Insight Interview: Uncertain Voices

In wake of their first official label release, New York based ambient producer Uncertain Voices shares a few words with us regarding their background, musical culture and latest EP release ‘What’s Gone is Gone’.

Please tell us about yourself in a few words (who you are, where you’re from, what you do etc.)

My name is Mitchell. I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I recently graduated Film school so naturally I’m between work haha. Typically work involves working on productions in my field or focusing on my primary business which involves buying and selling. I’m always saving up to fund short films and eventually a feature film. Lots of hustling going on in my life, but I’m happy to report that things are going great! I spend most of my free time writing screenplays and working on music when inspiration hits me most. Traveling seems to be perfect for that so I’ve been gearing up for a long trip next year.

What is the story behind the origin of your artist name?

Well, I feel it sorta defines existing to me. We are just constantly filled with uncertain voices on a day to day basis. This has always been a common theme in my life. It the voices that hold you back from doing something you’re afraid of, something you’re uncomfortable doing, and especially things that you could fail hard in. It’s the epitome of who I am at this point in my life; sifting through those uncertain voices.

Please describe your music for us.

I’d say it’s definitely ambient. Nobody is partying to my music that’s for sure. I like to mix it with classical elements and a bit of soundscape, drone elements that a lot of pure ambient has. So its some sort of a hybrid between the three. I really just try to tell a short story with every piece, which is why I also love to use field recordings often in my pieces as well. I try to make my music sound like a very vivid memory if that makes any sense.

Do you try to express something tangible through your music? A particular mood or feeling perhaps?

I try to put my memories into sound. Again, I like telling short stories through my music. When I’m producing I’m usually running a scene through my head, almost as if I’m scoring a film. In some cases it may be an emotion or a feeling related to a memory. The mood is almost always melancholic. The present is happy but the past isn’t. My music is about the past.

Who are your major musical influences?

Oh boy. I grew up on Hip Hop. First albums I ever remember vividly were Ready to Die, The Eminem Show, and Kingdom Come. However, Daft Punk are the artists that got me into electronic music. I was blown away and the fact that it was all made on a computer peaked my interest instantly. I could go on and on about music I love because I listen to essentially everyone and everything, but I don’t know if any of my influences actually influenced my music much, but they certainly inspire me and reaffirm my general love for music on a daily basis. In regards to ambient, neo-classical ish music I’d say artists like Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter, Hammock and others influence a bit of my sound today. I think my love for film brought me over to ambient.

How long have you been producing, can you describe the moment when you first realised you wanted to make music?

About 10 years. I remember watching clips of Daft Punk’s first Alive show and was just amazed. It was incredible and I wanted to be them, but I was still very young so it hadn’t been fully realized yet because I didn’t have a computer. I started to mess around with DJ’ing at around 13 and would constantly practice sets on a daily basis. I do remember the moment I downloaded Logic Pro and moved from DJ’ing to producing and that was after watching Swedish House Mafia’s in the studio of their track “One”.

I had then began dabbling with producing for a long time. I must have made music in about 15 different genres before I arrived here. I was constantly looking for my sound, imitating, practicing, practicing and practicing haha. It took me awhile to find myself and I always had trouble with trying to be one of the artists I loved or an artist who was hot at the time instead of just doing what I wanted, but it makes sense when you have zero confidence in a field. It’s easier to just sound like someone successful. I think my insane love for music made it difficult as well because I wanted to make everything, and I still do today, but I realized over the course of 10 years that it was impossible. Eventually I narrowed it down to what I produce today. It fit well with my love for film and dream to score films.

Tell us a little about your current studio setup (equipment, software etc..)

It as basic as it gets. MacBook Pro. Some KRK’s and HD-25’s for mixing. Everything is software based. I have ALOT of Kontakt Library’s. Ólafur’s libraries, every single Albion, Felt Piano, Kinetic Toys, and a long list of Spitfire libraries. I use Omnisphere often as well. Sometimes I’ll bring in Arturias’s CS-80, Juno, Prophet and other synthesizers. That’s essentially it. Nearly all of my sounds come from the never ending collection of Kontakt libraries I’ve amounted over the last 5 years.

Your forthcoming EP ‘What’s Gone is Gone’ is your first official EP release with a label.
Tell us a little about the concept and emotion which is carried throughout the release.

The concept similar to a lot of my past releases which comes from my shortcomings of letting the past go. The music is almost therapy in a way. I’m laying out some emotions, regrets, memories, both good and not so good into sound. What’s Gone Is Gone is about those fleeting memories which I wish I could grasp onto longer, but in the end that just isn’t possible. It’s about letting go. Lots of melancholy, but a happier side of it would be the emotion carried throughout.

Are there any other musical projects that came before your current artist identity? If so, what triggered the change in direction?

Yes, I produced techno and progressive house. I always had ambient side projects I did for fun, but I never thought It could be a viable genre to be in, but I eventually stopped caring and stayed in ambient because I loved it most when I was working on it as oppose to any other genre.

What is your approach to starting a track, is there a routine you set for yourself?

None at all. I mess with sounds. Either I find a set of chords that evokes the emotions I’m trying to convey or I start by creating a soundscape that does that. My routine is terrible. I just try to jump in when I really feel something deeply or am inspired by something. I never try to force it. It’s all quite random at the moment for better or for worse.

How has your music evolved since you first began producing?

I still have my first productions. Its hysterical to hear my early work. Truly awful in every way haha. My mixing has gotten astronomically better. Without good mixing even the best work would sink. So its evolved into actually sounding professional. I’ve built a huge library of sounds and plugins which I believe are essential to musical evolution and experimentation. I’ve also gained a lot confidence which has amounted to creative freedom and evolution. Getting rid of the idea that music had to make me a significant amount of money for my time to be worth sacrificing allowed for me to be much more creative than I ever was.

Out of your entire body of work, is there one track that means the most to you and why?

When Only Sadness Remains. I made that track after my dog passed away this year.

As an artist, what would you say is your ultimate goal?

I hope my music can help people get through difficult times, emotions, or just calm them down after a hectic day. Maybe, I can bring back some memories or remind someone of something dear to them after they listen to a particular song.

Any particular artists you’d like to work with?

I have a never ending list. Besides the big names some of the artists that populate my ambient playlist heavy would be Alaskan Tapes, SineRider, Ann Annie, A Cerulean State and many more!!

What’s on the horizon for you musically?

I’m working on another short EP which would probably be out by February. Or possibly holding back and working toward an actual full album in the mid 2020. The perfectionist in me would make that a hard task, but I’m up for the challenge.

Best advice you were given in regards to having a music career?

Make the music you’d listen to.

Any advice you can share with those just starting out?

Practice. Seriously, I can’t stress how important it is to constantly practice. Don’t be afraid to do something different. Trust yourself. Listen to a lot of music and deep dive into Soundcloud. You should be curious as to what some of your peers and up and coming artists are making.Something more practical would be invest into high quality libraries and VST’s. The sounds and instruments you have mean the world and I’ve been amazed at how many ideas, in fact full tracks that have been made after purchasing just one new library.

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

Plenty. A few who I’ve been listening to recently are Yseulde, Magdalene Flowers, and Blue Framed Glass.

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