In conversation with Ambient musician, Alaskan Tapes
Talented Canadian musician Alaskan Tapes has just had his latest single, ‘And, We Disappear’ premiered. This single comes ahead of his LP Views From Sixteen Stories, which will be released on the 19th of September.
His latest release (which you can find below) maintains the contemplative nature that we have come to know and recognise as him. Alaskan Tapes has also contributed music towards a variety of short films including ‘Birth Pangs’ by Eliot Rausch, ‘ABADDON’ by Rogerio Silva and several others, which you can find on his website (link below).
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
Initially, I was into very electronic forms of music (Dubstep, Drum and bass, etc.) It was around the time that I discovered those genres and artists that I became more aware of production. Before that, I hadn’t really delved into much in terms of music appreciation. I had played the drums for about 4 years before I started producing, so I knew of great drummers, and percussionists, but for other forms of music, I was pretty oblivious.
Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started? What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?
My set up has changed quite a few times. When I first started creating music I focused mostly in the box, as most people do, but wanting to explore more ways to create, my set up focused a lot on out board gear, like cassette machines, and drum machines. But now my set up is mostly back in the box where I started, it’s much easier to write, and keep track of things this way.
I have my Portastudio424 which is a wonderful cassette tape machine, it provides lots of character, and I think the motor for the cassettes are going, so that just provides more texture. Other than that, my favourite gear comes in the form of software. I use all of the Native Instruments Komplete synths and effects a lot, a lot of Spitfire Audio Kontakt sample libraries, and over the past couple years have been loving granular synthesis for creating drones and pads.
What inspired you to start making the electronic music that you are now?
I think Ambient music, in general, is super interesting, on the surface it’s very simple and very “easy” but that allows you to dive deeper into the composition, and allows you to get creative in more ways than just “Writing” the track… You can experiment with the textures, and sound design a lot more than in other genres. Plus it’s just nice to create.
What inspires you outside of music?
I really like visual art, minimal paintings, photography, movies, etc. Looking at those forms of art always get me inspired to write some music.
What do you want to accomplish with your music?
I just want to be able to make the best music I can. I’m not necessarily trying to spread a message or anything, I’m just trying to push myself.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest single, ‘And, We Disappear’.
The track before ‘And, We Disappear’ is called ‘Still’ and features my friend, and collaborator Owen Vaga on piano (he makes great music as Voga). It also heavily relies on a melodic french horn section, so I just wanted ‘And, We Disappear’ to be a sort of Part 2 of Still.
How does the latest track fit into your upcoming LP, ‘Views From Sixteen Stories’? Was there a core concept driving all of the songs that we’ll see rise in the album?
As I said above it comes right after the track ‘Still’, making those two tracks 6 and 7, out of 11 total tracks. The whole album is sort of sandwiched between two “Post Rock Style” tracks, so I guess ‘And, We Disappear’ would be a sort of ‘Calm before the storm’ in a way.
There wasn’t too much of a concept driving the project, it just fit very perfectly to me as I was making the tracks.