Alexander Church is an artist who has quietly been forging a following for his unique electronic sound over the past few years. We caught up with him to discuss his latest release and more.
Alexander Church - Interview
Hey Alexander, welcome to Minimal Mag! How is everything with you? Where are you joining us from today?
Hi, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you. All is good with me; I am currently in the lake district enjoying some time walking in nice surroundings.
You’re an established artist with a diverse musical palette. Who would you say has influenced your sound most over the years?
My very early influences were from electronic producers such as Laurent Ho and Daniel Tecoult from Paris. In the days of no mobile phones and email, I used to walk to the phone box and call vinyl distributors in Paris who would mail me the new releases from these artists. I was as much influenced by the artwork on the releases as the music and I often found myself wondering what influenced them when they were producing etc. I was also fortunate to own my own vinyl shop from 1997 onwards and each week new electronic releases would arrive, and I loved it. I was able to appreciate so many different styles and sounds and it was such an amazing time.
Congratulations on the upcoming ‘Blackheart’ series release, it’s a beautiful journey through techno, ambient & electronic realms. What inspiration did you draw on for the record?
I always aim to have the melodies and music as prominent as possible within my releases under Alexander Church and this principle remained with the Blackheart series. I often struggle with the balance with this approach and recently I have been reflecting on the push and pull between melodies and drums and how I often see the drums as an afterthought to the musical elements. I suppose reflecting my perfect solution and inspiration to this issue is to develop the melodies and music and collaborate with other artists who approach drums differently to me. Vincenzo is a perfect example of the kind of producer I can connect with, and our styles are a great match in my opinion.
What pieces of studio kit were important during the production process?
The main musical content on the first x 2 black heart releases were from the new Oberheim OB-X8 synth. It sounds amazing and I was really inspired by the depth and textures coming from it. We are currently working on x 2 new Blackheart releases and for these I have been using the Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream which I also love. It is hard to pick a favourite synth however the Deckard’s Dream is certainly up there. Erica synths and Black Corporation are great companies doing great things.
The record has a truly cinematic feel, have you ever done any film scoring, or if not, would you?
I have never actively looked at doing any film scoring, however I am currently in the process of writing lots of beatless tracks that will have field recordings in taken from interesting places I have visited. I feel a little conflicted currently about my style and where I am musically. I seem to have this fierce loyalty to creating music within the electronic space and I want to break free from that a little and experiment with just melodies and pads. I never approach music with an end goal in place and will just see what happens in relation to film scoring.
On the EP you link up with Vincenzo, how did you work together on this release?
The process with me and Vincenzo is quite simple. I create the melodic elements / pads / bottom end and give them a basic map out with a kick over the top. I then send them over to Vincenzo and he adds his elements, and we go from there. I have recently had some crazy ideas come out of my Buchla synth which is very harsh and noisy (not melodic at all). I have sent him some ideas from this, and we are going to create something a little different (not under the Blackheart series though). It was quite funny as I have this opposite style to the beautiful melodies of quite noisy and industrial sounds and Vincenzo got a headache from some of it.
What are some of the challenges you face as a producer?
Producing for me is having fun and I treat is a hobby. I love the process and it gives me a lot of happiness to meet other producers and connect with them to create music and talk about synths and techniques etc. I do not push myself on social media or the label if I am honest. I come from an era where the music matters and I try to create tracks with good musical content that people who like that kind of thing will appreciate. One of the main challenges I have is making tracks that are too complicated and putting too much in them.
Thanks for joining us today, Alexander! Lastly, what are your plans for summer?
Over the summer I will be spending time with my family and going out to take lots of photography. Music wise I will be working on my beatless tracks and finishing off the collaborations with Vincenzo and starting some collaborations with James Welsh and Chris Scott.
Alexander Church and Vincenzo’s ‘Blackheart Part 2’ is out now on Configurations of Self.
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