November 15, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Where did the initial inspiration for Worldware come from?

I’ve always worked in a lot of different styles and genres, with inspirations from many forms of media. With Worldware, I really wanted to create something that could bring all the styles together, but still feel like a cohesive piece. Early on, I had the idea of having a different memory of a time and place in an imaginary world to give context to each song, that could then be visually represented in some form.

Was there a song that represented a crucial part of the formulation process?

I’d say the main one was Talisman. I wrote it on piano, and then eventually arrived at the SNES-era RPG style that its presented in on the record. I really wanted it to evoke the sense of narrative that I felt when writing/listening to it, and the soundtrack-esque style that it came to embody felt like the best medium for that. This really set the tone for the rest of the record. Later on I worked with Juice Jackal to build the chord progression of Spark at Dawn. I went on to flesh out the rest of the track myself, using mostly the Roland JD-800. The synth guitar solo in the latter half of the song was really difficult to get right, and I was really proud with how it eventually came out. To me, Talisman felt like the video game world of soundtracks, whereas Spark at Dawn felt more like cinema - Worldware, as a whole, represents a project that had me bringing those two worlds together.

What music/films/books/media did you find inspired or helped you to create the album?

I was really inspired by the memories of PC/Mac games of my childhood, like Myst, Obsidian, and Unreal. In terms of purely musical inspiration, I drew a lot from horror movie soundtracks of the past, artists like Goblin and John Carpenter, SNES-era game soundtracks, music like Mew, T-Square, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and early M83 - it’s kinda hard to establish a a central point of influence!

Worldbuilding plays a big part in this release, but the title suggests it is the creation of a simulated world, akin to a video game. How does this theme present itself?

I had the idea of the “overworld” map you might find in a game, from the beginning of the process. In a game you might find yourself in a lush green prairie at one point, only to later arrive at a decrepit oil rig, or the ruins of a high-tech city. I wanted the record to evoke this sense of travel between settings, both in terms of audio and visual. The music definitely goes for this experience, on its own, but I also knew that I wanted the album-art and visuals to focus on this “overworld” concept, from the start. I worked on these visuals extensively with my friend Aegyokiller, over the first half of 2022, and then collaborated with my brother, Sus Boy, on creating the album art, at the beginning of this year.

In what practical ways has your style opened up, or become sonically more highly-defined since releases like S/T?

I think I’ve just gotten a lot better as a musician. I’ve always had similar ideas and musical aspirations - though, when I was younger, I didn’t have the focus, or the experience, to really bring them to life at the scale that they embody on Worldware. I’ve always used hardware synths a lot, but I now approach each piece of gear with more intention, and more understanding of the type of sounds I can create with it. I created a bunch of the presets that come in the stock library of the Novation Summit, around the time I was really getting going with this record, and that process definitely informed Worldware, too. There was a lot of worldbuilding in creating those, as well, as it required me to continuously find inspiration for each one.

This album features a collaboration with your labelmate Shlohmo, what's your connection with the artist like and what was it like collaborating?

It’s always great collaborating with Henry. He’s one of my best, and oldest friends. We grew up on a lot of the same music, and, even though our music is vastly different in a lot of ways, we definitely have a deep understanding of each other’s process. This album saw me bringing guitar into the mix, much more than it had been on previous albums, and I knew that it would be perfect to have henry bring his style of guitar to one of the songs. The initial version of Edge of the World was a soft and bittersweet song, with no drums or real intensity. I brought it to Henry, and together we totally reimagined it. He really helped me take it another level. I love how it came out.

What is the perfect setting to listen to Worldware?

The album was made to feel like traversing through different environments of a mysterious world, so I think it would be great to listen to it while traveling! I think it would be perfect for someone to listen to it during a roadtrip through a place they’ve never been, maybe out in the countryside, or through a winding road in the mountains. The idea of people listening in that setting makes me happy!