Q-Talk about your evolution into this sound and your ideas of sound construction:
A- As a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, I was trying not to neglect all of these directions I was going in, i.e trying to develop sounds and record unique instrumental parts. It has ended up being this fun challenge of pushing different elements of my abilities to at least meet each other on some sort of common ground in my compositions. My sound design has been developed over the last 5-6 years with an ever growing library I have built since I purchased a sampler. I originally had no DAW to work in so I blindly created all of these noises with hardware, so it has been very fun and exciting to organize and create with them.
Q– What sounds are you looking for?
A- My influences have played a huge part in what I desired to create with Lustrous. Melodically speaking, I drew a lot from YMO’s Ryuichi Sakamoto and smooth jazz legend Dr. Lonnie Liston Smith. I really like how serious they can sound with such whimsical lines. Production wise, I’d say I took a lot from Isao Tomita and Ashra. Tomita’s use of synthesized instruments in his orchestra mock-ups really inspired me to search for a big deep sound, whereas Ashra inspired me to apply lots of guitar layers that intertwine with the synths.
Q-How does all of this apply to Phase Stone to Love?
A- Phase Stone to Love is definitely indebted to the simple flourishes of Lonnie
Liston Smith and winding lines of Manuel Gottsching . The sounds I was creating for this are inspired by the 1970’s but I made them more modern with the way they fit in the mix and bounce about, for instance the guitars and synths all pan at different synched rates and warp into new timbers at various points.
Q- What did your recording process entail?
A- Phase Stone to Love has come a very long way since its conception. The production utilizes these ambient chord samples I created via layered “artificial” harmonics on a clean guitar. The result was a nice set of modal changes for which I wrote an arrangement for guitar and 6 string bass to complement. After I had established this, I then layered keyboard melodies that counterpoint the arrangement and then with MIDI, manipulated the patch to animate it. I then created this tag based on the original ambient chords that I use as a reference point between the songs sections. This is the metaphorical “to” in Phase Stone to Love. The B section has been around since I was 19 and recording simple stuff on 4 track, but I finally got around to solidifying it in a much more mature manner. Finally, the end of the song is the “Love” section in which I used some subliminal messaging of the word “love” from a unknown sample I have had since I was 18 to complement this bittersweet guitar loop that I had written in around 2010.
Q-What is the instrumentation/ set up did you use?
A- The synths I used were my Korg MS2000b for the bass and piano like patches, MircoKorg for the leads, and Ableton Simpler with different vocal samples for some extra melodies. The drums were different mic’ed kits I’ve been around in my heavy sampling days, which I then chopped, orchestrated, and processed further. My main guitar at the time (R.I.P) was a Gibson SG special which I used on the whole album Lustrous. The bass was this Rouge 6 string with active pickups I borrowed from my friend. Various sound effects could be tracked back to the synths and guitar I mentioned earlier.
Q-Where does it sit in the album (it’s position in the journey of Lustrous)? Is it a transition into a different mood?
A- The narrative of Lustrous is a search for these beautiful jewels and visualizations of wonder, and Phase Stone to Love is the point where that search comes to a cross roads. At this point, I feel like I touched on the love I had been given in my actual life and had turned it into something beautiful, yet the quest was not over and I had left a lot unsaid. By the time I had finished Phase Stone to Love , the song after it on the record was almost done (Summit), but was totally emotionally killing me due to the fact I was really unhappy with myself on a personal level. At this point I realized I was investing so much time into crafting music that I totally denied myself a lot of critical analysis that I needed to grow as an adult. I had spent the few years before this in a delusional ego cloud and was really embarrassed of who I had been, yet I was striving to build this testament to beauty. To say the least it all didn’t correlate to a happy ending at Phase Stone to Love, so I built up Summit as a dark monument of this realization. As Summit burns down into a rotating cloud of rubble, Moon Gate opens with an ego death and out pops Dawn Mother. Dawn Mother is the name of the first mammal archeologists have found. The metaphor of a small rat creature being the conclusion and birth of this desire to create beautiful moments really summed up what I learned from making this record. We all are just little rat babies trying to sing songs about life. Hillarious, am I right?
Q-Stylistically, is this track similar to your previous works or does it differ?
A- This style is what I had been yearning to convey for a long while. My previous records were more stream of conscious that happened while I was trying to cultivate this. My future work is going in the direction of harnessing this energy yet showcasing more of my live instrumentation and an even deeper level of compositional detail. I have also been a lot more interested in Pop songwriting so I am excited to add that to the mix!
Q-How do you see this translating live and are you attempting to?
A- I am working with a few very talented friends to perform one or two songs off this record for a video shoot, but it is quite an undertaking to do so and I totally realize the level of commitment it takes to perform this stuff, so im not pushing hard for it. It’s a slow process to get all the parts arranged and is going to take about 6 people to pull off, but eventually this material will be performed live as it was intended.