Aleksander Kostopoulos 2

Aleksander Kostopoulos

Aleksander Kostopoulos is an audiovisual artist, drummer and composer from Bodø, Norway. After collaborating with prominent Norwegian artists such as Mari Boine, Adjagas and Marthe Valle, he has established a distinctive style that blends his drumming expertise with electronic music and visual art. Later this month, Aleksander brings his influences to an upcoming, sophisticated EP on Beatservice Records

Aleksander Kostopoulos - Interview

Hey Aleksander, welcome to Minimal Mag. What have you been up to recently?

Hi! Thanks for having me. The first months of 2024 have been particularly busy on the music front, both live and in the studio. I’m currently working on my fourth album, which will be released at the end of this year on Beatservice Records. Additionally, I’m composing music for a silent film, and I’ve been touring schools with my audiovisual project “Oftania.” This project was designed by light designer Torbjørn Thrane Sandnes and features a cube in the middle of the room.

See the cube in action HERE!

In addition to my own music, I’ve been playing drums on a few projects with guitarist Hedvig Mollestad, The Jazz Ensemble of Northern Norway (featuring ambient trumpet player Arve Henriksen) and with Norwegian folk music fiddler Julie Alapnes.

We’d love to know more about your upcoming EP, ‘BaNi’, which drops in April on Beatservice Records.

This EP marks a new beginning and approach to making music for me. Instead of immediately judging my early ideas as either good or bad, I’m striving to simply listen to them and follow what feels natural and right for me. This shift has opened up a whole new world where my music flows much more easily, enabling me to finish songs and let them take on a life of their own without me being overly critical.

The first single, “SteinGu,” was originally composed as a score without vocals for a dance performance titled “Begrenset,” which is the Norwegian word for “limited”. The performance premiered in February of this year, and I collaborated on the composition with fiddler Inkeri Laitinen. I felt that the theme and approach of this composition would be a fitting basis for creating a new EP.

How has your background as a drummer, composer and audiovisual artist weaved its way into electronic music?

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a versatile session drummer, able to play in a myriad of bands and projects. This led me to pursue music studies at a conservatory, where I dedicated myself to this craft. For 7-8 years, I took a deep dive into the world of professional drumming, playing gigs across various genres. Through this journey, unexpected things started to happen. Through my interactions with fellow musicians and artists, I discovered my passion for cinematic music, particularly in the electronic realm. I was drawn to artists who blended cinematic elements with electronic sounds, transitioning between composing for films, performing installation concerts, and filling dancefloors at clubs. I listened a lot to artists like Jon Hopkins, Bonobo, Ólafur Arnalds, Four Tet, Sigur Rós, and Max Cooper. I guess this all led to my trying to carve out my own niche where I could combine playing drums and percussion with cinematic electronic music and visuals.

As well as releasing quality music on your own, you’re also a member of the Sami-pop trio ISÁK; what’s it like to collaborate with other musicians compared to releasing solo projects

Together with producer James Daniel Njie Eriksen and singer Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen, we formed ISÁK back in 2017, releasing two studio albums, one EP and one live album from the Norwegian Opera. Our collaboration came to a close with our final concert in September 2023. Working alongside Daniel and Ella was an incredibly enriching experience for me. Together, we shared numerous memorable moments, both as friends and as musicians.

It was with ISÁK that I first challenged myself to learn how to record my drums and produce my own sound in my personal studio. I had complete freedom and support from the band to create and produce my own drums and percussion parts. Afterwards, I would send these parts to Daniel, our producer. He then integrated them with the rest of the music that he and Ella were working on. Now, as a solo artist, I find myself taking on all aspects of the music-making process, from composing and production to recording. While working alone may sometimes feel solitary, I appreciate the opportunity to explore both aspects of the creative process.

‘BaNi’ certainly draws from your work as an audiovisual composer. What are you able to achieve sonically by combining synthesisers and orchestral instruments?

I’ve always been drawn to the way combining synths with orchestral instruments provides me with the tools to blend new digital sounds with the organic feel I aim for in my compositions. Synths offer endless possibilities for electronic textures, and when layered with orchestral elements, they add a sense of warmth and depth to the music. It’s a sound that captivates me and draws me into the song. This approach is mirrored in how I handle drum compositions. I typically start by layering my drumset with programmed beats, and then I spend hours recording additional percussion on top of that. It’s not uncommon for me to end up with 50-100 tracks of layered drums.

Away from your work as a musician and artist, do you have any personal passion, hobbies, pursuits?

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the world of “Creative Coding” and was amazed by the incredible creations in generative art. Since then, I’ve delved deep into learning to code, dedicating as much time as possible creating small apps, artwork, and websites. On top of that, I’m also a huge Real Madrid fan.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year in and outside of music?

I find that spending time with my family, composing music, and performing shows sums it up quite nicely. Im looking forward to the release of both my EP and album this year, and I can’t wait to savour some coffee outdoors in the sun this summer.

Aleksander Kostopoulos - Links

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