Sonic Innovation #7 - A Guy Has Turned His Hair Into a Violin
We’ve become so accustomed to shop-made instruments that the idea of using a body-part as an instrument is strange - it’s usually associated with crusty beatboxers or someone doing the hand farting noise which normal people grow out of. But the body is amazing - and it can be used to make noise that won’t just appeal to people that think Family Guy is funny.
Tadas Maksimoves, a Lithuanian artist, has created a project which utilises his own hair as the strings of a violin. The hair - which stays attached to his head - is drenched in glue, strung through a violin, and played. The end result is amazing; it sounds exactly like a normal violin.
I talked to Tadas about using his hair to make music, haircuts and what it feels like to be played.
YNTHT: How did you get the idea to put your hair on an instrument?
Tadas: If you can pull your own hair down to your asscheeks that’s a sign it’s time for a haircut.
Two years ago I came up with the idea to make strings out of my hair. I wanted to cut my hair but also make some kind of visual entertainment from it. I noticed that a few advertising campaigns had been released featuring a violin bow in which the horse hair had been replaced with human hair. It was interesting but they didn’t do it properly - the music comes from the strings not the bow. I decided to do it properly and make a violin with human hair. But the thing was, I couldn’t find anyone to help me - and obviously I couldn’t do it alone.
It does sound like a two person job.
Definitely, so I started approaching people to work on it. I was called crazy many times. It wasn’t a surprise; I’ve done crazier things in life.
How did you finally get round to doing it?
I wrote to Eimantas Belickas, one of the best violin players in Lithuania. I knew he was open minded enough to get involved and I really admired his performance at Eurovision. He liked my idea and a few days later I jumped on a plane to visit him. We bought real hair extensions, every super-glue brand we could find, and started testing them. We weren’t sure how the hair would react to the glue - would it be strong enough to make a sound? But it worked fine.
And then what?
We started to think about what we should play. The first idea was “Voodoo People” by Prodigy but we decided to stick to the music that Eimantas had created. We decided on one of his pieces and began to storyboard the video that is on Vimeo.
How was the filming?
It was rather straight forward. I sat down and the hairstylist made the strings. It took about half an hour for each string to be made mainly because we had to wait until the glue dried out. It took about half an hour to get into tune and about an hour to shoot it. Eimantas used the electric violin so we were able to record the sound directly to the recorder.
How did it feel to have someone make music out of your hair?
My hair roots are really sensitive. I had to remind Eimantas not to pull the violin too hard. I didn’t care about my hair then, I just wanted to keep my scalp on me. It was a bizarre too - not because of the sound - but the way we looked. The image of 2 guys standing back to back while one plays a violin made out of the other’s hair while still attached to his head - it’s not that usual is it?
What do you plan to do for your next haircut?
You know what, after 10 years of not cutting my hair I really enjoy being bald. I still have dreams that I have long hair. I look like an Eastern European hit man but it’s practical. I might try a British haircut though.
A British haircut is when you leave longer hair on top of your head and shorter around it. The longer hair covers half of your face. It’s mysterious. I still have my old hair wrapped in a ball and I am thinking making a knitted hat out of it.
That would be amazing. Any last words?
I grew up listening to Eimantas music and he is someone I’ve admired since I was a teenager. I felt honoured and proud to do something this crazy with him. I am happy Eimantas believed in me and despite his fame and public image, he agreed to do something like that. YOLO!
Follow Dan on Twitter: @KeenDang