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Interview: Roman Kandel

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Roman Kandel has made significant strides since first appearing with releases via Bonzai Progressive and Univack four years ago. Having made his Deepwibe Underground debut in December of 2020, Roman earned play and support from progressive music tastemaker Hernan Cattaneo who championed his ‘Mahasim’. A quick turn around on the label saw Roman return in January with the lush sounds of ‘Carina’. Now continuing to forge a strong bond with Deepwibe Underground, the Spanish artist unveils his debut album ‘Dibujo De Un Paisaje’. We had a chance to catch up with Roman for an exclusive interview just prior to the release. Enjoy!

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

Hello, first of all thanks a lot for having me here. My mood is good, pretty cool. I don’t use to be affected by my mood to choose music to listen. Right now, the last pieces of music I’ve enjoyed are the Mac deMarco albums.  A little bit different from the electronic style.

 What are your plans for the coming week?

My plans are, fortunatelly or not, the same as in the past weeks. That’s an infinite cicle of music in the studio but with no chance to show at live. But I am very positive and at least we have the chance of doing what we love the most. Spending time with our machines, instruments and mics is always a privilege.

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

Possibly it affected in my first contact with music. I played my first instrument at the age of 8 and it was the classical guitar. In addition, it was the first I noticed I could create music from scratch with my fingers. Appart from that, I’ve never followed lot of spanish bands. Maybe it’s right now when it influences in a harder way, cause I’ve found a great group of spanish producers which is like a small family.

 What music from your youth had the biggest effect on where you are today? Are there certain tracks or albums which profoundly influenced you?

For sure, we want or not, we are influenced by our past. In my case by the electronic compilation music albums and the 80’s vinyls from my parents. I grow up listenning Rick Astley, Michael Jackson or Status Quo so the sound of a syntethyzer was always very familiar for me. Then I discovered the trance music and I felt in love with the deep and melodic sounds. And it’s the line I follow nowadays, just with new sounds.

 Your new album ‘Dibujo De Un Paisaje’ was recently released on Deepwibe Underground, you must be quite excited. Tell us how it began to take shape? Was there an initial goal of writing an album from the beginning or did this happen organically in a way?

As you say I am more than excited. Writing an album is maybe like the most respectful way of showing your sounds for a music producer. In my opinion, it’s something you have to do from the beggining to the end with that idea. I didn’t want to do a compilation tracks album. My try was to produce a sounds trip, with coherence and message. Some of the tracks were produced and released firstly. In that point, Sergei, Deepwibe Underground’s owner and me talked about produce an album. Just that with no concrete idea. With no number of tracks or style. I did totally agree. So, I created the rest of the album around them. The production of the album was pretty fast and it flowed as hell. It has been and incredible experience for me as producer and a chance to discover myself in the studio.

 Was there anything that inspired the project? And where does your inspiration come from generally?

For this album my main inspiration was the nature, as we can see on some of the track’s name. I figured a full day walk in the mountain, maybe alone, and then I tried to draw that in my computer. The album starts with a sunset and advance as that imaginary day until the most closed and darkness night. Normally I don’t have so concrete influences and I focuse just in the aesthetic of the sounds, but this time was very special.

 How did you end up with the final track selection and how did you go about cutting stuff out? There must be a point where it becomes quite difficult letting go of certain pieces?

Totally agree, but I had very clear ideas for this album. I just had to refuse a few tracks from it. In addition, the order of tracks is very similar to the order I produced them. That progression of tracks started at studio and finished in the imprint album. I thought it was maybe the best idea to get that evolution sensation.

 How difficult was it deciding on the flow from a listener’s perspective?

Putting yourself in the listener’s perspective is mostly impossible and highly a subjective job. When you are in the studio, you just try to be as honest as possible with yourself. Then you have no control. It may be liked or maybe not. Perhaps it does not raise the feelings it raises in you, or it does it with very different ones. It is also the beauty of music.

