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Subconscious Tales [Interview]

25 min read

Beloved for his sophisticated productions, we catch up with Latvian artist Subconscious Tales who has a new release out on his Subtales imprint. Enjoy!

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

Hello Progressive Astronaut! I’m in a fantastic mood, it’s morning, it’s Friday & cool spring water glass with lemon and the sunny July day begins.  The last song I listened was Ott - Maurits Cornelis. He had really stunning album this year, can’t get my head around it. Stunning sonical architecture &  beautiful contemporary, updated vibe.

 How’s your year so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

This year has been a little rough for me, losing my job. Trying to find where I can fit into the society mechanism again. I guess my only plan for next week, to find enough good job, so I can  also have enough free time for music composition.

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

This is a very tough question, as I have been surrounded of enormous quantities of music, probably millions of songs.  I think every track has some important role in my musical development, but if I have to name five, let it be then.

Starting from my most early age track up to this point:

*Spiritualized - I Think I'm in Love (The Chemical Brothers Remix)

I had never listened to psychedelic oriented music when I was like 9, years old, but when I heard this song on my 90W speakers on high volume I was like: ‘’Whatta f*** is this??’’

*Prodigy - No Good (Start The Dance)

Since I am born on 1990, it means that this is a normal thing to grow up with Prodigy early albums. My first rave song, I was like 10 years old I guess, when I danced to this one in my bedroom watching that MV haha

* Cid Inc. - Darpa

I would not say particularly this track, but it’s impossibly hard to pick one from that time, because throughout the teenager years up to somewhere 25 years old, I went through enormous amount of trance, breakbeat, house, progressive, tech, minimal, dub techno, I mean I went thoroughly through every style in details. I guess this would be the one of those drilling/thrilling progressive tracks, this would be one of them.

*Kilowatts – Coppertone

From the age of 26, it’s easier to pick a track, because the modern psychedelic music opened a corridor with million doors in my synapses. Kilowatts blew my mind again and shook the molecules in my amygdala a lot. hehe

*Shpongle – Strange Planet

I guess by this time hearing this track, I had discovered pretty much the pinnacle of electronic music. It was time to redefine my own sound after hearing full possibilities of what mending of samples, effects and synthesizers can really do.

Talk to us about growing up and living in Latvia, how did it affect your musical taste and the music you make?

I guess I was really lucky to have 6 years older brother, who also was obsessed with electronic music.  We had at least 200-300 random CDs of different kinds of music in 1996-1997. Of course because he was older, so he had developed his style really well by that time, so it had huge impact on what he was listening every day on me. Then I had a small, super old music work station of 3 octaves only which I used to record my first songs in tapes haha by 1998-1999. My family was not rich to buy me a proper gear so I had to create Ideas of my gadgets In my home which I had. Since I was into music composition already early on of ages 5-6 while sitting on piano, the direction was already set afterwards to make music all the time.

I’m not too familiar with nightlife in Latvia, can you tell us a bit about that and were there events or clubs you went to early on which made you want to pursue electronic music?

I was listening to a lot of trance by the age of 15-16, so I was eager to go to nightclubs, but I could not get into night clubs yet since I looked 3-4 years younger than my peers haha. But once I was 18 years in 2008, the ‘’rock’n’roll’ began. J  First I was going to my own town local club, where we had a great DJ, he played really great progressive house. It was the first time I heard really good progressive house DJ, which could mix well, play interesting tracks and deliver good and dynamic sets every weekend. His name was Edgars Vaivads. (He is not DJing anymore since 2011), but he had a very special and unique taste which of course had a huge role on my own development of how I heard progressive house. Then in 2008 he invited a resident DJ ‘’Kaspar Kondrat’’ from the capital city Riga, from the biggest nightclub in all Baltic states by that time. ‘’Club Essential’’ and that guy took my roof off completely with his set that night. What a blast of energy that was. Wow. Of course I had to start producing music something like that then haha. It was huge impact that night on my progressive house/trance taste and vision. Few years after I began to send demos, promos to Kaspar Kondrat and some months later he invited me for a gig to play in the biggest, most famous club in all Baltic states. I guess I was lucky, but even more lucky to get residency there for 3 years and see all the biggest stars, Sasha, Digweed, Cattaneo, Guy J, Dave Seaman, Joris Voorn, James Zabiela, Nic Fanciulli, 16 Bit Lolitas, all the trance stars Armin, Tiesto and so on….all of them. That was pretty much all the experience in Latvia.

