Akira is a brand new producer gracing Bristol with a full length conceptual E.P and the second release by Cosmic Soul Collective. The record floats between narrative down-tempo beats, to haunting stretches and layers of ethereal sounds, to an optimistic garage groove and collaboration with New Zealand's Pugilist, leaving listeners on a high. Track 3, titled "Freedom", presents itself with a soft techno beat and even softer echoes of feminine vocals, where as "Bonfire Stories" and "Conceptual Dreaming" are almost devoid of percussion and instead sit comfortably as wholly ambient and meditative grooves. We spoke to the illusive Bristol-based producer to find out more.
"It’s changed my world, calms me down and enables me to write with a clear head... "
What inspired such a hugely conceptual EP?
The people around me definitely inspired that, and just a love of ambient music, soundscapes and minimalism in general. I’ve just been really inspired to write ambient music as of late and been able to really get into it creatively. It’s changed my world, calms me down and enables me to write with a clear head... There is a time of day for it though, early mornings or night times are the one!
Yeah and I noticed online each track has a really big story to it.
Yeah that wasn’t something I did intentionally, I wrote the paragraphs after I wrote the music trying to grasp the true meaning behind what I had created, felt inspired by a good feeling about everything at the moment, about how this generation’s going to push forward and I had that inside of me when I was writing the EP. Bonfire stories had the biggest concept behind it , it was the idea that it’s possible to get away from everything with ambient music and create a mood for a place in the world where you would rather be when listening to it. I imagined getting away from this western world and hanging out in by the bonfire on an open pane in south america somewhere as dark fell the night came alive haha! - Guess I wanted to try and create a story for the tracks hoping people will perceive it in their own way too.
Well, it’s important not to get bogged down...
Yeah definitely, and that’s one of the main things I take away from ambient music, that you can just do your thing and you can have it on and think, write, read whilst you’re listening to it. Think about what’s good, what’s bad and yeah be positive and open up. It’s a very meditative sound and it helps my creative flow when writing other music also, so all in all helps me from getting bogged down creatively and keeps my mind alive.
Was it a huge step away from anything you’ve done before or was it something that’s been bubbling under the surface?
Ive always headed toward a deeper more mediative sound in my productions for other Projects and just in general. So just took the opportunity to release some music with my circle of beautiful friends over at Cosmic Soul Collective! We run a Art & Music showcase that a lot of love gets put into and we are hosting our next event at The Surrey Vaults in Bristol.
"I try to focus the Akira energy on making music very late at night or early in the morning just because like you said it’s a completely different kind of emotion. I channel it at night."
Why did you put it out on Cosmic Soul?
I just wanted it to be personal, and I’ve had a lot of releases that haven’t necessarily been very personal with the labels, it reflects on the sound, doing good music for good people and to be part of an amazing collective is very important in music and most things...
Does it also touch on a desire to release with a label that you can carry on working with rather than just being picked up for an EP and then that’s that?
Yeah, yeah of course, I think one of the biggest contributions to success is being part of a collective, being part of something and not having releases all over the shop with loads of different people that you don’t personally know.
Yeah I think it makes a difference
Yeah definitely and it puts a different energy into the music as well.
How would you compare producing a dance-floor, beat-driven track with something ambient?
It’s very, very different, you don’t work with a tempo necessarily. I always set it to 70 BPM anyway but yeah you don’t work to it, its very loose and expressive I just play around with the synths and create subtle layers and see what I’ve made after and start building a structure it’s not such a beat-driven sound so using the space is important to make it flow , when you write Drum & Bass for example, you will write on beat and to bars so the DJ doesn’t slip on it.
Is it in anyway less stimulating or is it stimulating in a different way?
It’s definitely stimulating in a different way, I try to focus the Akira energy on making music very late at night or early in the morning just because like you said it’s a completely different kind of emotion. I channel it at night.
"...it was more about Cosmic Soul releasing music, and releasing music that is organic experimental expression, music we believe in, music from the fam!"
Yeah with mass market there’s an underlying basic taste which is often what attracts a lot of the hype but that’s not something you get with ambient music. Yeah it’s definitely one for the heads, if you know you know kind of thing. Yeah, I’d say that’s a good way to go in general really.
The last track was a collaboration with New Zealand's Pugilist, one half of Dubstep duo Perverse. Tell us more about that.
Yea, man like Pugilist, Alex. He’s one half of Perverse, have known him for a few years, have been producing on other projects together and what not and yeah it’s really great to write music with him because he’s on the other side of the hemisphere so we have this night-time-day-time situation where occasionally I’ll write the track and he’ll finish it but the time I get up the next day, so it definitely works in that sense.
Wow, I’ve never heard that before, it’s a really great concept for a working relationship...
Yeah it’s a really cool concept, it has a great flow, it works well and yeah we’re both working at night mostly.
So you’re going to be doing more stuff with him in the future?
Yeah of course, I’ve got lots of stuff in the pipeline with him. It’s more dubstep driven some of it, edging on the Chord Marauders’ kind of sound but I’ve just got some live sax on one of the tracks as well on some ambient works so that’s going to sound nice, I’m excited.
Do you have many plans for the near future?
You can listen to the full EP by clicking here.
Or buy directly from Bandcamp.
Interview and photography by Beth Sheldrick
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