Occams Laser has released his new album “Purgatory” some days ago. This artist continues to deliver great conceptional LPs inspired by the darker realms of the wave. Read what’s behind this album in this interview with the artist himself!
What inspired you to create Purgatory?
I noticed that many people had made music based on heaven and hell, but barely any with regards to that middle area of Purgatory. For me this missing area needed to be explored. Also, the word itself. The word for me is one of those powerful biblical terms which resonate with a lot of people.
Can you connect a personal story / life experience with the album?
I guess when I think of the idea of Purgatory it makes me feel self critical, as in finding things I need to improve and work on. Nobody is perfect, and with my music as well with other aspects of my life; I’m always trying to become a better version of myself.
Dante Alighieri plays a bigger role in your work. Can you describe how you came in contact with his work and what impact it has for you?
Back when I was in university I came across The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri as part of my course. On the front of the copy I borrowed from the library was an illustration by Gustave Dore and I found it a really interesting powerful image, this spurred me to read the whole thing cover to cover. After I finished I would say I had a slightly different outlook, I loved the use of famous literary and cultural figures to enhance the meaning of crucial areas. It wasn’t until very recently that I started thinking about dark themes in my music that I even considered using the Divine Comedy as a source of inspiration, this was a move I am extremely glad about!
Describe the album with your own words using only 7 words!
Darker and crunchier than standing on coco-pops (yeah I slightly cheated)
Which are your favourite tracks of the album if you had to choose?
Two tracks for me that stand out on the album are; The Late Repentant and Terrace of the Envious. Both of these tracks were my favourites to write and I think they are the best representation of what I was trying to create with this album.
How is the album connected to your previous work?
This album is a direct sequel to the album ‘Nine Circles’. Nine Circles dealt with the ideas of Hell, and now we deal with Purgatory. There is a plan in motion for a third album relating to the themes of Heaven to fully finish the trilogy. The likely title for this will be ‘Spheres of Heaven’.
When you started to create the album, how did you conceptualise it and how much time did it take to finalise it?
I have a slightly strange way that I create albums. I tend to start out by making short minute long songs, I end up usually making a lot of these short songs and then picking the best of the bunch to then flesh out and make considerably longer. When writing the fully fleshed out songs I named them according to a certain area in Purgatory, so for instance the song based on Sloth is a lot slower paced than the others on the album. I tried to do this with all the tracks on the album, and there is also an underlying progression from heavily dark to slightly on the light side by the end of the album showing the progression up the Mountain of Purgatory. The album took around a month from inception to being published.
How was your general production routine for Purgatory?
When starting a new album I set myself a goal of trying to write 3 or 4 short songs a day, and for me this system works extremely well as I quickly find out what sounds I like and don’t like. The best thing about being a self-sufficient non signed artist is that I have all the freedom I need, and so this freedom for me makes everything rather stress free.
Which tools did you use for this album? Any favourites?
My setup is a rather simple one, with just a laptop and midi keyboard. So all of the instruments used are virtual. For this album I started using a new configuration on my drum samples which turned out better than I could have hoped, so im hoping to use that more in the future. It’s a combo of DMX, Linn Drum, and Roland 707 samples. With regards to favourite instruments; the Rob Papen Predator was heavily used in this album, it’s a beast!
How will Occams Laser evolve?
Something I’m hoping to figure out is how to continue making these dark sounds but possibly with vocals. When I started out I sang on a lot of my songs, but they were all much lighter and pop based. But I have a few ideas, so that is the next aim!
What can we expect in the future?
Lots and lots music from Occams Laser, at least two more releases this year and many more planned for 2017!
How do you see the synthwave genre today?
Synthwave as a genre has become extremely broad, and I see this as a great thing as music diversity encourages ingenuity! The term itself probably needs updating, but im extremely happy to be part of this community and can’t wait to see what comes next for all the artists.
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