Following on from his first official EP release, Switzerland based producer Autumn Glow discusses all things music in our latest Insight Interview.
Please tell us about yourself in a few words (who you are, where you’re from, what you
My name’s Marc, I’m 28 and I live in Switzerland where I study social work.
What’s the origin of your artist name Autumn Glow?
I actually came up with the name before I had even made any tracks for the project. Last fall, I took a lot of walks in the forest and I remember this one evening. The sun set and the entire forest was drowning in glowing embers of red. Red leaves, red sky, the water of the nearby lake reflecting the sky and so I thought to myself: “Well, I guess it’s time to make some ambient music”.
Before I started Autumn Glow I had made a lot of 2-step and garage tunes and that sound kind of merged with the ambient music I then intended to make as Autumn Glow.
How long have you been writing/producing electronic music?
For the best part of 12 years. When I started making music I played bass in different bands, ranging from death metal to post-rock. I remember my first music software; Magix Musicmaker. It was terrible but it was a very
creative time for me back then.
What is your current approach to starting a new track?
It differs. Most of the time I start by going around the house to record foley and field recordings. I use those for drums and background texture. All of the percussive and glitchy sounds you hear in my tracks are self-recorded. I don’t use sample packs these days except for the vocals.
When I sit down at the computer, I typically take a field recording to set the mood and then I use a software piano to express some sort of mood while cloud-gazing. My MIDI piano is set up right at the window so that helps. After that, it’s just about building on that loop.
As an artist, what do you try to express through your music? A particular mood or feeling perhaps?
See I’d love to have a heartbreaking story about how I’m expressing something particularly deep and philosophical, but I think most of my music is just inspired by my surroundings, as the project name suggests. So when I make music on a rainy day, I scroll through my library and pick up a field recording of rain. Or I go out and record it. That kind of sets the tone for the exploration.
Tell us a little about your current studio setup.
Sure, I use a MacBook Pro 15”, Ableton Live 10 Suite, a couple of Focal studio monitors, Beyerdynamic headphones and an Arturia MIDI keyboard. I don’t have any hardware synths whatsoever, I tried but it just isn’t for me. I use the Arturia collection and Native Instruments Komplete to emulate real instruments like piano, Dune 3 for the bass and some synths and I’ve fallen in love with Granulizer 2, an affordable granular synthesizer from Inertia Sound Systems. I’m also crazy about the Valhalla verbs, FabFilter and Denise Audio plugins. For the field recordings and foley I use my Zoom H5 which I highly recommend. It comes with two different microphones; an XY axis microphone and a shotgun.
Who are your major musical influences?
I listen to all sorts of music, really. I listen to a lot of ambient music and I have my own radio show on Swiss radio where I play strictly beatless Ambient. A few years ago I was quite active trying to push 2-step Garage in Switzerland, rather unsuccessfully. I think both genres have an influence on my music as well as my love for field recording.
What can fans expect to hear from your first official EP release ‘Autumn Glow’? Which direction did you want to take your music for the EP?
I feel like it was a conscious merge between Ambient and Garage. I always wanted to make Ambient music but I’m kind of lost without the loop view in Ableton and good Ambient music just doesn’t stick to grids. So when I started this project I felt like I could transport the mood that gave the project its name but using the sort of rigid structure that Garage music provides. In many ways this record feels like a transition for me because it’s something I have never done before.
How has your music evolved since you first began writing/producing music?
I think the most important thing that I’ve learnt is how important the little sounds and variations are that the listener might only notice subconsciously. I’ve gone from making really obvious music to using a dozen tracks in my DAWs for sounds that you wouldn’t even notice until you take them away and deconstruct the tracks. I’m still learning in that respect though, I hope. Besides that, you learn a lot about production techniques, I’m still a terrible mixing and mastering engineer so that’s an area I really need to improve.
When do you draw your inspiration when writing electronic music?
I have a knack of spending hours on working on tiny details. It helps to take a walk every now and then, to meditate or to just force yourself to play around with the cheapest software tools that you can find. That helps to overcome sound designer OCD for me.
What’s on the horizon for you next as an artist?
I’m quite busy at uni at the moment but I have a few tracks that are just waiting to be finished in my Ableton projects folder. I hope to have some spare time soon to complete those and hopefully add to the EP that’s coming out on Insight now soon.
Any advice for those musicians just starting out?
Yes. Finish your tracks, even when you’re sick of them and you don’t think it’s any good. You learn so much in the process of finishing tracks. Besides that, you should be kind to yourself.
What are three singles you would recommend we definitely check out?
This is quite wild because I listen to a great variety of music, but these are the ones I’ve been listening to the most over the last couple of weeks:
Francis and the Lights – Friends (feat. Bon Iver)
Alexisonfire – Season of the Flood
Last of all, if you were stranded on a desert island with only 1 album, what would it be?
This is between Stars of the Lid – The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid and BVDUB – We Were the Sun but I think it might be the latter (in my current mood). I would like to thank Insight Music for giving me the opportunity to release my EP with them. I’ve been following Insight with great interest for the last few months and there’s not been a single record that I didn’t like. So to be part of this is a great honour for me,