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Feature: Blackloud [Interview]

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Rising melodic house and techno star Blackloud debuts on Polyptych with ‘Textures’. Hailing from Prague, the Czech artist first appeared in 2015 with a string of releases via Wold Records. The following years saw Blackloud build momentum through offerings on Beatfreak Recordings, Manual Music, MNL and RADIANT, before eventually landing on Balkan Connection in 2020. Now making his first appearance on Polyptych, Blackloud presents a two track showcase entitled ‘Textures’. We had a chance to catch up with the Czech artist for an exclusive interview just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hello, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Well, thank you very much for having me. Current mood is isolation unfortunately and the last piece of music I’ve listened to is “Frozen Twilight” by “God is an Astronaut”. And no, I didn’t choose this song as an opening for Progressive Astronaut, it is just a big coincidence.

What are your plans for the coming week?

As we are in total lockdown in Prague, my plans for the coming week are almost the same as the previous week. Studio, cook, sleep, repeat. I am planning a livestream though. That’s a change.

Talk to us about growing up and living in Prague, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

As a matter of fact, I was born in Turkey and spent almost 30 years of my life in various cities and relocated to Prague in 2016. I can’t say I was producing before, I was barely using a DAW. After relocating and settling down, I started to invest in a studio. Prague is rather a slow city when you compare it to the other European capitals yet this helps an artist to focus more on what he/she wants to create. It is true that the city is less diverse and one cannot get inspired by the surroundings but it also offers an atmosphere for the artist to listen to its inner, deeper thoughts.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

I’m a 90s kid. Almost like all the other musicians of the era, I grew up under the influence of Rock music for which I feel very lucky. If I can relate three tracks that helped my musical development from my early years they would be.

1. Metallica – To Live Is To Die
2. The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
3. Radiohead – Paranoid Android

After I grew a bit older and started producing music, the way I listened to songs has changed so did the music industry. I can list two other tracks as the second part of my journey.

1. Mew – Comforting Sounds
2. Apparat – Caronte

You cite Post Rock as a genre you gain inspiration from, who are some of your favourite post rock bands?

I think one of my favourite bands nowadays is the “If These Trees Could Talk”. They have so many simple yet powerful ideas and the atmosphere they create in their songs is an absolute inspiration for me. Another band that I should recommend is “Explosions In The Sky”.

You’re also half of the NONDO duo, tell us how that project differs from what you do solo.

Blackloud is more on the melodic and deep side of electronic music where as NONDO creates club tracks for dancefloor with a touch of Tech-House influenced beats and hypnotic textures. For NONDO, we always create an acoustic version of the bangers that we create so that we can show to the listeners that the songs are not just about power but they also have musical richness inside them.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? How has it affected your daily life, music production and overall inspiration to write new music?

At first, it seemed like a great opportunity to concentrate on creativity but with time, I realized that I am only failing to be more creative and so I stopped trying for a while. Since we cannot get inspired by seeing new things, experiencing dancefloor, meeting new people, listening live to other artists, I tried to find inspiration elsewhere. I tried to watch production tutorials, read interviews about other artists, tried to get to know people virtually. Those gave me the inspiration to write new music.

What is the current situation with the pandemic in Prague? Are clubs or events happening yet?

Now, it is the worst. It was going really good in Summer where all the small clubs were open and people could party occasionally. We even had good concerts and outdoor events and the industry took a little breath in between the waves of the virus. Now we are in total lockdown again the numbers are not looking good.

What is something you do now (regularly) that you did not before COVID-19?

I am taking online classes to improve my knowledge about music theory, sound design and synthesis. Before I couldn’t find time and energy to spend in education but now that I have more space to develop myself, I use it wisely.

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

I think it is changed forever. There is no going back to what we called normal in 2019. It would be affected negatively regarding the number of attendees to the clubs/parties, the number of events and the size of whole industry. The number of people who are interested in making music and earn their life out of music would decrease. It will be a natural selection.

You have a new EP out this week on Polyptych, tell us a bit about the release and walk us through the production process on one of the tracks, whichever you prefer.

WAGYU was created with one of my good friends I.S.C.O. The idea behind the track was to come up with a heavy bassline and a powerful kick drum. That’s all that we had in mind. So, we started working on the track with the bassline which was sampled from 2-3 other samples and then we kept on going from there.

After that session we had a great body which would serve to any kind of melody that you would try. I was able to write the main melody on my own then we sat down again for another session to finish the song. Sometimes there are some tracks that you finish really quick and you never hesitate for a second, WAGYU was one of those.

Was there anything that inspired these tracks? And where does your inspiration come from generally?

Textures was inspired by the concept of having background noises in everyday life and never realizing them. Like a bird chirping noise at the very back of a track or a laundry machine noise when you watch TV. When the sound suddenly stops, that’s when you realize the impact. That’s when you recognize the how little details can make a huge difference. I am generally inspired by people. Talking about their experiences in music, life and personal relations will trigger my thoughts and those feelings moves me to write new music.

What’s your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this EP?

Lately I’ve been more into physical gear over digital. I believe at this point, it is all about choosing a workflow which suits you more. If you feel comfortable with digital, emulators can give you a fantastic end result whereas if you want to turn knobs while you play your melody on the keyboard, digital cannot give you that feeling. I think I liked that feeling of touching because I grew up with actual machines rather than virtual realities.

You’ve previously released on Balkan Connection, Beatfreak and RADIANT, what made Polyptych the right home for the ‘Textures’ EP?

The sound and the texture of the whole EP fit perfectly to the sound of Polyptych and they were quite interested in the tracks from the first moment I’ve sent them. I think Polyptych is an honest label who supports upcoming artists and provides them a safe place to release their music.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

Like a lot! And we should add the question of “how many revisions are done before a track is ready?” The answer would be the same. A lot! You need to be 100% sure about the track before sharing it with the world because it will stay there, it will leave a mark. It is your choice whether to leave a mark that will satisfy you artistically or not. I always share my new music with my wife as it is always going to be an honest opinion. I try to catch her facial impressions and mimics to understand what she really feels when listening to the track.

The problem of mental health is complex and nuanced, and it is an issue to which those working in electronic music are especially susceptible. It can be deeply rewarding but it is also competitive, fast-paced, unpredictable and hedonistic. Talk a bit about the pressures of what you do that fans may not be totally aware of.

The pressure of “trying to be creative, unique and sustainable” in a fast-paced, unpredictable and hedonistic environment. It is a highly saturated market with an almost impossible to break glass doors upon our heads. When you start wondering when you are going to be famous and start touring the world, you may start to fell anxious and may lose the will power to simply sit down and enjoy doing music. The struggle to balance expectations with the reality is the most important mental war.

What have been some of your favourite tracks over the quarantine period?

1. Stephan Bodzin – Diamant (Original Mix)
2. Ivory (IT) – Hold Your Breath (Original Mix)
3. Yubik – Memories Will Fade (Original Mix)
4. Noissier – Driller (Original Mix)
5. Sam Shure – Korrelate (Original Mix)

What is your favourite food?

“Sarma”, a traditional Turkish food. But lately I’m addicted to all types of chicken wings.

Iphone or Android?

iPhone

What does the remainder of 2020 and early 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I am having another EP late December from my home label Wold Records, which I am making a return after 2 years. I am highly excited about the EP since all three songs were written during the quarantine period so I can’t wait to share them with the rest of the world. There is not much happening at the club scene right now so I don’t have any events planned yet but as soon as we get back up, I am planning to have a gig in Germany and maybe a little tour back to my home country.

‘Textures’ is out now via Polyptych: https://pa.fanlink.to/PLT152

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