Artist To Artist: Ricardo Tobar & Lord Skywave
Why have an interview with just one person when you can have two? And why not get them to face off against each other so we can present to you a slightly different interview than our standard irreverent (don't you mean irrelevant? – Ed.) lines of questioning? Well that's exactly what we've gone and done here, plus there's a full album stream to boot!
Ricardo Tobar and Lord Skywave both know a thing or two, or more, about putting together some compelling cases when it comes to aural affairs so we decided to let them grill each other about their various musical projects. So sit yourself down and read on while you stream Lord Skywave's View From Other Side LP in full right here;
Skywave: Just listening to your record, loving Red light.
Ricardo: Oh that's cool man, happy you like it.
S: Do you start with clean sounds and make them dirty, or is the dirt part of the writing process?
R: I think it's part of the process. Usually a simple noise will lead you to a whole song, no? at least for me it works like that. If we take the song 'Red Light' for example, every sound I had sounded quite lo-fi, so the song itself gravitates around this idea… at the end I think I just passed everything through tape a couple of times just to go full hiss. Is is the same for you or do you work differently? I can hear a concept behind everything you do. I can't hear that with my songs and I think that is one of the things I like the most but I'm probably completely wrong.
S: Yeah, you're right. A single sound or phrase often pulls the rest of the track along with it. That's definitely the case for 'Marceline' which was started by this delay pedal which can produce harmonies that can be shifted around by turning a knob. The rest of the stuff is just expanding on the feeling made by that sound. Working with lyrics definitely adds another dimension and grows a concept.Though sometimes I feel the concept condenses my music and one thing I admire about yours is how it breathes and takes time to develop.
R: that sense of story in my songs?
S: Yeah, I think the sense of story conveyed by lyrics is done by the longer arrangements in your tracks. With vocals I'm guilty of making tracks fit the verse/chorus structure which sometimes makes it hard to push the 3 minute mark! But one thing I love about your record is your voice!
R: it's funny that you mention that because I always try to fight that. I would like to be more direct, like these 7 minute songs that never change but never feel boring, I quite admire that. I suppose the story telling thing comes from my goa-trance past, I was really into it at a young age, maybe when I was 15 years old. I can't stand it now but I think it completely changed the way I saw music. Now I would like to explore the hypnotic side of music in fact… like that girl you showed me, "su tissue", I think that’s just perfect!
S: Yeah I'm really into the hypnotic side of music, but in a way that doesn't rely on repetition and is human. Yes Su Tissue is amazing, I first got into her because of her amazing vocal on this:
Her lyrics on that track are amazing too!
R: oh yeah I know about that one, amazing song! do you really like my vocals?!
S: yeah I love your vocals, they've got an almost new-wave edge to them. With my vocals sometimes I think I try too hard but the singers I like best are like su where its an extension of something else
R: do you mean you're always trying to not to keep it simple?
S: I guess sometimes in using your voice as an instrument you forget that it also sounds great just bring effortless and that its important to sit on a track as well as jumping up and down. Ha ha that makes no sense!
R: Haha! I guess that's an honest answer anyway! I was wondering, by the way, do you take your music quite seriously? I feel that your music is quite deep and intense, so I was thinking whether the art side of it is important to you, or not at all?
S: I think I'd like to make music that's light and carefree… but it usually ends up getting a lot more tangled! I've had an intense last couple of years of life so perhaps it's just seeping through.
R: what do you mean by intense? if that's alright to ask…
S: Deaths in the family, love won and lost, moving around, just normal life stuff! I like to think of music as an escape but I guess its inevitable that things bleed into each other. And it gives everything an extra bit of story.
R: I totally relate to your answer there, but I always feel that changes in life affect my music in a terrible way, so they make me actually stop making it. I find it admirable when artists compose at these bad periods in their life because I can't do it.
S: I've noticed your track titles are quite visual… Do you have images in your mind when you make them?
R: I get transported quite easily with music, I see landscapes, words, colours… I think colours are the most frequent vision I have with music. But with titles I put a lot of thought in them as my music is mainly instrumental. I try to give an idea of the song by their title. Sometimes they are a bit too much though, I tend to exaggerate!
S: Ha ha yeah, lyrics and titles sometimes feel clumsy to me when I write them… I like to let them just appear without thinking too much. Hard though! The colours is cool, thats what all my videos are about. I like the idea of videos being something you can just zone out on while the music plays.
R: yes, I can see that colours are quite important for you, or at least they are present in your work quite a lot. Love the purple on the cover you did for the album
S: Thanks yeah, my Dad built lots of colour changing lights that can respond to sound that I use for all my visuals. I like that its all just light mixing rather than computer tricks, similar to using analog sounds.
R: wow, that's great! but they look so well defined one would think its digital. so you’re doing light painting. I guess you express yourself not only musically then?
S: Haha yeah maybe. It's just collages of old slides filmed with my digital camera… I think people have already forgotten how great analog visual film looks. I've definitely gotten into making video since Youtube had come along and now it really helps me think about the identity of a track.