A big part of Orbitfold’s Plums is a love letter to the 90’s British electronic scene. So let’s get ravey.
Read out discussion with the Lithuanian, Munich based, computer scientist and music producer.
Describe your sound in three words
Melancholy, naive, gritty.
Tell us a few things about Plums and your creative process in general.
I wanted to experiment with a kind of early UK dubstep inspired beat. But just kept adding layers to it until it started sounding a bit ravey. So I went with that sound. Threw in a couple of samples, some arpeggios and this was it basically. Usually I try to come up with something that gets me hooked and thus provides motivation for completing the track. It takes me around 20-30 hours per track. Which I think is too much and I have been trying to streamline my approach. Commit and render things to audio earlier and so on. Since I am a bit of an obsessive tinkerer. Ultimately no one really cares about which filter type you used and there are no correct answers in music. If you are feeling it then commit to it then and there. I am a Reaper user and I think that DAW is the best thing to happen to music production. And I have used most of them over my life.
If you had to choose one Synthesizer (analog or digital) which one would it be?
If to use then Vital. I like it’s sound and the workflow is incredibly intuitive, even though it is basically a Serum clone. It covers all types of synthesis at least as a rough approximation (VA, FM, physical, granular, etc) which is enough 99% of the time. If just to admire then maybe TB-303 or SH-10. There is something special about having a synth where you can realistically explore all of it’s parameter space. And I like the sound of Roland filters of that era.
In your influences you mention Autechre, Orbital, The Orb and The Future Sound of London. Did you deliberately exclude The Prodigy? Or would it be next on your list if you kept adding bands? And what is your favorite album of the past decade?
No, just did not listen to them for such a long time. Did not follow them after “The Fat of the Land”. If you listen to a lot of music all such lists are going to be largely arbitrary. I excluded all “non-electronic” music for example. I do think Liam Howlett is one of the greatest electronic music producers of all time but The Prodigy is kinda like Kraftwerk – it’s part of the cultural background so much that you don’t even notice them anymore. That being said I did listen both the “Music for the Jilted Generation” and “Experience” on repeat as a teenager. It would be impossible for me not to be influenced by them. I’d say ultimately Autechre are my main influence even though you probably can’t hear them in my music. It’s just that Autechre manage to recapture that sacred state of just dicking around with sounds and melodies when you are starting out with music production as a kid. Just exploration followed by “oh this is pretty cool”. Maybe they don’t see it that way themselves but that is what they are to me.
When it comes to live perfomance, is Electronika a genre that can be performed live?
I’m very much not an intuitive person. I prefer to slowly build music up rather than improvise and record. But otherwise I don’t see why not. There are probably more ways to interact with electronic music than with other types of music. You have control not only over each instrument in terms of MIDI controllers/performance tools but the overall song structure as well.
In which place or state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?
I guess same place where I listen to it – in the living room. I never think about people actually dancing to it. Even though it is dance music. As to the state of mind I don’t know. I think I only have one state of mind.
What is the biggest challenge of being an independent artist today?
Depends what you want from it I guess. It is now easier to make and publish music than ever before. It was never this simple to make your stuff accessible to basically everyone with a phone no matter where they live. But with that comes the issue that peoples attention is a finite resource. I am not good at attracting or keeping it. I guess it requires a different mindset and a different skillset. The biggest challenge is hence simply actually getting people to listen to your music. It is probably different if you want to make a living from it. That is not something I’m interested in because I like the things I do for a living about as much as I like making music.
What is your biggest fear?
Being buried alive since I am a bit claustrophobic. And if less dramatically then maybe disappointing people.