who we are in the moment

We recently sat down with composers and musicians Jeremy Gara and Sarah Neufeld from Arcade Fire, and chatted about their experience working with Peggy on who we are in the dark for the upcoming Canadian tour in 2019.

 
 Jeremy and Sarah

Jeremy and Sarah

 

1. How did you become involved with who we are in the dark?

Jeremy Gara: Sarah mentioned ages ago this wonderful collaboration she had done with Peggy, and as her excitement grew and morphed into future plans, she brought me in to collaborate as well. Sarah and I play in a band together and have also worked together as a duo, so we have a pretty easy and natural way of playing together - and now I’m spoiled to be brought into this amazing project with PB!
Sarah Neufeld: I collaborated with Peggy a couple years ago; a short piece with the two of us performing side by side [fractured black]. It was incredible working together - so much fierceness and grace. Peggy brought up the idea of doing a full length collaboration with her company and I jumped at the chance.

2. What do you enjoy about working on a dance performance? How is it working with Peggy and the other collaborators?

JG: It’s amazing to be able to work in the moment with the dancers: it’s incredible what the choreography and the movement can do to push and pull the music in different directions. Peggy is wonderful to work with…she has a clear vision and purpose but is at the same time SO open to ideas and open to change, both with us as musicians and with her dancers. She has total trust in their instincts and respect for their artistry and it’s really, completely in the moment. It’s a wonderful, positive work environment.
SN: My music has always been informed in some way by movement, by the body, by a kind of kinetic aliveness. Writing with and for dance feels very natural, challenging but in such a good way. I feel it pushes me in all the right directions. I’m inspired by Peggy’s process, her energy, her focus, and the general amazing attitude and openness of her entire company.

 
 Sarah in rehearsal at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Photography by Jeremy Mimnagh.

Sarah in rehearsal at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Photography by Jeremy Mimnagh.

 

3. How is this collaboration different from your other artistic processes?

JG: Well, I usually just work on musical collaborative projects or completely on my own in my solo pursuits, so it’s always different! Different people, different energies, different city. Always a fresh look!
SN: This is the first time I’ve ever worked on a full length dance piece. I’ve worked on lengthly projects before; film scores, albums etc, but this is totally different in the way the work emerges and evolves. A lot of the music is being created for already choreographed scenes, so that’s giving us a lot of different information than the type of imagination palette when starting from a solely musical jumping off point. It’s actually allowing Jeremy and I to find new ways of playing together that we might not have ever found otherwise.

 
 Jeremy in Rehearsal at Canada's National Ballet School

Jeremy in Rehearsal at Canada's National Ballet School

 

4. Have you ever performed live with contemporary dancers? If not, what do you think about it? What kind of rush does it give you?

JG: I have, actually. I used to work frequently with Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa when I was younger. It’s actually where I first explored composing music that wasn’t in a traditional “rock band” sort of environment. It’s really a whole different world, on an artistic level, all the way down to the technical and logistical level. 
SN: I have as well, and it’s always totally unique and super satisfying on so many levels!  

 Jeremy Gara. Photography by Brantley Gutierrez

Jeremy Gara. Photography by Brantley Gutierrez

 Sarah Neufeld. photography by Lisa Fleischmann

Sarah Neufeld. photography by Lisa Fleischmann

5. What excites you the most about who we are in the dark?

JG: JUST GETTING STARTED! It’s all pretty exciting because it’s just taking shape! The dancers are amazing and the work is really, really strong. There are moments where I get really lost in the moment and that’s the best feeling, honestly. 
SN: Yeah, me too. Some of the music I’ve been really immersed in the working of already, but there’s the whole of it still very much unfolding, so there’s this wonderful tension between feeling like we have a handle on something tangible, and being in a very raw unknowing state of creation.

 

who we are in the dark has its World Premiere with Canadian Stage / Fall for Dance North February 21-24, 2019. Tickets are on sale now!