Having met at subSine | Academy of Electronic Music, Midland Street Echoes and Systrophe explored wavetable synthesis and field recordings from important places in their lives to create this stunning EP of conceptual electronic music.
The result is a beautiful blend of timeless melodies and intricate grooves, framed by beats that make them work just as much on the dance floor as they do on headphones.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing them and this has been the result.
Where do we find you now?
MSE: In my living room.
Systrophe: In my attic studio.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new record and how you came to work with the label?
MSE: My new record is a 3 track EP with Systrophe. We each made a track inspired by memories and places that were important in our lives. We both really liked each other's work and decided it would be great to make a track together. We were both studying at subSine Academy in Glasgow where we met Simon who is head tutor there and who runs the label. He enjoyed our tracks and was keen to help get our music out there into the world.
Systrophe: I was studying at subSine Academy in Glasgow and working on a track consisting only of sounds I’d created in Ableton Wavetable. My black Lab was dreaming beside me, making wup-wup sounds which I recorded and built the track around. Alumini is the label associated with the school and luckily they liked the track
Can you describe a moment or experience that initially sparked your passion for music and how it continues to inspire you today?
MSE: Gosh there’s loads! How long do you have? One moment that inspired me was seeing Jeff Mills play Slam’s Pressure night at the now closed Arches in Glasgow. It was the first time I’d ever heard Mills play. He twisted and turned techno music like i’d never heard before. When he played his track ‘the bells’ the place went wild. The strobe lights were flashing. It felt like a UFO was crashing on top of the bridge above the club or something!
I remember just looking about in that moment and thinking, wow! It was memerising and I knew I wanted to do this the rest of my life. That moment continues to inspire me. I hope my music can always take listeners to those happy & shivery feelings, flashbacks and memories like this can give you.
Systrophe: Can you describe a moment or experience that initially sparked your passion for music and how it continues to inspire you today? Gosh there’s loads! How long do you have? One moment that inspired me was seeing Jeff Mills play Slam’s Pressure night at the now closed Arches in Glasgow. It was the first time I’d ever heard Mills play. He twisted and turned techno music like i’d never heard before. When he played his track ‘the bells’ the place went wild. The strobe lights were flashing. It felt like a UFO was crashing on top of the bridge above the club or something! I remember just looking about in that moment and thinking, wow! It was memerising and I knew I wanted to do this the rest of my life.
That moment continues to inspire me. I hope my music can always take listeners to those happy & shivery feelings, flashbacks and memories like this can give you.
Are there any lesser-known electronic music artists you feel deserve more attention, and why do their work resonate with you?
MSE: Of course, not that I am biased but Systrophe! Her track on the EP just has me floating away to a happy place. Check it out! Glasgow really is an amazing place for electronic music and punches well above its weight given it’s relatively small size in my opinion. Another artist doing great things is Kairogen. I’ve enjoyed her recent warm up sets at Sub Club as well as previous productions. It's a real skill and craft to play to a room from opening at 11pm to being ready to pop at the headline DJ.
Systrophe: Vân Anh - Amsterdam based techno artist. Her music is full of surprising sounds. Likewise Finnebassen; Rotundo is a masterpiece.
How do you maintain a balance between staying true to your artistic vision and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the music industry?
Systrophe: I don’t really have a problem with that.
MSE: Maybe I am lucky as a newcomer but like Systrophe I feel at present I don’t have that problem!
What role does improvisation play in your creative process, and can you share a memorable instance when it led to an unexpected breakthrough?
MSE: It plays a big part when I'm beginning to make a new track. It’s great to get those ideas out of your head initially and try to bring them to life. Of course some work and some don’t. I think in our track Orion, the way all the musical elements just flow together is an unexpected example for me. The track is my first time collaborating with another artist. When we both listened back to the track we thought, yep that just works!
Are there any non-musical influences, such as visual art, literature, or personal experiences, that have significantly shaped your work?
Systrophe: Nature, more than anything. Mostly the sounds of water.
MSE: Outside of music: the sea, beaches, the sounds different elements of the weather make are a big inspiration. Nature in general I guess.That’s where most of my ideas come to me especially being in a place when you have that headspace just to reflect on things.
How do you approach the challenge of translating your recorded music into engaging live performances, and what elements do you consider essential for a successful show?
MSE: Although I don’t perform live yet I have many ideas in this sphere so watch this space. I think the key is for me to make enough music to build up to this and one day the ideas become reality!
What advice would you give to aspiring electronic music artists looking to develop their own unique sound and style?
MSE: Being a newcomer myself: make music that touches your soul. Don’t be afraid to, or feel you need to, fit in with the trends of the time. Find a true vision of what you really want your own music to be and sound like and just go for it!
Systrophe: Listen to all kinds of music.
Can you discuss the impact of technology on your music, and how you see emerging tools and platforms shaping the future of electronic music?
Systrophe: I’m a pianist; technology has made my musical life much richer but I wonder if we’ll be asking our Musicbots to create a wedding march in the style of Ben Klock
MSE: Haha I love the wedding march idea Systrophe has suggested. I can totally hear it! Yes, technology has opened many doors for me as a producer. It has made production more accessible and allowed our music to reach new places in the world it might not have done. I can finish working in the club and be home at 5am playing around with ideas for tracks inspired by what I heard that evening. Without the technology that just wouldn’t have been possible for guys like me. What does the future hold? Who knows but i'm sure electronic music will embrace it with open arms. What planet could be the next ‘uncharted territory’ for raves & festivals in 100 years time! Maybe they’ll drop the Wave | Stars EP at it!!
What’s a project or collaboration that you’re particularly proud of, and what did you learn from the experience?
MSE: Definitely this whole EP and our track ‘Orion’. I think it demonstrates a great balance between both our sounds and styles and still maintains our own uniqueness. I also learnt that it's good to open yourself up and work with others.
Systrophe: I’m really proud of the track Orion that Midland Street Echoes created. I learnt that I could collaborate and knowing that makes a huge difference to the way I approach making music.
How do you stay motivated and inspired during periods of creative block, and what strategies do you employ to overcome them?
MSE: I can relate this back a lot to what we talked about in my non musical influences. If I have a bit of a block I try to get myself out and about in the fresh air whether it's down the park next to where I live, the beach or whatever. Meet friends, I do something that grounds me. I always accept that it's natural and it happens to us all!
Systrophe: I’ve just come out of one and it scared me. I got a lot of advice about this but, in the end, I just went outside and made a load of field recordings to take my mind off it. I also went back to Wavetable and made sounds for fun.
Whats next for you?
MSE: I’m excited that I am currently working to finish another EP for Alumini records and beyond that I hope to make one for Glasgow label Seventh Sign.
Systrophe: I’m working on a new track now. I love it so far.
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