I appreciate you taking the time to do this with me, especially since I know a lot of people aren’t fond of interviews in general. I suppose I’ll just go ahead and start with the standard opening question.
What made you realize that you wanted to start making music? More specifically the “Dark Ambient/Drone” style music? I imagine there were some specific influences that helped you become interested in that style of music.
Having always been fascinated with sound, ambience, environments, etc, I find it fascinating how fine the line is between travel and sound. A simple constant drone from an air conditioner could have the ability to strike a 20 year old memory, happy, or painful. Or even to bring you to a place that doesn’t even exist. There’s something magical about this type of music, and know that I’m not alone with this. I connect mostly with ambient/drone more so than I do to literal or ‘conventional’ music, and love creating it.
That definitely is interesting. It seems to be a form of music that doesn’t get much recognition, at least compared to other varieties of electronic-based music.
Were there any specific artists that you found along the way of discovering this art form that influenced or inspired you and your approach to your music?
That’s what’s strange- it doesn’t get much recognition, but it is, for the most part, a key element for building up dramatic/horrific tension in cinema. Everyone experiences drone and doesn’t realize it. The masses probably never will. But, as far as influences, it’s really hard to say. There is one record in particular that did it for me. KLF’s ‘Chill Out’, which is on my top. The use of samples and everything in between was just genius for that time. It made the album its own. I still find myself driving along Texas’s Brownsville border when listening to it. Mind you, I’ve never even been to Texas.
Also, while we are on the subject of cinema – Were there any films that you’ve watched that have stood out to you with an unusually impressive use of ambiance?
It certainly feels like much of your music, your first two albums especially, has a cinematic quality. I’d like not to be presumptuous, but that did seem that was a major theme in your approach to your music. Is that true?
Once having been a filmmaker, evoking mood and themes, though maybe never being explained in full, is always important to me with anything I do, or having been involved with. As far as ambience in cinema, most of my favorite films incorporate it. It’s obvious with the more surreal stuff, i.e. David Lynch, Alexandro Jodorowsky, etc. But there are films that aren’t as surreal, and are more mainstream that do as well. I think sound design is just as important within a film [as] cinematography is alone.
I’d like to talk about your latest two albums if you don’t mind. Aeterna and Heaven seem to be different from your previous two albums. Did you take a different approach when making them?
To be honest, not really. I’ve experimented with some different techniques in stereo imaging., which has led me to Swansound, an almost Holophonic approach. I’ve gotten much feedback from listeners who say the realism of these albums is much more present, rather than before. Some even say they hear things that aren’t there, which was definitely what I had been hoping for, and played with some different mastering techniques as well.
That’s definitely something I’ve never heard of before and it sounds incredibly interesting.
This also brings me to the release of Heaven. Was that something you already had on hand and were waiting to surprise listeners with, or did you actually record it in that short amount of time after Aeterna?
‘Heaven’ was recorded after the release of ‘Aeterna’ and planned for the fourth release for sometime much later. I just wanted to get it out and thought a surprise would be… surprising?
On that note, I’ll end with one final question.
What is your favorite piece or track that you’ve recorded? What are you the most proud of?
There’s an emotional attachment to everything recorded, but if I had to choose which of them I am most proud, I would have to pick ‘Aeterna’, and believe it or not, ‘Heaven’, if not more for the closing tracks from both. I would throw in parts 1 & 2 from ‘In 8 Movements’ as well. It’s hard to listen to my own music from third person point of view, as I am always criticizing what I could or should have changed or have done different. That’s probably the only negative aspect of recording music, not being able to listen to it as someone else’s work, and love it all together.
Thanks again for sitting down for this. I hope we get to speak again soon.
Black Swan’s latest album, Heaven, is available here for streaming and purchase: