Germany based, American artist Rachel Palmer has been writing and producing music since the late 90’s and has worked as an audiovisual composer since 2013. While she is more recognized for her live visual performances at electronic music events throughout the United States and Europe, Rachel has rediscovered her inner musical voice, combining her two passions into fully immersive audiovisual experiences.
In her 2020 debut album ‘Antecedent’, she composes expansive soundscapes with intimate and melancholic undertones. Her organically structured rhythms are met by billowing synths that invoke the feeling of breathing in a slow-motion dream state. Textural layers of granular voices blended with gentle melodies and deep bass lines are the culmination of her innermost inspirations.
1: An octopus has three hearts, nine brains, and blue blood.
2: If you removed the empty space from the atoms we are composed of, the entire human race could fit in the volume of a sugar cube.
3: The “smell of rain” is caused by a bacteria called actinomycetes.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Emotion, experience, acceptance. Listing to, and composing music transports me into another state of being, another consciousness, similar to falling into one’s imagination when reading a captivating book. I’ve always found composing, whether it be visuals or music, to be incredibly therapeutic, and my hope is that others will also feel deeply when listing to the music I create.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I began writing music around six or seven years old – piano and singing. Acoustic guitar came around twelve/thirteen – singer-songwriter performances at coffee shop open-mic nights. I was introduced to electronic music around that same time and I was immediately captivated by the seemingly ruleless and innumerable ways of combining sound, with that I began incorporating all of my musical history into electronic music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
There are way too many to name… the first that come to mind:
Peter Gabriel – So
Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album, Come To Daddy
The Postal Service – Give Up
The Orb – Orblivion
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Radiohead – Amnesiac, Kid A
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I associate Berlin with “melting pot”. A true example of the metaphor.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Before lockdown: A very cozy alternative wine bar on a narrow street in Südstadt, Köln. The non-patio patio sits on old, uneven cobblestone. Simple chairs and sometimes wooden boxes as seating. Busses, vehicles, bicycles all passing within a metre or two of your seat. No menu, they just ask what type of wine you like. Gemütlich.
During lockdown: Staying home with my husband and cat (obviously) or walking by the Rhein river.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would consider myself lucky and continue on my creative path as a visual artist.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Thom Yorke – Anima.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
The beautifully talented and inspiring Iris Van Herpen. Her fashion design is fascinating. It would be immensely wonderful to work on a set design and/or audio with her and her team for a show (or two).
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I don’t have a best gig, but I’m really loving how my live visual performances have progressed since moving to Europe. In the States I was mainly performing visuals for underground techno warehouse events – as one visual artist for several DJs/producers/musicians per night. Now my visual performances are focused around my art as a performance in itself, not just as an addition to an event. I’m primarily performing alongside my husband (HHNOI). His live modular music and my live-generative/audio-reactive visuals compliment each other in a lovely way.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology is extremely important. I could not create digital art nor electronic music without technology. I find technology’s correlation with creativity interesting because it allows the creation of sound and art that doesn’t exist in the natural world. The gloves are off, anything is possible.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have three older brothers and one older sister. We are not very close, so I’m uncertain of exactly how they feel about my art. I would, however, like to think they are proud of me.