When did you start making music and what was the contributor factor that made you to do so?
Probably my brother’s extensive vinyl collection and his Yamaha V-50, an FM synthesizer that made zero sense to me as a kid, but somehow pulled me in and begged to be played.
How hard was it for you to create, record and release your first material?
I remember writing all the songs in my head while standing guard in a god forsaken hill during my national service stint. I then got down and dirty, learned CoolEdit Pro and pretty much flailed until I figured out all aspects of production. A terrible strategy that I follow to this day!
What is the main art form that influenced you in creating? Was it only music or did movies and other forms of art influenced your creative process?
I was always more of a movie guy, but I think eventually you start seeing patterns in one art form and want to find a fresher one. That’s kind of why i like blurring the lines between audio and video because adhering to stricly one of them would bore me to death.
What are the steps that an idea takes before becoming a fully fledged song? And how does that idea affects the way you build an album from the ground up?
It depends wildly on the song, for example ‘Ultralove’ took a year to write, but HE^RT took two days. I’m still learning my craft and trying to optimize, but lately I’ve found that it is absolutely crucial to not sit in the production station until you have a song idea that is halfway developed. I usually a groove based on a song that inspires me, then I modify it enough to give it my own flavor, mess around with chord progressions, let it marinate for a little while and the big breakthrough will be the vocal line, that will usually dictate how fast the production will go.
What do you consider the most important traits that a song and an album must have before you consider it to be completed?
My gauge is always going out for a walk and listening to the latest mix, if I get shivers from the chord resolutions and crescendos, it’s ready.
What are the actual steps that you take when you are creating? Do you need to enter or go to a certain setting in order to get creative?
Yeah, it really helps having time to ramp up to creativity, but as most DIY musicians will tell you, it’s not easy finding the time, so I usually find myself coming up with the best songs in the shower or on my commute to work, I almost always wear noise canceling headphones when out and about in NYC so I can compose while walking. There’s no screens and no distractions!
Except art are there any other external or internal factors that influence you when you create, if so what are they?
A dogged sense of not having done enough and always being out of time. It’s pathological, but that’s what being an artist is all about.
What is your main motivation to create and be creative?
I think it’s one of the most important things to do in today’s climate. Tribalist and isolationism are in fashion again and artists have a duty to break down barriers and bring people together with base emotion.
How long does it take to go from a song to an album from scratch to the fully recorded version?
A loooooong long time. I slave over every chord progression and sound a little too much. To me, a half assed chord, or a chord progression that doesn’t work is tantamount to casting the wrong person or making a bad cut of a movie. The whole thing falls apart, so I take structure very seriously. Like I said before, some songs take over a year to get right and some are super fast, I can only wish to come up with more fast ones than slow ones!
Do you take multiple takes of the songs before settling on the final version or do you go with the flow and just do one take?
Absolutely, Sunset Blood was an entire completely 80s sounding album before I gutted it and reworked it. There’s 3 different fully fledged versions of New Cydonia and countless Sgt. Tagowskis. But only the right ones made the cut.
During live shows what do you like to do more, experiment and improvise on the basis of the existing album and songs or you are more likely to recreate the recorded material as faithfully as possible?
I love putting a little twist on the live stuff, there’s a wildly different HE^RT version that I love busting out live and tons of different surprises. I can only hope to make live shows more frequent so I can show them off!
What are the main ingredients that makes a live show special for you?
I think you have to be in the moment and actually engage the music whether you’re onstage or in the audience. I love seeing people in the crowd that don’t know me start watching suspiciously from the bar then by the end they’re right up front jamming out!
Do new ideas appear during live performances? If so how to do you proceed in order to materialize them?
Absolutely, I do a lot of mashing up and cutting up live and it’s very invigorating to do that, rather than slave over patters in your DAW.
What is the perfect time of day and weather that makes you creative?
1:00AM is when my music brain clicks on. Apocalyptic NYC storms are where it’s at for coming up with new synth sounds.
What are your future plans and what advice do you have for people that want to get into creating music?
I’m working on a couple new videos right now as fast as I can, while more than halfway done with Midnight Signals Part II, so far it’s super exciting and I can’t wait to share what’s there, it’s a little heavier and darker, so more Empire Strikes Back than A New Hope.
For people that want to get into music, I would say pick ONE program and learn it inside out. Inhale all the youtube tutorials you can but nothing is more important than digesting all the good music out there. Get some perspective and see why famous songs work and bad songs don’t. Develop your palate and never be content, always be thirsty for more.