Name: Lukas Zepf (AKA No Bloom Now)
Occupation: Musician / Sound-Engineer / Producer
Current Release: As Time Divided on Above The Quiet
Recommendations: The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges / “Yes, Indeed” by Louis Prince
To learn more about Lukas Zepf and his music, visit his bandcamp page.
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?
I started writing and producing music myself 6 years ago. Looking back, I would say that I was attracted to the then unknown field of synthesizers and electronic music to tell stories. I realized then that the sound possibilities in this genre are so unbelievably large that I was sure I could find my own sound, my own voice with it.
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?
Everything we do builds on what others have already done. We cannot detach ourselves from the influences of others. We look at the people who inspire us and orient ourselves to find out what we ourselves are looking for and what suits us. I believe that it doesn't matter who or what we orient ourselves on and whether we imitate others. In the end, it is always formed by us as an individual and therefore unique. I see my artistic work consequently also to a certain point as an interpretation of my role models.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
Over the years I’ve come to the point where I think that I should no longer question my own artistic creation. By that I mean that I can't really influence the music I write. In a way, it represents me as an individual. Accepting how my art shapes itself through me allows me to become free in the moment of the creative process. Only at a later point do I decide if I like something or not.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Over time, you become more demanding of yourself. That's important, otherwise there would be no development. As far as the creative process is concerned, the challenges are sometimes greater than at the beginning. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I can no longer surprise myself so quickly. Certain sequences, sounds etc. are known by now and don't stimulate my imagination that much anymore. Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months until I like a pad sound from a synthesizer. That was quite different in the beginning. Everything was new.
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?
The first instrument I bought was a guitar. But I soon realized that this is not the instrument I want to write music with. So, I bought a Moog Minitaur, shortly thereafter a Maschine from NI and I made the first songs with it. In the next few years, Ableton, various synthesizers and a bit of outboard equipment followed. What I have always tried is to use the things from my environment. There was an old organ from the 70s in the family and a Yamaha mixing console. I took those over and have been using them regularly in my music ever since.
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?
For me, the latter is true. I enjoy sitting on ideas alone. But at certain points in the process, I've learned to open up and seek and accept opinions and advice. This is only a small circle of people but, the opinions of these people are very important to me and I value them very much.
It's a little different, of course, when I'm writing for another medium, such as film or games. Of course, this is a very exchange-oriented work process. I first have to feel into the situation, the character, and understand the story. But the working process that follows is very isolated. I think that also has a lot to do with the fact that I am in a kind of safe space, where my ideas are not judged by others during the creation process. That also has something to do with vulnerability, which I don't like to expose myself to in these moments of finding new ideas.
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?
I don't have a fixed routine. What I try to do is sit down with the music as often as I can and keep working on projects. When I'm making music, I try to block out everything else and the other way around as well. I've noticed that it doesn't do me any good to always think about the music and never let go of the thoughts and pick them up again at a later time. It's hard for me to do that sometimes but I'm working on it.