Ronald Peabody – Audium Listens S2E3

Carlino Intro (0:00): Welcome to Season 2 of Audium Listens. This season, we’re sharing some exclusive interviews from the artists-in-residence of our annual residency show Audium: New Voices. Tune in to hear from Alex Abalos, Sharmi Basu, and Ronald Peabody about what brought them to Audium, how they’ve evolved their practices during the residency, and what they’ve created for this space. My name is Carlino Cuono, and I’ll be your host for these conversations.

This episode, we’ll be hearing from Ronald Peabody about his approach to play and storytelling at Audium, how he nourishes his own creative fire, and how much he’s learned from the other residents during his prep for the show. 

Carlino (1:04): I guess I’m curious to know, um… if you plot a few of the points in your life that led you to become a resident artist here at Audium.

Ronald Peabody (1:12): Wow. Um… so, that’s a… that’s a broad question. I feel like… wh-where do I start from? (laughs)

Carlino (1:20): It’s kind of long, yeah. (laughs) Yeah. M-maybe, you-you could start with where you’re from and what you’ve been working on recently. Yeah.

Ronald (1:25): Cool, cool, cool. Alright, so I’m born and raised in… New York – Staten Island, New York.

Carlino (1:28): Mmm-hmm.

Ronald (1:29): And, I moved to Texas when I was like about to exit high school and I stayed there for a few years, and then back to New York and… LA, San Diego, and now finally in San Francisco. And, how I got Audium – my girlfriend, she… uhh, she was coming to visit here for our first time and we were like doing our little vacation thing or something like that, and then ended up finding Audium and she knows I’m into music and so she’s like “what is something we can both go to that we both like?”

So then, uh, we’re all in the lobby just chilling, we’re looking around, and we finally get inside, uh, the space and we’re like “oh, it’s in darkness” and we’re experiencing this. So we got in– it was just like, it blew my mind. And then, the next person went… it was, um… I’m forgetting the names off top, but all the residents from last year, New Voices I, they were amazing – they-they were so good, and I think it really, like, changed the way I was viewing music. Because I think – I make music already with like this layering thing with my vocals and stuff like that – but I think hearing it in just different speakers, I really understood more of, like, the spatialization of, like, making music and stuff. And I think at first I was kind of just… being su-having freedom with making the music and, like, doing the spatialization just like, with whatever thoughts I had inside my head, but now knowing there’s like technical terms to it, I’ve taken so much away from just that and applying that to our music. After watching the three, uh, residents from New Voices I, we’re in the lobby just, like, talking with everyone and I actually, uh, know one of the residents from last year, I know Barry, and I asked him, I think he was going to school from New York, something like that? So I like pointed him out and I’m like cool, we got some kind of like similarity, maybe I can talk it up and see what he’s thinking. So I asked him how he got into it and stuff like that, and at the end of our conversation, we talked for maybe like 5/10 minutes, he was oh yea, they’re gonna have a, um, residency again it’s gonna open up I think during the summertime, you should apply.

Carlino (3:33): Mmm-hmm. 

Ronald (3:34): I was like, oh! I’m definitely applying.

Carlino (3:37): Yeah.

Ronald (3:37): So I was– I’ve never, like, stalked something so much and, like, wanted to apply to something and it felt like I was going to school again or something, man, like…

Carlino (4:08): I’m curious, before I-I wanna ask you about some things that you learned here, but I also wanna hear a little bit about, um… kind of, maybe, some of the philosophies or approaches that you bring into your music making.

Ronald (4:18): Hmm.

Carlino (4:19): Um, whether that’s with Angelnumber 8 or in this project. 

Ronald (4:23): Mmm. (sighs) Um… I don’t know, I just listen to a lot of music.

Carlino (4:28): Mmm-hmm.

Ronald (4:29): I just try to listen to a whole bunch of music and stuff like that, and then just try to, like, keep life, like, fun for myself and I think as much… as I just keep experiencing new things and, like, having fun and being comfortable in my own skin, that allows me – Cuz I think everybody, as human beings – I feel like we have that, like, fire inside of us or something, it’s just up to us to, like, continue to fan that and I think the fanning process is not something, like, oh you know, go jump off a cliff or, like, go make sure you put in 50 hundred thousand hours to go make this, it’s just about, like, really, like… feeling good inside, you know, and I think all that other stuff just, like, comes so naturally if that’s your interest. You know, my interest for music, fashion, and design, all these things, it’s been been my interest since I was, like… since I could walk. 

For me, uhh.. The stuff that I bring when I’m making music is just, like, my life, really.  

Carlino (5:41): Mmm-hmm. 

Ronald (5:42): You know?

Carlino (5:44): Yeah, cool. Um… Yeah, I guess I’m curious, like, what-what slice of your life are you bringing to, um, Africalien, your piece for Audium?

Ronald (5:54): So with Africalien, I’m just diving more into my storytelling abilities. I think as a kid, I was always like hardheaded when it came to, like, doing those, like, summer… summer, uh, reading projects and stuff like that…

Carlino (6:10): Sure (laughs)

Ronald (6:11): I’m like, I can’t believe they gave us homework over the summer, but there was something – I was just talking to one of my mans about this and they were saying oh, you was definitely one of those kids that were like building the forts and stuff with the two chairs, and I’m like man that’s so funny you say that cuz… I used to like doing it, but my sister… my sister, uh, that’s – she is, what? 4 years older than me. I have two older sisters, but the one that’s 4 years older than me, she… so smart, like, so-so-so smart, and she was the one during the summertime that would, like, always want to play school underneath that fort. Like, I was under the fort playing video games, and she was the one that was bringing the pieces of paper and like, we gotta make this story… She’s the first kid I knew that wanted to, like, write a book or something. You know, and she was really doing that on, like, Microsoft Word. I’m like, what are you writing a book about? And she’s like just writing random stories and stuff. 

