samedi 10 novembre 2012

DAVID WRIGHT: Beyond being Connected

First thing first David; congratulations for your last album. It is another beautiful album.
Thank You. Yes, I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out.

Trinity, The Spirit of Light, Music for Angels, In Search of Silence and now Connected. All titles with a spiritual connotation. Did David Wright undertake a spiritual bend in 2010?
No, not at all. Hadn't really connected the titles in that way.
What is the message, the vision and the emotions that ties Connected to David Wright?
Connectedevolved through 2012 from a live piece of music (the first 45 minutes, tracks 1 - 8) and originally the title was Constant Perceptions. It went through many processes and versions before the final album version, including a vocalist (Carys Swinger) and library vocals from the Hearts of Asia library. Tracks 9 - 11 were one track from “In Search of Silence” sessions that was going to be the closing track before I wrote "Worlds Beneath". The music fits much better on “Connected. The final 3 tracks were from the “Continuum” era, and was a piece I had forgotten all about. When I revisited it and completely re-arranged it, I found the perfect ending to the new album. I initially wanted to call the album Constant Perceptions but I found it difficult to imagine an artwork for the album. I suddenly discovered the album image and the idea of perception and being connected just fell into place. I deliberately chose the titles to reflect the psychology of perception and also being connected by the worldwide web - all deliberately pretentious! The other reason for the shorter titles is purely for the commercial download market (tracks need to be less than 10 minutes for individual downloads).
Even if the musical envelope is rather different, we feel a transition between In Search of Silence and Connected, if only in their conceptions (Two long chapters each with a more electronic touch for each of them, a weak Berber touch on ISOF and a big one on Connected) and their titles. What are the links, and their inspirations, which brought to the realization of Connected and In Search of Silence?
Well, my answer will probably sound quite disappointing; because there are no conscious links. I make only one conscious decision with each new album. That is to attempt something different to the previous album. I think probably I felt a greater affinity with my synths on the last 2 albums than ever before, perhaps a more relaxed approach just to explore the musical possibilities available to me. Also though, I returned to more hardware based synths as my main method of composition and mastering and this, paradoxically in today’s technological age, I found better, more liberating even.
Talk to us a bit about these two albums. They are very introspective. Is David Wright in search of a peace of mind or he is only bewitched by the immense musical possibilities of the Arabic electronic art?
None of these things! This will sound selfish, arrogant and self serving, but, as I already stated, I write music as a means of expression. Something within me wants to communicate through musical ideas and most importantly, through the emotion in music. When I incorporate ethnic influences, I deliberately do this as a gentle influence to be part of the music, not to take over the music. The process of creating does, in itself, create the emotional connection with the listener, because the music creation and the music are interconnected. So I am not consciously trying to incorporate any influences. If they happen, they happen because they feel right for the music. The sitar for example on ''Threshold of Perception'' was a last minute addition because it worked better than guitar. Also, the Eastern vocal texture gave my chord structure a more dynamic edge that was better than using conventional western vocals, which is what I'd used for the live concerts.My point here is that it's always about what works best for 'the music', first and foremost, nothing else. Also, it is important to note that once the album is finished, so too is my emotional investment in it! I no longer have any interest in it. I pass it on to the LISTENER - it is the LISTENER who should comment on the music, who should interpret and discuss the emotional content. As the composer, I am only interested in the next musical project.
Your solo works are immensely touching, emotive and moving. How to explain all this emotionalism, all this depth which surrounds intimately your works? Do you believe that the fact of being alone in studio bring you to exteriorize at most the state of your feelings?
Being alone in the studio affords me some time without distraction when I need it, but it's about what's inside me trying to get out, that is always the main thing. Certain exterior influences make that easier and help the process and as I already said, maybe a journey or another piece of music inspires me. Sometimes a good feeling, sometimes a sad feeling like 9/11 that made me sit and write the “Walking with Ghosts” theme. Or the children's home in Albania described to me through poetry by a friend that inspired “Dissimilar Views” way back in 1995. Or the USA concerts in 2007 that inspired “Momentum”. Even back to my first recording “Reflections” that I wrote after the death of my first wife in 1988. Emotion is what people define as my style, whatever the music I perform, that emotive style is what people recognise as David Wright over so many different CD releases in 25 years.
How do you approach the composition of an album? Does the concept come before the music or vice versa? For the benefit of those who claim that writing and playing EM is so easy (we just have to press on knobs and turn some switches); how do you proceed to write a title? Let’s take "Elemente der Psychophysik", out of nothing to its whole.
My music is an emotional expression and each album is approached the same way. Firstly, I ensure that there are no distractions. I shut myself away from everything and Elaine, my wife, knows that I am not to be disturbed. This can be difficult because obviously there are many business and family matters to be attended to, but usually I take 2 -3 weeks away from everything to start the album. There is no set way in which I approach the composition of the album. My inspiration may be the artwork or it may be just musical ideas in my head and these can be from anything; a journey, an event, hearing other music. Tracks usually evolve from the spark of the original idea through many stages. Sometimes the evolution of the music can be easy, other times fraught with difficulties. Imagine taking a block of marble and starting to chisel away. Something begins to emerge from the marble and gradually, the detail is added as more and more of the marble is slowly and delicately chiseled away. How long this takes is dependent on what appears out of the marble. Sometimes though, too much marble is chiseled away and the idea is scrapped in favour of a new piece of marble.
So, there is a process, yes, but what is that process? If I knew that I would bottle it, sell it and become a very rich man! The process cannot be explained, I cannot explain and I don't think any artist can. The music evolves naturally over time and often, I am so involved in the process that only when each part of the creative process is finished am I aware that there has, in fact, been a process. Sometimes there may be a sequence pattern, other times a sequence of chords, other times a rhythmic element. It really does vary and often I cannot remember how a track starts. I have many ideas in a folder waiting to revisit. Usually though, I have the basis for the album within those first 2-3 weeks. But, then, the completing of the album, the mixing, the sound choices, the mastering, this can take many months. It is the time on the detail that makes the album!

