It is early 2015 and we ask Martin Staaf ten questions...
1/ We’re Spring 2015, what are you working on now ?
I'm working on a new full length album and a new series of EPs.
2/ Can you tell us a bit about them ?
Since I got done with the Anomaly series, I've been writing an insane amount of new tunes and now my team is in the process of singling out the best ones.
I've been focused on alternative styles of music for a while, and now I'm aiming to do some releases with more energetic dance music. However, I'm much more interested in writing actual songs than experimenting with sounds nowadays. The new tunes will feature more vocals and melodic elements than my previous releases on Rottun etc.
3/ You’ve been working on a film score - what skills have you had to employ or sharpen to deliver here ?
I've been working on a couple of smaller short films. I would love to get more involved in scoring. It's something that comes easy for me, and I really enjoy building a soundtrack for visual scenarios. I get to enhance a story with my music. I've gone back to my classical roots for this and incorporated a lot of orchestral arrangements mixed with my signature weird soundscapes.
4/ What simple set up would you suggest for a beginner looking to learn the basics of production and make some tunes ?
Nowadays, all that's needed is a laptop with a DAW and some plugs. I think it's wise to start with a very basic setup and learn it well, as opposed to buying excessive gear. There will be a somewhat steep learning curve in the beginning, so patience and discipline are virtues here. Don't get too wrapped up in technology. After all, inspiration comes from within.
5/ What is music to you ?
Music is an emotional catalyst that breaks down racial, cultural, and intellectual barriers. Music is how we humans decorate time.
6/ Do you have a current favourite synth ?
I have a lot of gear (too much) and it's hard to single out any particular favorite. I'd say that I've become more interested in the human voice as an instrument, and with that, I've been using a lot of cool plug ins such as bitspeak, and vocaloid. I've also put my hardware vocoders to good use.
7/ Do you get a sense when you write that you’re a musical channel ? i.e. does the idea emerge and take shape, or do you pre-plan most of it, or somewhere in between ?
I don't plan much at all because I've found that my pea brains gets in the way of free expression.
Music is not a mental concept for me apart from learning how to operate the gear. It's more about letting the mind go blank and allowing my emotions be the guide.
8/ What gives you a burst of inspiration ?
Usually it comes from doing something else than music - nature has a profound creative influence on me, as well as traveling and and experiencing different cultures.
9/ What was your favourite location to perform this last year ?
Shambhala Music Festival probably took the cake in 2014 along with Paradiso Festival, but there was so many good shows that it's hard to choose.
10/ What country in the world would you most like to visit and why ?
I've been to a LOT of countries...would be cool to get back to South Africa.