There’s a very warm or organic feel to the album, from a compositional perspective but also design wise. What are your go to tools in the studio and what featured heavily on this album?

It’s perhaps one of my main goals when I create music. I want to sound organic, to sound real and true. Just I like it. I have a large number of recordings that I`ve made with percussion instruments that I use frequently in my productions. In addition, if I need a specific one I don’t hesitate to record, reproduce, search or treat it in order to sound the way I want. I hope that this is the connecting line left by the listener when he listens to my album.

 It’s primarily a club album with just two electronica or downtempo tracks, so how much of an effect do other genres of music outside of the electronic realm have on your own productions? And in particular the album.

I totally agree, it is something that may worries me. An album can be an opportunity for experimentation, but it is also true that I produced it at a very specific moment in my life and very quickly. So, at that time I needed something clubber, more percussive and that’s what I did. Anyway, I really enjoyed experimenting on the first songs on the album. I also did it in the final section, cause my sound has never been so techno and forceful.

 The album’s release marks your third project for Deepwibe Underground, which was preceded by two artist EPs, what makes the label such a great home for your music?

Deepwibe Underground have always bet on me, it is a relationship that started a long time ago. They give me total freedom and trust on my sound even before it is produced. It’s that total confidence what I want to thank with my effort in the study. Also, they are doing the things very well. New artists like Dmitry Molosh or AMPISH have already joined to the project and it will surely continue growing in the coming months due to the great job of Sergei, the label owner. I send him a sincere hug from here.

How did you initially come to release your music on the label in the first place and how did your bond grow to eventually release your debut album there?

As I say, my relationship with the label is long before the album. We have shared previous works thanks to other musical projects that I have in parallel with Roman Kandel. Finding the ideal place to debut an album is more than gratifying.

 How would you feel about these tracks being remixed?

It would be totally another dream come true. The opportunity to see so much effort in the minds of others music mates must be magical.

 Do you think the digital era changed the way we perceive artist albums?  And do they still carry the weight they once did or should?

Definitely yes, I think they have at least lost the romantic vision of the album. With the digital era we tend to see them as a conglomeration of different themes and artists are no longer looking for a continuity, an entire concept. The physical form of the vinyl and the hand-painted covers helped to envelop and introduce you to the world of the record.

 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?

I really do it less and less and over the years I have realized that sharing your music as a determining factor to know if it is acceptable or not is quite negative. The opinions of others are subjective and are influenced by the moment in question. Many times I have receive totally different opinions of the same song by the same person just by listening to them at different times. You must be the one to choose whether a song is good or not. Lately only my father and a few producer friends hear something before I sign it.

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

It’s a bit frustrating to feel you can’t share your music in live due to the situation, but on the other hand it gave me some time that I didn’t have to lock myself in the studio and developing my sound to levels I never imagined. I’d rather stick with that, but can’t wait to reconnect with the crowd in the stages.

 What is the current situation with the pandemic in Spain?

It is not very hopeful, this last month has been very hard and we do not know very well what the future holds. I would like to say another answer but it would not be true.

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

I sincerely believe that many governments will try to maintain many of the restrictions, and we must be quick and united to fight for our profession and culture. If we succeed, I suppose we will all return to the clubs with more enthusiasm than ever.

 Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

I am a great film lover, but at the moment it is something I have too much respect for. I love many of the soundtracks that I have listened to throughout my life and I am sure that if I had done them the result would not have been the same. On the other hand, that does not mean I rule it out. It’s another one of my dreams.

 Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I am a very simple guy: cycling, cinema, parents, couple, friends and food.

 What does 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

For the time being, I think I’ll put my Roman Kandel project on hold for a while after the album. It’s a large number of songs, and I think them deserve their time to reach people and I would like to respect their space. I will dedicate my time to other projects for a short time and I’m sure this year you will see more music from me.

‘Dibujo De Un Paisaje’ is available for pre-order via Deepwibe Underground: https://bit.ly/3rrvksV

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