Cold Tear Records

Underground Electronic Music Label

Focus on the Breath interview

by admin on December 23, 2015, no comments

Focus on the BreathA few days ago we released a new album by Focus on the Breath called “Apnea”. His first release called “The Garden” got great feedback, and I’m pretty sure the new one is even better.

We decided to ask Focus on the Breath a few questions about his new release, about his inspirations, production techniques and other stuff. Put on his new album and enjoy the interview below! http://coldtear.com/focus-on-the-breath-apnea/

Hello there. How are you? How do you feel having released your second album “Apnea”?

Hello! I’m doing great, thank you. It took almost a year to make my new album “Apnea”, and now I’m very happy because I wanted it to be released on Cold Tear Records.

For as much as I know “The Garden” was your first release ever? But if you listen to it, it’s clear that you must have been into music for some time. What is your experience as a musician before we started to work with you?

The Garden was my first release as Focus on the Breath, but I’ve been playing music for quite some time now. I started playing guitar and singing when I was 17 (now I’m 31), and I never stopped since then. In 2006 I founded a rock band called Margareth (margarethmusic.com), and in 2012 I joined an improvisation trio Schrödinger’s Cat (schrodingerscatisasleep.tumblr.com). About 3-4 years ago I also started working as a freelance composer.

How did you pick your artist name? Why “Focus on the Breath”?

I chose the name after a summer holiday in Canada on the Rocky Mountains. That vacation changed me, made me aware that everything is part of one living being. Everything is breathing. To me, breath is a metaphor of life and its cycles, and breath is what connects us to life.

Why “Apnea”?

The months that followed The Garden release were difficult. I was isolating myself, not letting anyone in. It was then when I started to think on the whole Apnea concept, because I was living like holding my breath, in apnea. Awareness made me overcome this moment, and music gave it a sound.

I saw some serious electronic music hardware photo on your facebook page. There’s some modular stuff and other analogue devices. How much of that can we hear in “Apnea” and how much of it is purely digital?

Some equipment used by Focus on the Breath

Some equipment used by Focus on the Breath

In Apnea you can hear everything of that and much more. There’s a strong “rock” approach in this album, I played a lot with my hands: keyboards & synthesizers, modules, sequencer, electric guitar, glockenspiel, percussion, there’s some beatbox by me as well. In the photo I think you saw my small modular system (with both analogue and digital modules), a Minibrute and a Dark Time sequencer. I’m relatively new to synthesizers and to modular, so I used them in Apnea but kept it simple. I also used digital instruments and effects, such as soft synths, stomp boxes and samplers, but always controlling the sound with my hands.

There’s always this “analogue vs digital” discussion going on, which is starting to make less and less sense, especially since the ACB based products by Roland came out (AIRA, botique). They recreate the analogue sound surprisingly well. What do you think about all that?

This “analogue vs digital” thing sounds funny to me. I love musical instruments and I hope I’ll live long enough to play them all. But I’ll decide which ones I’ll keep based on the sound I have in mind. Everything sounds good, but you have to know what is good for you.

Do you make your albums from start to finish, or are they more like collections of the stuff you made since the last release?

Up to now I embraced the “from start to finish” approach. I decide a concept and I work on it. That guides my feelings and sounds. The “collection” workflow is very appealing to me, and I already used it several times with my band. I might give it a go in the future as Focus on the Breath.

Is there a particular source of inspiration for you?

I love nature and the mountains. I often visit the Dolomites, not far from home. I feel in peace when I’m there, which is a good starting point for inspiration. But the sparkle always comes from music. Music colors my emotions, moves me, makes me think and starts my creative process. Music is what I’m made of, what I “eat” everyday. I listen to music a lot. I wouldn’t be a musician if I weren’t a listener. Wherever I go, I always want to have music playing: at home, at work, in my car, in my headphones, in my ears. I’ve always been searching myself into sound.

What kind of music do you like to listen to for your own enjoyment?

That is a tough question. It really depends on the mood. Right now I’ve just woken up, I’m home and I’m listening to Terry Callier’s Occasional Rain, a fantastic soul record from 1972. His next album, What Color Is Love (1973) is breathtaking. These days I love listening to soul, funk and R&B music from the 60’s and 70’s, and to hip-hop records – Madvillain and Kendrick Lamar are among my favorites. I love the Beatles, I’ll never stop listening to Rubber Soul, Revolver and “Sgt. Pepper”. Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is also something I’ll never stop listening to. Radiohead are a goldmine to me, I saw them live twice and every record they made is priceless to me. I’m also listening to a lot of classic Jamaican reggae and dub, I love the “Trojan Box set” series, in particular “Dub (vol.1)”, “Roots & Culture”, “Reggae Rarities” and “Calypso”. I think Lee Perry is one of the greatest of all time, I listened a lot to the 4 CD box I Am The Upsetter. Soul Jazz Records’ Studio One Dub is also something I couldn’t live without. And then there is electronic music, such a big universe that I can’t write about it! Let’s just say I listen a lot to releases by Cold Tear Records, Silent Season and Dewtone Recordings, which changed my life forever.

If it’s not a secret, can you tell us, what do you do besides music?

I work in a local company, but I’d like to spend less time in the office and more time making music!

Thank you for your answers, it is a pleasure to work with you!

Thanks to you, it is a pleasure and a great honor to work with Cold Tear. Thanks for what you do for music.