What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I grew up listening to classical music in my home, which led to me playing in orchestras as a teen. I took that really kind of obsessively, and it brought me from a very small rural town with a little band to playing in Carnegie Hall and the London Symphony. After that, I fell in love with the studio and all of the amazing sounds at one’s disposal, but in the end still wanted to connect that joy with the orchestra and classical music in a way.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Building the sound of the album at my studio in east LA, it kept evolving into this massive cosmic symphony. I’d finish the day and go walk out into the night and think endlessly about space exploration and how we’d love each other out there – this pairing of the grandiose and intimate is what drove this album forward. The label heard the demos and said, ‘well, do you want to record this in London?’ So we did.”
With the help of members of the London Contemporary Orchestra (Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool) we tracked the orchestra at AIR Lyndhurst Hall, engineered by Geoff Foster (Dark Knight, Dunkirk) and mixed by Satoshi Noguchi (M83, Daft Punk). “It was a dream being out there to record, but the harsh reality of choosing that path was returning home and editing takes and stems for weeks, along with the self doubt of, ‘is this going to mean anything? But like anything, you make something and then move on because once it’s out, it’s not yours anymore.”
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Bon Iver, Sigur Rós, Radiohead, Alt-J (the 1st album!).
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I take orchestral textures and mix them with these indie songs with lots of heart – pulling the craziest sounds I can out of the symphony and then trying build a song out of it that hopefully moves something in you. I have to sell a lot of ownership of music off for that to happen, but at the moment, I can’t think of any other way to make these crazy sounds. It definitely feels like new sonic territory. There aren’t many artists out there who write their own songs, and orchestrate and produce the music too. Usually separate rolls played by different people, so it’s exciting to build everything from nothing with one cohesive vision in mind
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Ok Computer, Leaves of Grass, The Social Network.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
The studio is my home – my safe place for ideas and creating. But if I’m brutally honest, I don’t really like sitting down in a studio and writing. I’ll start with a musical idea, sure, but then I like to get it on my phone and start sketching out ideas in my head with voice memos while I’m out in the world doing life things. Otherwise I can start to produce myself in a corner and get caught up in the tools. I’m excited to start performing live next month, taking these songs and re-imagining them with synths.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I used to assist for Guy Chambers in London at his studio. We worked with Robbie Williams (once) but generally I was disassembling and re-assembling equipment all the time. I learned a lot though. Anyway, I didn’t last very long as one session I put milk in everyone’s green tea, and varisped a session by about a half semitone, and everyone started getting headaches!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Finder – the production isn’t like anything else I’ve done before. We used guitar picks on the string orchestra, 40 of them and it had an amazingly vivid result. It just felt fresh.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I’m going to be bringing this music to a live format, starting this November 6th in LA at The Satellite!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Photo credits: Alex Kozobolis
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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