How would you describe your music?
For me, it has never been easy to describe my music. I have always been unable to decide, unable to choose one way or the other. The constant contrast that characterized my life was reflected in every aspect of my personality. I didn't want to have a defined genre, I didn't want to be a master of electronic, chill step or ambient music.
I want to be the master of my own art, which is free to take on a multitude of forms, without being defined. I have written songs of different genres, but deep down I feel I have not found my true musical style. Maybe it doesn't exist, maybe it's a simple feeling of dissatisfaction that has remained inside of me. My other half, however, thinks that it does exist, that it can only be found over time, searching, studying and learning every day to develop your own art, whatever form or shape it may have.
How did you get into ambient music?
Ambient music was a sort of consequence of my musical tastes. My favorite channel, many years ago, was MrSuicideSheep. Now a lot has changed, it aims for a more pop and commercial type of music, a little sorry. However, that channel left a good memory in my mind. He introduced me to artists like Phaeleh, ID3, Koda, Sorrow, Tom Day, Tony Anderson, Hammock, even some friends like Rocket Science, whom I am in contact still today.
Many songs on this channel refer to various moments of my childhood, so I tend not to dig into the archives to avoid exhuming emotions of the past. I think that when music is able to trigger certain sensations, to mark moments in people's lives, then it has done its duty.
Through these artists, the discovery of ambient music was inevitable. Moving from Chillstep, Drum & Bass and Electronic, I discovered Ambient music, which in the early years of production was my favorite genre. Time for me flowed quite slowly, I found peace in silence, in the sounds of nature. I wanted to create atmospheres that could be reflected in surreal places.
What was your learning process like?
As for my learning process, for me it was something innate and natural. Before I was 17/18 I had never touched an instrument, I didn't understand anything about music. Or maybe I did. I just spent a lot of time listening. Sometimes I look back and think I would like to rewind to those first years, where I didn't know what a chord or a progression was. I'd let myself be carried away by an indefinite feeling, an unstoppable desire for creation. I wrote for the sake of writing, without rules, without thinking twice. I still do it, but back then it felt as if there were no obstacles between the idea and the final result, like a river that flowed smoothly and rapidly.
Years ago, I used to spend a lot of time on Deviantart, looking for artworks as if I were in an art gallery. I enjoyed spending time discovering the creations of users around the world. They seemed like little adventures collected in a single work of art. I wanted to give those works of art a new life. For me, ambient music was an intentional choice. I wanted to create the atmosphere, the missing element in those illustrations I loved so much, to make them come true in my mind and perhaps in that of anyone who could listen to my music.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
My inspiration seems to be triggered by what I see, or feel, when I am in a certain place, or when I see a landscape, a photo or an artwork. I have always written and produced songs in my room, managing to mentally enter the images I saw. Once I am inside those pictures, the sounds almost come to me, like a natural flow.
I consider myself lucky to be able to draw ideas and inspiration from certain photos or illustrations. Particularly by everything that is surrounded by an atmosphere, whatever it is. This sensation pushes me to translate the visual atmosphere into a sonic atmosphere. Someday I would like to write or produce music for a short film, or animation that needs a distinctive sound. I think I would be able to give the right atmosphere to what I see.
For me, art and music are not parallel roads, but a single path. I spend equal amounts of time producing music aswell as searching for the right artist for my covers. When I see my music on other YouTube channels, associated with an image that doesn't reflect its meaning.. I can't be happy with it.
I created The Fireplace Project for this as well, asking each channel to upload the song with that particular illustration, created specifically for that song. If that condition was not welcomed, I would usually tell them not to promote it. From the inspiration to the final product, art and music for me are a unique creation. That song was created thanks to that image. Separating them would be like dividing heart and mind.
Does your music have common themes?
For me, music changes shape depending on who listens to it. I am only the source of the river that branches out in many different ways. I want my songs to be listened to over time, to be remembered, to be like seeds in the life of those who listen to them. I want each song to be a piece of the inner puzzle that each person seeks to complete in their life.
A guiding light in the labyrinth of your mind.
I want my music to help people, to give hope, to be oxygen. I have always put heart and soul to create music that can last over time, I stand against the music business that wants us to put out music every week or month, like machines. I stand against the consideration of songs as.. disposable goods.
What's your creative process like?
I have many ways to start working on a song.
