INTERVIEW: The ÆTHER

Hi ÆTHER , welcome to VENTS!

Hi! All good thanks, I’m David, thank you for having me and hi to all your readers!

As someone who’s highly influenced by movies – how do you go on translating this visual ideas into your music?

That’s a great question! I think music for films allow all kinds of styles and can involve the kinds of complex emotions that you may not always hear in top 40 style tracks. Films and TV often have music to explore the inner landscapes of characters and its a different way of composing compared to commercial chart music.  I’m not sure what makes certain music sound ‘cinematic’ and it wasn’t something I set out to do, I guess it just comes naturally. I think maybe adding in a landscape of sounds and using instruments such as strings creates a world around a song that maybe becomes more visual for people. I like to add sounds that shimmer and that seem to expand the space so you feel you’re in a landscape.

Speaking of concepts, how did you come up with the idea for ‘ÆTHERVILLE’?

I was watching the classic French new wave film Alphaville and that movie struck a chord with me. It’s about an outsider who uses poetry to help free a futuristic society from being controlled by a machine which outlaws human emotions. Seems that our society has similar issues. The French new wave directors tore up the Hollywood rule book and created new ways of expressing ideas and I love that.

Did you approach this record as a concept material?

I don’t approach albums as concept albums in the way artists like Pink Floyd do, but in terms of what songs fit together and what sounds fit together yes absolutely each album fits together in my head as a unified collection of songs and I do think ‘album’ rather than ‘single’. Each album I have released marks a few months of my life and I can almost look back at them as diary entries.

What made you want to revisit your previous albums?

You can hear so many different things going on in the music when the vocals are removed and I think this allows other people to experience the music differently. I think it allows people to think their own thoughts and create their own worlds and I’m hoping that other artists can use the tracks for their own projects and in their own ways. I like hearing instrumental versions of tracks and hope other people will have a new listening experience and maybe want to sing the songs themselves. I’d love to hear other people singing my songs in their own style.

Was the plan for this record always meant to be an instrumental record?

We decided to put out instrumental versions of the songs as it’s a different listening experience when you remove the voice and allows people to use their own imagination. Also allows other singers, producers and rappers to perhaps use the instrumentals for making their own tracks and I’d love this. It would be amazing to hear some of the instrumentals being sampled and used on hip hop records or whatever. I’m really open to this kind of thing so hit me up if you want to use the tracks in any way. I’d also love to have relationships with film directors and music supervisors. Music supervisors are the hidden secret in the world of TV and film. They help to make and shape how we feel about our favourite films and TV series. It would be a dream to be part of a TV series like True Detective that is complex, dark, twisted and moody. Id really like to work on films and TV shows like Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead does at some point later in my career perhaps. I’d still like to go out on tour with a cool band of musicians like my own little gang on the road.

What was the selection process like on what songs to give this album an instrumental rendition?

There was no selection process as we put out  instrumental versions of all 32 previously released tracks. I’m hoping they find new homes in films and TV programmes and for other singers and producers to use in their own way. I’ve released them in the same chronological order that I released my vocal albums.

What role do film directors like David Lynch and Duncan Jones play in your music?

These guys that you mention and others like Denis Villeneuve are inspirational film directors that create dark, twisted exciting worlds that aren’t always suitable for mainstream commercial music as they require more complex emotional landscapes. Pop is often escapist and my music isn’t often about escapism as it tends to confronts the reality we live in, which isn’t a reality that you wouldnt necessarily always have uplifting pop music as the soundtrack. Maybe people look to artists to help them escape reality but I have tended to make music that confronts the dark and twisted f’ed up reality we live in. In films like Sicario and Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve creates dark and twisted worlds that reflect our own dark and twisted times. I identify and resonate with the kinds of dark worlds that directors like these guys are exploring.

How was the recording and writing process?

I’m lucky that I decided to work with people on setting up my own home recording studio and to invest in buying cool equipment. The studio is my main instrument and I am in love with the tools like having an old vintage Moog synth or an old Roland synth to play around on. Having a ribbon microphone or a preamp with a nice old valve to warm up the signals and things like that. I set out to be a singer songwriter that also produces and mixes and I work in a range of genres which means I feel I’ve had a longer learning curve that other artists my own age who maybe specialise in being singers or performers or whatever. I sometimes feel I’m a bit behind friends who are already out there being successful but hopefully my music will find a home and people will discover my back catelogue and feel it’s something they can treasure. I’d love my music to mean a lot to people in the same way The Smiths or whatever means to me in my life.

What was the most challenging aspect of the recording of this record?

I would say that I have not yet found an audience that has taken my music into their hearts and wants to share it and have it as the sound track for their lives. The most challenging aspect of my life is having time and energy to spend on making music due to having to balance working on music with having to work in non music jobs like pubs and hotels to pay the bills. I think I might start to busk more in 2020 so that I can sell my records to people who see and hear me play it. I’ve not yet taken this Passenger type route and I think it could be the next logical step for me so that I’m out meeting and finding my audience and making money from performing my music even at a street level. It’s a daunting prospect to busk and it scares me but I’d rather be getting the experience and practice involved in performing than working in non musical jobs. I think this is the biggest change in my approach going forward. Hopefully I’ll meet a cool bassist and drummer who believe in my music enough to learn my songs and be in my band. Currently all the people I’d like to work with are in their own bands and focused on their own music. Would be great to find some cool musicians who aren’t focused on their own songwriting and don’t mind playing my stuff!

What else is happening next in The ÆTHER’s world?

I’d like to put a small indie band around my next album which is going to be my first sunshine style album of purely uplifting songs. Most of the feedback I am getting from people is that they want to hear some uplifting positive and hopeful music from me which is slightly difficult in some ways as I tend to write downbeat introspective music. I do have moments where I write uplifting songs so I am going to put them all on to an album that is for a touring indie style band to play. I’d like a gang of friends to go out on tour at Cluny style venues and try and blow the roofs off them. My albums tend to all sound different and Sønnen is shaping up to be an exciting album of indie guitar style songs that I could tour with a Sam Fender type of artist with a strat around my neck. There are many sides to my personality and so far I’ve only really shown the world my dark and twisted visions and all my projects so far have been studio types of productions that would be really difficult to perform live. This next album will be more stripped down to a band style arrangement of guitar, bass, drums and vocals and the aim is to busk it and tour it with a cool band. Hopefully I’ll meet some of your readers when I’m busking or touring! Stop by and have a chat if you see me 🙂

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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