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Interview: Skymning Discusses His New EP 'Nestled Between Vast Depressions'

Interview: Skymning Discusses His New EP 'Nestled Between Vast Depressions'

Thursday 9th March, 2017 12:29PM

Nestled Between Vast Depressions is the latest offering from electronic producer Skymning, who over the course of the EP's five tracks explores a surprising balance between relaxed-ambience and breakneck beats. Known for his ambient-serene interpretation of electronic music, this time the Wellington native has taken a darker, heavier route than his previous offerings. Despite recently relocatting to London, we managed to catch up with Skymning to pick his brains about the new EP, and he gave us a track-by-track breakdown...

Hey Skymning, howís London going for you?

Itís big, itís wild. Itís a city made up of 32 boroughs and each borough is bigger than Wellington so itís hard to comprehend.

How long have you been working on Nestled Between Vast Depressions for?

Iíve been working on this for around 10 months or bit less. The first track I produced for it was 'Fell Into Place', which was the first track I released as well, and I built the rest around that.

How do you think your sound has changed with this EP?

I think my sound has been gradually be shifting to more a faster-paced, more dance-oriented sound and I think that came out of live performance and realizing ambient doesnít go down as well live Ė well it does, it has its place but itís not as versatile as a lot of the stuff on here even though itís not strictly dance music but it works better in a live setting.

Track One: 'Hell Is Other People'

This track is built around a field recording I made when I was in Melbourne. I was just wandering around the city and thereís a church called St Johnís Cathedral which is on the corner of Federation Square which is like a big arts hub. There was this dude just outside the church with a megaphone preaching. It was pretty dark the things he was saying. I had recently bought a field recording so I decided to whip it out and record what he was saying. In that moment he was hell to me Ė it was pretty vile the things he was saying, it was hurtful and could have been pretty hurtful for a lot of people. The first half of the track has him speaking and when that starts to crackle out thereís a distorted sound that comes through and I thought it was like descending into hell if you will.

Track 2: 'Iím Up'

All of the sounds come from my MC303 Groovebox which was the first sequencer I ever used. Itís a drum machine and also a synthesizer. This was my attempt at producing a live electronic club tune. 100 percent of the sounds in there are either that machine, or a sampler or a guitar and it can all be performed live which canít be said for the any of the other tracks on the EP. Itís got a couple of field recordings at the start and end to tie it into the next track.

Track 3: 'Collapse'

That one is pretty much just a piano Ė donít wanna call it a composition Ė it was kind of just a jam I had at school one day and I just whipped out the same field recorder on 'Hell Is Other People' and recorded a little 4-5 minute performance and I ran that recording through a delay pedal as well. So the piano track is duplicated and one of them is delayed and Iím messing with the pitch and the time to change the pitch of the piano. But at that point it was a bit boring, it didnít really hold your attention for the whole duration of the performance. So I ended up starting to chop up bits of the piano in Logic and built some drums around the layers I made from the piano and, again, most the drums come from that Groovebox which I gifted to Totems just as I left the country so Iím sure he would make some goodies with that as well.

Track 4: 'Fell Into Place'

Thatís the first track I made for this EP. The drums came from a recording session made for the Massey University course I was doing last year. It was for studio production paper and essentially we were given some drum stems we had sat in on. They had 20 mics set around the room. But I had been getting into a lot of jungle at the time so had cut it down to 4 or 5 drum tracks instead of 20 because I thought was a bit ridiculous. And then just started chopping them up and made a track around that. Towards the second half of the track it shifts; the live drums filter out and some more electronic percussions introduced. I guess because itís been the track Iíve been working on the longest, itís had the most tweaking over time, Iíd always come back to it and change tiny things. I think itís a super polished track, all of the segues from the ambient start to the jungle section to the electronic second half. I was really happy with how that one came out thatís why I released it first.

Track 5: 'Alone With My Thoughts

The title of the track comes from a painting by Daniel Johnston, a singer songwriter who was doing DIY recordings in the 80s. Thatís the most personal track on the EP, itís the first song Iíve actually released and I wouldnít be surprised if it was the last as well. Iíve written a song before, I had Charlotte Forrester (Womb), sung on my 2014 EP, Rekindle, and I wrote the lyrics for that and I sung one line of it. This was a quite a scary one and when I was recording it I wasnít even sure if it was going to be released. The idea for the track came from being in Wellington without my partner for 8 months. She was in London and travelling all across Europe and I felt pretty left out and lonely.

This interview is taken from a piece originally aired on the Totally Wired show with Jess Fu on 95bFM, head over here for the podcast.


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