DH: As a begin could you please tell me a little bit about your
artistically development. How did I, Synthesist start out?
I had been missing having a creative outlet for myself rather than creating for work purposes. I learned a lot by creating music as a job. For instance, write a full orchestra piece or don't eat. I had fantasized for many years about having a project where I could perform songs as well as instrumental pieces; with that, also included equally important synchronized visual animations/projections. Even though I started on a piano as a young kid, the first real creative explosion came with playing and learning about Synthesizers as well as hearing them. In the past, I started out with this same vision several times and eventually got sidetracked or had the project hijacked by others that I felt I needed to involve.
I met Ania who had done video for Covenant and she took me to see a show in NY that really incited me to get started. So, this time around I did start with the idea that I needed to find someone to sing because I never did it before as well as find a partner for the production aspect. To make a long story short, I went through a year and a half of having 2 different singers and a co-producer and I found myself in a constant struggle. The musical results were horrendous. Yet, the video for the show was great. A friend saw what was happening and talked me into doing a show by myself with the video and sing myself just to find out what would happen. Some others had been telling me to just do it that way for many years.
After thinking it through, I decided to go ahead with that idea. I just got up on stage and did a show alone scared completely out of my mind. I sat back the next day and watched the video. Something just clicked and I immediately began re-writing the material and working with Ania on how to reapproach the whole thing. 4 months later, 7 songs were presentable and more were on the way. I booked more shows as I knew it was important for me to get out in front of people and repeatedly perform to gain confidence and experience as a solo entity. The results were great and people's reaction was great and it grew at a very steady pace. I was and am still a little shocked that I can get on stage and do this alone with such a great response.
DH: Why did you choose the name I, Synthesist? What do you want to express with the name?
That answer has many different levels to it. First, I think due to the history that I described before, this was a declaration of independance for myself.
Synthesist is also a great word used to describe someone that creates sounds and music synthetically. On top of what we know as synthesizers in music/sound technology, Synthesist is also a thinking style. It meant a person that is similar to an alchemist or a wizard/magician.
Also: [Latin, collection, from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai, to put together : sun-, syn- + tithenai, to put; see dh- in Indo-European Roots.]
Simply, it means putting diverse elements together. All of this thought worked well for what I wanted to achieve and who I am.
DH: Your music seems to me as a kind of 80`s synthezier oriented pop music.
This is a common comment and yes, I am very fond of the music and attitude in the eighties as well as what happened in the 70's and happened in the 60's and the 1700's etc. and before that. On Avalanche, I wanted to make melodic songs that also used synthesizers and technology to make the recording and for performance. The 80's were a coming of age for song writing that used that technology, so it is an easy comparison. I think there are some differences between what I am doing on Avalanche and 80's stuff. Try playing Avalanche and then put on any 80's record. Are they really alike? I think you will hear a difference.
It is a common misconception to think of it as 80's music. Lost Parade and Another World have some obvious similarities but I am not so sure about the others. Lost Parade is written about the 80's era and Another World gives it a wink. The other songs are steps beyond all of that.
Was Led Zepplin really just 50's blues music because they used guitars and were influenced heavily by Robert Johnson?.......
Did The beatles sound like Elvis or Little Richard? They both fused many different elements together out of the past and brought it into the future.
Gary Numan was brushed off as someone that copied Bowie in the early 80's and now he is a hero. People seem to need to find comparisons. Let's try to keep a perspective on how we are all developing.
I get Kraftwerk comparisons too. I honestly don't hear it. There is no question that they are one of the most important things to have happened in the past century and will have impact on music as it develops in coming centuries. I will always remember the alarm radio sounding when I was very young and had to wake for school. There was a period in time where the radio station would play Autobahn every morning at that time. It was so new sounding and It had a big impact on me. As flattering as it is, I don't see how you can really compare my work to them except that I use synthesizers. So did Keith Emerson and Tangerine Dream.
DH: Can you describe your music style in your own words?
I don't want to. I don't want to be held to anything. I want to continue down this path that I am on and continue naturally from here. I think I will be better ready to answer that question in 10 years.
DH: Why do you make exactly this kind of music?
I like it and I am launching a project for the first time in my own way.
DH: Do you have any bands that had been influenced you and your music in the past?
There are many, I would have to say that Kraftwerk and the Beatles are responsible for most of our present musical culture, so those are very important to me. There have been many other interesting things that have developed and I listen to many things. I could list them all and sit here and write a book , I don't think you would like that. :)
DH: Your debut album is called "Avalanche". Can you tell us something about the release. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to record it?
I recorded it in my apartment with my synths and computers. What is there as a the final project went through the process on and off for about a year as I was performing and developing it. I then mastered at Polywog Recording Company in NY with Andy Heermans.
Some musical elements in the song Avalanche were made at the very beginning of the project, probably the first thing that I started fantasizing about when it all began. I would come back to them from time to time and was never getting settled on anything. After I had finished everything else, I came back again to those pieces and everything started coming together in my head essentially telling the story of making the CD as well as bringing myself to the place that I wanted to be for myself. It happened as an Avalanche for sure.
DH: On the album there is a song called "The Lost Parade". I like this song very much. What is the song about?
The song is about the spirits from a lost era that are still wandering around like a parade looking to find a sanctuary where they can regain what had been suddenly lost. I do feel this very much about the 80's culture and people that lived in it here in New York.
DH: You are working very long with syntheziers now. Since your first works had there been changes in your music?
I started off with the synths doing very experimental ambient noise things when I was very young because that is all I knew how to do and I loved it. Some of it was great and I would like to release it someday. Then came the next phase of actually organizing thoughts and attempting write a song. I would like to see that released someday as well. I grew creatively with several bands after that and learned to be a keyboard player in Pop Music. All of this happend while being an assistant and eventually working for a company that created music and sound design for commercials which exposed me to many different people and different types of music and approaches. All of this was fusing with my back ground with classical piano and composition.
DH: Tell us something about the process writing a song.
Usually I have started first by playing with the machines and then the song comes after music is developing. I have always written like that.
I put a hold on writing new material for the past 9 months because I had to focus on distribution and promotion as well as performing. I eventually started dreaming songs and having things coming to me at all times. Now I have a head full of sketches that I have to make things from. These dreams are lyrics and melodies. The next material is going to be made backwards in process from what I just did. This actually will be a first in my life. It will be different.
DH: How important is your work as musicians for yourselves?
I' m not sure that I understand this question. If you mean to ask if music is important to me. Music and sound is my life it is the most important thing.
DH: What are topics in your lyrics?
What ever I feel that comes over me at any time -could be anything
DH: What do you want to express with the lyrics?
I want to tell stories, I want to share feelings, visions and sometimes leave multiple meanings and levels to the stories similar to a matrix so that different people might find their own meaning in things.
DH: Are you planning to play live in Germany?
I want to play in Germany and I want to play all over the world. I am hoping to be in Germany in late September through October of this year.
DH: Which further plans do you have with I, Synthesist?
I want to release a CD with re-mixes of the Avalanche material. I have already started giving the tracks out to people to get that started.
I have already started new material. As I have said, there have been things growing in my head over the past months that are trying to come out. I also have more ideas for the multimedia aspect of the live shows and the show overall that I want to develop but first I have to focus on what is happening right now and take things step by step. The show ideas require money that I don't have yet.
DH: Thank you so much for answering our questions. We wish you good luck for the future. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Thank you for interviewing me. I hope you enjoy Avalanche and what comes in the future. I hope to see you and many people at the shows in Europe this fall.
Interview: Andreas Ohle
for I, Synthesist: Chris