Maxwell Soar is an aspiring sound and visual artist from Montréal. He is currently focused on sound design & analogue photography, but his interests extend to interactive media, generative/glitch art, and visual coding. Soar taught himself acoustic guitar beginning at 14 years old. Since then, he has picked up electric guitar, bass, piano, drums and digital music production software, such as Ableton and VCV Rack. Beyond music, he is always on the lookout for new creative collaborations, no matter the medium. He will be a student in the BA Interactive Media program at UQÀM as of fall 2020.
Why did you get involved in this project?
I initially heard of the EXC-19 project through the COMS department at Concordia University. Although all of my previous sound projects were done alone, solo work can frequently be intimidating for me. Working alone limits me to the ideas that I can come up with & the creative workflows I am familiar with. Therefore, an opportunity to participative in a collaborative project such as EXC-19 (and the fresh ideas that it entails) would have been very difficult to pass up.
Did the one week turn-around for the work help or hinder your creativity?
A quick turnaround is somewhat necessary for me, creatively speaking. Perhaps for a large-scale project that requires lots a planning, a wider time frame would have been appreciated. However, in the case of EXC-19, the one-week turn-around allowed me to put a greater amount of improvisational energy & inspiration into my work. I found that the lighter and more natural style of sound design that resulted from this type of workflow fit well with the two projects I worked on.
How did you feel about working on a project where you didn’t know who you were collaborating with?
The anonymous nature of the work didn’t change the way I worked, because I’m not (or at least wasn’t beforehand) familiar with any of the artists I collaborated with. However, the fact that I had no control over the other mediums in each project (text, video, editing) definitely meant that I was more focused on the work I had to do on my end.
Has being involved in the project changed your thoughts on creativity?
Significant collaboration with other artists, whether they be known entities or anonymized, is somewhat of a paradigm shift for me. I initially subscribed to the highly individualistic model wherein any decent artist has to be extremely inspired and complete every facet of their projects alone. Thus, working with others was a breath of fresh air, especially since the division of labour eliminated the possibility of creative conflict.
If you worked on several videos, what kept you coming back for more and how many did you do?
The large variation between each project made coming back to work on a second video a no-brainer for me. Receiving a new, completely different video and deciding how to approach the sound design was one of my favourite stages of the project. The randomized nature of EXC-19 kept the whole process fresh & interesting!