In our next artist spotlight, we chat to US darkwave electronic producer, Verasect about his music and inspirations.
S] How are you today?
I’m doing well. Just got a remix back from Ofdream today that sounds great. Also, Dobie’s remix was mastered and will be putting up on Soundcloud pretty soon. This is the first time I’ve had my songs remixed and it’s exciting and humbling at the same time.
S] Talk us through your inspirations outside of music, think specific people, movies and/or places?
I’m definitely inspired just as much by film as I am by other music. I was a filmmaker when I was younger and studied film in university. Just like music I’m drawn to dark and somewhat strange films that put me in a different emotional state. When I first started writing music I was going to a lot of art house theaters and caught a showing of City of Lost Children by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It blew me away and reflected in my dark, heavy industrial musical projects back then.
Now I would say travel inspires me the most musically. It’s really the only time I get true solitude and time to think. That’s when I compose melodies and write lyrics that I will later build into songs in the studio. For Sleep Stories, I did a lot of writing while traveling through Iran. It gave me the time to play back events in my life and form them into songs.
S] What about working with Dave Oglivie?
Dave’s a legend and I’m honoured to work with him. He’s mixed so many of albums I grew up listening to and I knew who he was even before I started making music because artists would praise him in interviews. I’m very particular and a total pain in the ass to work. We went back and forth in emails so many times and I was worried he would become frustrated. But he’s super polite and understanding. I hope I can come out to Vancouver and sit in on the mix sessions for the next album.
S] What advice would you give to emerging producers coming out, and what software did you use?
Being great isn’t enough anymore, be different. Software is cheap and YouTube is overflowing with tutorials on how to sound like top artists, so there is a surplus of professional sounding music. But I honestly forget it five minutes after listening. I think there will be a backlash against super polished electronic music after the arena EDM generation, and we’ll start seeing some real innovation.
Software-wise, I work in Cubase and try to avoid loop-based sequencers. In any software, it’s easy to fall into looping too much but Cubase is more designed for tracking traditional bands and I try to approach songwriting from a rock direction as opposed to an EDM direction.
I’m very light on soft synths and love hardware synthesizers. I try to start songs away from the computer and move it into a sequencer as late in the process as possible. The exception to this is when I travel and only have my iPad with me.
S] What challenges do you face as an artist now?
I think like most artists I struggle with balancing writing music and promotion. I read recently that you need to be put a video a day on YouTube to get noticed. Not a video of your music but you just talking to the camera. I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less and it makes my heart die. I understand that promotion will always be a part of art but having it be so intrusive in your daily life is relatively new and not something I’m comfortable with.
S] Talk us through the inspirations behind the tracks, ‘Aeon’ and ‘Catch Your Breath’?
‘Catch Your Breath’ was the first song I wrote as Verasect. I was looking for a new sound and to move away from aggressive industrial music and do something more emotional and dreamy. So I decided to write about my most painful recent memory, a breakup I had in New York several years back. Rather than write about the whole ordeal I decided to put myself back in that particular moment. The moment when I found out about a slew lies and deception that was completely unforgivable and I knew it was over. I remember that moment vividly and having to sit down, catch my breath and let it all sink in.
‘Aeon’ is based on a concept in the novel Ubik by Phillip K Dick that I found incredibly strange and haunting. In the book, when you die you are brought to a facility called a moratorium, revived and placed in a dream-like state. Your family and loved ones can come to visit and “wake” you up to talk via a headset. But the amount of time you can be awake is finite. It is used sparingly until you ultimately pass and can no longer be woken up.
I read that book when I was a kid and that part always stuck with me. While it would be great to prolong life, are you just extending the pain for both sides? ‘Aeon’ is about how it would be to have someone you love in that state of being between life and death.