Interview with Dreamtime
Hello and welcome to Spacesound Records. We would like to shed some light on the individuals who make the music we all love. What better way than hearing it from the artists themselves. Lauri (or should I say Alf-meister), Welcome to Spacesound!
Thanks. It was a long flight from my home planet.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what do you do?
Apart from my alien duties I'm just an ordinary guy living in Joensuu, which is in eastern part of Finland. Currently I'm a media student who also does some audiovisual work for commercials. I have lived all my life in Finland and spent most time studying. I'm a true 80s child as I was born in 1980. Got exposed to a lot of that culture back then and now my friends must think that I have gone crazy because I make this type of music, haha.
2. How did you get involved in music and do you have a music background?
It's pretty strange actually. Somewhere in my teens when I had this heavy metal phase going on I suddenly got very interested in making my own music. I couldn't play any instrument so I started to fiddle with software. The music was plain horrible but I really enjoyed the process and I was very productive for a couple of years. I don't have any educational background besides my grandfather trying to teach me to play piano. But I never liked it back then and didn't learn a thing, hehe. It would be a different story now. I have mostly learnt on my own.
3. Besides spacesynth what other hobbies do you have?
I like to eat cats... err, I mean, music is the most important one. Also, I watch a lot of movies, photography, capoeira, resetting my mind etc.
4. What other music interests you?
Quite a lot. I listen to electronic music genres like psy ambient, dub, and the classic era of electronic music and then some heavy metal and progressive rock. And of course hearing 8bit beeps always warms my heart. I enjoy live jazz too. To mention some bands or artists: Angelo Badalamenti, Ozric Tentacles, Shpongle, AIR, Arcane, Tangerine Dream and so on. I don't actually listen to spacesynth that much these days because I get to hear that style much as a composer and when I'm home I prefer listening to music that is more soothing. I try to keep myself constantly open for different types of music - but I heavily dislike country and opera =)
5. Do you compose any other music besides spacesynth, if yes, what might that be?
Yeah, different kinds of electronic music like ambient, retro-em and other weirdness. With spacesynth I tend to think a lot about producing and melodies but the looser stuff makes me focus more on the feel and images they bring. These other types of music are more for myself.
6. How did you find spacesynth or when did you first come in contact with this genre of music?
Pretty late, that would be in 2000 or so. I came in contact with the genre from 8bit side of things. Just a coincidence but I was immediately hooked. Later I became rather active on Internet and blabbed endlessly about Juno basslines.
7. What draws you to spacesynth and why do you like this music.
Catchiness and space drive. The music is so pure and people who make it do it for sheer love.
8. Is there anything that you dislike about this genre?
Generally I think there's too much recycling of clichés. I would like new artists to be more brave and bring their own identity to the music to stand out of the crowd. Sure, I have done it too but I wouldn't get anywhere in the long run by doing it over and over again.
9. Are there any group or artist(s) that have influenced you?
I always find myself coming back to Gustaf Grefberg and admire him for that special doskpop feel he has developed. Often in my music atmospheric passages are inspired by German legend Tangerine Dream.
10. I guess this question follows on from the next but do you have a favorite artist and why?
Not anyone particular. I like most what Michiel and Rob have done and have much respect for them.
11. Do you have a favorite spacesynth album and why?
Macrocosm 'Second Voyage' for its catchiness and melody work, Protonic Storm 'Inner Travelling' for the immense soundscapes, Koto 'Masterpieces' for summarizing the classic era and Xain 'Born in the Stars' for pure coolness.
12. Would you be interested in working in a duet or with other artists if yes who would that be?
Sure. There are some artists I would like to work with. Certainly most us would like to work with Michiel.
13. Do you like Italo Disco?
To some extent. I like the powerful and bold style such as Radiorama. Those light-hearted and sweet italo disco songs are too cheesy even for me. I sometimes watch italo videos on Youtube for entertainment.
14. A few Spacesynth artists have come from the Demo scene, were you ever part of that, if yes what was your artistic name and do you think there is any advantage to Demo artists?
My time came after the golden times of the demoscene had faded away. I was in contact with a couple of groups but I never considered myself to be really part of it. But still, I think that's where my roots are because I spent a lot of time listening to that music - and only afterwards I found space and italo. Generally people with the demoscene background have a little bit different approach to spacesynth. The music is often more complicated and doesn't necessarily follow any pop structures. Melodies are also longer than those used in italo disco. Basslines are sometimes different with more swing to them. I believe there are countless demoscene people out there who would be thrilled about spacesynth if they just found out about it.
