Recently I had the opportunity to speak with sound-designer Evan Mosher. Evan is a Seattle-based artist and a member of the design team for The Holy Mother of Hadley New York by Barbara Wiechmann. Tickets are still available for the production opening this Thursday, December 10th.
Erin: How did you get your start as a sound designer?
Evan: I started as a performer. It’s kind of my main thing; I am an actor and a musician. And I’m in a band—a band that makes theatre pieces—and one of my band mates is a sound designer in Seattle and has been for many years and when I made the jump to freelance work entirely I knew that I was going to need to pick up another trade in the theatre. Just because there are a million actors and not very many sound designers. So I just apprenticed with him on a couple shows and then started working more and more and picking up more skills along the way. And actually it’s funny, he is coming to design Twelfth Night here as well, Rob Witmer.
Erin: Cool! My next question is what is your favorite part of the design process? I would also like to add what is your favorite part of making pieces and performing as a musician?
Evan: My favorite part of the design process is actually tech, which is not necessarily the case as a performer. Because usually as a performer during tech the attention shifts away, you might not be getting as many notes from the director, but especially as a sound designer that is when the work happens. You can prepare as much as you want and gather all your materials but it’s really when you are building in the room and designing it to the speakers that are actually there— it’s really satisfying getting to see the show come together. As a performer, I think it’s probably just performing generally. I mean I love a long rehearsal process with awesome people. This theatre band I was talking about, we had these really long generative periods, which were also satisfying, but when it comes down to it I like performing. I like being in front of people.
Erin: How has the text and language of The Holy Mother of Hadley New York contributed to or informed your work and design process?
Evan: The language I’ve found is actually so musical in itself that I think I’m going to end up getting out of the way of it quite a bit. Kristen and I early on had talked about having a sound bed that goes nearly all the way through but as I’ve been watching rehearsals and just listening to the actors’ voices in the room it’s got its own rhythm and musicality that I don’t want to step on by bringing in more music. It just might be too much information. Especially considering the text is not exactly linear, it’s not super easy to follow and the transitions happen on a dime, so it’s not the typical show where you need to cover transitions with music, they are just sort of happening as the actors are entering, you know, overlapping. So it’s really beautiful and I’m going to be very careful not to get in the way of it.
Erin: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
Evan: Just keep working. Say yes to as many projects as you can until you get to the point where you are doing it professionally, I guess. And then you obviously have to make a little bit more careful choices, but when you are getting started just say yes to everything and just keep showing up. And stick around, and if you do you’ll keep working.
Erin: Great, thank you!
Evan Mosher is an actor, musician, and sound designer who has lived and worked in Seattle since 1998. His designs have been heard at Book-it Repertory (Little Bee), New Century Theatre Company (The Flick, co-designed with Rob Witmer), Strawberry Theatre Workshop (the Bells, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Black Comedy); Washington Ensemble Theatre (Love Horse, all of their children’s shows); Seattle Public Theatre (Cryptogram, Arcadia, Slip-shot, Slowgirl); Satori Group (Returning to Albert Joseph); Azeotrope (Gruesome Playground Injuries, Red Light Winter, 25 Saints); and Seattle Shakes (Importance of Being Earnest, Measure for Measure). Evan is a founding member of the art-pop band “Awesome” with whom he has made music and theatre for over a decade (music available at http://awesomeinquotes.com)