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?
I have a job in communication that I Iove and have come to consider as a true strength in my artistic life. It gives me complete creative freedom and through it I have learned a lot regarding photography, filmmaking, graphic design. I also travel a lot, which inspires me. It definitely feeds “Shcaa”. Part of my activity is composing music for videos and each year it takes more and more of my time, so the borders are getting blurred between my artistic and professional life.
When I work, my routine involves a lot of tea drinking. I like to start and finish my day reading, I go to the gym at night these days ... music happens in the evening between 7pm and 1am usually. I try to reserve the better part for my personal life and do not produce every day even though not one day passes without me listening to music and meditating on what I will do next. I do not really compose at night, except during the summer when it is warm, with a gin & tonic. I love this.
When I am on free to decide how to spend my day, my ideal routine is waking up at 9am have a late brunch while listening to radio or reading, then I'll start making music for the day with my coffee ... then lunch around 4pm and back to the studio until 9pm when I'll go out, watch a movie, relax.
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?
While there are thousands of variations, overall the same process of spontaneous recording, rearrangement and self-interpretation occurs ... The first track of my album “Faroh’s Birds”, for instance, was just guitar chords and lyrics on a notebook. I had a vivid idea of the space / location I needed to bring these words into, but left the door open instead of rushing to record something. One day I had a sound from the modular and just recorded guitar on top of it, sang the words and jammed on the bass. The first take was the right one.
There were some gems in these recordings, but I was far from having reached the place I had in mind, the right palette of colours and textures that were to enrich the emotions. So, I left it again for weeks or months. It is only while visiting Beirut for the first time with my friends that I gave the track its colours and textures one afternoon through layering and intense DSP.
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?
You need to listen to your moods, feel at ease and relaxed. I do music when I have something to say and if I don’t, I’m happy to listen to others. I rarely force creativity, especially in front of a blank slate; I just know how to catch it when it is there. I spend a lot of time thinking about the music before doing it. This allows me to ask myself very few questions when actually doing it.
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?
I have come to accept that I cannot recreate what I do in the studio, I am not interested in planning a live gig, I would hate it. I am leaning toward improvisation, even if it means being experimental (my first live sets where very experimental). For future acts, I would like to have more control though. This is a reason why I started coding; I want to channel events that are organic but maintain a tight control over them. This would enable me to infuse back compositions in the performance.
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?
Sound is part of the composition; it is a crucial tool to summon spaces and colours. The tracks need to reach in a certain location, a specific coordinate. Textures and sound dynamics help me greatly in that regard.
Some of my latest works are more harmonic and therefore can be contained on a piece of paper with lyrics and music notations and I like that a lot. Would love to be able to reach destination just through music notations, like Zorn or Ravel do.
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?
I would say that synaesthesia has always been the anchor of my art. When it comes to music it manifests itself in the form of colours and shapes that run along the rhythm. Visualizing the music helps me greatly to know what associations of sounds to do. I know which shades are linked to which part of the spectrums. These colours are obviously linked to emotions and these connections are endless like a multidimensional feedbacking network.
Through sound I try to reach coordinates of my imaginations, scenes inspired by novels or videogames already processed by my own subjectivity. Music can open universes that did not exist before, it is pure creation and I am convinced that this is true with every form of expression.
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 never intend to link my art to any social or political engagement. I understand those who do, we live in a special world, but as for me, my artistic expression tries to express things that go beyond words, emotions and concepts that could not exist otherwise.
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?
It is curious because I never think about that. I never think of my music through times ... I think that things have not changed that much, they have always been there in one form or the other. Rhythm, harmonies, spaces ... it’s all here and will always remain here.