ArtKeeper Checking Out: Fletcher Babb

ArtKeeper Checking Out: Fletcher Babb

The final Artist to check out of the ArtKeeper program, Fletcher Babb takes his turn to update us on his progress.

Fletcher’s aim in coming to HOTA was to explore the history, stories, and flow of the Nerang River through a collection of songs.

We’re excited to share Fletcher’s final insights and learnings from his time at HOTA.

You know the drill. 10 words or less – sum up the experience. 

A holistic, exploratory, process-driven, network expanding, creatively fertile experience.

Where are you currently at with your project? What’s next for it? 

I am approaching the end of the recording phase and very much hope to have all the tracking done by 30 June (my last day at HOTA). I have been dipping my toes into the mixes of these songs throughout the project, but I know I still have a bit of work to go post-ArtKeeper to get this project complete. I’m aiming to release a couple of songs at the end of this year and release the album early 2024. I also have lots of videos from my adventures, so I am putting together lots of visual content to go with the songs. 

I even feel like I have one last song to write (I have time, don’t I?) 

You’ve had a lot of different collaborators work with you on this project. How have those collaborations shaped the works?

I have been leaning into my collaborators’ strengths for this project, encouraging them to bring their skills and sounds into the studio. 

Working with Jake Morton on sensory percussion has introduced new directions for me to explore. We have been collecting samples in the environments around the Gold Coast waterways and using them to build sonic drum kits that are played by Jake via these sensory gadgets that fit onto his drum kit. These sensors assign different samples to various parts of the kit. One drum can have multiple samples triggered and there's a randomness to the sample selections that make for some surprising results.  

I have also created a really interesting piece with banjo player Andrew Tuttle where I have taken improvised ramblings of a guitar and banjo and worked in the song of a Butcher Bird. It sounds wonderfully playful and fun. I feel that nature has been a true collaborator with this project. 

I love the different directions you go when you create with other artists. You have to open yourself up as much as you can. And listen of course. 

You expanded your practice into songwriting workshops for students while you were in residence. Are there other ways your practice expanded as a result of ArtKeeper? 

The workshops have been a great way to share the songwriting process with students who are just starting out creating and writing songs. Articulating the process is a great way to strengthen your own process. You gotta practice what you preach. 

ArtKeeper has allowed me to experiment and develop as a songwriter, sound designer and producer. Responding to Ngarang-Wal (the Nerang River) and the Gold Coast as the muse for my creative process has both grounded and challenged me. I have added tools to my creative kitbag and have sharpened old skills. I have embraced field recording and sample hunting into my practice and I am taking the sonic explorations further as I enter the production phase.  

I do feel like a creative explorer. 

#Follow Fletcher Babb

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HOTA proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.