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Interview with Vladislav Delay

img  Tobias

You are performing under various aliases. Are you using different gear for different projects as well?
I have a set-up that I use for playing in public and another set-up which is my studio. But I use both of them for all projects. There are some pieces that I use more or less with different projects. The same applies to the different ways of using them. But in principle it's the same gear always. I anyway change gear constantly, so I don't get too comfortable with any particular piece or set-up.

Even though you are not marking time as an artist, your music has a decidedly timeless quality to it. Is this also reflected by your choice of equipment – i.e. do you still mainly apply the same tools you used a couple of years ago?
I consciously and constantly change equipment that I use for sounds and effects as part of my sound design. I have used the same hardware outboard for some time now, which is mainly tube-based and high end. But I don't use it so much as to get a specific sound. I think my "sound", if there's such a thing, has to do with my mentality - how I use the gear and my approach of making sounds and music. I discovered that I come up with similar sounds no matter what I use, and that in the end I shouldn't spend too much money on fancy old vintage gear because I always tend to go for a particular type of sounds anyway and not use most of the capabilities. The only device I have been using for quite a long time are a Logic sequencer and my Apple computer. Those, too, I use tongue-in-cheek and don't take them too seriously.

Berlin has an extremely lively artistic community. Would you say you draw ideas and inspiration from befriended colleagues in town?
I don't live there anymore since 4 months, and the reason for my move was that I didn't find the city really optimal for my creativity. For me, coming from Finland (where I now again live and work), I need more space around me and less talk and community factor. I need and enjoy more and more the nature around me instead of the concrete surroundings of Berlin. But I do enjoy the city a lot when I come to visit and the people who live there (those I know of course). But I prefer to just come as a visitor and I'm happy I managed to make the move finally. If anything, I am worried about what will happen to the city, becoming more and more an expensive and ever-popular teenage-techno-party place to visit for a weekend and get wasted. It has enormously changed even in my 7 years I have lived there, and not only for the better.

Which instruments are currently at the heart of your studio?

Afore-mentioned Logic. Everything goes along then. I care more about high-quality converters (Benchmark/ Crane Song) and outboard (Eventide/ Manley/ API/etc) which I only have a few of but can't afford more. But the sounds, like I said, come from here and there with not much logic in it. I can't really name any synth I really really like. Sounds are 99% hardware, no software instruments at all, really.

You mentioned you were looking for more “physicality” in your music. Next to using metal percussion as a basis, which available electronic instruments, in your opinion, are currently capable of fulfilling this ideal?
I have no idea! If I may say so, in my opinion there are less and less such units. Equipment is getting so boring it's not making any sense to me anymore. Maybe something is going on in the software end of things but for me it sounds too clear and sharp and precise and I always look for lots of tube and analog gear to go to when using such stuff. Older gear is definitely more physical in my opinion.

You’re originally a drummer. How important, then, are drum machines for
developing your pieces?

I never use drum machines to program beats. Also regarding sounds, I very often make my own samples, often recording real things with a microphone and then playing it back with a sampler. So nope, not much drum machines either...

Vocals can take on many different forms in your projects. Which Hard- and Software are you using to record and process them?
To process, one thing I have been using a lot are Eventide units. But I have also decided to not use them anymore. For example, the new Luomo album "Convivial" is totally non-Eventide. I use "anything", whether it's vocal or any other sound. Whatever works. To record, it's simple: I use a great mic and a great mic pre and converter and that's it. I don't use software at all to process vocals whenever possible.

If technology can induce stalemates, then it might also offer solutions in terms of creativity. Have there been instruments which have actively influenced your sound and approach to music?
If I get to spend enough time with any piece of equipment I also often become  inspired by the interaction. Sorry to disappoint you, but I haven't really found any really influential piece of gear lately. Of the older ones, there are many, EMS VCS3 and  Oberheim 4-voice for example. But I don't own either one. There's one Russian drum machine called Formanta which is maybe the most influential piece of gear I know and I still have one, though not for the rhythms but as a general sound module.

You recently re-released your classic “Anima” and has been met with excitement. Did you expect it to pass the test of time this gloriously at the time you recorded it?

I didn't have any expectations when I made it. I was quite young and just wanted to kick ass as much as I could and be creative. I also used lots of drugs back then so I really didn't care much about things like what will happen in 5 years. I'm happy I can still live with the results, though, after so many years.

One review called your last full-length your” most oppressive album” yet. Any idea where the new one is headed towards?

That depends on which one we are talking about. Right now, the next Luomo album is due to be released, which is very pop-oriented and clubby house stuff. Then again, there's a new Agf/Delay album (with my girlfriend Antye Greie aka AGF) which is some kind of electronic experimental pop I guess. The next Vladislav Delay album is using lots of acoustic elements, but that's all I know for now.

By Tobias Fischer

Image by Ari-Pekka Auvinen.

This Interview with The Black Dog was originally conducted for “Beat” Magazine. Many thanks to Thomas Raukamp.

As Vladislav Delay:
Ele (Sigma Editions) 1999
Huone (Chain Reaction) 1999
Entain (Mille Plateaux) 2000
Multila (Chain Reaction) 2000
Ranta (Chain Reaction) 2000
Anima (Mille Plateaux) 2001
Naima (Staubgold) 2002
Demo(n) Tracks (Huume) 2004
The Four Quarters (Huume) 2005
Whistleblower (Huume) 2007
Tummaa (Leaf) 2009

As Luomo:
Vocalcity (Force Tracks) 2001
The Present Lover (Force Tracks) 2003
The Kick (Straight Ahead) 2004
Paper Tigers (Huume) 2006
Convival (Huume) 2008

Vladislav Delay

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