The Creative Process #10 Off Land

 

When did you start making music and what was the contributor factor that made you to do so?

I began crafting sounds in 1998. In the 90’s I started getting into electronic music and listening to albums such as Lifeforms by Future Sound of London and Insides by Orbital. This music had a massive influence on me, pushing me to think about sound manipulation.

How hard was it for you to create, record and release your first material?

I didn’t come up with the idea for Off Land until 2004 so there were six years of experimenting and soul searching before I settled on a musical concept. Creating was the easy part. I slowly chipped away at my first album over the course of three years. The toughest part was knowing when it was done, knowing when to let go.

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?

Music is the main source of inspiration for Off Land. I am often influenced by nature and science documentaries as well.

What are the steps that an idea takes before becoming a fully fledge song? And how does that idea affects the way you build an album from the ground up?

I rarely go into a song knowing what shape it will take. I usually begin with a sample, or an emotion. Then I slowly build upon the sample or quickly record an improvised piece based upon the emotion to form the song’s skeleton. Once the skeleton is made, I usually have a good idea of the desired end result. I rarely have a very concrete plan when I first start to record an album. The concept only forms once I’ve properly dived into the music created under what ever limitations I’ve imposed upon myself in the song creation process. I find self-imposed limitations easier for focusing.

What do you consider the most important traits that a song and an album must have before you consider it to be completed?

When I’m listening to an album to see if it’s done, I often ask myself, “does it convey what it was meant to convey in its surroundings?” I know it’s a bit of an oblique question but it allows me to see the music better, objectively.

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?

I have a small personal studio in my house so everything usually begins there, either in front of the computer or in front of my synths. I find that if I am in my studio, usually something will happen, and if for some reason creativity isn’t happening that day, then I take a break. Creativity finds me, never do I force searching for creativity upon myself.

Except art are there any other external or internal factors that influence you when you create, if so what are they?

Everything obeys the commands of time it seems. I need at least a two hour block of free time to work on anything meaningful. It can often be difficult to find that time during the week.

What is your main motivation to create and be creative?

Being able to share ideas and emotions not easily conveyed through words or visuals is the reason I create. There are strange surfaces to explore, and Off Land is the vessel I share to experience these aural realms.

How long does it take to go from a song to an album from scratch to the fully recorded version?

Songs can take anywhere from two days to ten years. There’s a moment when I realize the song says what it needs to say. Sometimes figuring that out can take a decade. I rarely give up on a track but often times set them aside for a while. Albums can take anywhere from a couple months to a few years to come together. They’re often more reliable, and help me to focus on and finish some difficult tracks.

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?

I mainly work by sampling my own recordings. I often record one or two takes, then sample the takes to fit the needs of the piece. I record quickly and reactionary to the piece while continuously building up a song. Layers upon layers, no different than oil painting.

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?

Every live show that I play is improvised and unique. Any samples that I may use during a given live performance are taken from previous albums, but displayed in a new context. Shows can range from very experimental to improvisations based around a preconceived structure. To me, making each set different allows for a unique listening experience. The raw live improvisations allow me to directly channel how I feel in the moment, in the space, communing to the audience through sound.

What are the main ingredients that makes a live show special for you?

It’s hard to explain but there is certainly a vibe that you can feel when the show is special. A good concert and crowd is almost euphoric.

Do new ideas appear during live performances? If so how to do you proceed in order to materialize them?

Often times I will stumble across something while playing live that really works. I try to record all my live performances so that I have that moment saved. Either I will sample it or try to re-record it if I feel it is worth working into a studio piece in some way.

What is the perfect time of day and weather that makes you creative?

I absolutely love working on music on warm, rainy days. Maybe it has something to do with being able to open the window, hear the rain falling, and smell the petrichor.

What are your future plans and what advice do you have for people that want to get into creating music?

I’ve been working on playing more live shows, which is both exciting and very different than just working in the studio. I’m working on a couple mini-albums for release this year, one of which will be out on Stasis Recordings in June. Looking further into the future I’m working on some collaborations and have two or three albums in the very early stages. I’m taking my time with these albums, but that’s what they seem to demand.

My advice to anyone anyone trying to get into making music is to take your time, experiment, never rush, and never worry. Make art for yourself first and foremost. If you care, others will too. They’ll hear your inspiration in the music you make.

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