Name: Gabriel Legeleux aka Superpoze
Occupation: Producer, composer
Current release: The new Superpoze studio album Nova Cardinale is out via Combien Mille.
If you enjoyed this interview with Superpoze and would like to explore his work in more depth, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
I would say that as a musician, one often has the urge to turn life into music. The impulse can come from a reading, an emotion, a state of boredom and contemplation, ... Whatever one experiences, one quickly has the desire to transpose it into music.
To be more pragmatic, I would add that music attracts music. Listening to an album often makes me want to compose. I get attached to a melody, a colour, an effect, a production technique ... and I want to discover it, to use it, to explore it, to bring it to life.
Let's say that I consider music as a great global conversation in which I like to participate!
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
I like to start with an idea in mind, a precise direction.
I'm not a fan of spontaneity in music. It is a value that is often put forward because it is confused with authenticity. I feel that I reach a stronger authenticity when I work for a long time, when I project what I want to do and when I make sure to stay on that line.
Of course, in the studio there are always happy accidents that you have to welcome! But I would say that writing, preparation and research are better for me to create rather than the instant, the idea that arises and is left as is.
Can you imagine someone who would really say everything that comes to mind without sorting it out?
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
Yes, for the track "Parabel" as well as for the rest of Nova Cardinale I first recorded demos on the computer without worrying about the sound. I award a lot of importance to the production but I don't want it to take precedence over the melodies.
So the work is divided into two phases: writing and demos, then recording and production.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
No, this is my daily state of mind!
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note? Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
I work on several fronts at the same time. You have to imagine several "working groups" in my head, which end up coming together after several weeks or months.
For example, I work on melodies and harmonies on the piano. Simple composition.
In parallel, I do long improvisation sessions during which I record ideas for sounds, textures, effects, etc. From these sessions, I sometimes keep only 5 seconds of an effect I like, and I start all over again.
After a while, I try to make the written pieces and my sound research cohabitate, and I keep refining until I create a world I like!
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
Yes, it happens all the time! I always try to remember my direction so that I don't take a path that would be detrimental to the album, even if it appeals to me at the time.
I also try not to be stingy with ideas. The creative mind is an inexhaustible source, you don't have to use every idea that comes to mind! There will be others.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
On the contrary, it is a state of mastery and awareness. I don't consider it as spiritual but rather as very human, very earthy!
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
That's why I like to have a clear vision of what I'm doing in the studio. Finishing an album is part of the creative act, and it can be very difficult if you don't already know that the album has to have an end to exist.
I manage to finish a song or an album because I feel that it holds together, that it lives, that it has become a balanced and viable ecosystem.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
These steps have the same importance as the previous ones.
I am very involved in the mixing and mastering of my music. I am passionate about recorded music! I like this knowledge and I respect it a lot.
That's why I don't want to mix my music myself. The mixers develop a very specific ear and knowledge. I work closely with them and I trust them a lot.
It is for me an immense pleasure to take care of the sound.
On "Parabel" there are so many recorded instruments: synthesizers, flutes, piano, drums, drum machine, cello, glockenspiel, wurlitzer, ... With a different mix, it wouldn't be the same song anymore!
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I'm lucky enough to also work as a producer for other artists and also on film scores. This studio work allows me not to feel that void after the release.
And as I said at the beginning of the interview, music attracts music. The desire to compose again is never far away.