Electronic Music Production & Performance alumna Norom Bou – aka Freak A. Della – tells us about her explorations in taste and sound and what other things she’s been cooking since graduation.
You might remember her from her interview as an etikett radio host for our student led readio station. Or perhaps this is your introduction to the world of Freak A. Della. Either way, we sat down with her to ask about her journey as a musician and a curious creative person.
Tell us a bit about your background in music. What pushed you to start to DJ?
I studied classical piano and I played for over 25 years. When you have that kind of career there’s a very focused intensity and hours of practice a day. All I ever wanted was to play the best I could and that’s exactly what I did. When I got to Germany in 2008, I started over. It was the first time I asked myself if I wanted anything else besides piano. I married the person I love, not my job. I quit my teaching position, packed 2 suitcases and just left.
There were no role models for me as a 1st generation Cambodian American woman. DJ-ing never crossed my mind until I wanted to be an electronic music producer. I thought going to school would speed up the learning process. That’s how Catalyst landed on my checklist. After mastering Ableton better, I taught myself how to DJ with Abelton and an APC40. That controller seems daunting at first, but it opens up more sonic possibilities, making it worth the extra coordination practice.
Was there something specific that inspired you to explore the gray area between sound and sensory perception?
etikett radio! They put out a call for radio show applications and of course I wanted them to pick mine. After brainstorming I decided food and music had to be connected and why not explore my two favorite things on a radio show? Maybe people who enjoy life to the fullest appreciate these two things more. In any case there is definitely scientific research dedicated to this topic.
"Supposedly when you hear low sounds, the bitter notes in the chocolate come out and when you play high sounds, the sweeter notes come out."
A while ago you performed a taste test at the etikett radio opening party; how did that go?
Yeah, I did a chocolate taste test with sound at Beate Uwe. Supposedly when you hear low sounds, the bitter notes in the chocolate come out and when you play high sounds, the sweeter notes come out. To be honest I felt it was a little bit too loud to convincingly say everyone experienced it “correctly”. Some people told me they weren’t sure if it was working because I told them what would happen later. Others felt the change. It still all makes sense, because in a club or a restaurant, general loudness inhibits your overall ability to enjoy food let alone pick up such nuances. But, it was definitely food for thought for everyone there, which is an interesting and unexpected event to have at any club.
Any future plans for your radio show?
I’m currently researching more about how sound tastes. Yes. Some people see colors when they hear music but there are some out there who can taste sound! As always I will select playlists based on a food and music theme but this is the direction I’m currently exploring.
What else do you have cookin'?
I have a few things cookin! I have 2 EPs planned for this year. Breezy and I wrote and produced Lady DJ and will put out an EP as well. There will even be a song where I formally introduce myself as a drag queen producer. And speaking of drag queens, I’m also Kaey’s producer. Kaey is a trans drag queen and singer. (A drag queen who can actually sing!) And coming up soon, Friday April 28 I have a gig at Schwuz, for the Spring Breakers event.
I appreciate everyone’s support and hope to see you there!