Skowylec in an interview for Dharma Collective talks about his music vision and more.
Does the fact that you live by the sea is good for creativity?
– I live by the sea all my life, and since childhood I felt strongly connected to this element of nature. Sea gives a certain rawness, clearness and minimalism to the music.
I’ve heard that in your recent productions you’re not using many musical instruments, thought your tracks seem to be optimally filled and original. Could you give us your secret?
– Well, I don’t have a certain scheme that could be the matrix for any track. Usually I play some simple kick loop, and then I start a journey in search for sounds. When I find the right notes, the right colours I record a basic line, that usually goes on through the whole track. Sometimes it’s a pad sound, sometimes bass and sometimes dub chords. Then I listen to it over and over again, trying to find the right direction for the track.
It’s like travelling into unknown. You’re trying to reach somewhere, but then you meet something that you didn’t expect. If that happens, the whole track can change totally.
Sometimes new ideas are just happening in my head, coming from deep inside or maybe space. Sometimes there is just silence, and then I have to sit in front of the instrument and seek for myself. That’s how my tracks are made.
I don’t think that amount of equipment is the most important thing. The most important thing is that what you do is honest and real. Than you can play even only on one synthesizer. It will still be meaningful.
Ok. I must say that there was a little trick in that question. Hearing your tracks I’ve noticed chords that were spread by the echo. That’s something that describes Dub music. Especially the good one from the edge of the century. How are those made? How do they get to sound so originally?
– Well, most of them are made on the Roland Juno 106 synthesizer. This instruments gives you a lot of creative capabilities and if you use it wright, it’s perfect for those kind of things. The echoes are usually made on a simple ping pong delay effect in the virtual studio in the computer. Sometimes I also send it through the tape echo, but not always. It depends on what I actually try to create at the moment.
Tape echo gives you a great power in music, but simple ping pong delay is sufficient to create some really interesting things. What you send through it matters the most.
Tape echo? It sounds like a machine that combines the nature and technology. I’ve heard about a space echo machine. Is it the same as tape echo?
– Yes, I personally use a Roland Re-201 Space Echo. There is space in that name, but it actually makes the sound more organic. So connecting it with nature is quite smart. I called it a tape echo because in this effect, or actually living musical instrument there is a tape which records the sounds. Then it can repeat a certain amount of them.
Preparing those questions I’ve watched a movie “Where the buffalo roam”. I’ve wandered if you as well cooperate with a liberal lawyer, trying to save the world, supporting your own mental, artistic chaos. Is the sense and perception helping you in creating things? Or maybe you get help from an imaginary friend, a gnome or maybe an elf?
– Freedom is the most important thing in creating anything. I think that my music comes from my inner world, that is created by the reflection of the outside world, filtered by everything I’ve done, what I think, feel and dream about.
Without the perception music would be chaos. So your own perception and acceptance of everything that goes through it is not only helpful, but simply necessary in creating music. Your own perception makes the music unique. It’s because there are no two human beings that are the same. So it’s worth it to send the sound through your own crystal, your perception.
Why do you like the dub music and it’s elements so much?
– Well, I guess it has something in common with discovering the electronic music. Years ago, when I was in high school I started to create my own music. I played on an electric piano, a simple keyboard. I can remember imagining how great would that feel, if I could only play any sound that I can imagine.
Then, when I was at the university I’ve met some people that showed me Goa and Psybient music. Someone else showed me, that you can make such music on synthesizers. That was it. What I dreamed about. And then someone showed me “Deepchord presents Echospace, The Coldest Season” album. Dub techno classic. After some time it happened to be the best music style for me.
When I started to make electronic music myself I tried a lot of different styles. But they were not natural for me. Dub happened to be the natural style.
I understand that you prefer keyboard instruments. How do you make a typical rhythm section?
– The basic thing is the 4/4 kick (usually Roland 808 or 909 samples). The hi hat is usually modified by some delay effects. I make the rhythm section on the computer, because I still don’t have a proper beat making hardware. But you can do some really decent things on the computer. I personally use Ableton Live.
But you’re right about my love for melodic instruments. Knowing that I need a beat machine I would rather buy a Roland TB 303 clone, to add some acid psychedelic sounds to my music.
Before synthesizers and acid psychedelic I understand that you’ve listened to all kind of music. Do you remember any certain track from your childhood?
– If you want to talk about what I listen to, we should do another interview, because the subject is really wide. But when it comes to that childhood thing I remember when I was about 6 years old, driving in a car with my parents. They put on Mozart, I guess it was “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”. It was really funny for me back then. But after a while they put on a 90’s classic polish rock band Varius Manx. And those sounds was the first in my life that really got into my heart.
If you didn’t make music, what would fill everything around you?
– I can’t imagine. And I don’t want to. When I was a teenager I knew that music is the thing I want to do in my life. I can’t see any other way.
Skowylec, I probably got talent. What should I do, where should I start?
– You mean your interviews? You’re really good at them, being able to get the good things from the one you speak to.
No, I meant the music. But thank you.
– Oh I get it! Music. All right. Well the first thing you gotta do is fuck the system heartily. Andy Warhol once said, that there will be a time, when everybody will be famous for 15 minutes. Well that time is now. You go to a talent show and you get your 15 minutes of fame. But you’re still a no one, a product. If you really got talent, you should think about how to use it right. And right is not always profitable for you. Talent is a beginning of a path that everyone must choose by themself. Talent is not about thinking what others will say about you. If you got talent, there is a purpose behind it. And I think that a purpose behind talent is to give goodness to the world.
To change the world by that talent. If you use your talent to repeat evil, wicked structures, you are evil. I think the basic thing is to get up from the ground and fly in the direction you choose.
To use your talent in harmony with yourself. When it gets technical, use wisdom, learn from the source. Nothing is for free, you have to put your heart in it. But if it’s honest and real. It will come back to you.
Thank you for the interview and your time.
– It was great. I’m a rather introvert. So it was a great lesson for me. Thanks.