Can a movie exist without images? | Interview with VAAAL [Debut Album]

Welcome to the wonderful and mysterious world of VAAAL. An intense and thrilling debut album that feels like a movie without images. Make sure to listen to the album in its entirety. Read our discussion below. 

Describe your sound in three words

Explosive, heavily texturized and hauntingly dynamic.

You are about to release a self-titled debut album. Tell a few things about it. Do people still listen to full albums?

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve had a massive fascination for full length albums and the world building associated with a group of songs, as opposed to singles. It’s always been a dream of mine to release an album after countless of EP’s with my older projects. I also played in a rock band for seven years where we released many EP’s and singles, and at the end of that bands life cycle we finally recorded a full length album. Unfortunately it never came out for various reasons and that ultimately lead to the bands demise. It broke my heart as I saw this album as my baby that I had put so much passion and hard work into together with my band mates. It’s something that still stings a bit, but I’ve also come to term with that it wasn’t meant to be at the time. Fortunately, we just got the go ahead a couple of months ago to finally upload that album to all streaming services, ten years after we finished it. Im still very much grateful for those experiences and the “failure” of that album not coming out has been a massive driving force for me to keep creating and working even harder to realize my dreams.
And regarding the question if people still listen to full length albums: At this point in time for me personally Im doing this album for me. Most people probably don’t listen to full albums in the same extent as it used to be, but Im hoping some will find enjoyment in this body of work of mine. It’s a story that I wanted to tell and it’s there if people have 50 minutes to spare to come with me into this world that I’ve created for the past two years. I’ve always loved releasing music and it’s a very cathartic feeling for me of letting go of something that I’ve been working on day and night for a really long time. This album is an introduction to the world of VAAAL and I have plenty of other releases under this name lined up to come out after it.

You actually build your own instruments (Evil Gurkha by VAAAL, Tin-Hanks v1). If you had to choose one Synthesizer (analog or digital) which one would it be?

Oh snap, that’s a tricky question haha. Instruments and gear is something that is ever changing for me, day to day. And I guess it also depends on if you count Eurorack as its own instrument or as a family of many thousands of modules and variations. Also, I’ve been a laptop-producer for so long that I still to this day see the computer as my main instrument. But if I had to choose only one, I would probably have to say the Moog Grandmother which is my first love in the analog synthesizer/semi-modular world. It’s all over the album and serves as a corner-stone in my studio as well as when I go to songwriting camps for other artists and stuff like that.

What is the most notable difference between writing music for theatrical trailers in comparison to making commercial music?

To be perfectly honest, it’s hard for me to differentiate the two. When I get into a creative flow Im going to make whatever Im going to make. I can try and guide it in certain directions depending on what the purpose of the song is supposed to be. I can try and limit myself slightly when its for trailers and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, it’s all music to me and I have to follow my own inspiration in the moment. It’s something Im still working very hard with getting better at that type of self-control. Thankfully I have the good people at SILO: Music and Ultra Music Publishing guiding me through the trailer projects as well as giving me perspective of what is actually needed in that type of music that is meant to compliment visuals, as opposed to being its own thing.

What is your favorite album of the past year?

2020 has definitely been a weird year for albums with so many of them being postponed due to artists not being able to tour. So a lot of music I’ve been listening to this year has been older stuff. Im currently in the middle of a 60s bossanova-obsession, listening a lot to albums by people like Nara Leão (Opinião de Nara), João Gilberto (Amoroso) and Gal Costa’s self-titled album from 1969. I actually have an EP in the works with music inspired by that era, mixed in with psychedelic ambient cinematic music and similar textures you’ll here on my debut album. Other albums that I’ve enjoyed a lot this year has been Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, 070 Shake’s Modus Vivendi, Code Orange – Underneath, Marcus Fischer – On Falling, Floral’s LP and the three Hudson Mohawke-albums that all came out during the quarantine. Im probably forgetting a bunch of albums, but those are the ones I can think of right now.

Was moving from Sweden to LA a career related move?

Both career related as well as for my own personal growth. I needed to be in a new place to evolve and open myself up more to the world.

What do you miss the most about Sweden?

My family and friends of course, but also clean streets and trash bins everywhere haha.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Wow, that’s a tough question. I’ve watched so much different stuff this year. I’ve been going back and forth between films, TV-shows and gear demos on YouTube. I really enjoyed Bad Hair, Jojo Rabbit and Da 5 Bloods. I finally got around to see Jessica Kent’s The Nightingale (2018) which I thought was fantastic and horrible at the same time.
I also can’t wait to check out Tenet and Antebellum, as well as Saint Maude (which I did the trailer for)

One last thing we should know about you?

Hmmm…There’s lots of more music coming out from me in the next year, and hopefully an EP right by the end of this year. I tend to document my creative process quite a lot on Instagram (@vaaalsongs) so keep an eye on that if you wanna follow along.

Thank you!

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