Stereoshock is one of the most talented producers I have yet to encounter during my stint in the music industry, and one of the most passionate about his art and creative outlets. For his most recent release I sat down with him to talk in-depth about his creative process, his divergence from progressive house to cinematic-indie, and the remarkable records he has been releasing for free in the past months. Whilst you read I highly suggest that you check out his Soundcloud here including his latest for stream below, which just so happens to be trending on SC, too.
To start, tell us a little bit about this release. Even since you’ve begun working on what you dub, Cinematic-Indie/Electronic, your sound has continued to develop. What makes Au Revoir something different?
My latest Cinematic-Electronic record, Au Revoir, began as various concepts in which I had been planning separately over a period of time. I love writing pieces which contain, uplifting, emotionally driven, soundscapes and melodies. This is something which will always be quite apparent in the records I release, regardless of the theme or story behind it. Coming into this project, I knew that I wanted Au Revoir to contain two distinct environments in one record; one of which is easy to connect to the central theme, while the other being more open to individual interpretation on a larger scale. The most important and defining factor in Au Revoir would be be the contrast, and how it is used to effectively move the arrangement through out the piece. I wanted two entirely separate spaces to completely contrast each other, yet somehow, sonically coincide. Without visuals, this could be a potentially difficult task, because it’s something that has to be purely felt and recognized in order to be effective. However, seeing as I have experience in putting together the cinematic aspect of records; I believe that this concept was achieved in Au Revoir, and hope you all can hear my vision as well.
Your releases all contain a great deal of layering & intricate detail work. What’s the process that goes into making a Stereoshock record?
When working on a new record, a great deal of planning and conceptual work goes into the piece before I even physically begin writing or recording. In this process, I generally start by figuring out which story, theme, or feeling I’m trying to portray in the record. After I decide what I’m trying to pursue, I visualize a way in which I could musically and sonically (tone, mood, contrast, cinematic elements, etc.) represent it in a unique fashion. If I’m working on one of my more experimental records where I narrate the story; I’ll spend time writing the lyrics and figuring out the overall message behind the piece. Once all the pre-planning is done, I start by composing a melody that I feel can represent the “story”, and choose the first few cinematic/organic/textural elements in which I’ll use as the foundation. After I finish a rough sketch of how the record will evolve, I go back and begin recording various parts, while at the same time, mixing the track as I move along. By the time I finish, the piece is usually a different variation of what I had when I began haha. My entire production process is often pretty lengthy, because I truly try to make sure that whatever I release inspires and provides something unique to the listener. From start to finish, this is my biggest goal and focus. If someone listens to my records, and can’t find at least one thing that strikes them as unique or inspiring, I feel like i’ve failed as an artist.
How do you plan to continue to progress this sound, and do you ever want to incorporate a live element?
As an artist, I feel that my sound will always be progressing as long as I’m creating and writing music. Right now, I’m working very minimally and isolated in my bedroom with the few resources I have. Eventually, I would love to incorporate more “live” instrumentation into my music, rather then having solely electronic production as I do now. A large degree of the Electronic VSTi’s I use now are already sampling and utilizing live instruments, so I feel like it would be a very fluid and natural progression. In addition to live instrumentation, I would love to work with vocal artists, who I feel could really compliment the emotion and sound I’m trying to portray in my records. I’m always chasing and searching for something I can’t even hear yet myself. Who knows what my records will sound like in the future; I couldn’t tell you 100%. As long as I’m putting my heart into the music I compose and giving everyone something I can be proud of, I’m happy.
In regards to the live element, I would love to create a fully immersive experience around my music. Seeing as it’s very cinematic, I feel like there are endless possibilities surrounding the live performance. I would love to incorporate story telling and visuals into an extremely intense show. Ideally, it would be great to have all the music performed live in a compelling way, becoming a hybrid of acoustic and electronic. However, a solely electronic show is very possible too and could be easily adapted. Overall, the concepts surrounding the live aspect depend on too many factors to set-in-stone right now. When I have the opportunity, I want to make sure that when the audience leaves after the show, they say “This is what Cinematic-Electronic was created for…this is immersive, this is true artistry, this is an experience”.
Going back to your beginnings in cinematic-indie/electronic. what ultimately lead to your divergence from progressive house?
