Hello. So this is my first time actually interviewing someone and I have no idea how to make an interesting introduction, but let me just say that I’m really overwhelmed and excited to be interviewing an artist that I really like: Recue.
A little backstory on how I came to find these amazing tunes he makes, yeah?
My gateway to the world of electronic music began with some industrial metal, and it wasn’t long before I had discovered more hidden sections of electronica. IDM (I would rather not put labels as it can be quite diverse, but I guess you could think of it as ‘electronic listening music’) became a comfortable little place. And after one fateful day (or was it a night?) I copied some music from a friend who shared the same taste for the strange and refreshingly good music, I discovered Recue. Out of 30 artists and 157 tracks in that folder labeled “Mixed IDM”, his stuff really stood out. Check out this track from his All the Wrong Places album that got me hooked.
Well, here we are, almost 2 years after those tunes first graced my ears and he’s out with a new album. New stuff to dig in to. Enough about me, it’s time to start reading about him instead.
(With the different time zones — AU and FI — we ended up agreeing to do the interview around 7AM in my time. And I woke up late…)
Oh snap! Overslept! Still up, man?
Haha, I’m here, no biggie. I think I just finished a track that annoyingly didn’t want to get finished and am emptying a cold one as a reward.
Hey! So you’re working on another album?
Well, yes but this track is not for it; this one is a compilation bit. But I’m working on an EP now that we finished the album with Jolea.
The vinyls should be arriving this or next week, by the way!
Oooh. I still need to get a record player. Hahaha!
Haha, you still have few days.
By the way, this is my first time doing an “interview” so uh, pardon me if I screw up a bit (even if it is just like Q&A).
No stress. Nothing to screw up here.
Alrighty then! So what are your musical influences? What genres or artists do you really enjoy?
Ok, influences… Hmm… I absorb lots of influences here and there. I can’t say that I’m really a fanatical artist follower. It’s more that I tend to get hooked on certain tracks that intrigue me in some way, but there are certain producers that tend to constantly come up with awe-inspiring stuff that I keep getting back to.
Lorn is definitely one of them. He tends to have both the emotional content and top notch production that excite me.
Clark is another one of my faves, just to name few.
Hecq as well. His compositional skills and pristine mixes have provided a great deal of inspiration as well.
Sometimes my way of listening to music tends to be a bit too technical, but those guys somehow get past it. Though there are lots of others as well, it merely comes down to individual tracks and productions.
Interesting. I’ll have to check those guys out (sadly, I’ve never heard of them before today).
Oh, you definitely should! Lorn for example makes awesomely dark stuff infused with room-shattering bass. Clark is the kind of mad scientist type making awesomely weird stuff with groin-punching mixes.
I seem to use the word awesome a lot— which is awesome.
Heheheh, is all good. Awesome is awesome.
Have you always been musically inclined? What instruments do you play and at what age did you start?
Thinking back I’ve been making music of some sorts (more or less seriously, mostly less) most of my life. I started with Amiga and trackers when I was a pre-teen, picked up my dad’s guitar at some point and studied the basics, played a teeny bit of drums, and since then music has just been around in a form or another without really questioning it. It was only later on when I started thinking about releasing and all that.
Basically all my life it’s been just a really, really, really fun hobby and a way to relieve stress and get away from the normal routines.
Oh, nice! Maybe that’s why your music’s so good. None of your tracks seem “forced” out (unlike ‘EDM’ artists these days… hah).
Oh, thank you. I’m really glad to hear that.
In high school, we made a weekly reservation at a local band rehearsal room with a friend of mine. There were lots of instruments available from other bands we could play with. The only thing was that we pretty much sucked at all of them. But it was a blast.
Heh, yeah, I guess it must be fun just jamming with friends.
Yeah, we didn’t even have a band or anything. We just locked ourselves in and played with everything possible for an hour or two.
So when did you first start producing and what tools/software do you use?
It’s hard to draw a line from dicking around (pardon my French) with trackers to actual production. It’s pretty much just a fancier word for the same thing. The tools I used gradually evolved from trackers to a short period with Propellerheads Reason, to linear sequencers like Sonar (used with tools like NI Reaktor), and eventually to Ableton. And bits of hardware gradually came along. Though I could say I’m still mostly a software-oriented producer although I have more hardware toys around. Playing live is a different thing, that’s when you need all the toys.