The more I produce, the more ways I found to trigger my creativity. I have not traveled for a long time, I have not had many cool experiences to tell, so I have always relied on my imagination, which luckily has never abandoned me. I've always daydreamed. I often start a song simply by improvising some progression on my keyboard. When I don't succeed, I spend a lot of time on Artstation, looking for drawings and illustrations that have a suggestive atmosphere, such as to spark inspiration, the need to give a sound aspect to visual art. This method almost always works.
Is that the inspiration behind The Fireplace Project?
Yeah, its a place where I make music for some artworks exclusively made for the project. A sort of audio-book.
I have to say thanks to 3hil (Azika Han) in particular, as she is a very talented illustrator and it was thanks to her that I was able to write the Fireplace Tales. I'm thinking about the next Fireplace season, (for which I opened a patreon page) but in a new way and shape. It is way harder than I thought, but keep an eye out!
What are some things you keep in mind when you make music?
I often think about what story I want to tell with that specific song. I can't expect people to find a meaning if my song does not have one in the first place.
What I usually don't think about instead, is any rules to follow. When I make music, I want to have no boundaries, no limits. I want to create sounds that I personally enjoy in the first place, not to follow a certain trend or genre. I am not the type of musician who will make a lo-fi track just to get viral. Maybe It would benefit me in the long run, yes, but I prefer people to follow me for what I do and love, instead of creating something to specifically please a certain audience. I don't look for fame, it is not what I want.
I want to be what I couldn't be in my life: myself. My music genre may be everchanging and that's fine. It will be the reflection of who I am, of what I feel.
Music has always been an idyllic place for me, with shapes and colors changing according to my feelings and thoughts, not according to what others want. I want it to stay that way. I want my listeners to find their own idyllic place, through my music.
What is it about music that is so special for you?
I think that creating music is one of the few activities capable of arousing emotions in a soul like mine, which has always been dormant and which has always looked at everything around it with a critical eye. I have always been passionate about everything that is capable of arousing creativity, freedom of thought, speech, vision. I think the beauty of music lies in this. It is the universal language which, however, has no vocabulary. It transcends discrimination, hatred, the negative thoughts. It brings together people from all over the world and without it, we would be just fragile automatons.
Music does not judge my physical appearance, it does not look at what I'm wearing, but aims straight at the feelings. It looks straight into someone's eyes, open your mind to new horizons, to memories that we had by now buried under the mountains of time.
I like to believe in music, because I know it is something eternal, something positive, something that doesn't harm you but can only do you good. It is something sacred, in my opinion, like a God. Music itself is my muse. It is able to take you by the hand and show you a thousand reasons to live. It takes you through various places of your being, some brighter, some darker, but it makes you understand how each of these is part of your being.
Whats your least favorite part about this job?
There are several aspects that I would change in the music business. It is a kind of relationship of love and hate, but it is a prerogative of every passion, it is natural, I believe. Unfortunately it is a world where the need for fast consumption continues to be emphasized, requesting for an even faster production. The music business is taking a turn where a song almost becomes a passing cloud, and that scares me. I think that streaming platforms, but also the world in general, are moving towards rapid consumerism, so fast that it belittles the work of many weeks, if not months.
Just think of the concept of 'momentum' that so many artists are forced to generate. Releasing music consistently, every month a new song, or two, in order to trigger the algorithms and get more success, laboriously climb the charts as the stress increases and inspiration becomes an automatic process, almost on demand, no longer natural.
Personally, I hope I will never have to resort to such a method, as I would not succeed. I'm happy to grow slowly, little by little, building a fanbase that knows me, talks to me, interacts with me, as a person and as a musician, not as a VIP.
What are you currently worried about?
My future. Anything I can't plan. Since I was a child, I always had reasons and reasons to be anxious. The anxiety and depression have marked me, likely for life, as once you know them, it is difficult to forget them. A great knowledge often corresponds to a great need for willpower. The more we explore our subconscious, the more we lose control of it.
Few are able to know and control it.
My work is an objective risk. One day inspiration may no longer knock on your door. Maybe because you have to go out and look for it, but will you have enough courage to face thedifficulties, fall and get back up? Sometimes I think that in 10 years or so, I won't be able to produce music like I used to. I fear that balance of right and wrong may be broken, causing the meaning of life to collapse. My wish is never to lose willpower. Never lose that guiding light, that inner fight against the many monsters that I carry inside. To move forward, without letting the difficulties take over and have a mind that is above the obstacles I will encounter in my path.
