Can you describe your creative process to us? How does a song go from an initial germ of an idea to a full composition?
For me, it all begins with reading a story, diving in the emotions written word produces in my mind. I develop for myself in advance as many detailed images as necessary, to be sure of what it is that I want the listener to feel. This can be mindmap-like, written down keywords, underlined text or small verses I write based on the subject.
Capturing a roomy bright ambience or a dark, vigorous mood with the quality of what is feasible for me requires concentration, silence and quite often countless listens of the same passage again and again.
How can I make someone see the right imagery, become a witness of a long forgotten event, bring him or her feel the tragic in a specific strong moment, this is the big question mark accompanying the whole process.
Your website is pretty Spartan, containing a set of links to iTunes, Soundcloud, and Youtube and little more. What statement does the domain make as an introduction to Phenteus?
The website is in the early stages, just a couple of weeks old. I intend to build a more informative presence in the next months, yet at the moment Soundcloud is my main page in the net.
Evidence is your current full-length. What story does it tell?
Evidence slides on two different waters. The first one is the Book of Revelation, written by John of Patmos about 2000 years ago, which unfolds a reality from a distant future – at least for the ones who believe. The short stories by an incredible Philip K. Dick on the other side comprise the second main identity.
Although initially not intended, in retrospect I think it was a good choice to build a bridge and put all material on the same release.
An obvious common element between the two fundaments is their prophetic character. They describe surreal visions with a tremendous certainty and a deeply spiritual faith of what humans will have to deal with one day. Philip Dick may be a sci-fi author but I believe identifying him as apocalyptic in the strict sense of the word does justice to him.
Listeners make much to do about the quality of online music (128 v 320, FLAC v streaming). What thought have you put into the different ways in which listeners can experience the compositions on Evidence?
Depending on the platform listeners will choose, they’ll find the album encoded with a 320 kBit/s compression rate or in the lossless FLAC format, i.e. at cdbaby. The Amazon and iTunes stores offer a 256 kBit/s MP3 and AAC file format respectively.
The songs at Soundcloud can be listened to in original, uncompressed quality.
What does the balance of 2015 hold for you? What styles/approaches/influences will you take in the follow-up recordings to Evidence?
For the next album I aim at further developing experiences of the past year. I’ll stay faithful to my strategy of setting impressive, worth of reading stories to music.
What styles and approaches this will include, depends a lot on my courage.
What would you like to do as a musician before you retire?
As someone coming from the indie music scene I’d love to collab with other musicians from the vibrant Soundcloud community or have the opportunity to write music for an ambitioned game or movie.
Finally, do you have anything else to mention to the readers of NeuFutur?
I would like to thank NeuFutur for featuring an indie musician. James, I am grateful for your and your readers’ attention.
Thank you so much for your time.