Name: Adrian Rybka aka Satl
Current Release: Satl's Gloom is out November 18th 2022 via North Quarter.
Recommendations: Drexciya - Neptune's Lair / 1999, Tresor // Burial - Untrue / 2007, Hyperdub //
If you enjoyed this interview with Satl and would like to stay up to date with his music, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.
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 making music early in 2010. l'm introvert so I felt as though I could express what I can't in any other ways to people and the world in general through music.
There was not much to do at all where I was growing up ... My early inspirations were coming from house, techno and the electro scene. Only few years later, I discovered drum and bass.
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?
l've never wondered about it to be honest. Now that I think of it quickly, I don't think it affects my approach in any way.
To me making and listening to music is like meditation to other people – I'm transported to my own, personal world and fully zone-in.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I guess the beauty of being an artist is that you can always keep searching for that voice in different forms and keep reinventing yourself. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone is what makes me a better artist.
I think over the years I became a little bit more selfish when it comes to making music and I rather do something that I'm feeling than trying to please the crowd / fans.
In the end, following the same patterns would get boring after a while.
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.
In my opinion, sticking to your vision / taste is really important. It might take more time, though, to really grow compared to other artists that follow the trends.
l'm not making music to impress anybody - first and foremost I do it for myself because it's very therapeutic to me. At the same time I try to be really open to new things as influences can come from anywhere, in any form.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
l'd say I want to keep making music that I would like to hear more.
I have this ability to completely turn off my brain and hyperfocus when I'm in the studio (which isn't always a good thing), and thanks to that, ideas flow naturally. I don’t want to brag in any way but sometimes I actually wish I had less ideas so I could take a break instead of being in the studio all the time.
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 like to think of myself that l'm combining these two worlds with each other. Originality, innovation, perfection and timelessness can all live together.
What matters most to me is that I'm doing what I really want to do instead of trying to fit into certain trends.
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?
After making music for many years just on the computer I think the turning point for me was when I started getting into some hardware instruments.
My first synth was the Waldorf Blofeld, which I bought a few years ago. Since then, I got a few other things but I think the Blofeld really gave me a new spark and it's pretty special to me.
[Read our feature about the Waldorf Microwave]
l'm always looking for tools that can keep me inspired. Even recently I created my first own little plugin. I guess posibilities are infinite if you get lost in music and mess around instead of focusing on writing things for your next project - letting that come naturally is way more fun to me.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
On most days I wake up and make music for most of the day. So I don’t really have a routine.
I guess when I start my work I usually mess around on my hardware a little bit, record some stuff so that I can use that later in the sessions throughout the day – that's something that I do most of the time when I start my day.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My debut album Gloom is the first project that I realised by fully combining software and hardware. In the process I learnt a lot about how these two worlds interact and I believe I would never be able to get the same result by using just software or hardware alone.
l'm trying to take the best out of both worlds and see what happens.
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?
There is time for solo work and collaborative work. They both have their own, special appeal to me.
Working alone I can do whatever I want and just don't compromise on any creative decisions. Working with others is also great, albeit for other reasons - you can see into that person's creative brain.
Take my project LIN000 with FD as an example.
We both like similar stuff but we're still different enough creatively to bring different things to the table. Combining these influences together created our own 'style' that's different enough from our solo work.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I believe life without music or even just sound would be boring.
I don't necessarily think my work relates to what's going on in the world that much, rather it is living its own life. For sure certain situations like Covid for example influence myself (my EP Lucid Dreams) but I reckon that's just it is for everyone.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many mare. In which way and on which occasions has music - both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I don't think it contributed at all. Whenever l'm in my 'music' state of mind I don't care about anything else around me / in the world. lt's like turning your brain off to really be in the moment and focus on what you are doing in this particular moment.
Thanks to that I can also stay as productive as I am because I'm not letting my head go to places when I'm in the zone.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I think learning how certain frequencies affect the human body and how we feel the sound can be very interesting. Putting more focus on these frequencies in music can be very interesting. It can also allow us to create music that will make people will experience it like never before.
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 mare 'mundane' tasks?
For me it is quite different. Music is something that I will leave behind when I'm gone - a cup of coffee won't be out there till end of the days.
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?
I guess there are frequencies that we feel more than others. Focusing purely on the music you listen to can often reveal so many details that create this feeling of a story / message that artists want to tell with their art.