Fredo Viola, Singer & Audio-visual artist


7.7.16 Bearsville, NY

"Let me sing a track for you" said Viola when I visited him at his home. The moment his original voice filled the room, I was mesmerized not only by the sound of his sound but by the intense and lively expressions of his face. Viola was introduced to me by a friend whom had met him during a hike. I can only imagine a breathtaking vision of singing for her under the canape of the forest.


Q's by Kate Orne

Learn more about Fredo Viola

Current frame of mind: Keep Calm and Carry On.

Natural talent: Vocal music/Visual experimentation

I’m not particularly good at: Anything financial. My brain squirms away involuntarily after twenty seconds of my yearly conversation with my accountant. I just don’t have a head for it.

Creator I am influenced by: Bill Viola. I was insanely inspired by a retrospective I saw many years ago in NYC. It was his installations that inspired me the most — I loved the amount of control he gave to his audience in regards to taking in the work, and the mysterious beauty of the content. I used to want to make films like Fellini and designed each and every moment of my own projects. I still love Fellini dearly but seeing Viola’s work (not related, btw), I realized the importance of allowing space for the audience’s experience and not trying to control every last moment.

Hardest aspect of being a creator: Today I think the hardest part is figuring out a relationship with the audience, as there are so many new ways to connect based on new software or technology. Sometimes this can add considerably to the creative excitement, but it can be daunting as well.

What keeps me up at night: Politics and social monstrosities (the latter of which are usually a product of my own imagination).

What gets me going in the morning: The beautiful air which, year round, is delicious up here. Each new month offers seasonal delicacies. For instance, after an early spring rain, there’s the smell of black berries and black tea in the air. I’ll take a big dose of that before coffee any day.

I get distracted by: Sadly, Facebook garbage. There should be a support group!

An unexpected responsibility living rurally: Don’t kill the spiders! Trap them under a glass, scoot a paper card underneath and release them safely outside! 

Recent nature sighting: A snake in my studio… He/she was just sitting in the corner, not more than four feet from me, striped and a bit resembling a copperhead. I determined it was actually just a harmless milk snake, and a super chill one at that… you’d think the snake was stoned out of it’s gourd. I unlocked the door, opened it from the other side, and then swept it gently out with a broom. Phew!

Good and bad things about neighbors: Good: Mine are generally friendly and kind. Bad: Many of them drive those turbo-powered, tank-like, lawn mowers!  The sub-bass produced is satanically difficult to keep out. As a consequence, I do most of my recording after hours.

Where I tend to meet new people: I usually meet people on hikes. 

Favorite local place for fresh produce: Sunfrost in Bearsville. Their wonderfully fresh bok choy and leafy greens are a staple for me.  

Worse advice offered when leaving the city: ‘Frolic naked in the grass’. Don’t do this without a thick coating of bug spray.

I regretted leaving the city when: I’ve never regretted leaving the city. I will say that I was surprised that you actually have to work a little harder to get some exercise when you live in the country. In the city you walk everywhere but here you have to drive to a place to walk or risk getting run over while walking on the shoulder of a road. Aside from that, and for so many other reasons, I am happy as a clam.

My advice to future transplants: Don’t you dare buy turbo-powered lawn equipment!

Learn more about Fredo Viola