Eugenio Caria (AKA Saffronkeira)
Occupation: Electronic Music Producer
Current Release: In Origine:The Field Of Repentance on Denovali
Recommendation: I’m currently reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Read more about the music of Saffronkeira on the Denovali website and on bandcamp.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What is it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started making music very young, in 2001 I visited a small recording studio just below my house by chance. A man had just moved to my small village, he came from Genoa to start a new work experience in Sardinia, we immediately became friends, he had produced several records in the early 90s and there in his studio he had a computer with re-birth and reason software, he showed me what a sequencer and a pattern was and for me it was love at first sight. I started to get passionate about computer music and I bought a new computer and the software Reason and Acid Pro by Sony and I took the first steps by following his advice in the world of production (so far all very amateur ...). I immediately understood that music was a relief valve from my problems, I began to look around and grasp influences from everyday life and above all from the things that made me feel bad and I put them into the production, the purchase of vinyl and into hours and hours of DJing. Music was my window into a world that I could escape to.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
Between 2005 and 2008 I mainly produced mainstream techno music, but I couldn't differentiate myself from the crowd. I was inside a system that determined and opened doors only to certain genres of producers. I wanted to be recognized but the more I tried "copy" or belong to a specific genre, the harder it was and I didn't understand that that was the problem. Then, in 2008 I decided to bury my old aliases and let myself go and promising myself that from now on, I would only make music from the bottom of my heart without chasing any hype. From there, it all went uphill in a very natural way and my project " Saffronkeira " was born. In 2012 Denovali records released the first of the six albums released to date.
You have to find your own voice and transition as an artist from your past and from your own mistakes, you also have to have perseverance, intelligence, patience and experience to be able to create.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Right from the start, my challenge was to create my own sound, but at the same time I didn't want to be bound to the same sound palette. I admit that I to tended to not study the manuals of the instruments and look for the best easy way… but over time I realized that you have to hit your head on the wall. I work hard to find a sound identity, to interact and learn how to read the language of music. I try to maintain consistency and application to music in a free way without pressures.
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 first studio was a mess, a slow laptop, two bad speakers, a shitty soundcard and a midi keyboard and one room with really bad acoustics; a lot of blasphemies :)
The problem is that I have always been a fanatic and lover of vintage instruments, so when I went from virtual instruments to having my first analog synth, I began a long and tiring journey to purchase my favourite instruments. I immediately understood that what an instrument gives you will never be the same as a virtual instrument, in terms of feeling and sound quality. A piano library will never give you the feeling of putting your hands on a real piano and feeling the hammers, but of course I have nothing against technology. In the end, my computer still remains the heart of my studio setup.
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 try to make a correct use of technology and I am very absorbed by it. It is a point of continuous reflection in my daily life. There are so many circumstances that really start to really bother me; the artist sometimes thinks that he has to make his way in the face of the overwhelming and threatening powers he faces today from technology and find a middle ground. For example if we think about music productions in the 60s, 70s, 80s, it was far superior precisely regarding the means and the way of working. But, only few could have access to these studios in those years because of the cost. But now, it is all accessible to all, anyone can take a powerful laptop and get good results. I try to invest money in a few instruments that have soul instead of some crap shit new toy.
In the long run, all this technology will kill creativity and art. In fact, the term "technology" originally meant art, skill, speech, explanation. In his systematic treatise on an art in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguished two forms of action, pràxis and téchnē: while the first has its own purpose in itself, the second is always at the service of another, as a means. In this sense, "technique" was not different from art, nor from science, nor from any procedure or "operation" capable of achieving any effect, and its field extended over all human activities. Technology in Art must be a means of its “own” expression, an experimental approach to research, a basic investigation tool for the advancement of knowledge but it must not take over your life, much less your Art.
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?
The co-authorship coexists in as much as I try to create an understanding and feeling with certain machines, but at the same time for all the talk above concerning the technology topic, I try to be the master of my decisions; for no matter how complex the software is, the final decision will always be your ear!