With Silar having new music out this week on Bullfinch we catch up with him for the latest episode of 12 Questions.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
Hey, thanks for having me. I’m 25 and I live in Montreal, Canada. I’ve been producing for a little over 4 years and DJ’ing for 5 years.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
The first genre I got really into was rock, bands like Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pink Floyd. In highschool I joined a music program where I learned the guitar and the bassoon and played in an orchestra, so I got into classical music then.
I discovered electronic music when an A State of Trance live show recording was posted on an online forum I used to visit around 2009. From there I slowly discovered all the other genres of electronic music while digging for music or by listening to dj mixes.
The first time I went to a big “rave”, I was really inspired. I had always loved music, but it really clicked for me when I saw DJs live. The very next day I bought a DJ controller, and shortly after that, I started learning how to produce.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
In the beginning it was incredibly overwhelming. You know what you want to make, but you just don’t know how to do it, it can be quite frustrating. But I think that because I was listening to so much music, I knew how songs were generally arranged, and that helped me get songs finished and gradually get better at it.
I did not take any courses, but I did watch a ton of youtube videos, tutorials, interviews, masterclasses, anything I could get my hands on really, haha.
There’s no specific advice that really helped, but when I watched or read interviews of producers I liked, I saw that a lot of them produced with just headphones and a laptop. Knowing that I could make music with just that, really was an eye-opener to me, I had no reason I couldn’t make music.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
The hardest part for me is mixing, there’s no real right or wrong, you have to be your own judge and decide if it sounds good or not. I try to reference with other tracks I like, but it is very tedious to me. I tend to procrastinate this part and just start working on a new track haha. Starting a track for me is the easier and more fun part. I like writing melodies, chords, looking for samples and putting it all together.
Creative blocks usually happen between these two stages, when I have a track that I don’t think is finished yet, but I don’t know what to add or change. I haven’t found a miracle recipe for that yet, but I find what helps is going through samples, or presets until something inspires me. Another thing I do is listen to tracks in a similar style and get ideas from there.
5. You have a new single out this week on Bullfinch, a stunning production with a huge selection of remixes. Tell us how you approached writing the track, how it ended up on Bullfinch and the thought process behind the remixer selection.
I first wrote the break of the track, trying to make an atmospheric and emotional build up. Later I started a new track where I made the bassline, and since I didn’t have a bassline for the first track I decided to combine them. I really liked the result and Noir et Blanc was born.
When I finished the track I was already in contact with Vitaly from Bullfinch for a previous track I made. I thought the track would fit in with the Bullfinch style, so I sent it to Vitaly to see what he thought. He liked it and the rest is history.
Vitaly reached out to the remixers, they are all regulars on the Bullfinch label. The remixes are very good, and they are all very different from each other. I am very happy with the EP.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?
I mostly listen to electronic music, but once in a while I’ll listen to rock, hip hop or classical music. Off the top of my head, I really like Sigur ros, Explosions in the sky, and Nujabes. I believe that everything I listen to has some sort of impact on my productions. It’s hard to see the influence from music in different genres from what I’m producing, but I’m sure at the very least it affects my creativity.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
Wow I don’t remember specifically, but the first cassette was some punk rock band, when I was in my teens. Last physical CD I bought was a Jimi Hendrix compilation.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I never have an idea in mind when I sit down to produce. Inspiration doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to play around with sounds until something catches my attention.
9. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
I do have a job, I work as a web developer. Usually, I work on music in the morning and in the evening. I also spend a few hours every day listening to new music for my podcast. Another important part of my day is going for an hour long walk. I do this every day, it lets me listen to music and relax for an hour.
When I’m not working on music, I like to go out for a drink with friends, go to clubs when DJs I like are playing, or just stay at home watching a movie or TV show.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Recently, Rafael Cerato and Tim Engelhardt are two producers that consistently release great music, it is inspiring to see how productive these guys are. Some other producers that generally make inspiring music to me are Lee Burridge, D-Nox & Beckers, DJ Koze, Andhim and Soul Button to name a few.
I also get a lot of inspiration from great DJs like Hernan Cattaneo, Dixon and Mano Le Tough. They make you like tracks you never thought you’d like, and that is so special.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
Being original, while still being current is, in my opinion, the hardest part of music making. I think once in a while you should take the time to produce something out of the ordinary, something that you don’t plan on releasing, and can experiment with. That’s something I should do more often myself.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
There are so many great closing tracks, but I would probably play Sailor & I – Turn Around (Âme Remix). It’s one of my favorite tracks from the last couple years, and it just perfectly ends a night.
‘Noir Et Blanc’ is out now on Bullfinch, you can purchase the release: here