How do you manage to do the difference between your solo works and your collaborations projects?
All these projects produce a different style of music, so I approach each project with the style of music in mind for that project. Also a consideration of the dynamics of the writing and recording process with the members of each project. They're all different and mostly it's about the practical, domestic arrangements required to ensure the projects run smoothly. The creative process is ALWAYS the same, whatever the project. Ideas are brought to the table by individuals and developed by the collective and the music just evolves.
Sometimes there's a plan, like with Code Indigo, where a theme evolves and the music grows around the theme. “For whom the Bell”, for example was about life and the human condition, so it was easy to find lots of sample to add to the music to provide a kind of narrative. That album developed from a collaborative project between Robert Fox and me into a band with the addition of Vaughn Evan and Nik Smith. It also set the template for future Code Indigo albums, “Uforia” (sci-fi), “Timecode” (time) and “Chill” (global warming). The new album, set for April release and being premiered at E-Day in Holland, is “MELTdown” and uses the financial crash as the backdrop. We also felt it was a logical follow up to “Chill”. Code Indigo offers me the platform to do things I wouldn't otherwise do as a solo performer. Obviously, sometimes the style of Code Indigo  spills into my solo work, that's only natural, but I try to avoid it if I can.

As far as the writing process is concerned, there is a very deliberate plan to ensure my input is not too David Wright. That may seem strange, but often when I compose music, I put certain tracks to one side because I think they could become a better Code Indigo or Callisto track(Robert Fox used to do the same). So I try and approach the project with a blank canvas, both of ideas and sounds, and make all best efforts to respect the music of the project and not take it over by making it a David Wright album (not that the other collaborators would allow that, ha ha).
Is it easy to strike a balance?
Sometimes, yes it is, in the sense that solo work is much easier by definition. Collaborations can be stressful and requires a certain amount of compromise. The main thing is that when doing a collaboration, I'm deliberately trying to do something different to my solo work, and I think collaborations help a musician to develop and mature in ways that wouldn't be possible if always working alone. It's obvious if you think about it.

