Insight Interview: Embers

We caught up recently with Dutch due Embers (comprised of Aetherial and Leniz, both excellent producers in their own right) to talk music, influences and the future. Check out their story below…

Hey Embers, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?

Aetherial: I’m based in the northern part of the Netherlands in the province ‘Friesland’. I do travel a lot but that’s not related to music since I haven’t done any shows yet. I’m planning to travel to Japan for a month this summer and will probably go to a few festivals throughout Europe.

Leniz: I’m based in NL. I’m very young and still live with my parents but when I’m grown up I would like to see more from the world and hopefully in the combination with music haha.

Can you recall your first real exposure to music?

Aetherial: Not specifically but I must have been very young. My parents played DVDs of metal concerts nearly every weekend and they still do every now and then. I grew up listening to metal and I do still like it altho it really comes in waves. Sometimes I don’t listen to it for months and then all of a sudden I’m really into it again for a while. Some of my favourite bands include Katatonia, Persefone and Porcupine Tree.

Leniz: My first exposure with music was when I was 3 years old. My parents have me on tape singing along with songs and even jamming on my toy guitar and singing in my own language haha.

How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?

Aetherial: Way back in school we had this fun little game called ‘Dance Ejay’ in which you could drag prerecorded sounds into a playlist to make a song. (I’m sure some of the older people will remember this). Ever since then I’ve always been interested in making my own music. I’ve only been producing music seriously for the past 2 years or so though. Before that it was mainly just dragging loops into FL studio and making a song out of it.

Leniz: I was 12 years old and was really into Hardstyle together with a mate of mine. Later on I went solo. Changed from Hardstyle to DnB. And now as a side project Embers with Daniel (Aetherial).

How did you decide upon the name Embers?

We used a random name generator and picked out a few we liked. One was ‘Cosmic Embers’. We asked some people for their opinion on this alias and they said to stick to Embers instead of Cosmic Embers, so that’s what we did.

Can you describe your music for us?

It’s pretty much whatever we come up with that isn’t Drum and Bass. We don’t stick to a certain genre or vibe. We want ‘Embers’ to be a project for all our experimental music so if we stick to one genre, that would limit us. The only thing I can say is, don’t expect any happy music haha.

Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?

We haven’t and we’re not really planning on it either to be honest. We feel like the music we make wouldn’t really be suitable for a live show. Both of us would like to do shows for our other aliases in the future though!

What have been your biggest influences?

Aetherial: For Drum and Bass, I’d say Calibre, Technimatic, LSB, Silence Groove and GLXY. For Future Garage, as clichéd as it sounds, Burial.

Leniz: To be honest I think my biggest influence is the music itself. Some tunes really hit you in the feels or the atmosphere is one you can relate to. These are the type of tunes that inspire me and make me want to create something similar but still in my own way.

Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?

Aetherial: In my opinion, to make a great tune, you’d need both. However, if for some reason you’re unable to learn the technical side of producing music, there’s of course people out there who will do it for you for a fee. Although I think it’s very uncommon for producers to let other people mix their tunes in the world of electronic music. For me half the fun is learning new things, though, so if you’re not willing to spend time learning and improving your technical skills, then I’m not sure if producing electronic music is for you.

Leniz: Both since you need to understand your DAW and the plugins around it. Also the processing needs to be understood. That’s more the technical aspect from it. The creative part is to come up with certain sounds in your head that would fit or creating a drum beat. You could just follow a YouTube tutorial. But where’s the fun in that?

Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?

Aetherial: Yes, without a doubt. Usually when I’m putting a new tune together I’m just zoned out and forget everything around me. It can also be the other way around though. Sometimes I listen to what I’ve made so far to think of things I can add and I come up with something that I feel would sound really good with the tune, but the part of actually creating that sound or sampling it from somewhere can be very frustrating when you just can’t get it right.

Leniz: Creating music helped me a lot actually. At times you’re feeling useless, but then you make a sick sketch and you’re feeling way better in an instant. Also now that I make music I feel like I actually have a talent which wasn’t the case before. Also it is definitely a way for me to express my feelings.

Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon?

Not at the moment. We’re always open to do collabs or remixes though! So if anyone reading this is interested, hit us up!

Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?

Aetherial: I’m mainly a Drum and Bass producer and I’ve just recently started experimenting with Future Garage, about a month ago. ‘Aetherial’ will stay Drum and Bass only with maybe a Future Garage tune every now and then but ‘Embers’ is an experimental project and not strictly Future Garage, so who knows what will happen in the future.

Leniz: Maybe more chill/downtempo beats or some ambient but that would be it I think.

Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?

Aetherial: It will always continue evolving. If you look at the scene now compared to a year or two ago, there have been several new genres and subgenres created. People will always keep experimenting and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Who knows where we will be 10 years from now.

Leniz: I think it will become bigger in the future. It will no matter what. But I think the amount of musical styles will be more compared to now since people keep experimenting with music and creating new styles. Although its hard to create something completely new nowadays some people manage to do it!

Any new releases coming our way?

You can definitely count on that!

Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?

We’re gonna be very unrealistic here and say we’d love to work with artists like Vacant, Phelian, Aether, Azaleh etc.

Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?

Aetherial: I don’t think I have 1 favorite tune but if I HAD to choose, it would probably be ‘LSB – About Tonight’. Favorite artists include Calibre, Silence Groove, Technimatic, LSB, GLXY, Seba, Ivy Lab, Alix Perez, Mohican Sun, Satl, Malaky, Monrroe and Lenzman.

Leniz: don’t have a favourite song of all time simply because it changes every week haha. Plus there’s a lot of good music out there so to choose one of those is really hard in my opinion. If I’d have to choose I’ll probably go with Bcee – Generation (S.P.Y Remix) as my favourite dnb tune atm and Azaleh & Eikona – By Your Side as my favourite non dnb tune.

It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?

Aetherial: Yes, don’t expect to make a living out of it. Then again, if you’re in it for the money, you should probably just do something else. Even if I never made a single penny with my music, I’d still continue producing. I make music because I love doing it and to give the people who enjoy the genre of music I produce something new to listen to.

Leniz: Well financially speaking yeah. In underground or not too mainstream genres like Drum & Bass, Future Garage etc. its hard to make a living out of music.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?

Aetherial: Produce what you like, not what would sell best. I’d also say quality over quantity. Releasing 10 semi decent songs in a month won’t get you a bigger audience than 1 or 2 solid, quality tunes. Get constructive feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. Most of the time when I send my new music to friends, I just get a “Nice” or something similar which is kind, but it doesn’t help me to improve my productions. Ask them what’s bad about the tune, not what’s good about it. Also, there’s plenty of forums and Discord servers out there that have a feedback channel in which you can post your tunes for some feedback. Twitch can be a good place as well as there are some production feedback streams on there sometimes.

Don’t let negative feedback bring you down. Read it, take notes, and use it to improve.

Leniz: Produce & make what you want. Be experimental, creative, innovative. Don’t completely copy other people’s work. Try to use a unique signature sound to stand out from the rest. Also build connections as this will allow you to grow even more.

Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?

Aetherial: Of course my solo alias ‘Aetherial’ which is where all my Drum and Bass releases go. Although there are a few Future Garage tunes on there as well. I’ve also recently started working a lot with a friend of mine who goes by the name ‘Distance‘ and we’ve just finished our first EP which will hopefully come out soon. For ‘Aetherial’ there are 2 EP’s and 3 singles forthcoming so far this year.

Leniz: Currently mainly focusing on my solo project called Leniz. Which is a more drum & bass focused alias. A lot of releases will appear on that in the coming months.

And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?

Aetherial: I’m probably biased here cause they’re friends of mine but I’d definitely recommend ‘Distance’ and ‘Alexvnder

Leniz: Mojoman and Perspective Shift

Thanks so much guys!

Thank you for having us!

Embers’ (and Aetherial’s / Leniz’s) music is available here, here and here.

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