Magnus Birgersson is the ‘brain’ behind great Solar Fields’ project. Having released numerous albums since early 00’s, he has succeeded in having a unique sound of his own from downtempo to epic cinematic. His latest effort was released merely a few weeks ago (‘Ourdom’) and hopefully, it will be performed live on May 12th at DOTS. Downtempo Connexions, at Black Box Methodia. Last Day Deaf, once again, did its part, providing an exclusive interview with this unique artist…
Hi Magnus, and welcome to Last Day Deaf! Listening to your latest euphoric ambient album ‘Ourdom‘; Would you like to enlighten us about this awesome release? Was it conceived and written in South Africa? How come?
Hello and thank you. Yes I wrote the entire album in Plettenberg Bay/South Africa, where I have my second home base and I’m trying to spend the European winter time down there to avoid the cold weather. In winter 2016/17 I was supposed to work on another album when I was in South Africa but instead ‘Ourdom‘ was created 🙂
Remaining on ‘Ourdom‘, this was released on Sidereal, unlike your most previous releases on Ultimae records. Actually, your latest release on Ultimae is dated back in 2013 (‘Origin#2‘). Correct? Would you like to tell us why did you choose another label(s) for your latest releases?
‘Ourdom‘ was released on my own label Droneform Records firstly, this is the place where I release all my new and past albums. Droneform also takes care of all the digital releases. I’m letting Sidereal take care of the physical releases like cd, vinyl and merchandise so I can focus more on music. The main label for all of my new and past releases is Droneform Records, this is where the music will see the light first.
Back to your very early days as Solar Fields now: In 2001, you released your magnificent, ambient/downtempo debut ‘Reflective Frequencies‘. Would you like to tell us how did you get this god-like inspiration for this one, and how did the collaboration with Ultimae Records emerge?
It was during the MySpace time and I had put out some music there and also a track called ‘Outlined Surfaces‘. Ultimae Records found me there and they licensed that track to the first Fahrenheit compilation. After that they asked me if I would like to do an album with them and I said yes. I already had a lot of music that I had started to work on so I continued with that and finally the album was done in 2001.
In 2016 you wrote the score for the videogame “Mirror’s Edge Catalyst” (following 2009’s “Mirror’s Edge”). Are you a gamer yourself? Would you repeat this one? Would you think of scoring a sci-fi feature or even a horror flick?
Yes I am a gamer when I have the time for it 🙂 For sure I would like to do something big like that again in the future, but it is also good with a break since if I start working on something like that, I dedicate all my time to it, therefore no gigs during this period, I’m not even composing music to my self when I’m hired to do work like this.
That would be cool to do that yes 🙂
Among your most unique and electrifying releases are ‘Origin #01‘ & ‘Origin #02‘. Will there be a 3rd installment?
There will be 4 installments in total 🙂 Yes for sure, I’m working on #03 right now, but don’t know when it will be finished so we see about that but so far it is going great. I’ve been going through a huge amount of tracks and found the foundation of what is going to be ‘Origin #03‘ and I am super happy so far.
As far as I have read about you, you were raised in a musical family. So getting a bit personal now, which person (family one) was the most influential one for what Solar Fields has become, and in what way?
I don’t think there was or is any specific person in the family who has influenced me, it is the sum of it all that made me start composing music. I started with music when I was very young, my first live appearance was in the late 70’s when I was 6 years old and I played drums 🙂
In your releases (including most of Ultimae Records’ ones), there is a strong ecologic feel in the sound. Do you believe that ambient and environment go hand in hand?
Hard question, perhaps people who compose ambient music put a little more deeper thought behind what they are expressing since it is a genre with more creative freedom.
‘Movements‘ is considered by many fans of yours, your best work to date. What do you think made ‘Movements‘ so unique and approachable to your fans? Would you like to release Movements #2 someday?
No, I’ve already done ‘Movements‘; I would never repeat myself, It’s against my vision and what the Solar Fields project is about.
However, a completely remastered re-release of ‘Movements‘ on both cd and vinyl is in the works and it is sounding absolute awesome.
Looking very much forward to your live PA at DOTS. Downtempo Connexions event in Athens, Greece on May 12th! What are you going to present to us that night?
Happy to be back in Athens. I will play a lot of new stuff and also some old classics together with some more up-tempo, a mixture of my work so to say.
Let’s play a game now: I will write down 5 words and I would like you to tell us which 1st word comes to your mind:
Ambient – Undefined
Brian Eno – Kraut
Ultimae Records – great label
Mirror’s Edge – Red
Space – Time
Ending this interview with your future plans for the Solar Fields’ project….
More music of course, will try to find time to finish the album I’m working on together with Krister Linder. Here is a live concert showing what we are doing. Also working on re-releases of my older albums on vinyl and cd. And of course my next album that I’m already working on.
Photo credits: Arbat Hall (2nd one)