Not much use of MIDIs?
(Sorry, I’m not too familiar yet with these terms and all.)
I do use lots of MIDI controllers, especially live and now with Ableton. I like playing with pad controllers and tap beats in, trigger clips with grids of buttons and now maybe the latest addition is Lemur on iPad which lets you customize your own touch controls.
Fun and expressive stuff.
I noticed you’re trying not to use the word “awesome” anymore.
Haha, I’ll just use it more sparingly.
Heh. Right, moving on… How much time do you spend in the studio?
It completely varies on how much projects I have ongoing. But my head seems to work in a way that I can take for example 10 minutes in the studio to quickly lay down an idea, then do something else and let the idea grow in my head, then return later to continue and work in these sort of short bursts. That’s the advantage of having the studio at home. But every now and then you have those lucky moments when things just click and you sit in the studio for 5 hours straight and come up with a finished track.
Unfortunately, the latter is a rarity. But it completely depends on whether I’m working on a certain project towards a goal or just trying out new things.
I see. So I guess that there isn’t an ‘average amount of time’ it takes you to finish a track then? 5 hours being your fastest, yeah?
Usually the ones I’m satisfied with come out really fast when you get the inspiration going. I’ve managed to do complete tracks from scratch in few hours but then again, sometimes you hit the road block and get back to a track over and over and have to kind of force it to be finished.
Or not. Tons of unfinished ones lying around.
Haha, I’m looking forward to hearing those tracks someday as bonus tracks or a compilation. What about the first one you ever made? Is it available to the public?
Well, Leftover Love was sort of a collection of those tracks that didn’t fit elsewhere even though they were finished ones.
I… actually haven’t listened to those yet. Oops.
Hehe, oh well.
I can’t remember the first track, but it must have been a 4 track Amiga mod. My brother salvaged at some point a huge amount of old mods from floppies. Awesomely horrible stuff!
Do you have a favorite album or track from all that you have released?
That’s a though one… At one point I couldn’t listen to my old stuff at all. I rarely do, and when I do I usually just spot bad mixing or other stuff that bothers me. Though I just made a remaster of All the Wrong Places and listening to it, it wasn’t so bad as I remembered! So maybe I’d need to give them a chance. But lots of the tracks and albums have fond memories attached to them. I’m not sure if I can give any favorites, they just take me to different places.
Fair enough. I kinda know what you mean, albeit in a different field. Haha.
I guess that’s a pretty common thing while creating. Though I have to admit that on the upcoming EP I have some material that, at least at the moment, feels really fresh to me. So I’m hoping to get it out while it feels that way.
Second to the last question! I guess you might have already answered this earlier, but what is your purpose for creating music — for starting to release them as a producer, Recue? What drives you?
I would still say (despite the releasing bit) I keep making music just for the pure enjoyment of the process itself. It’s something to get my mind off other things with, to relax, to get excited on and to have fun with. If that last bit would at some point end, I think I’d have to come up with something else to do but luckily I’m still enjoying every bit of it.
Great answer. 10 points for Gryffindor! I guess that same principle applies to whatever you do in life or in life itself — it’s the process to be enjoyed, rather than focusing on the result (which is also a reward too).
And lastly, what else do you like to do aside from making these awesome tunes? (Yes, awesome.)
Another big chunk of my life is filled with aviation. But aside from what I “do” to what I like to do for inspiration (not that there is anything wrong with aviation) is try to travel as much as I can. Not trying to sound like a globetrotter but I feel that seeing new places and getting away from your usual circles give huge amount of perspective and inspiration for me. Whether it be jaw-droppingly gorgeous nature or a buzzing urban atmosphere, you always bring something back. All excuses welcome.
I guess both are linked (or will eventually be) in a way.
So that explains why you were in South Africa last weekend, I guess. Do you travel by yourself?
Yeah, all of that is highly linked.
Friends or family but I don’t mind traveling alone either, it’s a completely different experience that way.
It’s more of introspection/soul-searching when you travel alone, whereas it must be a bonding experience to travel with someone.
Anyway, I think those were all the questions I really wanted to ask!
Thanks a lot, man!
No problem, man! It’s been a pleasure.
You can listen and get Recue’s latest work (Recue X Jolea - We’re Not Like The Most) here.