The music of Kansas City composer Stacy Busch is equal parts serene ambient, unclassifiable electronic and mashed-up techno. The sounds themselves are challenging and evocative. However, they take on new life when heard within the context of her many multimedia projects and collaborations with modern dancers, performance artists, videographers and spoken word artists. Busch seeks to do nothing less than "reinvent the concert experience." In her interview, she expands on this philosophy, why many of her influences are "non-musical" and how Kansas City has inspired her work.
Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?
Hi! My name is Stacy Busch and I currently live and work in Kansas City, Missouri.
Describe your music for new listeners. Who or what are your influences?
One major goal for my music is to engage broader audiences than current music that is played in the concert hall setting. I didn’t grow up studying music, and I am still constantly surprised that I’ve wound up in music school surrounded by a culture I’ve never felt fully apart of. So, I like writing music that is relatable, even though it may sometimes be provocative. I prefer writing electronic music, music for percussion, and vocal music. My major influences are, strangely, usually not musical. I am inspired by women who have succeeded by being themselves. Namely, Tina Fey, Patti Smith, Marina Abramovic and Sophia Coppola.
Artistic collaboration is always part of the immediate inspiration for any project. This is because my ideas are all inclusive. I do not get inspired to write a piece of music, I usually get inspired to create some type of artistic event that involves an array of different mediums. I love developing a team of creative people and I love showing a performance that’s truly in the grey area in terms of genre. Of course I end up writing a bunch of music but that’s not usually the impetus for the project. I have large, blank sheets of paper that line my walls and I scribble ideas and drawings and random stuff on them with sharpies. This is where the really early ideas get fleshed out. But when it comes down to writing music, I use Logic, Ableton and Sibelius.
The first thing visitors to your website see is the statement “Let’s reinvent the concert experience.” Describe the work you do to enable this reinvention.
To me, reinventing the concert experience is about maintaining the ways the traditional concert is effective and changing the ways that it isn’t. For example, quality music and a quality concept are both great advantages of the concert hall. But, viewership is drastically declining and I think that’s because there’s a lack of humanity in it. It can appear sterile and untouchable. So I try to create events that get people involved more in the actual space, and invested more emotionally. Bringing the performers off the stage and onto the main floor, allowing audience members to see, touch and smell, and using concepts that are human, relatable and engaging are some ways to make the experience more engaging. At the end of the day, it’s about creating a memorable experience and utilizing a feeling of impulsivity that I find people respond to.
What inspires you the most about the Kansas City classical and electronic music communities?
I moved to Kansas City because I felt the community was very inviting, vibrant and invested in growing. There is a strong network of all types of creative people in the city, and that was immediately apparent and inspiring to me. I think the most inspiring aspect about it is that you feel apart of something that’s building itself from the ground up. I like that idea and I really respect the artists in this community because of that.
Stacy's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
M Train by Patti Smith
The Search For Spirituality by Ursula King
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards