Thursday, October 15, 2015

Interview with Erik McClure aka Blackhole


So, interesting little backstory about how I discovered this guy. If you don't care, proceed to the interview below! Back in the mid to late 2000s, I came across this awesome track called On the Edge and I immediately fell in love with it. In fact, it served as an inspiration for my HaloxToonami crossover that I wrote and am planning on resurrecting. Up until just a few weeks ago, that's actually as far as my knowledge of Erik McClure went.

I started brushing off my ancient Toonami files, (those that survived), in preparation for its resurrection and came across a tracklist of songs I listened to to help inspired me. I had completely forgotten about On the Edge and immediately started listening to it again, only this time I asked the obvious question of: Who actually made this? One thing led to another and before I knew it, I randomly decided to ask Erik if he'd mind doing an interview with me.

He was super cool about it and accepted some totally random dude's interview invitation and here we are today! And now that interview.

01. When did you first start making music?

Technically I came up with a "song" when I was 4, but I only actually started writing real songs when I was 11 or 12, and it wasn't until I found FL studio when I was 15 that I would actively start trying to make music.

02. What originally inspired you to make music?

I always like improvising on the piano more than actually playing songs.

03. What are you goals, hopes and dreams?

I'd like to make a living making games and software. I see myself as a backend programmer, the guy who makes all the engines and tools that everyone else uses to make things.

04. What are your influences?

I am heavily influenced by ParagonX9, Trancecrafter, F-777, and Thomas Bergersen. I also draw inspiration from the tracker scene (such as Elwood and Awezoom).

05. Do you have other creative goals? (i.e. film, photography, writing, etc.)

I'd love to be able to make a movie at some point, but I'm not sure that'll ever happen. I have a few writing ideas too, but they're unlikely to materialize.

06. Do you plan on releasing more of your older Newgrounds content on Bandcamp?

I actually can't. Bandcamp has a strict limit on how many free downloads I get, so I only put music I'm selling on bandcamp, plus a few remixes.

07. What do you use to create your music?

FL Studio 12, EWQL Symphonic Choir, EWQL Orchestra Gold, Kontakt 5, z3ta+, Harmor, Ogun, and a few other random plugins.

08. Why did you choose the moniker Blackhole?

I came up with it a long time ago in middle school, back when I was fascinated with actual black holes. I kept the nickname to ensure consistency but usually sell music under my real name.

09. What kind of games do you make and why?

Well right now I haven't actually managed to make any games. All my ideas are 2D at the moment, but that's mostly because of time-constraints. Most of my games are either puzzle-based, or focus on emergent gameplay by introducing a single concept into an existing structure and taking it to its logical extreme.

10. What would be your dream game to make?

Probably a space sim game. Good space sims are extremely rare right now. Elite: Dangerous is okay, but I'm holding out for Star Citizen.
And there's the interview! You should check out Erik's music. It's definitely worth listening to and dropping some cash on!

Erik's Bandcamp

Monday, October 5, 2015

Another Carbon Based Lifeforms Interview!


So, I managed to get another interview with Carbon Based Lifeforms!

For those of you who don't know who Carbon Based Lifeforms are, they are a duo of ambient music composers who operate largely out of Sweden named Daniel Segerstad and Johannes Hedberg. They've been making great music since 1996 and have released seven albums and an EP, as well as a lot of awesome singles. Also, one member of the duo, Daniel, has a side project called SYNC24 that is just as good and very much worth listening to.

In the past year, they've remastered and released their original three albums and have gone independent, which is awesome!

Without further gushing over them, here's the interview they were more than kind enough to give me.

01. What inspired you to remaster Hydroponic Garden, World of Sleepers and Interloper?

When we discontinued our contracts with Ultimae to go independent we saw an opening to revisit our old albums and tweak some things we've been wanting to adjust, and thought we might as well do a full remastering. We started out doing ourselves but we quickly found that it was damn near impossible for us to remaster our own work, we just ended up trying to copy the old sound to no avail, so after a lot of discussions we decided that Vincent (AES Dana) was probably the best person to do it, he's a really talented audio engineer and he knows our sound really well. Lucky for us he had the time to do it :) We asked Vincent and he was onboard.

02. Is The Path getting remastered at any point in the future?

NO

03. How about Twentythree?

It's still pretty new to us and the mastering is good enough... for now :)

04. What about all of the miscellaneous songs and reedits, such as Epicenter (Second Movement), Metrosat 4, the Irdial EP or T-Rex Echoes? Will we be getting a compilation album of misc. tracks?

We plan to do some sort of compilation but after remastering three albums we were really tired of that kind of work and wanted to start working on a new album. We are still going to release it at a later time.

05. With CBL remastering and re-releasing all of its musical library, can we expect to see something similar with SYNC24 in regards to Source and Comfortable Void?

I've already released Source in it's original version and Comfortable Void is in same shape as Twentythree, so I don't really see it happening.

06. SYNC24 was created by Daniel for tracks that didn't quite fit the CBL mood or, for one reason or another, never saw the light of day. What about Johannes? Surely he must have some unreleased tracks stockpiled somewhere. Will we ever see any of those?

There is some stuff around but it's not in the same vein as CBL at all though, there's some chippy italo disco (www.digidroid.net), some acid stuff (https://soundcloud.com/lnetzel), some video game music etc.

07. Your fourth album, VLA, has always struck me as a curiosity. What inspired you to release a single-track, hour-long album?

We played around with some old software and ended up with that drone and we felt it kind of worked as a coming down/meditation/falling asleep track so we figured, what the hell let's give it some length... :)

08. What inspired the name of the band: Carbon Based Lifeforms?

When we started out making ambient tracks we felt they sounded really organic so we wanted something to fit that feeling and also we were really into FSOL back then so the name was kind of an homage to their Lifeforms album.

09. I know that you guys are planning a new CBL album before the end of next year. What about SYNC24?

Nothing planned at the moment. My life has been a real roller coaster fathering a child, moving to a house and CBL takes most of the precious musical hours, in a good way :)

10. Is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming album? Hopes? Plans? Progress thus far? Working titles?

We strive to combine the feeling of Hydroponic Garden with the melodies of Interloper. However, nothing ever turns out the way we plan as the tracks seem to have their own will so we'll probably end up making a country album :) We have about 10 embryos lying around right now. As for the working titles, we'll probably keep them to ourselves, we have to keep at least some small part of our dignity :)

11. Will you be releasing the original versions of the albums for sale alongside the remastered editions at any point?

Probably not but you never know, if there is a big demand for it we might reconsider.

12. I've just recently discovered what could be called a 'lost track', Into the Canyon, released on what seems to be an earlier or otherwise different version of The Path that has since been released on bandcamp. It is the only track missing from The Path and it's very good. What went into the decision to leave the track off of the re-release of The Path?

It was added to the mp3.com version(s) of The Path, called The Phat 000001 and The Phat 000002, the album was cut in half because of the size restrictions on mp3.com. http://www.discogs.com/CBL-The-Phat-000001-The-Phat-000002/release/1553664

It was written by Mikael Lindqvist, the third member of Notch.

And there you have it, another great interview!

Show some love for Carbon Based Lifeforms and SYNC24.

Purchase albums and EPs from CBL & SYNC24 here.
Carbon Based Lifeforms [Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube]

Thanks again guys!