English interview with the very latest artist, Stormloop on Glacial Movements.
Glacial Movements keeps releasing excellent ambient music with really cold atmosphere. 2011 seems to be an extremely strong age for the label: after the magnificent Loscil album (coast/range/arc) and the Mørketid remix album (by Bvdub), here is an other masterpiece, this time by a newcomer. Here you can read a little discussion with the artist, who talks about making the album, influences and plans for the future.
Az interjút ITT olvashatod magyarul!
While reading, why don't you listen to this album full lenght at gogoyoko?
This is your first album on a record label. How did your relationship with Glacial Movements develop?
I was just 'following' Glacial Movements on Facebook as a fan and just saying hi and stuff about posts. And then I thought why don't I ask Alessandro Tedeschi if he cares to listen to my stuff? We were friends also on Soundcloud, so he listened to a few tracks I’d put up there… Then he asked to hear more, so I sent him the demo of Snowbound. And he loved it, and told me that he would like to produce my album on his label. But it was a bit long I think? 15 tracks or more, and I could pick 10 of my favourite ones and keep it about 50 mins long. Meanwhile I decided to put all my old works up to Bandcamp. I told Alex, so he had a look and was curious yet again about another album I had put up there, and was giving away for free! He told me, Kev, do you think we can use a few of these? At the end, the first 5 tracks are from 2009 Snowbound demo and the other 5 from the Winter ep 2005!
Do you think Snowbound* is different from your other works?
No, not really. Sure it’s a winter ambient album, drones on a bit, but it’s stuff I had been doing or trying to do for a few years now. I always tell myself I get creative when the Autumn/Winter months come, and I kind of like it when it’s cosy inside, and all cold outside, and I have time to mess with my toys usually around Xmas time, when i get some new bit of kit or something.
What equipment do you use?
I use a combination of software and hardware. Most stuff these days is with a Mac Pro running Propellerhead's Reason 6. I’ve used and loved that program since it first came out around the year 2000. I love making my own combinators in it, along with Logic Pro with some plug-ins by Spectrasonics. A Roland MC-909 sampling groovebox which I don’t use much these days. A Korg MS2000br synth, a Novation Nova synth and a Yamaha Rm1x my first ever synth groovebox thing, a Fender Telecaster Deluxe with a lot of effect boxes from TC electronic, Electro Harmonix, Boss, and a Tascam field recorder.
Tell us about the process of making this album!
Most of Snowbound* was made using propellerheads reason and logic pro, but also there are field recordings, electric guitars, lots of effects, hardware synths and samples from movies. I will experiment with one piece of equipment at a time, save it or record it, and sooner or later it gets used. So there’s all these bits of tracks or parts of little 'loops' that I will either expand into a track, or blend it in with other parts. I usually listen back to the tracks late at night to see if it has that late night ambient feel. I’ve lost count the times I’ve fallen asleep with headphones on, only to wake up and the tracks on loop play or something, and the headphone wire is strangling me to death!
This is a deep winter ambient album. Have you ever tried to work in a different genre?
Well I used to play bass in a metal band when I was 18. So that’s kind of like the opposite of ambient, right? Haha! But yes, I’ve jammed with friends that like indie rock, playing bass or guitar. I first started making more electro IDM kinda stuff on my own as 'Electropod'. Some tracks are still up there on MySpace, but they’re not very good!
And how did you get in touch with ambient?
I think it all goes back to when I was a kid and liked Kraftwerk and Howard Jones, The Electric Light Orchestra, and bands like Genesis, Marillion and Rush. But yeah I’d say around 92-95 ambient took off as a new cool genre, and at that time I was listening to indie rock, 70's folk and jazz. So this was a new modern day cool thing, not dance music, not new age music, a kinda futuristic classical that could be mixed up with all kinds of stuff. I’m thinking the Future Sound of London, The Orb, and bands like that.. When all the chill-out rooms started, it was a really cool time to know about all these different styles of music. I was the guy that bought a lot of ambient CD’s, so when I lived with my friends, and we would go out most of the time, we would end up back in my room, listening to this new weird ambient stuff.
Some people tend to say the most fascinating about ambient is that, contrary to other genres, it doesn't change too much during the ages and musical tendencies. What do you think about this?
I think there is space for it to change and morph into all kinds of sub genres. I think it already does, but I think you’re talking about the slow synth ambient, the classic say Steve Roach sound no drums just nice string or pad washes that is almost classical music played on a synth. Well I do love all that, but there is a lot of ambient artists that are making more like 'texture sounding ambient' say Stephan Mathieu, Taylor Deupree or even Pjusk. So I think it’s morphing all the time, and if Steve Roach or Biosphere suddenly think bagpipes is the 'in thing' to use or sample, maybe even I’d would jump on that band wagon, and start using bagpipe sounds!
If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you pick? Why him/her?
Well I think it would have to be those guys from the rock band RUSH! I’ve been a huge fan since high school, and they’re just the best musicians I’ve ever heard live! It would be also nice to work with Bic Runga a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She has a great voice, although I’d probably make her sound like Enya and just spend all day drooling, haha! But if you’re talking about ambient musicians, it would have to be Biosphere guy Geir Jenssen or Steve Roach… and why? Because they’re just the top masters in ambient electronic music making.
And finally... I'm curious! What does the star signify at the end of the title?
Well it looks like a snowflake? **** But there is a little secret. I said Snowbound was a demo I made of about 15 tracks, and only 5 tracks have made it to the Glacial Movements release. Thus there are 10 tracks left that I’m hoping to put up on my Bandcamp website. And for now that album is called? Snowbound** The Tracks Left In The Snow. I’m hoping to finally put them up there around December. I may even give them away for free? Or to people who have bought Snowbound*.
Snowbound* comes out 21 Nov 2011 on Glacial Movements. It will be also available at many other stores, Boomkat and so.
Be sure to check out Glacial Movements website, Stormloop's Bandcamp for new upcoming new material, and be a Stormloop fan at Facebook.