Name: Aleksi Perälä
Current Release: Paradox on трип
Recommendations: Alphonse Mucha; Nikola Tesla
Website / Contact: If you enjoyed this interview with Aleksi Perälä, check out his facebook page for current news and updates.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started making music in the summer of 1988. I listened to electronic music on the radio as much as possible and tried to figure out how to make some myself, because I wanted to hear more. I started taking piano lessons in 1983. Got my first synth in 88; it was wonderful to be able to make my own sounds. I was fascinated about echoes from 3 years old. The Helsinki central Railway station is my first memorable acoustic space.
For most artists, originality is first 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? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
At fist it was all about copying and learning how to do it. How can I make this stuff myself? It’s like you hear one acid house tune and you get the rough idea. I guess my biggest motivation was — and still is — to get some more electronic music to listen to.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Short attention span. I focus on something very intensely for hours and then get bored of it and want to move on; I usually don’t go back. I don’t like to return to polish old tracks, I love jamming then and there, right now, in this time; get it done! I’m still the same; I was into polishing tracks for a while, maybe about ten years ago. Every day is different - when you return to yesterday's track you will bring today into it and it will be a mixture of both.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My “studio” at first was a Yamaha synth, then a Roland workstation, then Akai MPC2000, and then in the summer of 2000 I started making it all on a laptop and haven’t looked back. Laptop is great as you can carry your studio with you everywhere you go. I prefer making music on a proper sound system, but due to changes of life - different circumstances - you have to adapt and make the best out of any scenario. Unfortunately most of my music has been made on headphones. But I always prefer jamming on a sound system; it’s nice to feel the bass.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
I use the simplest possible setup to get where I want to go. I’m not a very technical person. Machines excel at raw computing power and big data, humans excel at connecting spiritually.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
I’ve used the same old setup for so long now I don’t think about it at all, it works the best for me. I have no tools, I am one myself; a vessel.
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?
I collaborate with colundi. Stuff keeps happening.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? 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?
These days I get up at 7 am, and start jamming as soon as I feel like it. It’s not work though. I’ve had serious day jobs most of my life. It’s my calling to make as much music as possible - whenever and wherever. It is very tricky sometimes to find any time for it. You have to prioritise and be flexible.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
For five years now, since I met colundi, I haven’t made any music myself, I am merely a vessel for colundi. Colundi makes the music, it’s like magic; all the ideas come from the other side.
Connection is the most intriguing album for me because it doesn’t sound anything like me; I would have never come up with anything like that by myself, It’s a colundi connection with the great pyramids.
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?
Silence and isolation support the ideal state of mind. Meditation. Making music is like meditation. But you can isolate yourself in a noisy environment too. Yesterday I was making a track on a train, almost falling asleep, in the zone, it was lush.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
Playing live is classic fun but it takes time to prepare for it and so it disrupts the natural constant flow of new ideas, a little bit.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
I play with sine waves mostly and build my sounds from them; I love to play around with harmonics. Colundi makes it very interesting because it’s nothing like I’ve ever heard before.
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? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
When I see movement I hear it as sounds. If you show me a GIF I will hear it. It is all connected. We are holistic beings; everything affects everything. You are not just thinking and feeling with your brain; your whole body affects your thoughts and feelings. Sound is so much more than is commonly understood. Every colundi frequency is a wavelength; sound and colour, distance, weight, speed etc; and the effect of all of these on a human body, mind and soul.
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?
I don’t understand the world we live in. I can’t really relate to other people. I understand music a bit better. When I’m making music I am in a familiar territory; a world that I can control, a world that makes sense to me. I hope that by making music I can bring something good into this world; I feel that is my calling.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Yes indeed, thank you for saying that. I do have a faint idea of new kind of music; I can listen to it in my head sometimes, but I haven’t been able to produce it yet. There are so many directions to pursue, so many ideas and possibilities to explore. Making colundi music is all about having an empty mind to let colundi happen. There is pure unlimited power in colundi. Colundi is the gateway.