Kmyle released the new EP “For The Flash” on his label on March 17th, which describes through six original tracks and a remix from Umwelt a personal vision of our civilization’s disorder. Its concept and sound were a proper occasion to talk with the producer and try, through his creative view, to transfer ourselves in the studio with him as he shares his vision and technique. Although this release has a brutal yet dramatic approach, it maintains a significantly desired cinematical level. This was done for the purpose of not only describing the concept but having the tracks ready for a proper dancefloor. Starting with the inspiration, we cover some technical aspects and finally ask about the collaboration with Umwelt.
The inspiration for “For The Flash” came from science fiction films. In fact, Kmyle describes himself as a great fan of Philipp Glass and Ennio Morricone. Those two personalities are a huge influence in terms of composition, music creation, and, ultimately, their cinematic storytelling. Regarding the first one, Sam dived into The Music of Candyman, where he discovered something very appealing to his style. As he describes, it was about: “the use of repetitive, minimalistic motifs and the ability to create intense, emotional atmospheres through sound-texture layering and complex, harmonic, and melodic patterns“.
Next, the work of The Untouchables and The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone made a huge impact, too. What stood out, though, was the use of orchestral instruments and the ability to build epic cinematic themes he supported. Similar to what “happens” in the track Adele. For this one, Sam incorporated classical instruments, electronic synths, and composition techniques to transcribe his emotions for a unique listening experience.
Apart from those, the idea of this release was to capture the current chaos and disorder in our society. “What really sparked your creativity?” I asked next. Then, he answered: “I believe that in times of crisis and upheaval, there is often a surge of creativity, resilience, and artistic expression. It’s as if these challenging moments push people to explore new ideas and approaches. To see, maybe, the world in a different light. Even to unexpectedly find beauty in music“. Indeed, this condition provides a different view or an artistic opportunity and, from our point of view, we cannot disagree that there’s a specific, pulling energy, as he also stated.
In order to use all this, he incorporated a combination of intense, driving rhythms, dissonant melodies, and saturated sounds. In turn, this helped to create a sense of unease and tension in the music, which describes the part of our societal chaos and disorder. On top of that, he added real-world samples, the kind of ethnic sounds one can hear on Static Forces. Furthermore, his vision wasn’t so bleak as Sam provided sparks of beauty and hope with a weaving of harmonic soundscapes.
A very intriguing concept, nonetheless, both on the creative side and the implementations. However, what happened in the studio with the hardware? Each of the tracks, he replied, had its starting point on Elektrons machines for the rhythmic base and a modular synthesizer. It gave a lot of flexibility and customization, which he supported. Next, he mixed everything in his Midas F32 with lots of FX pedals in order to record it in Ableton. After completing those steps, there was a specific level of difficulty in using the hardware any further. So, he added the leads to conjure the necessary atmospheres that veil each track.
The previous was made possible with many Pittsburgh oscillators, some old lamp modules, and a 1010bitbox for sampling everything randomly. In addition, the high resonance of the filter helped generate warm textures and strange percussions. “Something that couldn‘t be replicated with traditional synthesizers“, he commented. Afterward, as he continued to explain, this led to the use and twisting of this output as he would have done in a classic sampler. Without any limits.
The reason one might hear some strange melodies is because of Sam’s recording in one FM synth note on his hardware. Afterward, he turned it into the Ableton sampler, serving as a new instrument, a common technique in the early 90s. By creating his own synthesizer, he triggered a no-limits sequencer followed by a plugin tinkering. While on that level, the sound was shaped eventually via frequency shifter, distortion, echoes, and stutter.
After hearing the above, I asked about his studio equipment. He answered: “Each of my studio equipment has its own unique capabilities and characteristics. Therefore, I try to incorporate these features into my creative process to produce the best possible ideas“. So, his focus was based on a modular philosophy of live recording, capitalizing on momentum, which is very important for a rich and complex sound. In the Ableton part, he said he enhanced and manipulated each material in carefully picked plugins to experiment with modifications, distortion, and sampling techniques. Those were useful for forming an unexpected texture. Laughingly, he compared his studio approach to him being a scientist experimenting in a laboratory. However, unlike (probably most?) scientists, Sam pays attention to the authentic vibe and the natural correlation between elements. He described, in an honest way, the focus on the mixing techniques as “boring” and “destructive” for his creativity.
After those steps, there was a technical limitation to overcome, as hardware makes it difficult to create leads and atmospheres. Thus, to finish the release, there was a track mix by passing them through multiple mixing buses. In this way, he contained the sounds and provided a “warm” hue. And regarding this, this is what he described: “I spent countless hours in the studio working on this EP, constantly refining and tweaking the sounds. Experimentation with different combinations of sounds and rhythms until they were just right for me”. At times, he continued, there was an urge to push the limits further or make it riskier. After all, he decided that it was not a reach worth exploring. And so, he maintained his vision around his creative boundaries, finding the moments of him being happy with how the music emerged.
Lastly, I asked about his view on the remix of Glory from his friend Umwelt. As a huge admirer of his music, Kmyle has been affected on many levels by the work of Fred. This French pioneer of electronic music, although hugely admired for his musical genius, is more importantly looked upon for how he is able to transmit his emotions in his music, he explained. For Sam: “he is one of the few artists that makes no compromises“. Naturally, he offered a proposition for a remix for one of his tracks for the EP. What made him truly happy was the immediate acceptance and, of course, the reinterpretation. Umwelt tinted with furious dark electro stuff and unparalleled emotional leads the vision that Kmyle worked on.
The EP is available for purchase in digital format in Kmyle’s Bandcamp.