Part 2

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

To put things in context, I was exposed to the reality of human mortality at a very young age, I lost all my close family in tragic circumstances within the space of 3 years between the age of 13 and 15. I have been on my own since.

I experienced the phenomena of “cataclysmic evolution”, as we call it in evolutionary astrology. I went through mid-life crisis at the age of 16 in other words. You understand better now if I say that the first key idea here, the thing that drives me, is knowing that life is extremely short. You’re lucky if you wake up tomorrow so you have to follow your heart, now, no time to waste, no excuses.

I know that there is an artist flame burning in me. I am creative, that is what I need to do, one way or another. Music, cinema, writing and speaking are the things I am here to do. I worked other jobs before, less creative, for other people, in different fields, and there is no way in hell I would ever go back, I’d rather die. It sounds radical but I am very serious. I think that this is what you have to feel inside to start with, that is when you know, that’s the starting point. If you feel like this about making your art, then to me you’re an artist. If you hesitate, you’re not. As simple as that.

Second idea, I don’t think everyone is meant to be an artist, we all have a different mission and that’s okay. We need all kind of different stuff in this world, but you have to find out what you’re here for, what makes you feel that way, what makes the drive greater than the fear.

Third key idea, things are not easy, there is risk, many failures, discipline and hard work involved. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you’re doing it but you have to keep going. Like any other kind of entrepreneurship. It is a job like any other job. People romanticise the idea of being an artist. They think things are easy once you get signed, it’s just about spending advances on getting drunk and do drugs, get in the studio making songs, or travelling the world for tours.

Really, it doesn’t work that way. Being an artist is tough. You only see the tip of the iceberg. The music industry is hungry greedy shark world. Making money is hard for most and uncertainty prevails. Again, everyone wants culture and art but no one wants to pay for it. People don’t buy records anymore, they watch Youtube. Everything is free, on Facebook or Instagram. So here too, you have to be creative and business oriented to find new ways.

Final key point is that it’s not about just making music anymore, technology has taken a huge place in our world. It has become so fast and disruptive. We are all multi-disciplinary artists now and we have to keep up with the change, stay up to date. MusicTech is a tangible discipline, Web3 is here and it is not going anywhere. We don’t make records, we make projects. They involve more time, more people, more skills, more logistics, and more money.

The creative industry is going through a massive transformational shift. Being a music artist, or an artist in general for that matter, is very different from what it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. We all have to be aware of that. This moment in time carries a lot of energy, with great opportunities and also great risks.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I don’t think these notions are incompatible or opposable, on the contrary. They  just cover different parts of the spectrum of judgement. They can feed each other or be intertwined. Do you have to be innovative and original to be able to create perfection and timelessness? Does timelessness always involve innovation?

These are also concepts that are hard to fathom because innovation and originality tend to be notions that concern the future and that we understand looking forward, from the present moment, whereas timelessness and perfection can only be understood backwards.

I am not so much interested in music of the future because, to be honest, I am struggling figuring out what is music at this moment. One thing I am sure of is that there is a craft in the art of making music, whether technology is involved or not. The craft in itself and even more so, the people who practice and make it. Independent music artists are a kind of artisans. They need to be recognised and protected as such.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

This has been pretty constant. In terms of studio, I am super low-key. Minimalist and portable is my motto.

Ableton, a pair of tiny HS speakers, headphones, a SM microphone, a Realistic toy synth, a wall where I can mind map stuff. That’s all I need. I am not talking about pure production. I am talking about the genesis of a record, writing your demos. I think writing music, in that sense, has nothing to do with equipment or tools, it’s something that’s in you. If you can’t write good lyrics or melody, no equipment will help you do that. You don’t need much to get to the core.

To me, the space has a bigger importance, and I see it as part of the equipment in a way. The environment in which you make things somehow gets into the work itself. As well as the people you surround yourself with. Each time, I see the act of writing a record as a mission, an adventure, a brand new world you’re creating from scratch.

Each time, I see the act of writing a record as a mission, an adventure, a brand new world you’re creating from scratch. I wrote my 3 studio records in three very different countries and cities. Each time I go through a process of nesting, finding the right space to birth the new album safely. I don’t think I could write two different things at the same place. You suck the creative juice out of the space you’re in and it has a certain flavour, taste, sound, vibe. And a little bit like soil that you use it to grow things, you also need to let it rest for a while so that it can regenerates its energy. That’s how I feel about the process right now, it might change in the future.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

At the moment I am working on several different big projects, I have a remix album, a live album coming out later this year, I’m recording my third studio album, I’m working on the 2023 tour, and as if this wasn't enough, I am writing my PhD thesis in philosophy of music and technology for the University of Bristol. It’s busy. I have to be hyper focused and organised to make it all fit in and make regular progress. It helps to have a strong routine.

Whenever I’m not travelling, I wake up around 6am, I do 15 minutes of kundalini yoga and mantra chanting outside, have a black coffee (decaf), shower, take the dog for an half an hour walk in the forest and head to the studio / office until 3ish. Then I usually go to the beach for a good swim, wash the energy out. Then I’d go out again with the dog for a longer walk
and finish the day studying astrology, which represents a big part of my spiritual practice. That’s really it. Quite simple.

I don’t have that many friends, just a close circle. I have a tendency to absorb other people’s energy quite easily, so I’m careful with the number / type of people I’m seeing. I’m very much aware of energy management, it’s easier to stay focused. I need a lot of alone time and space to function properly.

Walks with the dog, spending time in nature in general really is important to me, it allows me to hold space, reflect and get perspective on whatever I’m working on. I use this time to listen to music I’m writing outside of the studio, or to think about my next chapter. Earthing and grounding also are crucial, I need to be in direct contact with the earth at least once a day, walking on the beach or hands in the soil, gardening.

I just feel happier in nature. I am more grounded and calm. I have more headspace. My thoughts are clearer and more directed. If I’m not disciplined with that, I feel erratic and all over the shop quite easily. I am lucky that I live on the island of Ibiza now and nature is so stunning here.

I don’t go out much though. I’m not interested in clubbing or partying so much anymore, I have done it for many years, with all the excess imaginable, drugs, alcohol etc. I have done things I am not proud of. I am in a different place in my life now. I have been clean and sober for several years. I like the idea of sobriety. It is a crossroad that you find yourself in inevitably at some point on the spiritual path. It’s another kind of high, a natural high that I like more. I also know about myself that have a tendency to be easily influenceable.

I also know about myself that have a tendency to be easily influenceable. If there are drugs or alcohol on the table, I have a hard time saying no. I feel the poison in my body quite literally, I’ve gone so far the opposite way. I also have an auto immune condition and alcohol causes immediate and painful flare-ups. I think I also feel my age more, I have such a hard time recovering now. If I drink, I always regret it the day after. It’s better for me to stay away all together. It is just not worth the pain.

I still like the music a lot though and I go out to support friends playing. But it is difficult to disassociate it from substances, I am not there yet. It is great to see a movement of people emerging in the industry, opening up about addiction problems and praising the benefits of sobriety. I have read several articles about it recently, I’m happy to see that I am not alone feeling this way.

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