Saturday 16 July 2011

Interview with Bryan El

Born in West-Flanders, Belgium, Bryan had a passion for music ever since he was a kid. A few of Bryan’s biggest influences are Delerium, Vangelis, Sleepthief, Amethystium, Jean Michel Jarre, Ryan Farish and ERA. Through them, Bryan discovered the relaxing side of music and began his own experiments with electronic music. A nice example would be my favourite track, ‘Ascension’, from his album ‘Spiritual Evolution’. Bryan studied Graphical Arts at the Holy Technical Institute, Brugge, Belgium. One of his great hobbies is designing graphics for websites, although his passion for music exceeds even his interests in graphics. To Bryan, music is all about harmony, and dreamy symphonies that send you off into another world - hence the title of his album, ‘Out Of This World’. Music is the universal language in which he translates his feelings and shares them with the world.

1. Tell us about your album, ‘Spiritual Evolution’. Why did you choose to create this album, and what do you hope to give to your listeners?

Thanks for the opportunity, Wayne. It's a compilation of a wide variety of emotions, which I'm trying to express through music. While listening, the intensity of these feelings can get so strong that the whole world around you seems to disappear. It elevates your mind and gets you high.  Hence the name ‘Spiritual Evolution.’ It's my intention to relax the listeners so they can get in touch with themselves.

2. Is there an underlying theme or message in your work?

None that needs to be spoken, it is felt instead. I do believe, however, that through the mysterious power of sound, people can reach a state of mind that allows them to bring out the best in themselves. Sometimes I think if everybody could feel what I feel when I hear certain music, there would be no aggression and war in this world - only peace and love.

3. You studied Graphic Arts at Belgium's Holy Technical Institute. Has this helped you with your career in music, and if so, how?

Even without the graphical studies my love for music would be just a strong, although it's a nice advantage if you can create your own website.

4. Of the music you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular work?

Good question.  It’s hard to choose just one.  ‘Solaris’ and ‘Sunburst’ both carry the euphoric feel I love so much.  ‘Ascension’ has also received amazing feedback from listeners.  The fact it touched so many people's hearts, makes it one of my favourites.
My most favourite ones are actually among the songs for my upcoming album, ‘Boundaries of Imagination’.

5. How is creating electronic music different from creating acoustic forms?

Personally, I've never played any acoustic instrument live, although these days any descent synthesiser allows you to use any acoustic instrument electronically. Both have pros and cons, I guess.  Some electronic sounds can't be achieved with a live instrument, and some specific expressions of live instruments are hard to recreate electronically.

6. What do you find most rewarding in the creative process?

That ‘high’ feeling I get when I'm hearing my creation come to life; and, of course, the positive feedback of the people who hear it after that.

7. What do you find most challenging in the creative process, and how did you overcome it?

Keeping enough variation throughout a composition.  You need to tell different parts of a story but it all needs to fit together, and that's not always easy. I have many unfinished projects on my hard disk.  It's not something to overcome, every musician struggles with it now and then, and it can be frustrating at times. The best thing to do at times like that, is to let it rest a few days or months until you find the right moment of inspiration to continue.

8. What have you done to promote and market your music, and what advice would you give to other artists?

My label, AMAdea records, handles my promotion and marketing, so I don't have to go around begging people to listen to my music.  My advice to other independent artists would be to send demos to labels, and make a website to present your music.  There are great websites that allow you to expose your music, like Myspace, Last.FM and online radio stations. But, most importantly, don't spam people about your music - everybody hates spammers! If your music is good, your listeners will do most of the advertising for you.

9. Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal listener?

I believe my music will appeal the most to calm and sensitive people who have an open mind - the dreamers and deep thinkers with a big imagination.

10. What advice would you give to help others build the confidence required to produce electronic music?

Personally, I don't think confidence has anything to do with producing music. The required elements are passion and creativity.  If you love what you do, the sky is the limit.

11. What aspirations, or reservations, do you have regarding your music being used in film and television?

People frequently tell me that my music would be excellent for films; but then again, I'm not a soundtrack composer.  Unlike composers such as Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman and James Horner, I never know what my project will turn out to be like.
I don't think I could bind my creation to a specific pre-determined theme.  My creativity is much too wild for that.

12. Tell us a little about any good electronic music you’ve heard recently.

I'm in love with Amethystium's latest album, his song, ‘Treasure’ takes me to higher places. And I discovered this jewel of an album by Jon Hopkins called ‘Opescalent’; I'm in awe of its genius. Mike Oldfield's album, ‘Songs Of Distant Earth’ is still among my favourite albums ever composed. Then, of course, I can't get tired of all-time classics like ‘Theme from Antartica’ by Vangelis, and ‘Equinoxe’ by Jean Michel Jarre. But, believe it or not, electronic music is not the only genre I listen to. The list of my favourite pop, rock, trance and dance is so long, I wouldn't know where to begin.

13. What are you doing now?

Answering these questions. Just kidding! I'm currently working on my next album, ‘Boundaries of Imagination’, and I believe it will exceed the intensity of the previous albums. Listeners should prepare themselves for another mind altering experience.

14. Describe ‘Spiritual Evolution’ in one sentence.

A world of intense emotions that can elevate your mind to a higher state of awareness.

15. Where can we find you and your work?

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