Stephen O’MALLEY is a musician, composer, curator, and visual artist based in Paris, France.
O’Malley’s oeuvre defines a breadth of multidisciplinary interests involving music vectored by experimental approaches, physicality through dynamics and amplification, and explorations of thresholds via sound’s materiality and plasticity.
O’Malley is a frequent collaborator in various formations, in projects inside and out of the concert, exhibition, gallery and studio settings. Including significant projects with Greg Anderson (co-founder of Sunn O))) ), Scott Walker, Merzbow, François J. Bonnet, Randall Dunn, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, Jim O’Rourke, Kali Malone, Keiji Haino, Mats Gustaffson, James Plotkin, Thurston Moore, Attila Csihar, Peter Rehberg, Anthony Pateras. He is a founding member of the bands Thorr’s Hammer (1993), Burning Witch (1995), Sunn O))) (1998), Khanate (2000), KTL (2005), Nazoranai (2011), ÄÄNIPÄÄ (2011) and others.
He has worked extensively in creation dialogues with : the French choreographer and theater director Gisèle Vienne since 2007 ; the authors Dennis Cooper & Alan Moore ; contemporary composers Iancu Dumitrescu, Anna-Maria Avram, Johann Johannson, Eyvind Kang and Alvin Lucier ; Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov ; American sculptor Banks Violette ; Japanese sculptor Fujiko Nakaya & the Japanese collective dumbtype ; Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai ; Swiss artists Emily Ding & Swiss arts collective KLAT (led by Jerome Massard); Italian performance artist Nico Vascellari ; French photographer Estelle Hanania ; Luxembourg’s filmmaker artists Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert ; American filmmakers Jim Jarmusch & Panos Cosmatos ; fashion designer Rick Owens ; Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop ; he has worked at electronic music institutions IRCAM (Paris), INA-GRM (Paris), EMS (Stockholm), and others.
O’Malley composes for ensembles of various sizes. Including the pieces 6°F (2009), Géante4 (2010), Gruidés (for 30 piece orchestra, 2015) & Un Vide dans le Ciel (80 piece orchestra, 2016), Niagara Reverb (for alphorn ensemble & electronics, 2017), Avaeken (for electric guitar quartet, 2020), Numbers (for voice & electronics, 2021), Les Sphères (effondrez-les) (for percussion ensemble, 2022).
A tireless live performer who has toured extensively and has performed over 1000 events worldwide since 2000. Ranging from the Dømkirke in Bergen to the Musée du Louvre & Palais Tokyo, Paris to the Foundation Serralves, Porto, Munch Museum, Oslo and many theatres, festivals, venues, stages and museums across Europe, North America, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Mexico, and South America. He has performed extensively with his group SUNN O))) & also with Gisèle Vienne’s theatre company DACM, numerous solo concerts, and in his forté in a considerable variety of constellations of collaborations with musicians and within his other groups, most recently collaborating with the American-Swedish composer Kali Malone as an accompanist on pipe organ concerts, in a trio with Malone and cellist Lucy Railton, and in a duo with InaGRM director François J. Bonnet.
He was part of the formation of Southern Lord (1998) and Ajna Offensive (1995) record labels and has worked as the art director for many others. In 2011 he started the Ideologic Organ record label in collaboration with the late Peter Rehberg / Editions Mego. He is also significant involved in curating and publishing other artists work, in editions, festivals and events.
He began art direction and design work in the mid-90s and continues to create album visuals for musicians, having completed over 500 to date for record labels such as Editions Mego, Recollection GRM, 4AD, SOFA, Xkatedral, Southern Lord, and many others. He also made one of the finest publications in the nineties underground metal, Descent Magazine, in 1994 and published five issues, mostly in collaboration with Tyler Davis, before ending the project in 1999.
O’Malley was born in 1974 in New Hampshire (USA) and raised in Seattle. O’Malley’s initial musical formation was as a Scottish highland bagpipe & drum corps member for three years as a teenager in the early 1990s, studying under Don MacKay and Kevin Auld. He simultaneously was introduced to the underground via the Seattle straight edge hardcore community and subsequently discovered and dived into the international underground death and black metal community.
In 1997 he relocated to Hadleigh, the UK, to work as an art director for the legendary Misanthropy Records label, followed by a year in Los Angeles. O’Malley eventually spent a decade in New York, where he continued with art direction and advertising work before becoming a full-time musician/artist. In 2007 he relocated to Paris, where he is presently based.