Will Connor is a London, UK and Portland, OR based percussionist devoted to experimenting and composing using unconventional instruments and techniques. Innovatively rethinking how to generate percussive and acoustic sounds with a goal of reversing the aural expectations of the instruments, attempting to create electronic sounds with acoustic devices, et cetera, Connor plays drones and sustained tones along with truncated, abrupt sounds. He freely draws upon Italian Futurism and Dadaist sensibilities to create textural soundscapes and industrial sonic explorations, performing on household objects and homemade devices, including pot lids, grill hoods, sheet metal, springs, shelf brackets, and bicycles, as well as traditional and ethnic percussion. Connor primarily performs dark ambient composed and improvised material, but also works in gothic, jazz, rock, traditional-fusion, and modern classical contexts.
Connor's background in improvised music, modern composition, and ethnic ensembles prepared him for playing with his current projects: Seesar (Lovecraftian Dark Ambient Soundscapes), Dread Falls Theatre (Gothic Steampunk Performance Troupe lead by Dramatist Victoria Snaith), and the conglomerate of createives making Lovecraft and Futurist influenced works, the New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult, and various improvised and modern composition groups. Connor often integrates his textural approach to performing with electronics, strings, and other metallic instruments in a wide range of musical settings, for example Connor's work with Jo Quail (Gothic cellist), WARY (noise electronics, woodwinds, and percussion), Shugoran (dark ambient industrial soundscapes), P. A. S. (NYC-based experimental noisescape band), Second Head (Gothic Neofolk Grunge Rock), and artists such as Steve Beresford, Philippe Petit (French avant garde DJ), Sandeep Mishra (Indian classical sarangi master), Laetecia Statier (Stereolab/Monade), z'ev, John Butcher, Sonic Pleasures, Cementimental, John Russell, the Panjara Trio (Iranian traditional music), and Farouk El Safi and Ali Kadir (Egyptian percussionists), and most recently PerKelt (Celtic Medieval Speed Folk).
Since starting to play percussion in 1978, Connor has played with projects such as The Pigeon Frequency Orchestra (Improv), one3four (Math-Punk and Improv), BAAMPHF!!! (Math-Punk), the Centre for Transgressive Behaviours (Absurdist Theatre and Improv), the Hawai`i Kakula Ensemble (Sulawesi percussion group), and Fukadugalon (Improv),as well as playing Chinese opera and Tibetan folk music, working with Butoh and contact improv dancers, and performing new compositions by upcoming young composers. Connor holds degrees in acoustics, music, and ethnomusicology and completed his Ph.D. at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2012 (for more information on Connor's research projects visit the Academic Work page).
Connor's academic musical research and performance projects are all part of his larger goal to invent new ways of approaching percussion and assists him on his quest: He hopes to generate and incorporate exciting, cutting edge instrumentation and combine them with performance techniques that result in a continuous and exciting musical adventure that he shares with his listeners through live presentations and recorded media. Furthermore, Connor seeks to provide a creative outlet for his deep appreciation of gothic and steampunk literature, specifically his greatest literary influence H. P. Lovecraft. As part of this exploration, Connor released his first full length solo album in 2014 followed by three more to date, as well as at least one release by each of the other full time projects in which he was or still is involved (PerKelt, Tamerlan, and another Lovecraft-related set of material as collaborations with members of the New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult). In addition to continue publishing academic music research papers, Connor expects to return to touring mid-late 2017/early 2018.