Name: Tom Hades
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Recent release: Tom Hades's The Flowers Hundred, published under his Sigvard alias, is out via MATERIA.
Recommendations: Book: At Least A Life And Beyond from Paul David; Piece of music: Aphex Twin – "Heliosphan" (Selected Ambient Works)
If you enjoyed this interview with Tom Hades and would like to find out more about his work, visit his official homepage. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
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 production when I was 13-14 years old (I was still in the early stages of production research, so if I could call it that). I used to play a little left and right on small stages and venues, but nothing serious happened.
Perhaps the biggest influence I had was in the New Wave era, which produced a great mix of electronic synths and more traditional instruments.
What was most appealing to me was the hypnosis that I could create with repetitive sequences.
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's very difficult to explain this feeling, but it just feels like "connecting" things. It's as if all sounds, instruments and other elements are in very harmony and discussion.
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 want to learn new things, so I feel that I need to constantly acquire all the skills such as production, sound design, DJ set, etc.
I never seem to be 100% satisfied with myself. I'm doing it. But somehow, I think it's a good thing. (laughs)
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.
I'm open-minded and like listening to a variety of music. Because of this wide range, it has a huge impact on my production and my own sound.
Sometimes I want to mix different styles with my production technique, so I get a unique sound I've never heard before.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
An important idea is to create a "conversation" between different elements. Here, each element occupies its position in the spectrum, and it appears that all the elements are in harmony and reach the same level.
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”?
In fact, I'm interested in both. I love to embrace new innovations (because I am eager to learn and implement new technologies). There is also some traditional placement simplicity.
Sometimes less is really more, but only the "less" part is the new futuristic way. (laughs)
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?
Sequencers (hardware or software) have always been an important part of my development. I love using them, sometimes even in ways they weren't designed, to create unique layers between different synths.
Why not slice a sample and use the sequencer to randomly (but somehow structure) trigger the sample of that chopped sample? When used in combination with a fine-grained approach, you can achieve some of the sounds of this world.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I've combined both musical and professional careers throughout my career, so my day usually starts very early and ends very late. Because of this long time, my sleeping part has become very difficult and sometimes non-existent.
I usually get up around 3-4am, check emails, exercise for hours, take a shower, start planning for the day, visit clients, follow projects and prospects, Try something new. Eat a little (if you have time) and play more sports or go to the studio.
This combination provides the perfect balance between the business part and the music part, complementing each other and relieving the stress of both.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Speaking of live performances, we are setting up to release albums in different countries and places. We strive to deliver ever-changing performances that aren't programmed in a way that doesn't feel like any other DJ set. I want to create new tracks live on stage or mix album tracks to give them a different sound each time.
There are so many uses of hardware these days that you don't need that laptop anymore to sequence, as you would in a studio or in a DJ set.
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?
I like both (due to changes), but the reason I like both is that they can be built on my skills and give me new insights into how to use tools and methods. We all use the same thing (more or less), but everyone still has their own ideas, so it's great to make techno!
I've said this many times in the past, and I keep repeating it: techno knows no boundaries, creativity should keep evolving! So, for me, working alone in the studio or working with someone always reaches the slightly extra level I'm always looking for.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I try to bring my music closer to the way people make it in the studio.
I think music is one of the few things in society where you can freely choose what you like and dislike. I sincerely hope that the music will continue forever!
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?
Music has often helped me overcome times of anxiety and fear. It can bring my soul back where it is needed at such times.
There are also messages from people who follow my music and from my music who tell me that my music has calmed me down again. Because that's the best you can do with your own music. It makes listeners so relaxed that they somehow distinguish it from your music.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Science, another interest of mine! Electronic music can literally incorporate a part of science. There you can start a mathematical calculation of how the elements overlap each other. I love mixing things like this.
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?
My musical expression is different from more "all day" duties because of the different sensations that can be created in building construction. You can bring more emotions to playing and creating music, and the best part is that you can even transfer it to others. Music connects, and it always does!
Normal all-day tasks do this little or not at all. They are temporary.
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?
The vibration goes far beyond the 2D version of moving air.
There are many ways to move this air, such as speed, strength, and frequency ... so you can give the same feeling as when someone waved. It can be solid, or it can be a gentle touch. Both are handshakes, but they can evoke very different emotions depending on the delivery method. You can do the same with music and the vibrations you create.