Matéria Prima: Hatis Noit: Voices of Nature

Hatis Noit speaks after the concert at Jardins Efémeros 2022, in the Cathedral of Viseu.

We listen to excerpts of the songs Himbrimi, Aura and Inori from her debut album “Aura” released in 2022 by Erased Tapes; and we also hear two excerpts of improvisations presented by the artist at the concert, especially the last song of this programme, which is dedicated to the wild fires Hatis saw in Portugal.

Hatis Noit is a Japanese artist living in the UK. All the songs in this record are created using only the artist’s voice. Hatis Noit is an autodidact, inspired by folk music, opera, Gagaku, Bulgarian and Gregorian chanting, but also contemporary music. The songs have no words.

The title “Aura” for the album was inspired by Walter Benjamin, who described Aura as the ‘fundamental essence of art’, which in its original form would only happen once.

The song ‘Aura’, is about a memory of getting lost in a forest near her birthplace Shiretoko, Hokkaido.

“I felt as if I was close to my death, I could feel myself dissolving into and becoming a part of nature rather than just being an individual. This sense of awe and peace found there is always the place where I start making music from”

Hatis Noit

The song ‘Inori’ was created using field recordings of the ocean, only one kilometer away from the nuclear plant in Fukushima, when she was there at a memorial ceremony, which marked the re-opening of the area for locals to return to their homes, after ten years. The song is dedicated to the lives lost during the tsunami, and also to the memories that people have of their hometown.


[“Himbrimi”, from the record Aura by Hatis Noit]
[Jardins Efémeros, Viseu Cathedral, field recording]
[Opening improvisation by Hatis Noit, excerpt, by Hatis Noit, own recording ]

M: We are speaking with Hatis Noit. It’s very nice to meet you.

Hatis Noit: Nice to meet you too!

M: What is your art about and are you speaking with nature in someway?

Hatis Noit: Yes, sure. When I sing, first I try to connect to… the almost very first memory of mine, which is the nature, from my birth place Hokkaido Shiretoko. It’s a very much natural place, surrounded by wild animals and a big forest. So, I’m always, like, coming back to the original memory of mine is a big inspiration for making my music.

M: So, in someway also speaking like animals, and speaking with animals?

Hatis Noit: Ah! Yes, I wish I could! Not only about animals but also nature, I feel sometimes like being able to communicate with them… I’m not sure if it’s right, or if its actually what they are talking about, but sometimes, yeah, I feel like I understand them, you know? Without using words.

[“Aura”, from the record Aura by Hatis Noit]

M: Maybe it’s too much of a fabulation of mine, but what are you speaking about, if I can ask?

Hatis Noit: Ah, yes, sometimes we are talking about how delicious are those wild berries, wild fruits, or like, how fun is running around the forest… or you know, how sweet to be blown by the wind. Or with trees, you know, like talk with animals, or with insects, or talk with soil, with trees or leaves… anything… sometimes wind…

M: It’s very sweet! And this kind of stories, do you think that through music you are also telling these stories, or re-telling these stories, for other people to access this state of being, or this state of mind? … I think you manage to bring this state of mind to other people. For me, listening to your music is not only very relaxing but it also gets me in the right frequency.

Hatis Noit: Oh, if you feel so, I’m very happy!

M: And for example during the concert there were some bats flying through the church and you could hear them actually! … So… you also learned from the Gregorian chants, and the traditional Bulgarian songs, as well as Japanese chants. How do you think you are furthering those practices in a contemporary way? Are you also building on this tradition?

Hatis Noit: I’ve been inspired by those traditional techniques of voice a lot, and my music is also very much influenced by them. But I actually haven’t had any proper education of them, I didn’t really learn any of those techniques, officially or properly. So in that way I can be more floaty around them. Whatever I found interesting from any way of using voice, I would first mimic them, and like again, again, again, again. And at some point I ended up combining them into a music which is basically the music I really want to listen, you know? Because I’m just a big fan of human voice in general, so any type of vocalization inspires me and excites me so much. So it’s like a journey to explore the ability of the human voice.

[“Inori”, from the record Aura by Hatis Noit]

M: You presented to us an improvisation about the wild fire, that you saw on the way here. We have wildfire seasons here. We have large plantations of eucalyptus which is the Australian tree. And we have the most planted area in Europe of eucalyptus. So this is the cause of those wildfires. In some way, the same as Fukushima was not exactly a natural disaster, it was a human made tragedy too. A couple years ago, more than a hundred people died because of the wildfires here. How is your music a way of healing and caring for the heart_ How do you feel these tensions?

Hatis Noit: My way of seeing this is: human is also a part of nature, I always think so. And from that perspective, possibly I sound a bit cold to say that. But as long as we are a part of nature, we cannot beat nature. Nature is bigger than human beings. But sometimes people behave as if we can control nature, of as if we can change nature or the environment, or as if we can concur nature. But I don’t think so, it’s not possible. In some way, nature will definitely, not beat, but give things back to us. If we do something bad, of course nature would give some back to us, even bigger things. So I don’t really have a single-sighted perspective. But to think about this planet or think about nature, including us. What happens in this world is sort of meant to be. So in a way we have to be always very modest with nature. We cannot control it, and we cannot change it. We have to be aware we are a part of nature, not apart from nature.

M: Thank you so much!

Hatis Noit: Thank you!

[Improvisation for the Wildfire, excerpt, by Hatis Noit, own recording ]

Interview with Hatis Noit, Matéria Prima
16/07/2022, Viseu, Portugal

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