A Voice | Interview with Factor Eight

A very cinematic project where experimentation meets emotion. Read our discussion with Factor Eight below.

You are very consistent in creating complete projects for a couple of years. How do you think your sound has evolved over time (if at all?)

Years ago in 2013, I set out to make electronic dance music but was ultimately limited by my knowledge and ability as a producer at that time. I somehow landed on creating orchestral music instead, and then naturally found my way into creating music for visual media. With the sound design of orchestral samples already sounding perfect as is, I was able to focus on other elements of music like song structure, energy transfer, arrangement, etc. It wasn’t until my first artist residency at the Banff Centre when I was unexpectedly forced into a creative corner that I really honed a sound of my own. My samples and plugins weren’t loading properly for the project I went there to work on. Constrained to built-in Ableton plugins and self recorded sounds, I created a song by manipulating a single piece of audio. While not technically a ‘Voice’ track, you could probably say that this song set the foundation for what is now the ‘A Voice’ project.

Adding to the previous questions, how does your creative process differ between different project types like performance art projects, film soundtracks etc?

Every project is unique, but the motivation at its core is always to inspire emotion in the audience. I think that music coupled with visuals in particular has greater power to affect an audience. This is why I often gravitate toward working with filmmakers, choreographers, and other visual artists. Collaboration itself not only results in unique work, but it also facilitates thoughts and ideas that would not otherwise have existed — it is a beautiful process that I have grown to be deeply fond of.

A Voice (II) produced in ableton using nothing but your voice. What is the story behind the track production wise?

As I moved away from using orchestral samples, I felt inspired to create sounds from scratch, and ultimately to construct entire works out of sounds created myself. A Voice (II) is the second piece created in what has become an exploration in creating entire songs out of only my voice. However, upon some forensics, I discovered that I made some snapping sounds that made it into A Voice (II). Only after creating what are now known as A Voice (I) and (II) did I consciously decide to constrain myself to my voice for this project. With these tracks being the beginning of the current musical journey I am on, I ultimately decided to respect what the tracks were at the time of their inception. My plan is to create a specific number of ‘A Voice’ pieces before moving on to something else.

In this very interesting project your initiative is to end the stigma around mental illness while revealing your personal story with bipolar disorder. Could you elaborate a bit more please?

The ability to have greater control over my tools as an artist came in tandem with wanting to be more authentic as an artist. I felt inclined to create a more sincere connection between my personal and artistic voices. Whereas prior to this time, I felt more at the mercy of my limitations as a producer, and therefore felt a separation between my self and artistic persona — between what I felt as a person and what I presented to my audience. Today, with greater ability to translate the sounds from my head to the speakers, I felt inclined to bring greater purpose and meaning to this more authentic expression of my voice. At the same time as this transition occurred in my artistic work, I was also going through a personal moment of internal growth and understanding. As a result, mental health naturally found its way into the core of my mission as an artist. I am proud to have received support from the CMHA on this project. 100% of proceeds from sales of all music from this album will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatoon.

Can music be effectively used by movements seeking social change?

My primary motivation as an artist has always been simply to move my audience, inspiring thought and emotion. I would say that up until recently, I did not have much control over how my music would do this, as it really had a life of its own. Art in general moves us in profound and unexplainable ways, often speaking louder than words alone, and helping us to understand when all else fails. For this reason, I think that music plays an invaluable role in affecting social change. Helping audiences to empathize and feel compassion for others through the use of music intertwines purpose with art, and that simply feels right to me.

Favorite album of the past decade?

My artistic taste has changed more throughout the last decade than at any other time in my life. If you’d asked this 5 years ago, I probably would’ve said “While(1<2)” by deadmau5. I’m not even that much of a deadmau5 fan, but something about the energy in that album really hit me. I don’t go back to listen to it much. I am rather particular about when I listen to my most cherished songs and albums, as I want to preserve the meaning each of them held in my life for their time. More recently, though, I would probably say ‘All Melody’ by Nils Frahm. The way it moves, ebbs, and flows from beginning to end really feels like an all-encompassing thought, story, and feeling.

What is your biggest fear?

Hell is sometimes described as dying and meeting the person you ‘could have become’. The idea of wasted potential, or not pursuing the greatest possible version of yourself, elicits in me a sickening, haunting feeling. However, I think it is important to emphasize that “greatest possible version” does not equate with working as hard as possible. Balance is far and away more challenging to achieve than hitting a wall and pushing through it. I could talk about that for a while.

Thank you!

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