With releases on esteemed labels like Reclaim Your City, I/Y and now on his own imprint Gravitational, Blind Observatory has cemented himself as one of the scenes most unique artists. Drawing heavily from science fiction media as a source of inspiration, his music can be hypnotic, melancholic and futuristic, and is often all three at once. It’s this variation in his sound, while remaining true to the roots and origins of his music that makes him such an interesting artist. We’re excited to have him on the Monument podcast, and sat down for a few words with the man himself.
Your music puts a lot of focus on melody and emotional content. Do you feel it’s important to retain some melody in a genre that is typically known to be mechanical and sometimes cold?
Actually my focus always lays on repetition. When writing music the major goal is to get myself into some state of trance and I am constantly in search for hypnotic sequences. If I add melodies and all that emotional stuff it should be heartfelt and honest and not for the pure aesthetics of it. Also, it’s a good way to find some balance after playing gigs. I can spend days in the studio just noodling around without using any drums or percussions. On top of that I am a big sci-fi geek and I guess that shows in all of my work.
You’ve mentioned before that you are influenced by science fiction. Are there any specific influences for you, musical or non-musical, that impact the music you create?
Yes, science fiction is an integral part of my music and I draw a lot of inspiration from it. It also is a constant reminder of what Techno is all about. It’s the soundtrack of the future and the future is always virtual. A pure construct of thought. The iconic Blade Runner score? That’s Vangelis imagining the year 2019 back in the early 80s. My tracks? That’s me, drawing a picture of the future how I envision it.
In general watching sci-fi movies and TV shows on mute or scrolling through comics while working on tracks is an essential creative technique for me. I always make sure to have books of Jean Giraud lying around to keep my mind well fed.
What are your methods when it comes to producing music? Do you use hardware, software or a combination?
I used to work digital only. That was the easiest way to get started and helped me to shape my sound but this is slowly changing as I got some gear into my studio. Currently I try to wrap my head around the Moog Mother32 and I expect my sound to change a little over the course of the next year or so.
When writing tracks, do you begin with a concept in mind or do you tend to jam and experiment?
I guess I established a really weird workflow for myself. Initially there is no idea or concept at all. I rather just use writing music to find peace of mind and therefor never actually plan to turn any of it into tracks. I sometimes find myself listening to the same loop for days barely changing a thing. However once I get tired of dwelling in a project, I look back, go through all the material I gathered, try to find a narrative or story and turn it into a record just so I can move on to new grounds and start over again.
Your music has a very distinctive sound and identity, is this something you have worked to develop or do you feel that it’s a natural result of your creative process?
That must be a consequence of the intense way of writing music I just mentioned. If you work on something for so long it starts to get really personal. It sometimes feels like drawing a self-portrait over and over again. At one point it really boggled my mind that sooner or later every track started to sound the same and it took me some time to realise that I might just had found my voice and that’s just how I sound.
Last year saw the launch of your imprint ‘Gravitational’, which has featured your own work and a recent release from Hanker. Are there any more releases planned for the future?
Yes! “Scanning” and “And The Flying Saucer” which have been released on I/Y a couple of years ago will get a reissue on Gravitational. Besides that there will be new material from me as well and I am sure we will hear more from Hanker next year.
You’ve been gigging regularly over the past year, are there any particular highlights or gigs you’re looking forward to?
I am looking forward to everything that drags me out of the house so every gig is great but there is one I am really excited about; in end of September I will play in Leipzig with Dr. Rubinstein and Vincent Neumann who are my favourite DJs right now.
Big thanks to Blind Observatory for the interview and the fantastic podcast. You can check out more from him on facebook.
01 — Hanker — Sail Over The Eastern Horizon
02 — The Black Dog — Wait Behind This Line
03 — Barker & Baumecker — Promises In The Dark
04 — Varg — Platforms Surrounded By Fences
05 — Ben Buitendijk & Koen Hoets — 51 54’01 6”N 4 28’05 0”E
06 — Sigha — Black Massing
07 — Wirrwarr — Floating Seals Era (Reggy Van Oers Remix)
08 — James Ruskin — Correction Centre A
09 — Thomas P. Heckmann — Unter Sternen
10 — Hardcell & Grindvik — Gainlane
11 — 3KZ — 1538
12 — Skee Mask — Palo Alto
13 — Marcus Intalex — Dusk
14 — Blind Observatory — The Long Tomorrow II
01 — Varg — Red Line (114 Östermalmstorg – 127 Vårberg)
02 — Retina.It — Reflection In A Symetric Space (Acronym Remix)
03 — The Gods Planet — From The Core
04 — Paperclip People — 4 My Peepz (Shot)
05 — Kangding Ray — Purple Phase
06 — Boris Divider — Citydrome
07 — James Ruskin — Your Journey
08 — Architectural — Il Mare
09 — Goldie — Kemistry (Doc Scott Remix) /Edit