Peak Signal 2 Noise is an experimental film and music collective involving a number of creative groups and individuals across the city. Originally formed with the aim of producing short episodes for Sheffield Local TV (SLTV), due to begin broadcasting on Freeview channel 8 this September, the group is branching out into live events next […]

Peak Signal 2 Noise is an experimental film and music collective involving a number of creative groups and individuals across the city. Originally formed with the aim of producing short episodes for Sheffield Local TV (SLTV), due to begin broadcasting on Freeview channel 8 this September, the group is branching out into live events next month with the OptoPhonic Workshop, a Tramlines fringe event taking place at the Montgomery Theatre on Saturday 26 July. I caught up with Jon Marshall of Singing Knives Records and filmmaker Cathy Soreny of Tinnitus Jukebox to get the low down.

What’s the idea behind Peak Signal 2 Noise?

[Jon] To transform people’s televisions for 30 minutes a week into a portal to realms they might not have previously realised existed. Magical realms that exist a stoner’s throw from their couch and charge less than a TV’s daily electricity use for entrance.

[Cathy] It’s several already well-established groups of quite creative people who have all gathered around The Audacious Art Experiment. Through the catalyst of SLTV saying, ‘We need some programmes’, several of us went, ‘Can we do something about the kind of music and art we’re all into?’ I think we knew when we went for it that the kind of content we were going to put on isn’t mainstream, but we all just decided at that point that we were going to do it no matter what. And then they really liked it.

So who exactly is involved?

[Jon] Tinnitus Jukebox, Singing Knives Records, Audacious Art Experiment as well as a handful of unaffiliated individuals.

[Cathy] Lots and lots of people. It’s hard to name everyone who’s involved, but it’s quite interesting because we’ve all got very creative ideas and we’re all quite socially engaged with what we do as well. I think we’re all interested in aspects around how experimental art can impact on individuals’ emotional wellbeing.

You’ve got the first episode up online, which was originally going to be the pilot. Are you planning to film more before the SLTV launch in September?

[Cathy] We’ve been filming loads and loads. Probably about a third of the gigs we’ve been to over the last year we’ve filmed in some way, shape or form. So we’ve got a massive archive of people coming to Sheffield and lots of things are in the process of being edited. We’re basically building up a big bank of live events and with the artists and musicians we know we want to film very specific episodes.

The format is quite loose, with no presenter or much introduction to the sketches.

[Cathy] We always knew from the start we wouldn’t have any kind of traditional presenter. It goes back to the good old days of Channel 4, when you’d have to work it out for yourself rather than being spoon fed.

What’s the plan for the OptoPhonic Workshop event?

[Jon] We’ve been offered use of The Montgomery, bang in the city centre, on the Saturday of Tramlines Festival. We’ll be hosting a day of interactive audiovisual explorations, performances and installations, bringing together local and international artists and whoever is interested in getting involved. From 2pm to 6pm there will be a bunch of free or cheap workshops in sound, such as making a pint glass into a speaker and turning your credit card from a clocking-in card to a musical instrument. Then in the evening there will be legends like Adam Bohman walking around too, trying to figure out where the city’s hole in the road has got to since he was last here, and Sharon Gal exploring the outer reaches of vocalisation mixed with field recordings.

[Cathy] It’s going to be more like an installation than a straight forward gig. The reason we’re all into experimental music is that generally it’s not some rock god up on a stage. It’s somebody who’s very much the same as you, someone you can talk to. It’s something that’s very open. People can get involved. Anybody can play an instrument. It should never be seen as something that’s exclusive.

facebook.com/PeakSignal2Noise
vimeo.com/tinnitusjukebox

Sam Walby.