The Creative Process #28 Golden Apes

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

I was fourteen when I became involved in what was my first band. My brother and some of his friends were running it for some time already and I loved to hang around in their rehearsal room, inhaling the creative atmosphere. It was all deeply rooted in that traditional gothic rock stuff and when you are fourteen those things can have a huge impact on you. I was hooked on bands like The Cure and The Psychedelic Furs since I was twelve and was addicted to this kind of melancholic emptiness, this cosmic sadness, which can make a twelve year-old boys heart burst now and then. So I was writing some kind of poetry, little bleak poems they used as lyrics for their songs and when their keyboarder left overnight I found myself next to an instrument I had no the slightest idea of…two weeks to go until my live debut…

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

The first album I was seriously involved in was the Golden Apes debut “Stigma 3.am”. The band was founded barely one year earlier and in those months we wrote tons of songs. There was no plan, no direction, no ambition – just the joy of making music, combining chords, shaping out melodies and watch it all running river-like wherever. It was only then that we decided to put in some seriousness and focus on some songs we were able to remember the next day. With a handful of them we build up that album and I still remember that impetuous energy we were recording with, that rampant creativity, free of templates and expectations. I don’t want to assess the albums quality but the way it made us feel was divine….

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´m into many things to be honest. Of course it is the same tongue that gives you the main inspiration and melodies are written in this one specific universal language and this is what mostly all starts with. Music. Relating to the words and the content it’s more the written art that affects and triggers my muses then. I used to devour books of any possible topic and I love to find points of intersections, links and herrings of any color, shake contexts and cutting away language from the actual meaning. I adore the multifacetedness of meanings…so it´s like painting, when colors overlap, mix and form new derivatives, set new atmospheres…

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?

If I remember right, it happened only once that we met at point zero and decided to do an album. Normally there´s no concrete schedule in our heads when we´re doing new music. It´s just a question of time that you feel hungry for dealing with new tunes, to put aside familiar procedures and switch off filters for letting it all flow the way it wants to. Seen in this light there is no main idea that affects an album, just a number of different evolutions – one for every song. And as mentioned above it starts mostly with a melody or a phrase, which sets the atmosphere, choses the landscape we put our feet in. And from there on it depends on the things we see and those we can´t. There were songs written in a couple of hours, because everything was around already, carved in the air and the alcoves of our heads and there were songs resting for months before the right moment of arousal found them…and us…

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

This is quite simple – it has to effect something. In you. Whatever color and shape. You can arrange the most sophisticated piece of music, filled with knowledge and complexity and in the end it leaves you cold. I´m not sure what it is what makes a song alive, what ingredient strikes the essential spark, but you feel when it´s missing…and it´s hopeless to find it by force…

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?

Of course there has to be a special mood for facing certain things in a certain way, but thanks god I learned to be flexible relating to my physical position. Most of the lyrics for the MALVS album for instance I wrote during my lunch break, 10 steps away from the office. An overcrowded place, full of noise and faces and the final words were so full of loneliness and isolation – well done I´d say! Of course it´s great to inhale the impact of new places, on the other side of the globe or just around the corner and while travelling I always makes notes… words, phrases, sketches….but for the final composing I just need a hole in my head, a blank sheet of paper and a handful of cigarettes….

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

“Being” I would say. The things I do – music, words and some design now and then – are just reflections in the end, mirrored images of the things I´m passing by… in- and outside. It is all very subjective, but this is what creativity is in the end. Reactions on impacts, filling craters in your head.

What is your main motivation to create and be creative?

“Being” I would say.

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

Also this depends on mood, flow and the condition of the muses. There were albums that took us one year to write and record and others, which seemed to ask for eternities. Especially in a structure like a band many things contingent on the chemistry within and the way you are tuned in with each other. Even if creativity is not necessarily depended on your own well-being and the right idea can find you while being shattered on the floor, the implementing and translation of it works better in a supportive setting. My experience….

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?

For me a song is something like an organism, something that´s permanently changing, that reacts to the place its played at, the season outside and the season inside. Even when it is cast in a mould on record, it is just the condition of a moment, a snapshot of its evolution. There are at least three or four different demo versions of any song of the last album, sculptured from different materials and point of views and even on stage a song sounds never the same for me. Does it evoke sadness today, it can bring you anger tomorrow. So the final version can only be the real last one…

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?

 Due to our current limited lineup we have to use backing tracks for our live shows and I (seriously) spent the last days and weeks with preparing and arranging that for the upcoming concerts and I realized how exciting it is to strip the songs down to the bones and put them in new clothes. What are the essential characteristics of a song? What is its soul and what only details and embellishment? I dealt with that a lot recently and I really found new layers in the familiar, pages I had overseen so far…as mentioned above – the recorded version of a song is just a stage in its evolution…

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

 The atmosphere. Onstage and in front of it. It’s really that simple…

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

 To be honest – no. As far as I can remember, I never had a music-related idea while doing a concert. If I´m up there my whole focus is on the songs you´re performing. Maybe you become callous with a proper portion of routine, but in my case I´m into every word I´m singing, into every tune that wraps me. The music is a very emotional vehicle for me and asks for every trembling nucleus in my mind…

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

 If I have a choice? At night and in summer, a few moments before a heavy rain comes down. I love silence, love the world sleeping, when thoughts can expand without being distracted.

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

I´m working intensively on new music these days and I hope there´s something to release later this year. It is not band-related (for the first time) and I´m quite excited about that. And the current condition of the Golden Apes makes me guess that there will be some new songs too soon…can´t wait for summer and nights full of rain….

My advice for people who want to do music? Just do it. And don’t let you discourage and irritate from allegedly missing knowledge or experience. If you play what you feel it is right. And if you feel what you play it is perfect. What needs a dimished third if you can have a heart oscillating…

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Photo by Victoria Alexeeva

 

 

 

 

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