The Joy Of Sound

by
Lene Lovich


I had a disturbed childhood, growing up in Detroit.  My imagination - the places I could go to, and the things I found there, was often my only sanctuary.


It wasn't long before I discovered that there was a great therapeutic value in making a noise.  Whether it was the relief of a good cry, the delightful effect of laughter, or the thrill of a scream - I always felt better afterwards.  It seemed a shLene Lovich: The Joy Of Sound (essay)ame to have to wait for the next occasion, I wanted to be able to create similar effects whenever I wanted.  With the aid of my imagination, I began to do just that.  With practice, the sounds became more controlled and the game grew more interesting.

These early attempts to express emotion through sound encouraged me to carry on experimenting.  Later, as I became more confident, words began to accompany the sounds and that's when the songwriting began.

Of course, there were plenty of outside influences.  We had three records in our house:  March Slav (Tchaikovsky), the sound track from South Pacific, and a Spike Jones song called Mollasses.  These, combined with the emergence of Motown, formed my musical roots.

In the early sixties, the great upheaval happened.  I found myself in England, with my brother and sisters and my British mother.  Life was hard , but for other reasons - mostly financial.  There were still plenty of reasons to make a noise.  It wasn't long before I found I could enhance the effect of my vocal noises with some kind of accompaniment.  This is before I got involved with conventional instrumentation - bands etc.  I began by 'singing' with the pneumatic drill in the road, or other traffic noises - the mixture of voices in a crowded market - or the rain against the window.

By now, the British pop scene was in full swing.  I was impressed by almost every band I heard:  Beatles, Kinks, Stones and others.  I was particularly attracted to the great voices of the time:  Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Arthur Brown and more.

Soon, I became aware of what was happening in America.  The Doors made a lasting impression on me, as did Bob Dylan and  Frank Zappa.  I can remember being thrown out of a pub when I was quite young - not for being underage, but for playing Hendrix's Purple Haze six times on the juke box.

The more I opened my eyes and ears, the more I discovered that the world was full of wonderful sounds.  They existed in radio and television waves, in nature, in conversation, and maybe even in vibrations from other dimensions.  Even so, I have never forgotten the value of the sound of my own voice.

Over the years, I have grown in confidence.  Through experience, I have become more skilled in creating sounds, coloring and shaping them to order, and making them work where and how I want them to.  It can be exhausting at times, but usually it's a lot of fun.

Why not try it yourself?  You have nothing to lose but your fear of the unknown and a few inhibitions.  You might even find that the sounds you create will change your life.  At least they will probably make you feel better.

Go on - make a noise and communicate.  Stir up some vocal sound and be creative.  You never know who might be listening.

© Lene Lovich 1998