Yeah, with Africalien I’m just going back to that. Uh, just enjoying, making, like, playful stories, fun stories, just making the imagina- keeping the imagination just, like, as free as possible, you know? And with Africalien I was studying stories, and then also I was checking out a bunch of just, like, old video games –  and another one of the video games that my sister, or another thing for that my, my sister that’s, um, a few years older than me, she used to play Sims a lot growing up. So, I was studying a bunch of Sims and just, like, watching the documentaries about it, and learning more about the creators, and stuff… and I was just so fascinated with that, and that led me to making this story about the 88-year old subject, and ???Dr. Format??? too, like, studying him and going back in time to, like, see what had happened to him during this, like, traumatic experience that he had gone through a few years before. Hey, I just wanted to make it fun, man. Make it like a video game, too, where it’s like, you know, you just don’t know what the hell’s going– or what’s (laughs) what’s really going. Kind of like when you check it one time – there’s like a little clue there – then you go in, listen to the sounds – you come out, there’s another clue… Just, like, making it really interactive, you know, and, like, also seeing the other two, uh, residents – Alex and Sharmi – being so interactive, that, like, just made me even more inspired too to just, like, also make something that’s just as interactive, you know? 

Carlino (8:40): Yeah. It’s really awesome to see what you’re doing, like in the lobby, and how it’s gonna interact with your piece before and after.

Ronald (8:46): Yeah. Thank you.

Carlino (8:47): And how you’re working, like… with this space that’s alive with your own practice, it’s awesome.

Ronald (8:52): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you.

Carlino (8:54): Um… Yeah, you mentioned earlier that you’ve been kind of, uh, like, trying to take in as much information and knowledge-

Ronald (9:00): Yeah.

Carlino (9:01): –um, here at Audium. Do you have, like, some key things that you’re taking with you, um, after the residency? I guess you still got, uh, still got performances to go… (laughs)

Ronald (9:10): Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure, for sure. Man, I came in here, like, butt naked, man, I’m not even gonna hold you, just butt naked not even knowing anything about, like, technical side of music, really. You know I’ve like, I’ve worked with this band on my last project Digital Tribal, this band ??Ospiriau?? and they’re based out of San Diego. 

And that was my first time I spent, maybe like two years with them. Just, like, one year of just fun and making songs and stuff, and then the next year of actually diving in and making the project. But with them, that was like my first introduction into, like, using, uh, pedalboards and the insides of, like, music, but I didn’t even understand what that actual was until coming here and seeing Alex build things from scratch, seeing Sharmi build things from scratch on the computer, and how everyone’s just… so handy when it comes to music and not only just from, like, a vocal stance. As a person, I’ve grown so much just being at Audium, because again I was talking about, like, the going to school thing – it really forced me to, like, organize my time in order to, like, tend to the people I love as well, too, you know? And I never really done that. A few years back I would just, like, sit down on the computer the whole day and try to make music. And I’ve learned now – with time before and with this experience with Audium – it’s just that you need to really break up your time and, like, organize. 

Carlino (10:56): Yeah, I guess could you speak a little bit about how, um, the storytelling in your piece, uhh, has been, like, adapted to utilize the technology at Audium – um, the unique, you know, spatialization situation? 


Ronald (11:11): So… with Audium, even just from the space in itself of making the composition, it really helped me, like, develop… my structure – again, of just like “alright, this comes first, this comes second”, like I really had to dive into this story. And I feel like at times what I’ve done, cause this is a series that I’ve done in the past, I do these like ten minute videos – I’ve done three in the past from 2019 to… 2021-ish, and this is like another version of it – but, um, the ones in the past, you know, I was kind of just like making it feel like a DJ set and I was-the story was a little scrambled around, but this really… I needed to dive into the story to be able to go “ok, this is gonna come out this speaker here, then this is gonna hit this wa-way here” because this is the conversation that’s happening in the quote-on-quote, like, street or whatever that’s happening. So it really just, I needed to really structure the story properly to go along with the way how Audium is built. 

And what Dave, his dad, umm… Paul, Leo, and Blanca, Honey, you, what you guys have all done here is like really pushed me to just, like, okay… you gotta think about yourself even more, you know, it’s not just like “oh…” Cuz I feel like it’s very easy to, uh, not have the story, like, flow – and, which probably you wouldn’t- no one would probably even notice – but I think as a personal thing, like, what I’m saying is, like… for yourself, you want to make sure that ok, this needs to go this ways, this needs to go this ways, and not just because for your own personal, um, enjoyment, because it makes sense in this space, you know. It’s not just, like, things coming out of one speaker. Everything is broken up step-by-step, so I think following that step-by-step is how you kind of just, like, color in like each… you know, you know those old coloring books with like one, two, three? That’s kind of what it feels like. 

Carlino (13:10): Yeah. That’s awes- like, that sounds like you’re bringing so much intentionality to, like, every aspect of, uh, not just the sounds that you’re making, but also the architecture of the space. 

Ronald (13:19): For sure.

Carlino Outro (13:31): Thanks for tuning in to listen to my short conversation with Ronald Peabody, one of the current residents in the Audium spatial sound residency. I’m really excited to hear and experience Ronald’s spatial storytelling and all the sounds and his installation work at Audium. The sounds you heard in the show today are from Ronald’s releases as Angelnumber 8, his work with Spray Allen, and some sounds from his composition for Audium. If you like the sounds and ideas, come check out the show Audium: New Voices 2, which opens on February 9th and runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night until April 1st. You can find more information online at

Episode transcription by Odin Rosado