An artist in the truest sense, Jack Prest reemerged with the release of his brand new single “Residue” this past week. It’s the introduction to his latest opus, his new studio record The Risk of Hyperbole – Vol. 2 – Object, which has been set for a March 31st release date, via Art As Catharsis. Experimental in so many ways, this is the second instalment in the The Risk Of Hyperbole trilogy of albums, with Vol. 3 following in the not-too-distant future.
With a laser focus on studio production, the compositions you will find on Vol. 2 have been raised to an even higher level by the inclusion of a chamber ensemble of highly respected Australian classical and jazz musicians. Prest wanted to emphasize feeling and style on this recording, which is part of the reason why he had this chamber ensemble contribute to the album.
The record came about in a period of great creativity for Prest, when he was composing the score for his very first interdisciplinary performance work, also titled The Risk of Hyberbole. It premiered at the Phoenix Central Park performance venue in late 2021 in Chippendale, New South Wales, Australia. To capture these dynamic performances, Prest uses guided improvisation techniques and graphic scores to get the most out of his troupe of players and then takes these recordings and crafts them into wholly original and impressive productions.
We recently chatted with Prest about his sound, what he enjoys most about the creative process, his new music, Rick Rubin, and more.
How would you describe your own music?
Jack Prest: “I work in the fields of experimental electronic music. For me that could be anything from music concrete ambient textures to banging club music, it’s just important that it’s pushing the boundaries musically and conceptually.”
Why did you decide to release your music under your own name rather than thinking up a stage name?
“I have played under various pseudonyms in the past, but for this recent body of work it’s had such a connection to my work as an engineer and producer it made sense to put it under my name.”
Who are your biggest influences?
“Rick Rubin is a huge influence, I just love that he doesn’t really have a ‘sound,’ so to speak, but records he produces are undeniably him. Ryoji Ikeda is another, I just love everything about his practice, I’m pushing more into interdisciplinary art and he’s a real inspiration.”
Tell us about your new music: what was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?
“The process of making this was really special. I got to spend a week in the studio with some of the best players in Australia. Working on improvisations and compositional tasks using graphic scores. We were actually working toward the score of my first performance piece as director and things went so well we ended up with three albums, of which this is the second.”
What’s the best criticism you’ve ever received about your music or performance?
“That the bass was too loud!”
If you could change anything about the music industry what would it be?
“To be honest I feel like it kind of is what it is. You’d love to see more experimental and boundary-pushing music in the charts, but I’m also not sure it’s what people want to hear. I feel like in the 21st century, it’s more about finding a pocket internationally that you fit into and connecting with a smaller number of people, but on a worldwide scale.”
What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
“The premiere season of the performance work connected to this album, also called The Risk Of Hyperbole. An amazing venue in Sydney called Phoenix Central Park commissioned it, which was just incredible to get that support. I collaborated with dancer Azzam Mohamed and visual artists Joe Wilson and Chanelle Collier to create something that was part dance recital, part exhibition, part concert. It was amazing the reception we received, it’s the work I’m the most proud of.”
Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?
“I’m an engineer by trade so writing and recording are intrinsically linked. That’s definitely my favourite part of the process too. I enjoy playing live, but I spent a lot of my early career DJing and touring so it’s not so much where I’m at these days, I’m more into doing one-off conceptually interesting performances than regular gigs.”
Do you have anything you’d like to tell any fans reading right now?
“Thanks very much for supporting and listening to my music it really means so much.”
For those not familiar with your music, can you tell us more about yourself?
“I’m an interdisciplinary artist, engineer, and composer. I’ve spent the best part of the last decade working behind the boards for a whole host of amazing artists in Australia and internationally. In the last couple of years, I’ve been stepping out as an artist in my own right.”
What is the story behind the name of the new record, The Rise Of Hyperbole?
“I just kind of liked it as a concept. It’s not at the risk of hyperbole, it’s the actual risk of hyperbole. It kind of made sense in a post-truth environment. Especially when for me the work is abstract and more about emotion and feeling than meaning.”
What do you think of the current state of ambient and electronic music?
“It’s a boom time for ambient and electro-acoustic stuff, there’s a bit of dross around, but to be honest, there is an insane wealth of amazingly talented musicians doing their thing in this field at the moment.”
What are some of the lesser-known fun facts about you that people might be surprised to hear?
“I actually played trumpet from a really young age all the way through to getting into electronic music and production in my early 20s. It’s the electronic stuff I’m known for now so when I whip out the trumpet at a gig people are like ‘..oooh he plays real music too’ (laughs).”