Name: Marc Martinez Nadal aka AFFKT
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current release: AFFKT's "Let It Burn" feat. Sutja Gutierrez is out now. It is the first single off his new full-length release The Big Picture, expected August 13th via Mobilee.
Haruki Murakami - Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa
An absolute important song for everyone to listen and think about:
John Lennon - Imagine
If you enjoyed this interview with AFFKT, you can use his minimal website as a portal which will take you to all of his social media profiles.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
It has been a while since I started making music, around 25 years ago.
I guess I have always been fascinated by music; since I was born there was a piano at home and some years after at the age of 8 I started in the music school - as my parents are both a music lover they thought was a good idea. But not just music, also the technical and physical part of sound has always been my passion. So I decided to study Sound Engineering for that reason.
In the early years of my career, I was inspired by so many different types of music, but the first time I decided to do a certain style was when I discovered Drum & Bass.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
Yes, definitely, first music by other artists motivates you, and then your first approach is trying to do something similar to what you like. For me this was like this as well. But it was always clear to me early on in my career that what really motivates me is to search hard for my own voice.
There have been some hard times. I was going into many different musical directions and I was under the impression that this could confuse the people who enjoy my music, because some of them probably like some of my tracks but hate others. But after some years have now passed, I see it in a different way. I had to take all these directions to find my very own language.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
My creativity is influenced by so many things, and I guess my sense of identity also reflects on my music.
But if you talk about a sense of identity by being influenced by or having a sense of belonging to a particular place, I don’t really have this feeling. Nowadays my creativity is mainly influenced by things that happen in my life and the world that surround me.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
At the beginning I wanted to do a proper track that represents my musical tastes, I guess like everyone who starts producing music. At the moment things are different, but something that hasn't changed is my search to go as far as I can on every detail of my music. My challenges now and before have been going further with my music, technically and conceptually, making music that won't leave you indifferent.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
After all these years, I try to simplify my way of working, not using much and instead knowing the tools I have better. But to be honest, I still use a lot of different sources and I like to add real instruments to add some organic flavor to my tracks. My main goal is to get really personal sounds that reflect my own signature. Throughout the years, I have searched for the tool that allow me to go in this direction. To find a perfect equilibrium between my wide palettes of musical colours is my main aim.
The initial ideas always come when I play around with my synths, hardware or digital. I have some really inspirational hardware synth like Moog One or OB6 but also digital ones like Bx_Oberhausen or Massive X inspire me a lot.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Yes, there have been so many milestones in my career. For sure one the biggest changes was when I discovered Ableton Live when they were at version 2. I was using Cubase before and Logic before that and it definitely changed my flow of work.
Adding physical synths to my music weapon arsenal, it made a difference at that time, jamming and improvising more. At the moment I am using Kontakt from Native Instruments a lot of and its wide palette of sounds.
Questioning my work and the way I make music is a constant in my life - otherwise this wouldn't be fun anymore.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
To collaborate is something I really enjoy; I find it is the best way to continue learning and gaining real perspective. I enjoy collaborating with other artists in different ways, the most important thing for me is to have a creative connection, and then the rest will follow.
Although last month I did some great collaborations with other musicians and singers for my new album, due COVID everything was done at a distance. So I would say sharing files plus talking about ideas is something that really works for me at the moment.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
During the week I share my time between my Master & Mixing Engineer work at Pobla Studios, managing Sincopat and my music career including working on my own music, remixes, etc. So with so many things happening every day, sometimes I find hard to separate life and work, but even though still learning day by day how to do it better.
I don’t have a daily routine for every day, but what I am trying to do is to work on my own music for at least 2 hours really early in the morning, sometimes I spend this time also mixing my tracks. Then I take a little break and I start working at Pobla. Once we close the studio, sometimes I continue working on my own stuff, but most of the time I work on Sincopat because my ears need to take a break, then I go home to have some time for myself. Music is a big part of my life and I enjoy working so much that sometimes it is hard to separate both.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
Along my entire career there have already been some landmarks.
Probably the most important challenges in my career have been working on different album projects.‘Punto 0’ the first one, which I did after a time in Cuba, was a conceptual project to research the roots of my music. On ‘The Son Of A Thousand Sounds’ my second album, I started defining my wide and colorful musical universe.
My third album The Big Picture, musically speaking, is based on the deepest research into myself so far. Working on an album involves putting a lot of yourself into it, to define who you are, who you were and who you want to be.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Every person is a different world, so different things will work for each one. For example, I am a really organized person, If I have too many things around me, my mind gets distracted. To attain the best musical moments in terms of creativity, I need a healthy life in every sense, eating good real food and doing exercise is the perfect combination at least for me. Yoga was an integral part of my life for many years of my life, but now it has became essential. After doing it my mind can be focused on enjoying itself and getting lost in my own world.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
I am more into the healing part of the music, ha-ha. Honestly not sure how music can hurt, there is nothing better than music to make people feel united. For me this is the biggest potential that music has.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
Yes, you are right there is a fine line. I’m not sure where the limits are, but I think that as long as it's done with respect and with good taste, its fine for everyone to do what they want. But at the same time it is also important to me that the work of other artists is respected and protected.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
Wow! This is probably one of the most difficult questions I ever got asked in an interview. Yes, I agree, I am really amazed how the combination of senses can transport you back in time. I guess the most common connection with hearing would be sight, and all the media/audiovisual entertainment is based on this.
It is fascinating how music can make a difference along with other senses, such as taste and smell, most of the time we don't realize it, but the music playing around us is perfectly selected to define our behavior. As a foodie, it would be interesting to make a project combining music and gastronomy.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
For me, being an artist is in itself a selfish attitude of seeking perfection.
Even more so when you compare it with works that apparently could really reflect on other people's life. But at the same time art could be the most important tool to change the world. For me, art is something that should make you question what surrounds you, to enrich your own view of everything.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
Music offers expression beyond words. It is in itself an abstract expression of feelings. So there is no possible explanation or word that can answer you this question.