Composer Christopher Biggs, who was a featured composer on ONYX, is now releasing his debut Ravello Records album DECADE ZERO. Biggs’ music has been presented across the United States and Europe, as well as Latin America and Asia. His music is regularly performed at conferences and festivals, including the International Computer Music Conference, SEAMUS Conference, Visiones Sonoras, and Electronic Music Midwest. Today, Biggs is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what DECADE ZERO means to Biggs.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?
I started writing music on the piano when I was about 10 years old and then on saxophone. When I was about 12, I started recording everything I could think of on a four-track tape recorder. My parents went on a vacation one weekend and my brother and I dented all of the cooking pots in the house by playing them like a drum set and recording the results.
Instead of learning to drive when I turned 16, my parents paid me half of what it would cost to add me to the car insurance and I bought a MIDI keyboard with a built-in synthesizer. I started sequencing MIDI every day, recording the output from the keyboard, and then adding other parts. I did not like school at all, but I really enjoyed playing with sound and I did it whenever I could. I don’t know exactly when I knew what I wanted to do since I didn’t understand any pathway that would lead me to be able to experiment with sound as an adult, but I started making music and playing with sound whenever I could from age 10.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?
I like to work at home. I generally don’t apply for artist residencies because I am already not home enough and I like taking breaks and having my family around. My wife is generally the first person who evaluates my ideas and tells me if I am doing something that is questionable.
What does this album mean to you personally?
On a personal level, many of the tracks on the album reflect my anxieties about the near future, especially climate change and the impacts of such a huge disparity of wealth. The album has hopeful moments that suggest that the structure of societies is mutable. The album also represents the connections I have made with excellent musicians and wonderful people, which reminds me of how important community is to sustainable artistic practices. I have long-term, personal relationships with many of the performers on the album and those type of connections inspire me.
By Samantha Granville, Social Media Specialist