The Creative Process #15 Ziggurat

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

We started making music together as a Jazz band. I’ve always wanted to start a band and before Ziggurat I was doing solo production and was briefly in another band which ended up disintegrating pretty quickly .  I met Jordan(drummer) in early 2017 through craigslist and we instantly clicked and started making music.

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

I’d say our first demo we came out with was pretty easy in terms of difficulty. It was a set of 3 jazzy ideas some of which I’ve had since high school. Jordan and Michael picked up pretty fast on those ideas and we used the demo to play several jazz gigs.

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? 

All sorts of stuff! Mostly music- Before Ziggurat, I was massively influenced by instrumental hip hop artists like J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Madlib, Clams Casino. Jazz has always been a big part of my musical upbringing as well. Jordan has a noise rock/punk rock background and Slime(current bassist) has a heavier, blues rock take on things. Recently, literature has been influencing our music -as our next album will be influenced by short story from the drummer man himself-JORDAN!

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? 

For Ziggurat, there are many ways an idea can turn into a full fledged song. Usually I’ll have a riff or even a fully written piano/keyboard piece and I’ll bring it to practice so we can flesh out the song. Some of the Ziggurat tracks, “Reset” for example , were constructed like a beat on DAW software using a grab bag of samples from me, Jordan and Slime. Lately we’ve been jamming on ideas at practice and we’ll come up with something there- That’s how the track “Six Skulls” was born.

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

For songs and albums, it’s all about flow. In constructing a song, I must be able to listen back to it a number of times and in a number of different moods and still be okay with it. In constructing an album, flow is even more important for a good listening experience. The variety of moods and atmospheres we make with our music must be organized in a way that everything runs smoothly.

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? 

An idea can come to us at anytime and any place. More or less this how an idea surfaces: Step 1 – an idea is born on the piano, computer or practice. Step 2- Idea is fleshed out and written out on paper. Step 3- song is recorded. Step 4 – I usually will add production on top of the recorded song.

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

I feel like the music I’ve making in Ziggurat has had a more darker, dramatic tone due to my increasingly negative view of society as of recent. Also, I’d say travelling affects the stuff I write for Zigg. For instance, the first track off our Preface ep was motivated by a trip to Germany/Austria back in February  and in making the production for the song “Botheration” I was influenced by a past road trip through the Navajo reservations in New Mexico.

What is your main motivation to create and be creative? 

Creation is meditation. It puts you in your own world and helps you cope with life’s adversity.

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

It depends. Half of our recent Ep is made up of ideas we’ve had for over a year! But due to many circumstances like a busy work life, band line up changes and the loss of almost all the music I made last year it takes a while for those songs to get fully finished. On the other hand, I composed and finished three songs from the Ep a month or two from its release due to my urgency to finally complete this album.

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?

Always multiple takes

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?

We usually will do our set of songs from the album- usually reimagined in some way. But we will always will do straight improvisation for a live show too

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

Good music, engagement and cool visuals

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

Yes. Sometimes, there’s an idea good enough that we’ll remember it and take it home and work on it

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

Late nights are best for creativity for me. In terms of weather, I think clear-skied days are best.

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

Future plans- We’ll be doing more shows and promoting our Preface ep for while. After that, we’ll start hitting the studio to record our first LP!

Advice for people wanting to get into creating music– When you are first getting into any creative field, don’t be afraid to fail or make something shitty. The greatest artists have had shit ideas at one point or another. It’s part of the process, don’t beat yourself up over it. Practice a lot, be consistent and keep an open mind!

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