If there is a difference between Code Indigo or still Boddy/Hoffmann-Hoock/Wright (Trinity) we can't say there is too many between Callisto which is as much harmonious as your solo works.
I think there is a HUGE difference between these styles?! Code Indigo is definitely NOT like David Wright music! It's electronic rock and an amalgamation of the various musicians involved. Similarly, Callisto is NOT like David Wright music but deliberately Tangerine Dream style sequencer based music and much of the sequence ideas actually come from Dave Massey in Callisto. Dave Massey is hugely talented at sequencing and I have learned a lot from him over the years. I do not perceive my music to be that Tangerine Dream in style, certainly not in the sequencing sense. Of course my music nods in their direction occasionally, but no more than it does so towards say, Vangelis, or Mike Oldfield or Kitaro. As I have said before, what you hear in all the different projects is the emotional core of David Wright and it is that that you recognise as my 'style' even though the music is quite different.
And regarding Trinity; how do you manage to separate the David Wright of Walking with Ghost, or still from Connected, The Tenth Planet, and others of that of Trinity? Do you succeed in taming this style of relaxing music?
Well, again, it's about recognising what the style of music is. Relaxation music is not easy because it requires subduing natural instincts to develop the music and add dynamics. The relaxation music style keeps everything very slow building and without the dynamics that I would normally aim for. Again, it's recognising what the music is about and balancing that with my musical input.

In the chessboard of conventional EM; let be Berlin School, England School, Dutch School or New Age; where is situated David Wright?
My music crosses all of these, while being situated in none of them. I don't really think about it and I suppose I have no real interest in the discussion.

