Musical Rooms

October 21, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 46: Polly Fibre

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 9:00 am
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“My studio is an art studio rather than a recording studio but most of my inspiration for sound works comes from visual and material things. It’s in London near Waterloo station, and actually, I’m right under a railway bridge so I’ve become accustomed to the sound of trains rumbling overhead contributing to whatever I’m working on.

In it, there’s a huge table; several sewing machines of different ‘vintages’; various sized tailoring shears, and a collection of irons. Then there are lots of boxes of papers, fabrics and cards; miscellaneous haberdashery items that might look more at home in a David Cronenberg movie. At the moment I’ve ditched my laptop and am really enjoying working with effects pedals. I find sewing machine pedals respond really well to guitar pedals…For me, the most important thing here is probably my big table. If I don’t have a big flat surface to work on I get claustrophobic. Sharp pencils and big sheets of paper are good too – the important thing is having it all around you so the hierarchies can shift and change as a project evolves.

I try to come here every day except for when I’m teaching, and when it comes to working, I don’t like isolation, which is hard because it is easier to really get into a piece when you’re on your own – I suppose that’s why I like the trains overhead. I do work alone mostly especially when I’m working something out but it’s good fun when the other polly-dollys come over to rehearse. When they are not there, I sometimes chat to my dummies.

In terms of the creative process, drawing is important, and collage. I usually start by trying to draw from memory something I’ve looked at on my laptop a million times but can’t quite picture like, for example, the Bluetooth symbol. These language elements are developed with experimentation using objects and materials and arranged in relation to the ideas I’m interrogating at a particular time. At the moment the aesthetic is quite aggressive; I’m enjoying the weight of the irons, the grind of machine motors, pedal feedback and noise patterns. Polly Fibre is in pursuit of a post-digital calm where the desire for this kind of analogue, tactile and direct impact is no longer at odds with the so-called virtuality of digital media. I amplify mostly everything with contact microphones and plug into a SoundCraft mixing desk.

It’s such a luxury to have a space where you don’t have to tidy up for dinner; a place where your ideas can safely be at their most vulnerable.”

Started by Christine Ellison in 2005 Polly Fibre are a trio which includes Lucyanna Moore and Laura Hyland. Based in London they call themselves “the most successful sonic-sewing act of the 21st century.” They use the language of fashion to investigate fashions of language. Dressmaking tools are adapted into crude sonic instruments “and used to deconstruct words and symbols of the creative industries that currently dominate our sensibilities.” Polly Fibre play The Sugar Club on Sunday October 26th supporting legendary electronic pioneers White Noise as part of the DEAF Festival. Broadcast and Andy Votel’s B-Music will be on the turntables til late. Doors open at 7.30pm and admission is €15 /€10 (after 11.30). For more information visit or

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  1. Genius. 🙂

    Comment by John — October 25, 2008 @ 7:49 am |Reply

  2. I used to live in a pub right near Waterloo the train ran about 20 feet from my bedroom that didn’t help inspiration it’s hard when you wake up so early every day.

    Comment by Darren Galloway — March 27, 2009 @ 8:50 pm |Reply

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