petite mort In this issueSomething from Nothing No.3 2005
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ABOVE: Hisham Bharoocha creating a wall drawing for “Carry On” a group show at Feigen Contemporary in New York. He says much of his art work is constructed similarly to the way he constructs his music. I’m not sure what song this is. “Carry On” runs from Sept 8th Thru October1, 2005. Photo courtesy Feigen Contemporary, New York.




ABOVE: Hisham Bharoocha performing on stage at the East River Music Festival 2005.


I'm always fascinated by artists who move between music making and art making, especially those who are able to do it with such fluidity. Hisham Akira Bharoocha, the sole member of Soft Circle, is one of them. I’ve learned to understand his art work as another extension of his music and vice-versa, like a movie and it’s soundtrack. I guess the only problem is that it’s hard to turn off the soundtrack while you’re looking at his art.

How long have you been playing under the band name Soft Circle? I’ve seen you perform under Hisham Bharoocha of couple of times before.
I can’t remember if it was last Fall or the beginning of this year? I decided I really needed a name because I didn’t want to continue going out there with just my name.

But people really know you as a solo performer. What’s the reason for having a band name?
Eventually I want to play with other people again and maybe form a band, but I wouldn’t want to it be named after me. It would sound sort of weird: Hisham Bharoocha and Friends. That’s pretty much why. I also wanted a sort of atmospheric name too, as cheesy as it sounds.

How long have you been playing without a band name?
Only six months or something like that. I haven’t been playing by myself for that long. It’s only been a little more then a year now. Before then I was playing with the Black Dice for 6 years.

How was that?
It was good, it was awesome. I grew up with those guys in a way, having gone to college with them… We had some really good times, but it’s also been good learning how to play on my own too.

In a band there are all sorts of checks and balances, how do you keep yourself from going off on tangents when you are playing by yourself?
You learn to stop yourself [from going off on tangents.] Instead of someone else telling you, you just tell yourself. (laughs) It’s pretty simple. You can also hear everything because you’re doing everything, and so you can concentrate on every sound. When you slip or mess-up it’s really obvious. You just have to stay in your own zone, and just really concentrate.

Sounds like it requires a lot of discipline?
Yeah, it takes a lot of focus and discipline because you don’t have people telling you, “Dude, you got to practice!” or things like that. [laughing].


"I'm into doing wall paintings. My art is very related to my music.  It's very pattern based with a kind of phychadelic look, like my sound." © Hisham Akira Bharoocha © Hisham Akira Bharoocha


What do you do besides making music?
I also make art, visual art. Drawings and collage mostly. I’m also into doing wall paintings. My art is very much related to my music. It’s very pattern based with a kind of psychedelic look like my sound.

Composers like Glass who in turn were influenced by eastern methods of composing music, were you influence by Glass and Steve Reich? (i.e additive rhythms, Ravi Shankar)
I do listen to then, but I think I’m influenced more from the original source, like world music taken directly from the East.
(Wiki: Philip Glass, Steve Reich, additive rhythms, Ravi shankar)

Where specifically?
From all over Asia. I am half Japanese, half Burmese/Myanmar, so I definitely have those influences.

Where were you born?
I was born in Japan but went to elementary in California. Then I moved back to Japan for Junior High and High School. I was studying to go to a Japanese visual art school, but then decided it might be too rigid, so I applied to Rhode Island School of Art and Design. I did photography there.

Detail © Hisham Akira Bharoocha
ABOVE (detail) AND RIGHT: Hisham Bharoocha, untitled.


Are you still taking pictures?
Yeah, I’m into shooting people in natural environments… people on outings, hiking, or walking in the woods. I really enjoy taking pictures of people in those environments because it’s become such a foreign place to us, it doesn’t seem “natural” anymore. People have to go out of their urban environments to experience it. I like that contrast… human life and then there’s everything else. I also simply like the way nature makes me feel right now, it’s just very peaceful.

Does religion influence you?
I’m really into exploring various eastern philosophies and sort of melding them together. I’ve tried different types of meditations and I’m into exploring different directions to see what works best for me.


© Hisham Akira Bharoocha

Does that influence your music too? It sounds like you’re chanting in some of your songs.
Yeah, definitely. It’s all about getting entranced by the beauty of life and everything related to it. Like today I was so inspired by how warm the sun felt that it really relaxed me on stage.

I have one more question; and this might sound new age-y, but do you also tap into primal emotions when you’re on stage?
Yeah, I think that in western music emotional out bursts are acceptable. That’s what our music is for, especially in this urban context. So it definitely comes out [of me] and it’s o.k. There are definitely times when I felt like I’m releasing all this tensions. X



© Yamataka Eye © Yamataka Eye © Yamataka Eye

EYE a musician with a vision.Predictable in only his unpredictability, Yamataka Eye, of the Boredoms who has been making similar chaotic art works much like his music, makes him a perfect inclusion to the Carry On groups show curated by artist Rich Jacobs and Abigail Scholar. Carry On examines the new embarkation of “gentle psychedelia” makers in a very much multi-disciplinary world.

left to right: Untitled works by Yamataka Eye. Photo courtesy Feigen Contemporary, New York.

Carry On at Feigen Contemporary
September 8 - October 1, 2005
535 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Tel 212.929.0500 Fax 212.929.0065
Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.