Do you consider yourself now as being a New Ager? Does EM has to be labelled with all its sub-genres? Is melodious EM (Vangelis did some great melodious works and I do feel his huge influence on your music) necessary New Age or Easy Listening kind? I would like to hear you about that?
I suppose people/fans need a reference point. As I mentioned already, I don't think about it beyond what we have to do as a label for distribution. We label our music as instrumental, new age, electronic, space music. In my experience, people have different interpretations of those genres, so I'd rather not waste time giving it headspace - it academic and it's subjective.
Does it annoy you to think that one can label you as a new New Ager?
Only if they don't listen to my music as a result! Bottom line is that my music is actually quite organic, which is, arguably, counter to the definition of electronic music. My music sometimes has ethnic influences but it isn't 'world music'. My music isn't always space music but it is probably best described as instrumental new age space music. At the end of the day, if people chose to listen to my music and like it, they won't care (or at least I don't see why they should care?!) whatever it's categorised as. I have fans in the electronic music market and the new age market, so as I answer before, this is a 'non' discussion to me and I don't understand the fascination with the questions about genres.......sorry!
What are your main influences that push you to do music?
Life and a love of music.........
Music and EM changes, evolves constantly. How do you feel about these changes (Equipment, styles and new artists)? Do you think that EM is going in the good direction or it's stuck on the same place?
Change is inevitable, it doesn't bother me. I use the changes in technology that work for me and ignore those that don't. Despite the advances in technology, I think music has, sadly, become a disposable commodity to be given away free with breakfast cereal. I'm fortunate to have been involved in music for a long time and make a living from it, but I would hate to be starting now, it's very difficult. Part of the problem is that it's so easy to make music. That's great, but technology and the internet has allowed for everyone to get their music 'out there'. There's an old saying; "Everyone has a book in them" (or an album). Well, that may be true, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book (or album)! Also, now I believe there are more people and websites selling the IDEA of being successful at music than there are musicians! It's like the X-Factor has spread to the internet.
As far as the direction of EM is concerned, I can't answer that, I honestly don't know and don't really have an opinion on it. My concern is my music and my business, AD Music, both of which are intertwined in making my living. However, I will say that I think em suffers like all other genres with falling CD sales, online piracy and a general apathy derived from the scene being flooded by music, a lot of which is average at best! Add the global economic situation and it not a pretty picture!
A favourite one lately?
Apart from AD Music releases, I've been to busy to listen to any new em this year aside form old favorites. I listen to things like The Beach Boys, new CD That why God made the radio. Or Diana Krall or my CD collection of  The Moody Blues, Santana, Pink Floyd, Genesis etc,etc.
However, just this weekend I listened to the entire Klaus SchulzeSilver Edition”10 CD box set! Awesome!!
What are your next projects?
I'm going through the live recordings from 2012 with a view to a double DVD release in 2013. The music will be set to Dave Massey's excellent graphics with a few live extracts.
Do you have an idea of what your next album will be? Collaborations ahead? Concerts?
I have a few solo ideas knocking around in my head, but nothing to talk about yet, sorry. I hope to get together with Ian Boddy for the follow-up to “Shifting Sands”, maybe later in 2013. We both want to do it, but it's finding the time. I have a concert with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock in Germany at Bochum Planetarium on December 30th 2012. Details are online. The first half of 2013 is all Code Indigo, with the new album “MELTdown” and concerts in the UK and Holland in April and June, with maybe another European concert later in 2013. I have one UK solo concert planned for September 2013, details of which will be announced soon by the promotor. In 2014 I will be performing 3 concerts with BasBroekhuis DetlevKeller & MarioSchonwalder; one in the UK (Bungay) of 1st June 2014 plus others in Berlin and Amsterdam around that time. This is something we've been talking about for years. They're great friends and great musicians, so it should be fun and produce some great new music.
If I asked you to point an event that marked you in 2012, which would it be and why?
Probably the Gatherings Concert in Philadelphia. A thoroughly enjoyable concert where everything went as planned.
Talk to me about an album, a book and a movie which particularly seduced you recently.
The Dark Night Rises was stunning. But a great independent film I saw while in the US was Robot and Frank. Best film I've seen in years! Album-wise, I'll go for The Beach Boys' That's Why God Made the Radio for pure nostalgia! Actually don't read that much anymore, never seem to find the time!
AD Music knew a revival during the last years. Speak to us about a few new orientations of your label. There are new and very interesting names (Divine Matrix, Sylvain Carmel, Dead Beat Project, Geigertek, etc.) Many new names for as much styles.
Well, strangely,  I don't perceive it as having a revival at all, we've been here since 1989 growing and selling CDs, surviving while many other labels have gone, We embraced the digital revolution from the start while I have made a successful living with good CD sales and publishing. That fact seems to have passed the EM community by over the years. I just think more people in the EM genre have taken notice of the music in recent years, that's all. We've been here all the time though, doing what we're doing! That said, perhaps the one thing we've done differently in recent years is to take full control of the releases and been far stricter with artists over album content and artwork. There were some poor decisions made in the past when we tried to maintain the artists 'artistic' vision and sometimes that simply backfire commercially. Bottom line, AD Music is a business! I'm obviously pleased with all the new artists and albums, which help expand the labels footprint and we'll see how these artists develop over the coming years. One of the main reasons for expanding the artist and genre styles is for the up-and-coming Library Music website.
How you manage to decide between your role of producer/talent scout and the one of composer/musician? What are your big surprises so far regarding this new direction and your new artists?
I'm NOT a talent scout and hate the idea that anyone would remotely think of me as such! I produce where necessary as part of my role to ensure good quality product is released by AD Music, that has always been the case from as far back as my discovering of Bekki Williams in 1995 and producing her first 2 releases and having a hand in the other two. Oh there is no new direction, it's just that people only discover this fact and my activities now!
What plans for AD Music for 2013 and the years to come?
Due to the economic climate and dwindling CD sales, there will be changes. We have a couple of new releases in the pipeline for 2013 but mainly it's going to be repressing and re-issuing older titles that are out of stock. Perhaps a couple more compilations, we shall see. Our main focus for 2013/2014 will be our Library Music site.
David thanks for your time and kindness and on behalf of Synth&SEquences' readers, the best of luck with your musical projects.

Sylvain Lupari (Interview made during the week of November 1st, 2012)

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