She grew up playing under a grand piano, enjoys relaxing video games with a melancholic undertone and has constructed her very own foghorn organ. Meet Amina Hocine, Pole’s newest crew member.
You are a student at the Royal College of Music (KMH), a trained classical pianist, have released three albums and composed music for several theater plays. Among other things. How did your interest in music start?
My mother is a classical pianist and one of my first memories in life is playing under the grand piano we had at home while she was practicing. I wanted to start playing piano at four and she pushed me to start playing the violin to have a ”social” instrument as well.
When did you start composing music?
What was very clear from the start was that making the music is what I’m drawn to, not practicing all day. I wrote my first melody at four and my mom helped me notate it (it was called The flying horse). When I was ten I started writing pop songs on our keyboard and at thirteen I got a micro-tape recorder and started experimenting with recording from the speaker on the recorder into our laptop and then recording it from the laptop speakers until the sound was unrecognisable. I really enjoyed the transformation of sound. Then in high school I started making music in Cubase and noticed that it felt very natural for me to work in a daw.
I wrote poetry as a teen and released a collection of poems with some other teen girls so writing the lyrics came naturally.
And now you are attending the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. What program?
Yes, I’m pursuing a master in electro acoustic composition. I guess I got kind of bored of pop music and wanted to find alternative ways of working with music and sound. When I found this electro acoustic world of sound art I felt right at home. I feel like this world can never get boring because the possibilities are endless. Of course there are unwritten rules but they are kind of fuzzy, at least in Sweden. I like the freedom and it has lit a fire of inspiration for me.
Rumor has it you have constructed your own foghorn organ. What exactly is that and why are you doing this?
Yes! It’s an instrument I’ve constructed of PVC-pipes (+ lot’s of other components) and it’s driven by compressed air. I always loved the sound of foghorns, brass and also sirens and wanted to find a way to get this sound into my own hands. That’s where it all started. But what’s interesting is that this instrument has become something so much more interesting. Since it is very hard to exactly tune, beatings evolve very easily and every time I play it I find a new type of sound. It’s like playing with air and many have pointed out that it has a ”synth”-quality to the sound, the way I can manipulate it. So right now I’m searching for a new name for it.
How did you get in touch with Pole?
I took a course in music for video games at KMH and as part of the course was a visit at Pole. Afterwards our teacher told us that Pole was looking for some extra help, so I wrote them. I was very curious of this world of games, movies and sound design so I was very happy for the opportunity.
What will your role at Pole be?
Right now I’m working on designing sounds for a sample synthesizer so I’m either recording instruments and sounds or I’m working with making them sound interesting
And your impression of the crew so far?
They are super nice and the whole vibe has been very inviting.
Composing music for a play or a movie, how is that different from composing a regular piece of music?
When I work on music for a play or a movie the director always has the final say. Having this outside voice that will judge if it’s fitting or not forces me to separate myself more from the music. When I compose for myself I force myself not to (mentally) invite the audience while I’m composing. It’s just for me, and when I’m done it doesn’t really matter what others think even though it’s always nice when it’s appreciated. Also, when composing for a play or a movie, it has to fit a picture of some sort and follow a rhythm, so it’s more crafty.
Do you have a favorite film composer yourself?
Yes I love Angelo Badalamenti. I’m a huge Twin Peaks fan and I love how he can work with clichés and make me believe them. The music is mostly simple but so so (!) powerful. I don’t know how to explain it further but it feels magical to me.
Have you ever composed music for a game?
No. But it’s a dream! I would love to work closely with a company so that I’ll have the freedom to make something very unique. I’m a fan of relaxing games with beautiful landscapes and sweet characters, but with a melancholic undertone. Like something horrible has happened, and now we’re trying to navigate this new world.
And final question, what is so great about music?
Making music, whether it’s for a play, a movie, a game or just on its own, is creating a world for me. That’s why I’m drawn to movies, plays and games I think. Even when writing a piece for myself I can feel and see what this world is like. I have synesthesia, so I literally see pictures and colors in my mind. And when listening to a piece I might recognise the world or I might not. But here’s where the magic happens. I don’t find myself listening to certain genres, I get stuck on pieces because they simply hit the right spot in me. Sometimes it feels like the piece remembers something I’ve been through that I’ve forgotten. And sometimes it feels like I’m able to remember something that doesn’t exist. So, short answer: It’s the closest to magic and the larger reality I’ve come in life.