10 Questions Interview: Bastian Release
Electrowow Interview | Questions & Answers With Beautiful Machines
Check out this super-informative interview with Beautiful Machines. My favorite band from San Francisco revealed some exclusive details about their upcoming single “Bastian”. Not to mention, we also discussed their new album ‘Singularity’, which is out soon. All this, and much more exclusively on Electro Wow!
1 — Hello guys, it’s nice to hear again from you. Are you on your way to reaching your 2018 goals?
It’s nice talking with you. Yes, we will reach our goals. Things have changed over the past year. We’ve decided to really take the reigns from here on out. What does that mean? We are now not only writing our own material but also recording, producing, mixing and mastering all of our stuff. So now it comes straight from the musical origin (I like to think of it as a gigantic swirling cosmic gummy bear) to the listeners’ ears and hearts. We are much happier with what we’ve been producing on this latest album and hope our audience will be too. We are also, in a sense, our own label, management, booking agent; art, show and product designer. So we wear a many hat, but it feels more in tune at this moment.
2 — What’s the inspiration behind your new single “Bastian”?
“Bastian” was inspired by the lead character from the movie The Never Ending Story. He’s the author of his own life, he creates his own destiny and what he imagines comes into existence. He realizes that he is part of the story he is reading and co-creating. What a beautiful metaphor for manifestation and how we as humans interact with life. “Bastian” also has a double meaning, since “Bastian” is that bastion of hope for his world, and likewise for our world. It seems how we view the world, what perceptions we hold, drive what choices we make and ultimately what we contribute to this world.
Now realizing it from a different perspective, “Bastian” inspired us. What I was saying earlier, about us embracing wearing many hats – allowing as much as possible to come straight from the musical origin. It’s what we’ve always wanted to do, embodying our musical visions so to speak. I think at least one of us feels like “Bastian” from time to time, and we’ve definitely asked ourselves and each other time after time: “Why won’t you do what you dream?” as the narrative in the song says.
We traveled a lot in 2017, it’s been a rite of passage kind of year, leaving behind the familiar, and taking a leap into the unknown. We spent Christmas in Thailand, against the strangely concocted backdrop of orange sunsets over coconut tree lined beaches, industrial wasteland, and ancient ruins. That was when the last pieces fell together musically and emotionally, and “Bastian” came into being.
3 — If listeners could take away one message after listening to it, what would you want it to be?
Never give up your dreams. Fear is a limitation, but it’s also a great teacher. When we overcome our fears, we grow and expand. From this place, we can create beautiful things.
4 — Was it hard to hit those falsettos?
After several rounds, you start to get really light headed. So no need for drugs during those takes!
5 — Are you planning to release a music video in the future for this amazing tune?
The short answer is yes, we hope to. We love making music videos. They’re a great medium for expression and can really amplify and bring about what the artist is trying to convey. We would love to create a music video for all the tracks on this upcoming album. The artwork points to an expression of what the music video would be like. In this case, it’s about a boy’s daydream becoming his reality. The album cover was made by a young artist Elia Pellegrini from Italy, he really got the vision for the song, when we were discussing the album art it was practically a psychic conversation.
6 — What can your fans expect from your upcoming third album?
The third album is called ‘Singularity’. We want this album to be an experience. On headphones or in your car, we want you to just get taken away. I don’t want to say “a musical journey” but that’s what’s we intend. There’s a lot of thought put into this – little secrets, hidden messages, equations, easter eggs, riddles, secret passages, environments, and things that will later come to light for the seekers. We’re placing greater focus on sonic architecture, with really crystalline high details, a wide midrange, and sub sonic frequencies – something for the audiophiles like ourselves. Song length is something else that we have played with, so it’s not about radio tunes only, there are some longer tracks that tangent off into the aether.
7 — What synths and instrumentals were used?
We started using a lot more analog synths on this album. Moog Voyager, Jupiter 6, Juno, Oberheim OB-Xa to name a few favourites. First time using a saxaphone, new bits on the guitars like e-bow and slide, and we used some classic, yet modernized drum machine sounds. Some of these synths are so retro that they don’t have midi, so every note and pitch bend and knob tweak were performed and recorded in real time, such as the magnetic lead in “Bastian”. Stef the synths player quite enjoyed making things that way.
8 — Why did you choose the name ‘Singularity’ for this new project?
We love sci-fi and fantasy. We attend a lot of futurist events and meet with people on the crest of technological change. ‘Singularity’ is all about a new coming age where we get closer to a future where man and machine merge. I mean it’s already been happening for some time. Humans augment reality with technology, whether that’s as simple as glasses or prosthetics or as advanced as piloted rovers to explore distant worlds. Can we imagine trying to navigate driving in new places without our smart devices? Computers are everywhere. Just imagine where it will go from here. Even with our amazing abstract minds, we do have our time limitations – meaning, I don’t think we really can look 50 or 100 years into the future with great accuracy. Of course, we can make forecasts and model some aspects, but there’s just too much data and unknown variables.
‘Singularity’ has two meanings. In astrophysics, it’s the single-point origin of all matter and forces in the universe. Ray Kurzweil uses ‘Singularity’ to define a point where machine intelligence surpasses human. It can be seen as a powerful revolution in human history. There’s lots of debate on this subject as well. People are either pro technological advancement, such as transhumanists, while others don’t think it’s actually possible. And yet other people don’t believe an age like this will ever happen. As such, there is no right answer for this and we aren’t prescribing to any side. Instead, we are merely exploring through music some of the feelings that resonate when putting our creativity towards this idea. We actually went around from Berlin to New York to San Francisco, video interviewing people about this notion, with some very interesting understandings.
This concept unfolds in our album Singularity as we explore various facets of this subject. It really is a “what if” thought experiment.
9 — So far, can you reveal to us your favorite track?
Well, each serves a different slice of the favourite pie. “Bastian” hits us deep in the heart, while “Take the Night” makes us want to toss our heads around. “OperaTor” really drives and the ending is so good we just keep wanting to play it. Honestly, all the tracks in ‘Singularity’ are gems.
10 — What’s next for you in the remaining months and beyond?
We have several new releases coming each month. Following “Bastian’s” release on Oct 12, we have a Halloween track called “Take the Night” on Oct 26. It’s a Zombie-fighting party song. We’re working on a remix with FutureCop!. We have a sci-fi music video coming out called “We Have 2 Escape” with a sneak peek Nov 5 (hint Back to the Future). The video was directed by Timothy Plain (The Spirit Machine) and the song was mixed by Yoad Nevo (SIA, Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode, Dandy Warhols) Then we have “OperaTor” – a major odyssey of a song on Dec 6 and the album should be here before the holidays.