QA : EX CONTINENT

QA_ArnauQA_EX

 

1. Who are you?

My name is Arnau and I was born in Manresa, Barcelona on 11-11-1978.

2. What do you do?

I am an art and music maker and promoter.

3. Where do you often create/produce? 4. When?

Mainly home but I always carry something with me so I can write down or sketch ideas. Also nowadays I snatch ideas of all kinds with my cell phone so I guess anywhere, anytime.

5. Why do you play music?

I suffer of pretty heavy ADHD and focus best with creative activities. Music has always been a therapeutic tool. At times when I have been very upset it felt like a shelter. I feel like after all these years I have become more of an “organizer” of sounds, images and ideas rather than a performer but I highly enjoy playing live and that is when I can test my works.

6. When did you start making music?

As a kid I used to go to this summer camp in the pyrenees and they made us sing in a choir every day. On the last day we would perform a Live concert for our families. The songs were mostly classical, religious, folk… I hated it at the time but in retrospect it was nice because singing would become organically interconnected with being surrounded by nature and doing activities around both elements. I was oblivious to that but I feel that creatively it was very stimulating. When I was 12 I tried to learn electric guitar but I was too impatient so I gave up quickly. At age 14 I had the chance to use a friend’s drum set, it felt very natural and learned quick so some friends and I started a punk band. We played some covers but we also made and performed some songs, so I guess that was the “real” start. Punk rock was very effective for us at that age because it took a lot of pressure away, in the sense that we didn’t need to learn standard musical training. So it feels like that in a way affected everything that I have done ever since.

7. Which track defines you the most?

A few weeks ago I was telling a close friend of mine that I want to hear Karma Chameleon by Boy George when I die and while I am ascending into heaven.

8. How would you describe your own music?

Dislocated. It’s not one cohesive thing, it’s many things that come from the same place.

9. Any track of the moment?

10.What influences your work?

I am happy when I can manage for the work to just “be” on its own rather than trying to push a particular aesthetic or narrative. I like to think that ideas are out there and I am just selecting them therefore they are not actually mine and essentially universal. The “right” elements come out only after the ideas present themselves. I pick and organize all of these elements in a way that to me “makes sense” and feels somewhat captivating, informative or emotionally moving. There is always this struggle between working intuitively vs planning everything.

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?

I am an autodidact for the most part. I did go to an Art School briefly (1996/97) and I dropped out. I enjoyed it mostly but I think it was the more technical aspect of it that intimidated me, things like geometry for example. I smoked a lot of hash then and I had very little patience. One teacher said to me that I was not meant to be an artist. A few years after I was setting up shows for bands in my hometown and my favorite thing was doing all the flyers and stuff so I decided to join a school to learn a bit of graphic design (2001/2004). I wanted the knowledge but was unconvinced about making that into my career. So I didn’t finish it either. One teacher said I was not meant to be a designer and I should go to art school. I thought that was quite funny.

Years later I went and got one of those “express” Sound Engineering degrees cause I felt like I needed some technical background and honestly it helped a lot. I enjoy taking short workshops and seminars when I can because they help focus on particular things I want to learn but without the academic weight and needing much less time.

12.Favorite designer?

With all honesty in the sense of strictly aesthetics the strongest influences I had during my youth still remain the same. Things like Russian Constructivism, Suprematism and everything that sparked from that. Lately I have been connecting a lot with the works of Joan Brossa after attending a retrospective of his but I think it’s a very cultural / political connection. There is a lot that I like and very diverse.

13.Favorite book?

I recently finished “Rebel Music. Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture” by Hisham D. Aidi and I am currently reading Hyperobjects by Timothy Morton. It’s impossible for me to name favorites of anything to be honest.

14.Favorite classic movie?

Immediately coming to mind: Papillon, Dune, Stalker, Le Orme, Sans Soleil, Mulholland Drive, Woman in the Dunes, Sayat Nova,  Blade Runner, THX 1138, Solaris, Mean Streets, Hotaku no Haka, 3 women,

15.Favorite music label?

I have been very much into self-released stuff lately.

16.Your dream collaboration?

For years I was obsessed with collaborating with David Lynch.

17. Are you analog or digital?

Tools are just tools. They don’t always work but you can always make them work. Different tools work for different projects. That’s how I feel about it.

18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?

Currently for Ex Continent I use a sampler, desktop and software synths (iPad), sequencers — video software. I really enjoy playing live so the key is to find a set up that has as little elements as possible but that I can enjoy replicating live. My sets are not really improvised but I do like to have elements that are open to live modifications depending on the environment. Also I like to not synchronize machines.

19.Describe your creative process?

When I make music it’s generally as I am thinking of a live set. I usually make it simultaneous to a 1 hour-long video piece. My live sets are usually composed of a group of short pieces which elements are constantly changed. At some point when it feels right I record all of these pieces. Most of them are never released and are archived. Some of them make it into an album or release. New ones are developed as I make the album and that generally is incorporated into my live set. It’s a cycle. The moment of releasing an album usually represents the end of a cycle and the start of a new one. But a release doesn’t happen unless a very clear idea reveals itself . Then I know it’s time to push the organising process to put it all together. Sometimes the idea is there since the very beginning. It’s generally a slow and natural process. I can’t rush it — which is not very practical considering the amount of work and the short attention span out there. To be honest I am growing more and more weary of releasing stuff. I feel like I used to release too much stuff so currently I am trying to find a balance. And it has become hard for me to work on isolated “tracks”, because my music has turned basically narrative. Same thing with mixes or anything else I make that is destined to be exposed.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

Whenever I can really focus and have the energy to be insisting. I don’t really believe in inspiration I have to work hard so persistence is the key for me.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)

Yes, in Barcelona Wah Wah, Lostracks and Discos Paradiso. I don’t do a lot of record shopping so whenever I do is usually in Barcelona or directly from labels. I try to support labels and artists I like directly.

22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic) 23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?

I intend to accept whatever happens and not to judge wether it’s good or bad too much. I do not always succeed of course. Psychologically I can fall into repetitive patterns here and there but meditation has been a very helpful tool for me since 2010. I’d be lost without it. I guess I can say I have a pretty healthy physical  lifestyle. Exercising is also crucial for my mental stability.

24.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)

I don’t. I am usually totally broke for at least 6 months every year. I haven’t had a steady job since 2010. Lots of freelance stuff of any kind, sound, graphics, etc— still not enough €€ — It’s hard to find a 9 to 5 job in Barcelona if you want to keep having a creative life and not be a slave to your job. So the only alternative is freelance work.

I worry about that a lot actually.

25. Any future plans?

Yes. The closest two are my upcoming Ex Continent album and the first volume of my books of graphic works which will come out in 2018 via the Barcelona publisher Terranova Editorial. And of course all the activities involved with anòmia which take most of my time.

26.What’s your life motto?

Try to enjoy every minute of it.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?

Same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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