15. Lets move to composing. How do you start with a new track? Do you, start by trying to compose a new melody or do you play around with chords and then try and fit a melody into that or is there perhaps another way?
Sometimes I start with chords, sometimes melody. Sometimes I make drums first. So I don't have any definite way of starting a track. Sometimes when I work on a non-spacesynth track I accidentally come up with a melody that fits spacesynth which then triggers inspiration.
16. Recently there has been some debate about the importance of melody in spacesynth. Do you have any opinion or thoughts on this?
I can only speak from my own experience. Melodies are the ones that brought me to this music so I feel that the emphasis should be on harmonies and composition. Taking the emphasis somewhere else makes this music completely different. That said, I most definitely don't think this music should be just melodies playing. Drums in spacesynth are generally really simple and spicing those up could really bring up something new and make things more energetic. Chris has also proved several times that those long build-ups can work very well.
17. Spacesynth currently has many different styles for example Protonic Storm is very futuristic and pushing boundaries on the other hand Marco Rochowski epitomizes the Golden era with his classical interpretation. Where do you think you fit?
Somewhere between, leaning towards classic style and reaching for more contemporary sound. My melodies are rather oldskool and probably will always be.
18. This question is a sort of follow on. Where do you think the genre is heading? Some people have said that we should move on from the LD influence and embrace influences from other genres i.e. different drums, bass and not have to rely on melody. Others have argued that the melody is the essence of spacesynth and overhauling it would kill the uniqueness of the style and thus create just another electronic sub genre. Any thoughts?
I don't believe in reviving the old days as they were. What is great about LD and Koto is melodies. Some tracks are works of a genius and have fantastic feel to them but I think new artists have showed that other aspects like structures, percussions and atmospheric side of things can be done more effectively.
19. Any thoughts on how we could improve the genre (musically and gaining more mass appeal)?
I have been monitoring this genre closely since 2000 when the new wave artists were stepping in. During this time we have got a lot of new artists but meanwhile many older ones have unfortunately quit the scene. I don't think the music quality has improved as much as it could have during the last years. I think the genre needs more artists with a vision and sense of writing music really. However, currently there are some new and interesting projects going on and it will be interesting to see what happens.
20. What sort of gear do you use?
I use software for recording, sampling and some synth work. I have several Rolands including the MKS70 and JD800 and modern digitals like the Nord Lead 2x. One item I'm pretty proud of is the Roland SVC-350 vintage vocoder. I like to do most of my FX work digitally but I have the Small Stone Phaser and Big Muff analog stompboxes for the special character they bring. If I want to be really productive I usually skip the hardware.
21. At times debate has centered on Software synths vs. hardware, do you have a preference if yes why?
I have seen many of these debates and I always wonder why people bother. Since the beginning I have tried to take the best from both words and not limit myself. With software it's very quick to work and for samples it's perfect. Personally what I find with hardware most appealing is the hands-on approach. Synths with good interface are simply inspirational to use. It's not even that much about the sound in the end - even though some of them do sound amazing.
22. What’s your favorite TV show?
I'm glad you asked. But I'm not telling you the answer. It's hidden in these answers. It has three letters. Oh wait, who am I kidding?
23. Anything you would like to say to the fans of the Spacesynth Genre?
Spread the message, look into the future and stay open-minded. Big thanks to everyone visiting Spacesynth.net and contributing. That inspires us to keep on working.
Now for something light hearted. Just give the answer to one you prefer or “Neither” if they aren’t applicable. (No explanations required!!)
1. Tea or Coffee? Coffee.
2. Market or Shopping Mall? Market.
3. Demo or Italo? Demo.
4. TV or Sport? Since I threw my TV away I have to answer sport.
5. Books or Cinema? Cinema.
6. Resort or Camping? Resort.
7. Summer or Winter? Summer.
8. Cat or Dog? Cat. They are delicious.
9. Beer, wine or Spirits? Depends..
10. Blonde or Brunette? Brunette.
11. Sweet or savoury? Sweet.
Once again thank you for allowing us your time in answering these questions, it is very much appreciated! We hope this gives the spacesynth community a little better insight into you as an artist.
No problem! Was a lot of fun.
Space Sound TeamInterview Conducted By Peter D.