Interview – antinode

antinode is a unique artist creating experimental music with an epic feel, as displayed in latest EP release, Symphonized. I decided to do an interview to find out a little more – the EP stream can also be found at the end of this article!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an EP titled Symphonized, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about this EP and where can it be purchased?

I have always loved the worlds synthesizers can create and how they form a basis for audio landscapes and I had a desire to create a synth album for almost a year, but felt I still had too much to learn about the technology before giving it a go.

In July 2021 I sat down and started playing with different synthesisers to get a feel for how they work and what they can do – the track Equinox came out of that exercise. It would be eight months before I could lay down the rest of the tracks on Symphonized while working on other projects as well.

Symphonized is available on all streaming platforms and can be purchased (digitally) on iTunes.
Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Quite the opposite. As much as the lockdowns had a negative effect, they also created time for reflection and time to pursue things that under usual circumstances are easily postponed or have lower priority. I have always played piano, since I was four years old, and that skill developed steadily into my early teens but then it stopped. Life happened.

While I was always musical and would play whenever I had the chance, I practically stopped playing for almost 15 years. It was thanks to the pandemic and the lockdowns and the abundance of time on my hands at that point that I started playing again and not just playing, but recording and learning all about digital music production.

I noticed you have a section on your website titled Midnight Improvisations. Can you tell us more about this?

Piano has and will probably always be my first love when it comes to music and that is why there is a whole section dedicated to this series of EPs on my website. This series of EPs came about after I first starting exploring digital music production in December 2020. I had so many melodies in my head and had to sit and record them before they were gone.

It became an almost nightly ritual where at around midnight and sometimes after I would sit and play and record whatever came out. I made a decision to release them as they were created – no editing, no clean ups or fine tuning. They truly are improvisations.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

It depends. On works like the Midnight Improvisations series (of which there are twelve EPs thus far) there is no real writing process. These are solo piano works that really serve as a creative outlet. I would sit in front of the piano, usually rather late at night when the whole house was already asleep, and I would just hit record and play. The resulting tunes have in many cases provided a working base for ‘bigger’ versions such as the reworks found on
the Inalienable album released in June 2021.

Other projects like The Litmus, Aftermath, Renascence, Inalienable and The Freedom Within almost always starts with a piano melody stuck in my head that I have to get out. Once I have that melody down, I inevitably feel something else is needed and after listening to it incessantly the blanks start to fill in and other instruments/synths are layered into the song until the final product starts to show. Then the process of constant refinement starts and
where creating an Midnight Improvisations EP takes about as long as it takes to listen to it, the albums mentioned above can take two months to put to rest.

Have you started writing for a future EP/album?

Since Symphonized there have been three Midnight Improvisations releases and I have also started work on two other projects: Schaff Enskraft and Neveling. As I’m writing this it’s summertime in The Netherlands and I spend a lot less time in my studio when the sun is shining, so things are slowing down. But come autumn/winter that will change.

I am working on an idea for a follow up to Symphonized and it will most likely be released under Neveling. No idea when that will happen but it will be a mix of drone and massive soundscapes with muted beats… we’ll see.

Do you plan to release any singles in the near future?

Yes! When I’m working on bigger projects like albums or longer EPs like Symphonized, I often get to a point where I need to stop obsessing over them for a bit. In those spaces I sit and play randomly on the piano while recording and more often than not something happens that turns into a single-worthy release. That is how Horizonal, Unhomed and Walkabout came about – they were all mid-project distractions.

Right now, through 1631 Recordings in Sweden, there are a number of EPs and singles already planned for release within the next two months and all throughout summer.

Whereabouts are you based and what is the local music scene like?

I live in The Netherlands and live a rather secluded lifestyle so I cannot really say what the local music scene is like apart from the popular music that plays on the radio. Broadly speaking I have zero interest in the popular music scene.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

As a teenager in South Africa I grew up before the age of digital music and the soundtrack to my teen years were artists like Brian Eno, Vangelis, Shawn Philips, Deep Forest, Dead can Dance, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax, Enigma, Mike Oldfield and Enya and many others.

Lately I listen to almost everything under the sun, with perhaps an exception to rap and hip-hop. Everything from Underworld to Royksopp, Funki Porcini to Parov Stelar, Elbow to Efterklang. It really is a mixed bag. When it comes to listening to music I enjoy whatever makes me feel.

Any last words for the fans?

Over the last two years I’ve had a couple of people contact me directly to thank me for ‘sharing my talent with the world’. I was astounded to hear that my music had so deeply affect people but at the same time it was really no surprise – music affects me deeply too.

I create music because it’s part of my life journey, I have no dreams of fame or wealth – for me it is an intensely emotional, almost spiritual affair. I love when people reach out to let me know that they’ve been touched by something I’ve created. If you enjoy what I do then please feel free to drop me an email – it brings me joy and immense gratitude!

There is definitely more to come in future. What form it will take and which direction it will go I cannot say. I am often as surprised as everyone else when the final product lands. So watch this space.