Name: Mont Duamel
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer
Current release: Mont Duamel's new double-single “Sunshine / New Light” is out now.
If you enjoyed this interview with Mont Duamel, his official website is a great point of departure into his music. For current updates, pictures and further information, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud and twitter.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
It could come from anything, listening to a music, seeing art of just playing around in the studio with different sounds and musical ideas. A lot of the times it’s just from playing around with sounds without a clear intention other than to have fun.
I find that the best results and more exciting stuff comes from that state of mind where you feel safe to simply create without any strict judgement for it.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
There is no planning at all. It’s all intuitive and trying stuff until something resonate. When I get started I work very fast and it can be messy for some people but for me it makes sense. I know some people have a clear vision for what they wanna do but for me it’s quite the opposite. I can make a bunch of random and weird ideas until I come across something that feel like it could be a song.
Some ideas come to life almost finished but some require more digging in order to feel like it could be a song worth finishing. So to me it’s all chance but I believe you have to create your chance, present yourself everyday with an open mind and just be a vessel for it. Be ready when it comes to you.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
I always start with the music first, I might try writing lyrics first but for now It’s always music and melodies first. I hear melodies and try to capture them as fast as I can until I feel like the melody is strong or memorable enough. Until it makes me feel something.
In the process of it I usually mumble some ending of phrase and often time they subconsciously fit with the emotion of the music behind it. Writing that first line of text can be difficult but I think it’s a lot easier If you a have a vision or a concept for the song. A precise emotion you want to convey really helps the rest of the lyrics come out.
It’s all trial and error from that point, just like the music. Play until it feels right.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
Writing lyrics for me is a new challenge but It’s also greatly rewarding when you achieve your vision. You tap into the emotion you wanted and you can clearly convey the message you had in mind. A clear simple expression of that feeling into words, for me that’s what make a good lyrics.
For the song "Sunshine" I had the idea to play these simple piano chords over a reverse vocal of mine creating an atmosphere in the background and then sing gibberish over that. I pretty much had the ending lyrics of each phrases from that very first take I sang. It doesn’t always happen like that but for this one it just worked.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
I truly believe that we are just kids playing around all day in the studio. We don’t really have total control over everything, not as much as we think anyway. That’s why I try to have a very playful approach to making any kind of art. Every time I feel uninspired or stuck I try to go the other way and just play around, pretending it’s my first time being in the studio. It liberates you from taking this whole thing too serious or too strict.
Of course at one point you have to finish the songs but that comes in later. I find it’s important to have fun at first and let come out of you without judging it too quickly. Later when the idea’s been sitting on my computer for a while if I think it’s worth pursuing it with a different mindset and do what I have to do to take it to the finish line.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
When I get into that creative state it’s truly one of the best feelings I think we can experience as humans. We get to simply be in the present moment for hours without keeping track of time. That’s when I get my best results and I enjoy myself the most.
If I have worries or something is bothering my mind I try to have a short meditation before making anything in the studio. Simply recenter myself to be free of any distraction.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
For me finishing a song can be a painful process. It can be quick and fun, some songs do happen in 2 days (“New Light”) but I would say 80% of them are just me going at it until it feels right. I’m constantly trying to get better at this and be bolder at decision making. It helps me to make big decisions and move fast when I’m in that finishing period otherwise you can tweak stuff endlessly.
I think it’s about capturing the essence of the song, making it better and then really push it to the maximum of your ability. I know how I hear it finished in my head and I’m trying to get closer to it. Once you do get closer it’s one of the best feelings. You fall in love with the song again like it’s the first time you hear it. So this process is always worth it.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I come from a background of production. Producing for other artists and helping them achieve their vision to the best of my ability. So when it came to my solo project, I wanted to do the same but also be involved with every aspect of it.
I get a real sense of creative expression and freedom when I can produce, mix and master everything myself. I find great pleasure in doing the artwork and visuals for the project as well. For me it’s all just different ways to express one singular vision that I have for this project. One creative message.