When I started experimenting with Electronic Dance Music production, I had just turned 15/16 years old (now 21). The scene was very different back then, as well as the music that went along with it. The genre was just starting to gain popularity in the U.S. but wouldn’t have it’s big surge for at least another year when records like One (Your Name), Ghosts N’ Stuff, and Take Over Control would begin flooding the airways. It was a very exciting time, because it was a pinnacle point where the music and the technology to create it, were accessible enough to the general public. Unfortunately, with the accessibility, inevitable popularity, and rapid movement of the genres, things were bound to change. Soon, it felt like everyone would become a DJ/Producer, everyone would become an “expert connoisseur” of a relatively underground scene, and the new influx of monetary investment in the industry would change the way the scene handled itself. I’m blessed and lucky to say that I lived through the progressive house “golden age”, as I like to say. From roughly late 2009-2012, most artists had their own sound, progressive house records (as well as all other EDM genres) were very fresh/creative, and the industry had yet to face the issues that are so commonplace today on a large scale. By the end of 2013, I felt myself distancing from a genre I once was so passionate about. Of the many reasons for the switch, the biggest was that I felt creatively restricted while producing progressive house. I found myself creating records that weren’t “perfectly” suitable for current-day dance floors, and certainly not suitable for what labels/companies decided they would be pushing to the EDM public in the foreseeable future. After realizing I was ready to move on, I began exposing myself to “Electronic-Alternative” music, rather then “EDM”, which would give me the creative freedom I had always wanted. Even though there are many things I will always love about EDM and the community of old, the new direction I’m taking is the most excited I’ve ever been with music, and I haven’t looked back since.
Can you point to any artists, or composers, who have served as an inspiration to you?
As an artist, I have a pretty wide array of inspirations musically and artistically! In regards to artists that influence my electronic music specifically; I am inspired by the works of M83, Woodkid, Sigur Rós, Moby, Jónsi, Gesaffelstein, Hans Zimmer, and various miscellaneous singles that I have discovered over time. Outside of my “genre”, I also very much enjoy listening to the artists: Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, Lana Del Rey, Childish Gambino, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Coldplay, Band Of Horses, Of Monsters And Men, and Chiodos, to name a few! My favorite thing to do on long drives or whenever i get a chance, is to listen to Spotify Radio. I love finding new records or soundtracks that inspire me and am always looking for artists who I find put a great deal of detail into creating a moving piece of work!
Check out one of our new favorites from Stereoshock, “Chasing Dusk.”
All of your new tracks possess movie cue potential, are there any plans to license your new music or even begin working on soundtracks?
The most exciting thing about the style of music I’m writing now, is that it has so many intriguing opportunities which could potentially occur over time. Ideally, I would love to accomplish it all over the course of my career; having “Stereoshock” electronic albums with live performance, as well as, some film soundtrack work on the side if the right projects present themselves. Even composing, writing and being involved in short-form visual projects (Ie. 20-30 minutes long) intrigues me as an artist, as I feel that it’s something that could really compliment my music. There are labels such as Mute Records (founded by Daniel Miller in 1978), who I feel provide a beautiful amount of freedom to their electronic artists, and it would be a dream to find a “home” for my music that I could work with into the future. I couldn’t tell you what will happen in the near future though, but I’m open to all opportunities, as long as they follow the vision that I have planned for my work. All I’m focused on for now, is releasing records that I hope will move people, and seeing where it takes me!
Do you have anything else you’d like to say to your fans or anyone else reading?
I really appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read this, and I hope you can all tell how passionate I am about my music, and the arts in general. These last 5+ years have been a long roller-coaster full of different experiences, but I can honestly say that this journey has influenced my life in many ways. Whether you’ve fully supported me in the past, or are listening to ‘Au Revoir’ and my music for the first time; I want to thank you. I hope that in the future, I can continue to inspire, impact, or move you with what I put forth in some fashion. I love interacting with as many people as possible, so feel free to reach out on various social networks. I respond to as many Soundcloud/Facebook Messages as I can, so say hi, send some records my way, or even just let me know what’s going on with your life. Happy to listen. 🙂
Thanks so much for your time, we love the new track and can’t wait for what’s to come!
Thanks Lucas, and the rest of the folks at YourEDM!