Name: Andreas Heib aka Andy Aquarius aka Ozbolt
Occupation: Harpist, composer, drummer
Nationality: German-Croatian
Recent release: Andy Aquarius's La Force Aquarienne is out via Constellation Tatsu.
Recommendations: Brian Catling's The Vorrh really took me by surprise. It's one of the most captivating and enigmatic novels I've ever read.
As for a piece of music, there's 'Motokali', performed by Mandosini on a Mhube. If you need a tune to violently crack open your third eye - this is it.

If you enjoyed this interview with Andy Aquarius  and would like to find out more about his work, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud. As Andy informs us, “there's a questionable and freewheeling newsletter I'm sending out every couple months or so. You can sign up via the contact form on my website.”

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I started out age six on the piano. My first songs I recorded in my early teens. Got handed a cracked version of Steinberg's Cubase and that got the ball rolling (proudly holding a license now).

My early influences were soundtracks to various RPGs and strategy games, amongst romantic music like Debussy. I was always drawn towards the immersive, mystical and lush.

Later I discovered metal music but quickly detoured into its more obscure domains, like what you'd call Dungeon Synth. Dreamy and slightly medieval synth music to get lost in a wondrous forest to.

When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

It helps me to tune into different degrees of presence. It triggers distant sentiments, memories and smells and unlocks hidden doors within my nervous system.

In the last year or so, an inner chapel space started popping up in my meditation routine. It's becoming more refined as time goes by, now being placed in a specific forest environment, with a certain light coming through the windows and so on. I feel like I started to compose music that represents this space.

You could say it's an inverted version of your experience, with the music following a visualization. My new EP La Force Aquarienne, out on Constellation Tatsu September 22nd, is a good example of this.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

A major breakthrough was when two years ago, together with the recording of 'Chapel', I gained an understanding of my motivation as being more spiritual in nature. Before that I always struggled to place myself in a scene / context / genre and to create music that felt fully authentic, because I kept comparing myself to others and was feeling quite odd about it all.

Now I do things mostly for the sake of doing them and I'm much more at peace with what I do, with the way my voice sounds, with the idea of messing up on stage ... I think I have less to prove now.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

Over-identifying with any part of myself sets me up for trouble I find, so I'm working on and mostly failing at overcoming the images I hold of myself. But it's a freeing process and it allows me to surprise myself sometimes, letting come through whatever needs to come through in the moment.

Sometimes I'm a galactic reporter by order of Ashtar, sometimes a medieval swordsman, and sometimes a misplaced buffalo grazing on a Bavarian meadow.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

Music is a language and we're all adding to an evergrowing vocabulary, helping each other to venture into territories we always knew but perhaps didn't have a roadmap to. That's a beautiful thing.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I guess I'm more of a 'continuing a tradition' kind of person, considering the music I make. Then again, 'music of the future' could be anything. Maybe it's mind-bending digital cross-genre glitch madness, or maybe it's a Babylonian lyre leading us into the New Age. Who knows.

There's a natural and effortless kind of perfection – like Derek Gripper playing his guitar. Then there's its shadow, an obsession with unrealistic flawlessness. My attempts at matching this wavelength never did me any good.

Humans are flawed and limited by nature and I enjoy hearing a reflection of this in their music. It's exciting to listen to someone overcome obstacles – or happily failing to overcome them, in a sense.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

The two instruments I use the most are my harp and an analog synth I bought a decade ago.

I enjoy having few things but knowing them really well. The more gear I add, the more options I have and the harder it gets to finish things. That's why I decided to abstain from connecting crazy effect pedals to the harp. It does sound really big and beautiful, but I somehow don't get anything done.

Limitations are good for me and they force me to get creative with what I have at hand.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

Leaving aside my day job for this and currently not having much of a routine, but I always go into a ~20 minute meditation straight after waking up, since I don't have access to that stillness anymore once the day takes off.

Making some tea, dodging breakfast and tuning the harp. Working on whatever excites me or needs to be done. Getting my digital fix by watching some esoteric thing on YouTube. Having a sundown walk at Tempelhofer Feld, grabbing dinner with a friend and on a really good day, I'll consider going to the sauna.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

I've been talking about this a bunch, but my song 'Chapel' was received a couple years ago during an art residency in a destroyed tuberculosis clinic.

I worked and slept in a roofless chapel there. Many songs came to life during that time but I particularly remember this one being a real gift from above. The structure, melody and chords came to me in the space of an hour or so, and the lyrics arrived the same day. There was no need to revisit any of it, it was just done.

I write most of my music when I'm getting the chance to exit the matrix and sit myself down in silent and remote environments. There's such an intense buzz in the city, it's hard for me to stay grounded.

Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?

Sure. Being a drummer in a rock band and being involved in other group endeavours too, the communal aspect of writing music is quite exciting to me, simply because humans are tribal beings and magic happens when you transcend the individualistic space to commit to something that's bigger than you.

That being said, I feel quite solo about the harp. It's like a continuous meditation on myself. Playing with other people, it is often quite hard for me to find my place. The harp is very quiet (even when amplified) and much of the warmth and harmonic content gets lost when things are too busy, which they tend to become.

My harp can't compete and I came to respect that. But there's some people that I developed a common language with and working with them helps me to open back up when I get stuck.

Also, I love adding sprinkles to people's records. There's a great freedom and different kind of creativity in providing some sparkles to something that is already complete to begin with.

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

Music is probably the only alternative dimension that I have constant access to, and in this regard I feel that its role is to provide whatever is currently needed but can't be easily accessed on our physical plane. Considering all that's on these days, I think that the most important role for music is to provide shelter. A sonic refuge, a sense of protection and connection.

I feel that more and more music is promoting a certain kind of hopelessness and nihilism, and I don't know what to think about it. It surely is a reflection of what's going on collectively, but me believing that 'as above so below / as within so without' is a thing, I'd say it's important to create polar opposites to the doom and gloom the cloud mind is running on.

Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

This one's impossible to answer. I feel that there's many layers of understanding which can't be put into words.

Like, I've been listening to John Tavener's 'Funeral Canticle' regularly for many years and I feel that it bettered me as a person and helped me be more at peace with the curveballs life's throwing at me. Some learning must have taken place but what exactly - I don't know.

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

I believe that nothing truly great can arise under a solely intellectual reign. Music that's written on the base of form and calculus only won't hit you the same.

And this is true for science as well; when ignoring your emotional authority, you end up with results that might be impressive achievements but have no context, like nuclear weapons. We've been stuck in our heads exclusively for way too long.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I guess someone more elevated wouldn't differentiate between these things. But for me it's much easier to express and experience magic through my craft.

Not because I believe that music is the only portal and everything else is mundane – it just happens to be my portal for now.

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

This answer is not related to your question, but I always felt that my Higher Self is indirectly communicating with me through sound. And the richer the sonic spectrum becomes, the easier it is to project meaning and 'hear' yourself answering your own questions.

That's why I love the harp with all its overtones, open resonances and weirdly meandering rumble. And that's why I love being at the sea – the endless white noise covers the whole range of sound, so your subconscious can basically filter out every frequency needed to mimic a voice, telling you what's up … am I making sense?