Who do you listen to on the daily?
I listen to music that can inspire me, constantly looking for something that has.. a reason to exist. I save all the songs that manage to leave a mark on my soul, in a playlist I recently published called Kisnou's Favorites. At the moment the playlist has almost 200 songs, collected from 2015 to today. I am satisfied with what I have collected over time. In my daily life, I happen to listen to something more mainstream, to understand what direction commercial music is taking. But.. I just can't seem to enjoy it.
I like to consider myself a seeker of hidden gems, as if I were constantly looking for songs, or artists, that you can't find on the market, or on the front pages of blogs or music sites. Seeking who is not on the surface. The music that often lurks in the most unexplored pages of Soundcloud, Spotify or YouTube.. has something much more distinctive, like a superior charm. You are often surprised at what you find. Sometimes you wonder what are the backgrounds of certain artists, whose identity you have never known. You wonder what the story behind that one song they released is, you listen and the music seems to tell you something mysterious, something secret. For me this feeling is wonderful, I would like others to experience it. One example of this is 'Temptation' by Half Dust.
You listen to this song and you feel like you're watching a wanderer, from a long distance, in a desolate land, at dusk.
You wonder who they are, what is their destination, but deep inside you know you will never meet them. This brief moment of mixed melancholy and wonder, mystery..
And these few songs are the only signs of their passage. Like a falling star.I want to find more artists who have been forgotten, I live for this exact desire.
This is what I'm looking for. This is what for me is a hidden gem. I've gathered all these songs in a playlist that I keep private on my Soundcloud profile, titled 'Hidden Gems'. So far I've collected 124 Gems. Most of them don't go beyond 10,000 streams. I'm sure you haven't heard 99% of these songs.
I don't plan on sharing this playlist to the public scene, as it is based on something very intimate and rare, that would lose sense if it was shared with everyone. It is like my personal Holy Grail. I don't know if anybody will ever listen to these tracks, but they are truly dear to my heart. I want to collect more of these gems, and maybe when I'll be older, I'll share them with the world.
If I were to mention any channels that I appreciate, despite everything, surely Ambient Musical Genre deserves a mention. Many people have known me and my music thanks to this channel, and I am proud of it, because it is one of the pioneers of Ambient music. I think this genre deserves a lot more attention, but at the same time it seems to be a kind of pristine island. Maybe it's better if it stays that way.
In conclusion, I don't have an established place where I listen to music. I often get carried away by YouTube or Soundcloud algorithms. I prefer to let myself go into randomness rather than listen to what a particular channel wants me to hear. For example, with this method I found many musicians who are now among my favorites, such as Ruby My Dear. His first song I heard was 'Shee'. Thanks to it, I was able to explore the IDM / Breakcore genre.It is a genre that hardly any channel or radio promotes, but which in my opinion requires a lot of work compared to other genres like lo-fi, for example. Ruby My Dear was the inspiration for my two IDM songs 'Vesper' and 'You Will Not Drown'.
How do you know when a song is ‘done’?
When I listen to my songs, in the production phase, I reflect a lot on the story that song wants to tell. Sometimes I add natural sounds and atmospheres, to really create a scene, or a tiny world for the listeners to explore. If the song keeps a narrative thread, from start to finish, then it's complete. I tend to compare this process to a painting. When there are all the elements necessary to define the atmosphere, the place, its history.. then there is nothing else to add.
Sometimes, however, I fail in my intent. I often feel incomplete, perhaps because the song does not give me the right energy, so I prefer to consider it finished and go on, without publishing it. I created many songs with very particular melodies, but which often failed to build the right atmosphere.
I have discarded many of them. I am very selective with what I choose. I prefer quality, not quantity.
But sometimes depression makes the process more complicated, it takes over. It blurs what is right and what is wrong. It intervenes to make you feel inferior, unworthy. It creates many doubts, a spiral of thoughts that often does not have a positive conclusion. When it happens, it hides behind my selective taste, it takes the same shape of it and the song ends up being the victim.
Though I try to embrace that unstable feeling and say: 'You are strong, this time you won. It's fine. But next time it will be more difficult for you to take over, because I will create something even better'.
It kind of keeps me going.