sent me, you know, very specific chart with piano solo part and orchestra, a condensed score. And I was like, okay, that’s cool. Second movement was a lead sheet with the melody and a chord progression. And that that was a beautiful ballad. And then, you know, that was totally cool as well. There was a melody, there was a chord progression already and then very much set as a piece. The problem was when the third movement came, first of all, the sketch was not out on the states. And I. Well, could you explain? Can you explain that the sketch not being on the states staves it’s not even like any music notes. No music notes on the paper. But instead there is some notes saying there is capped. Well, there are three cats playing together. OK. Next section. Some weird monster like a snake, like a you know, walking around you. The next one. Another monster, brassy monster. Just fighting towards you. And the next section, you are, you know, released in middle of nowhere in this space, wondering what the heck I am doing, something like that.

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S6: And what’s his expectation that you would turn that into a. Two normal sheet music. What did he actually expect you to do at that point?

S5: Well, I think I think, you know, he senses some, like, you know, story behind. Well, I mean, I’m not sure if it’s it’s a chord story, but the stories or ideas to share with me. And then next day, he actually sent some musical ideas. OK. This could be a snake theme. This could be a cats theme. This could be a space theme. Something like that. So I basically have to create something new for the entire orchestra. Also for him, Assests follows the pianist to make third movement. So we still call this process as trip to each other’s brain. Because that’s what I had to do, too. How does a predict or like to think or even. Like a reading between the lines? What his brain is going on?

S4: I mean, but it sounds like to some extent part of arranging is taking a trip to the other person’s. Yeah. That’s true. And you know, obviously, if you’re lucky enough to even get the melody and it’s not a folk tale about cats being eaten by snakes or whatever, but you have the melody. You know, there’s immediate things that we learn how to do with a melody to harmonize off of it, to figure out a chord progression. You know, things like that. But then there’s stuff that’s less systematized, like feel or emotion or, you know, the journey the piece takes you on when you’re arranging or I guess composing. And I’m wondering about how you kind of figure that out when it’s someone else’s melody, how you sort of determine that kind of journey.

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S5: Well, as an arranger, my priority motto for, you know, working on arrangements is to think about client expectation. But at the same time, since they ask me to write something right now, that there is a chance that I can put myself in it. But how much and how? Hmm. That’s a great challenge for myself. Whenever I work on arrangements, I need to know their expectations first. You know how much I can be like adventurous or not. So sometimes, you know, I can be very adventurous for, you know, let’s say for that piano concerto. Yes. I can be as much creative as possible.

S4: Right. You’re literally blasting off into outer space at the end.

S5: Exactly. Exactly. But, you know, for a job like for very traditional, you know, a singer or like, let’s say, traditional instrument from Japan or something, that first of all, there is a limitation that they can do and that there is a specific technique that they want to work on. So I need to know about that. And then I need to, you know, know that they are expecting something. Well, depending on what they can do. You know, I need a flexibility. But at the same time, I need a sense. Tippett Well, I always, you know, seek a chest. Tippett A little bit of myself into any of my work. So I would say, yeah, that’s a fun point of origin.

S4: So I think one thing that maybe it’s just me, but most of the people I talk to right now are trying to figure out what is our creative process. Now, in this particular moment, you know, the outside world is just really climbing through the window in some way, in a way that’s like really hard to avoid or ignore. And how do we get inspired in the midst of that? And and I was wondering how you’re navigating those questions right now, whether you think you figured anything out or what your struggles with it are.

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S5: So it scares me that how long this is going to happen and then how much of an impact this is going to have not only for the music industry, but for the entire world, economically and politically. And since I’m not a citizen here, that’s also part of the problem for me. Another like a concern for me. Like what? You know, this city would be as a alien here is I mean, I’m no citizen, these kind of things. You know, that keeps coming back to my mind all the time. And, you know, to not get distracted by the force has been very difficult to do with. But what can I say? I have to just get through this. I mean, we all have to get through this and to be safe and to be healthy, you know, to work on the self-discipline. So that’s been my motto for these days.

S4: Well, Miho, thank. So much for coming on the show and talking to us about your work and your process. Thank you so much for having me.

S2: Wow, that was fascinating. Isaac, one thing that struck me in that interview was the role that New York City has played in her career. She came here for graduate school and it sounds like the city plays a huge role in her work over the last few weeks when we’ve been more or less confined not necessarily to our homes, but certainly to a few blocks within our homes. I feel like I’ve kind of lost a bit of the sense of place of being in New York, of the sort of frisson that comes from being in a big city full of journalists and artists and writers and events. Is place important to you and the people you write about?