 You have a new EP out this week via your Subtales imprint, tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your sound.

Yes, I am releasing new EP. I guess it’s just the continuation from the previous EP. This EP I would say is the last one which represents my current sounding. The 3-4 year cycle is ending now and every next music and release will be new, completely new sounding. These two tracks are very different from one another. ‘’Radaqast’’ is that daring more rough and playful child which goes through different states throughout the track of different feelings and rhythms, but ‘’Uayana’’ is the one which is daydreaming more down to Earth and more empathic one. Very psychedelic sounding EP, not too minimalistic. But with my peak-time signature sounding I guess.

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

I use quite powerful laptop, since I often have huge amount of VST’s, effect plugins, huge amounts of automations and many, many channels on the master. I combine every Idea I can. Record sounds into my portable zoom recorder, play guitar, use my synths. At the moment I have three which are, digital/analog Korg Minilogue XD, Digital/Analog Sequential Pro3 and virtual analog(digital) synthesizer Roland Gaia.

 When you finish new music what determines whether or not you will release it yourself or send it to another label?

When I think that it has much more experimental and free sounding vibe than the mainstream, I guess I’d like to put in my own imprint, because this way it fits better on my collection and my fans can navigate a bit better of what kind of stuff they like what I produce. Because I do have very different sounding on each release. But mainly either experimental or more traditional sounding prog.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

I think it can go both ways, sometimes original is super easy and sometimes remix is super easy. It depends on how I feel and what is the material I can work with and if I have enough inspiration.

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?

Honestly speaking I should work on this more haha. If I have a chance to test my track in club, I will definitely play it and then I could judge best of how it was. Sometimes I send tracks to my friends for them to check, but I don’t trust of what they say whether the tack Is ready or not. Often I don’t trust myself either. So that’s a very, very difficult task every time to determine if the track is ready or not. I often regret the tracks what I have released in the past.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

Personally I don’t think any expensive gear can have huge impact on the sound. It can help in various ways if you know how to use it for 100% with all of it’s matrix possibilities and so on, but it’s like a giving a computer to a kid. It may use it accordingly, can happen a happy accident or it may waste just huge amounts of money and it will dust there. Of course I would not mind to have Prophet XL in my home. It’s one of those which I would like to have. It’s big.  J

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

I am not much a book reader anymore, I suppose like most of us. Neither the movies which I would say to have huge impact nowadays, maybe when I was 15 years old. I used to love reading some time ago, maybe some esoteric books or science such as Aldous Huxley's book ‘’Brave new world’’ or great sci-fi movies by the best world movie directors like Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott or James Cameron. I do prefer to watch educational videos, podcasts or documentaries more.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Simon Posford, Kalya Scintilla, Kilowatts, Takkra, Ott,

Whichever order, that would be amazing night or nights…

If you could travel anywhere for one day, all laws and limitations void, where would it be?

Definitely, to some alien world, maybe to Andromeda galaxy and see how’s life there, what kind of music, food and drugs do they have there, hehe.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

I think the biggest risk what I have every taken in my life is smoking DMT, which my friends convinced me to do it.

What is your current favourite place to eat and what do you generally order there?

My favorite place to eat is in my own home. I love cooking, I cook Chinese food, Indian food, Italian food, Mexican food, Russian food, American Food, whatever comes in my mind I cook and learn new recipe. And I have learned how to cook quite well over the years. My wife always waits me near the dinner table to see what I will bring from the kitchen haha. Cooking is like composing music, exactly the same thing.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

The thing which makes the most happiest me is just to sit under a huge tree on the mountain, far in the nature, near waterfall or stream, to have a beer or joint, eat snacks, watch the sunset, stars and to philosophize with my beloved wife about life and universe. But it is not apart from music, because it’s hard to imagine that situation without good music.

What does 2022 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I can’t wait for that Subconscious Tales album finally. I wish, I wish, but will see.

Radaqast & Uayana are out now via Beatport: https://bit.ly/3OOznKO

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