Name: Cristian Vogel
Occupation: Producer, composer, sound designer
Current release: Cristian Vogel exclusively premieres his forthcoming new album within a tour-via-app between London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vancouver, Padua, more to come.
Starting today, fans can premiere 'The Rebirth of Wonky' just walking through precise itineraries, unlocking the exclusive listening with Echoes app.
Download app/premiere full album.
Recommendations: Noise - Jaques Attali. Ghost Dance - Ken McMullen
If you enjoyed this interview with Cristian Vogel and would like to hear more of his music, check out his bandcamp profile. He also has a website for his sound design work called NeverEngine Labs.
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 producing music seriously in the mid-eighties. I was influenced by early acid house, punk rock, experimental electronics and Latin American music.
I was drawn into music and sound, because it was something I felt I could do lots of, whilst applying little effort. At that age, I was drawn to things that didn't need much effort on my part.
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?
That there is a Kinder egg of a question - three in one! All of what you're asking me to describe , I would call 'practice' - you don't develop a working practice, without lots of practice.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
I come from a middle-income background, so in general I didn't get funds to access costly studio tech. I did as much as I could, with what I could get my hands on. Still kind of the same now, come to think of it.
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?
Studios are laboratories for sound creation. They should be isolated from outside distractions as much as possible, so that one can get into the right state of mind to expand the capacity to hear sound, and learn how to sculpt it.
My studios have always tried to be set ups with good flow, they should be flexible above all. It is pretty essential to have good speakers and amps, and then a mixer
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?
Machines excel when they are operated by humans but luckily not vice versa.
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 design and implement my own tooling in Kyma and on the Modular, and through that process often create innovative sound material that I can refine later into larger scale compositional forms.
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?
It's changed over the years. Lately, desktop IRC like Slack or Mattermost are essential. Email sucks, the fax machine was better than email for collaboration.
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?
5 km jog.
En god kaffe.
Bolle med ost (ikke smør )
Continue with yesterday's sonic research until lunch.
Cook something delicious and healthy.
Pick up after lunch.
I used to go to the pub sometimes.
Go to bed whenever.
Dream about music and sound in exotic settings.
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?
Ideas emerge from sustained process and practice, conversation and listening. Sometimes project or site specific. Sometimes tech or style specific. I don't know how they get transformed in my mind. I have a lot of music culture in my life which will influence things I guess. Refining fast ideas into more slow levels of complexity, is a skill I have developed.
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?
Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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?
These things you mentioned are all connected, and all part of the activity of Music. Improvisation in the sense of coming up with, and nurturing, viable starting conditions for musical events to happen - pretty much essential. Just a matter of when a musician feels they should be doing that and if they feel that that 'fire' needs to be controlled.
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?
Timbre and rhythm for me, are heavily loaded with musical information and can be explored for a lifetime. (in)Harmonic relations can exist on many levels in music, not just intervallic pitch space.
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?
Sound meets perception later than when it enters the neural pathways. Our ear is very fast at calculating space, distance and arguably the true complexity of time. Often without the need of higher level intervention like value judgments.
Another thing I am often aware of; it is said that the sense of hearing stays alert during deep sleep cycles, when the rest of the body gets temporarily shut down. We can listen to music all day and all of the night if we wanted to, probably demanding little energy from the body.
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 am a productive creator. I lived through and participated in punk, acid house, rave and techno, indie rock ... I know from experience that music and sound is political. It doesn't need words. It doesn't even need to be heard. During times of oppression, it is better to be a composer than a writer. A composer can encode clandestine or subversive messages in codified forms like notation, or timbre, or rhythms.
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?
More situated - more embodied - even more loaded with power for the people. Better at interfacing with other technologies, rather than other human beings.