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S3: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I also think if you listen to her album, you get a real feeling of New York City all over that album, whether it’s intentional on her part. I mean, this could be totally me, you know, imposing that. But there’s a track called Run on it that just feels like New York to me, you know? But about place, like when I was first in graduate school for writing is when I first heard this term writing about place. And I was so confused by it because I just sort of felt like isn’t all nonfiction writing with a setting on some level writing about place like we as human beings exist in a geographic and social context. And, you know, no work of art exists independent of that no matter what it’s like. Everything’s informed by where it was written and who wrote it and who was around when they when they wrote it. I mean, you know, that goes back to Shakespeare. If you look at a plant, shows up in a Shakespeare play, it’s usually a plant that grew around Stratford upon Avon. Right. So it’s like places I just think everywhere and in everything. And I certainly miss the very unique things about New York City, its density, that feeling that everyone is working all the time, that that’s thriving. And also, though, that real sense of community, I mean, it’s not just about place. It’s about, you know, do you have a community of people around you? And the Internet’s made it a little easier to not have a physical community of people around you. But I still you know, I miss going to see people’s shows and talking about it with them afterwards and getting coffee with them and that and that just feeling of writers and artists and musicians and theatre makers and stuff all on top of each other. You know, I do miss that quite a bit.

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S2: Yeah. And I suppose in Migos world, one of the reasons that certain places are known for jazz, New York City, maybe even specifically the West Village these days or Kansas City, they become centers of jazz music because there are jazz musicians there. And so you have that that feeling of getting together with people and just maybe jamming. I think maybe we have this idea of jazz is an improv. Obviously, it is an improvisational art. But you also do need to have something to improvise on. But you do still need to get together and be with those people. And as she mentioned in the interview, no each other note to the strengths and kind of really fall into a habit. And I I worry that people are mean. It’s only been a month, five weeks, six weeks at this point. So not to worry yet, but that is something you know, it really does remind you how important it is to be in a room with people to, you know, to spark off each other. And and I do miss that. Yeah, absolutely. There’s also something that is crazy. And I think she almost admitted it about, you know, it’s 20/20 putting together a big band, a big band that plays jazz. I mean, that’s even in the 30s. It was slightly quixotic, getting 13 people even before we’ve gone into the problems that we have no. In the economy. It’s just it’s expensive. It’s hard. How would you do it? How do you tour with that band? One of your hats is as a theater director. And I know you’ve worked with monolog is among other projects. Do you like working with small or sprawling cast? You have a preference.

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S4: Who? I’m not sure I have a preference. I will say to that point, you know, one of the shows that Darcy and I made together because Darcy’s band is 18 people. Much so. One of the multi-media shows that we made together. If you’re touring it, you’re touring a 25 person team with all the designers and crew members and stuff like that. So, you know, the logistical. Not to mention the financial challenges of that are truly mind boggling in terms of size of ensemble. You know, the job totally changes depending on how many people you have. If you have one person, then you are there, scene partner in rehearsal and then the audience is there, scene partner in performance. And that’s just a totally different thing than if you have even two people, you know. But then when you have two people, they have to totally rely on each other. Once you add a third and then it’s like a triangle and things start to get very complicated. And then there’s a certain I don’t know what the level it is, but there’s a certain number of people you reach when suddenly just the logistical and. Personality management becomes a much larger part of your job. Yeah, because so much of directing is actually not unlike middle management. And, you know, the bigger the team, the more time you have to spend doing that stuff. But also, you know, all those voices in the room, a lot of really exciting stuff can happen. And literally having more bodies in space allows you to do different things visually. So each one of them has their own advantages and problems for sure. In large groups, you often have to deal with them taking out their frustrations on each other. If it’s one person, they take it out on you. You know, it’s a it’s a it’s a complicated thing.

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S2: Yeah. Isaac, you mentioned earlier one of mewho Osamas albums, but for listeners who are interested in checking out more of our music, especially after hearing this little snatches in the piece. What would you recommend?

S3: Well, she has three albums out currently. I really think the latest one Dancer Nowhere is a perfect introduction to her and her work. You’ll get a weaving together of fascinating influences. And, you know, a lot of jazz, obviously, but you know, also a lot of classical within that. The way she uses the string section, which we talked a bit about in the interview, is very on display there. So I think checking out dancer nowhere., which is, you know, currently streaming everywhere if you don’t feel like buying it, although she will get more money if you buy it. Dancer No, nowhere is a great place to start.

S2: I am definitely going to check it out. I love the snatches that we heard and I’m going to actually buy some music.

S4: Look at you.

S3: One of the things we’d love to do with this show is to help solve your creative problems. So if you have any questions about writing, whether you’re or try to write a novel or a great email or any other aspect of this strange thing we call creativity. Please send them to working at Slate.com. And if and when we can. We’ll put those questions to our guests.

S2: And if you enjoy the show, please consider signing up for Slate. Plus Slate. Plus, members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. And you’ll be supporting the work we do here on working. It’s only $35 for the first year and you can get a free two week trial right now at Slate.com. Slush working. Plus, thank you to Miho Hazama for being our guest this week. Enormous thank you’s to a wonderful producer, Morgan Flannery.

S4: We’ll be back next week for a conversation between June and mezzo soprano Jamie Barton. Thanks for listening. Now get back to work.