You’ve got a new EP out this week on Flemcy Music, there is an interesting concept behind it, tell us about the inspiration for this project and how it ended up on the label.
Yes, the EP is called “Fate”, and it’s a 6-tracks effort, a bit on the high side for an EP. On one hand, I wanted to out-do myself: I’ve never done a 6-tracks EP, so I said let me try and achieve that. On the other hand, I recently (and randomly) had the chance to re-watch the classic TV Series “LOST” from a few years ago, and as I was finalizing the EP that got me thinking: “what if I make this EP my little tribute to the series, and at the same time making you feel LOST in my sound”? And so I did, naming the tracks after the six most important Dharma Stations that are on the island. Ok, hardcore fans will now say that there are other four minor stations, but I focused on the main six, plus I also absolutely loved their names. Who knows, the other stations may pop up as single tracks in some other releases in the future. The EP was months in the making, although the finishing part of it did accelerate in the last month or so… I sent the label some previews of what I was working on, the feedback was always very positive, so I just kept going.
Walk us through the production process on ‘Hydra’, which is quite a unique track. Is that a typical process for you or is every track a different journey in terms of the creative process?
“Hydra” is the third track that I’ve done in the EP. The track is built “from the top down”, like almost every other track of mine: a simple pluck, atmosphere, deep bass, arpeggio, stabby noises, abundance of fx, processing, and additional layers. Drums come in only later in the process. I would say that it’s both a typical track of mine, and at the same time it’s special: I think every track, or every session, is a different journey, a different challenge: that’s what excites me the most about music production.
Tell us a bit about your studio, what are some of your go to pieces of gear or software?
Well, I’m a big Maschine user, and I use Ableton Live as a main DAW. My favourite plugins come from the Arturia and U-he families and I’ve just started, slowly, adding little analog pieces to my setup: Korg, Roland, Dave Smith is what I’m interested in right now… Usual suspects! I try to use what I have to (almost) the maximum of its possibilities. Limitations are key! When I feel I reached some kind of tipping point, I add a new piece, either software or hardware, and try to maximize that one.
Flemcy Music has definitely become a comfortable home for you, what makes the label such a great place to release your music?
My first release on Flemcy (“Evolution”), and first ever release as a solo artist, was the label’s fourth. That should tell you everything already! Very simply, we’ve been growing together, and I’m proud to be an integral part of the sound of the label.
Of course, now there’s a personal connection with Jean-Pierre Lantieri, head and founder of the label, but as we always say: everything starts with the music, and that’s how it will always be.
Last but not least, I very much like the effort that the label has put in promoting itself and its artists, because it’s the same effort that I’ve put in my music, so that makes it a very comfortable, easy-to-work-with, home for me.
Talk to us about your Lost Crate imprint, what eventually led you to start it and what vision do you have for it?
My Lost Crate imprint started as a simple recording studio when I made the switch to do music full-time, with plans to add other pieces in the future. The label was, in fact, one of them, although I honestly didn’t have a specific plan for it in the very beginning, besides being free to release my own music whenever I wanted (which is possible even without a label today). So, although it has been a side project to my solo career, the label has slowly grown to the point that I have a good number of artists that I like sending me their music for me to check out and possibly release. The vision for the label is just to keep doing that: finding more interesting artists, helping them grow, create a collective identity around it. Brand-wise, the activity of the studio continues in full and it’s luckily growing constantly, plus I have plans to go into sound design and possibly, at some point, start organizing label nights, although that’s still a bit far in the future.
What advice would have for someone hoping to get signed to the label?
Just be as original as you can: send something that you would like to listen to, and/or play, that’s sonically good already, and that fits with the mood of the label. Research takes time, we all know it, but it’s easy to do these days, so invest some hours to see at what point you’re at before sending your stuff out.
When you finish a track or even an EP what is the thinking process behind deciding if you send them somewhere or release them on your own label?
I honestly always think of sending my music out first, even when I have no release commitments. I think if you grow enough as an artist, you can carry your label, and some of its artists, with you. As I said, the label has been more of a platform to discover new music so far and, although this may change at some point, it will continue to be that in the near future.
How much of an influence is music outside the electronic world on your own productions?
I couldn’t quantify it specifically, but I know it does. I listen to completely different genres of music every single day, and from different eras. I admire producers: gurus like Rick Rubin, or Dre. It’s hard to really “study” those people just from the music they’ve produced, but I’m inspired by their longevity, their ability to bring the best out of different artists, in different genres and from different eras, even if today’s music landscape is constantly changing at a very fast rate.
There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of an artist other than his music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? And what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
I think I’ve been putting the right amount of emphasis on it. It’s an important factor, whether we like it or not. Me personally, I try to use these tools to the best of my ability, compatibly with my time. If there’s a chance they’re gonna help me reach a wider audience, and positively engage with it, I’d like to take that chance. Of course there are negatives to it, but that’s the case for any mass communication tool.
On the other hand, if it wasn’t for music, I’m not so sure I would be so involved in social media and the likes: the flow of information is just unbearable. My thoughts on the industry is that … it’s extremely competitive! As I said before, you have to be patient, consistent, and really believe in yourself. Yeah, it’s been said thousands of times, but it’s 100% the truth.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an artist in the industry right now?
Being an artist, a manager, a booking agent, a pr agent, a label head, a marketing manager, and a few other things, all at the same time. That’s the biggest challenge. Finding that balance, to be focused on what still matters the most, which is the music (at least to me), is sometimes difficult. Of course, whenever you get to the point that you can “outsource” some of the non-musical ones, that means things are moving in the right direction. But it’s still a beautiful and crazy ride, and I’m lucky I get to do it.