Kirk Starkey (Jesse Whitehead)
Kirk Starkey is not your traditional cellist.
His musical approach is unlike any one else's you will see this weekend at Winnipeg's International Cello Festival.
Starkey creates hugely atmospheric compositions by running his cello's rich acoustics through an arsenal of technical gear.
SCENE tracked down this wildly inventive cellist/producer/sound engineer to find out what motivates his music.
What was the first tape you ever bought?
I got through middle school listening to my brothers tapes! Sonic Youth Goo was the first CD I remember buying. Twenty years later and it's still on the iPod - a great record. I also really like the follow up record Dirty.
What are the top three songs on your ipod right now?
I'm loving the new Peter Gabriel album (who I actually get to play with two days after I get back from Winnipeg). Beach Boys Pet Sounds and Schumann's Dichterliebe (Fritz Wunderlich) are in rotation this week.
If you were forced to choose only one, producer/sound engineer or cellist, what would you choose?
Having to choose I would say I'm going with cello, we've been through a lot together it's hard to imagine it not being in my life.
With all the digital gear you use, why are you playing the cello and not the electrical guitar?
The cello's breadth of expression and vocal qualities have always been a great vehicle to express my ideas. For most live stuff my front end is the Inokuchi cello, an AKG 411 contact transducer straight into an Apogee preamp/ADC. All signal processing (eq/compression/time based FX) happens in the digital domain. One of the major drawbacks is the amount of gear I have to lug around.
In your wildest dreams who would be the one person (or band) that you would collaborate with?
Blixa Bargeld and the Einstuerzende Neubauten.
You will be on-stage with Shauna Rolston this weekend, how does that stack-up in your career highlights?
Shauna is a cello hero and opening for her is absolutely a career highlight. One of my first cello memories is seeing her play the Elgar Concerto with the Hamilton Philharmonic. I am excited to be a part of this show.
Check out this recording of Kirk Starkey's "Incidental Music"