If you like jazz, there are various ways not to make money. One of the keener possibilities is to become a drum & bass producer – and that’s more or less what Bowsar did. Starting out as a DJ in 2004 and soon after beginning to learn the craft of electronic air sculpting, the world had to wait until 2011 when the Belgian label Mindtech Recordings released his 4-track debut, the Protons EP (still under the name of Bowser), whose dark and spacey neurofunk vibes pointed the way to a bright future for the Austrian producer. 2012 saw him releasing on some of the major players in our sonic game, and last week brought forth the divine Pantheon EP (reviewed here): About time to inquire what lies behind this mythological figure.
Subsphere: You are currently amassing an impressive back catalogue with releases on Ammunition, Close 2 Death, Trust In Music and now Modulate Recordings (among others) – how is it working out for you as producer and DJ?
Bowsar: Projects are piling up at the moment. I’ve got a lot of forthcoming stuff and a package of collabos and solo tunes I’m trying to finish right now. Another EP which features some older tunes is forthcoming on Genome Records, hopefully soon. My remix of N.Phect’s ‘Farce & Ethos‘ is also finished and it’s featured in my guestmix as well. My sound is still evolving, but I’m getting closer and closer to the sound I’m aiming at. At the moment it feels like there’s still a lot of work to do, but the results are becoming more satisfying with every track I finish. It seems like I’m almost there – making the stuff I really would like to do. Although the year is still young, I’ve already got some gigs which i’m looking forward to. I guess 2013 will be a good year for me!
Tell us something about your new EP! What were your goals and influences, how did it all come together?
I’ve been working for nearly a year on the EP – of course with several breaks in between, ignited by unproductive phases, but I still put a lot of work into it, and I think it’s one of my best pieces yet – although i’m not 100 % satisfied with it. But then again, which musician is really ever fully satisfied with his or her work? Spotting things in my music I would now do differently keeps me motivated to do more and better tracks.
How did mythology come into the project? Why did you choose Helios, Kronos and Eos?
I’ve always been a fan of concept-albums like – for example – Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon‘. I just like it when there’s a common theme to a musical project, an overall thought or impression behind a project. In the case of my latest EP it was not clear from the beginning where the creative process would take me. It’s not that I’m a mythologist or anything. Actually, there’s no special story about how mythology entered the project. It’s just that track titles keep popping up in my head randomly, mostly before I even start a track – when I’m somewhere walking on the street or doing some other stuff than music. In the case of the Pantheon EP, I just thought ‘Helios’ would be a cool track name. Then I dug deeper into Greek mythology and I liked the idea of envisioning individual soundtracks for each of the gods I chose.
Would you care to give us some insights into your creative and production process?
I start a new track with a 4 bar groove. First I always make the drums. Then I add some synths. Once a good bassline or midrange sound is created, I resample it and process it further with filters and effects. I try to use only wav audio files. Most of the time it’s just try and error, until the output is a cool loop. If I have this cool groove, I’m trying to work on it as long as I think it’s as good as to make up a whole track – that’s what to me dance music is all about: Creating a cool groove that can be repeated over and over again. Once this phase is completed, I’m starting to add more sounds and details. By that time the mixdown of the first loop must be already pretty good. The whole arrangement is the easiest part for me. Mixing down the track and balancing the sounds takes the most time.
When you make music, what is it you try to express? And what draws you towards dnb especially?
There’s nothing I’d like to express with my music, besides the love for sound design and music you can move yourself to. I’m really happy with the recent developments in d’n’b. There are a lot of people who are making tracks with a minimalistic and experimental approach. It seems like a recollection of the early roots of this genre on the one hand and an attempt to develop and push it further. Generally, everything that’s minimalistic and clicky-clacky is a good inspiration for me :D
I’m thinking here of artists such as Rockwell, Icicle, Minor Rain, Subtension, Octane & DLR, Phace or Mefjus to some extend, and many others.
What are your current major influences and musical preferences?
At home I’m listening almost exclusively to jazz (from the early 40ies to the electro jazz tracks of nowadays), ambient, downbeat, hiphop, triphop and other kinds of electronic music. In general there’s something in most musical genres which attracts my attention, except schlager and trance. I try to get my influences from a diverse range of musical pieces.
So what are the last 3 records that you listened to?
The dnb scene is still pretty centered round places with bad weather and sea; however, dnb is more and more flourishing all over the continent: how do you reflect on the Vienna/Austria scene, and how do you see the future of the genre in general?
Since the neurofunk-renaissance, which occurred at around the middle of the 0 years (at least I call it this way) there has been a huge wave of second generation producers. In general, the internet makes it a lot easier to achieve knowledge about production and engineering. I think that’s one of the reasons producers keep getting younger and younger. Today it’s easier to get your stuff heard but there are A LOT of new producers out there. It seems to me Austria has still a small scene, but drum&bass is still emerging. After the Dubstep-hype of recent years, it seems to me that d&b parties nowadays start to attract people again, especially younger ones.
What are your plans and wishes for the future?
World domination! No, seriously: To have on the one hand enough time to make the music I love and develop my skills and on the other hand spend time with people I like.
Final question: If the sudden appearance of alien electrophages would eat up all electricity from the planet, would you rather scheme a dynamo-driven computer and encourage your friends to cycle for you, or settle with trombones and timpani?
I’d definitely stick with trombones and timpani! MORE TIMPANIS!!!
Bowsar Guestmix (download mp3):
1. Rockwell – My War [Shogun Audio]
2. Octane & DLR – Back In The Grind (Cern & Dabs Remix) [Dispatch]
3. Mefjus & M-Force feat. Maksim – Struggles & Pain [Lifted]
4. Ed Rush & Optical – Dozer [Wormhole]
5. Jade – This is My World (Icicle Remix) [Citrus]
6. Nickbee & Malk – Human Race [Horizons]
7. Er.ic – Unke [Producer-Network Records]
8. Noisia & Alix Perez – Underprint [Invisible]
9. Amoss – Footloose (Octane & DLR & Linden Remix) [Horizons]
10. Bowsar – Helios [Modulate Recordings]
11. Phace – Vintage [Neosignal]
12. Maztek – Galactica [Renegade Hardware]
13. N.Phect – Farce & Dizplay (Bowsar Remix) [Modulate Recordings]
14. Phace – Crevice (feat. Noisia) [Subtitles]
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