Loom in Essence‘s new album DigitAlchemy was released in January through Mycelium Music. A classical and futuristic bass journey through time and emotions. The following interview with Aaron Bjerke (Loom in Essence) covers the inspiration for this new album and his plans for 2016.
There is a classical influence to DigitAlchemy which I really enjoyed, what are all the instruments featured in the album?
Aaron :: Well, guitar is my most fluent instrument, as that’s what I went to college for, so those parts are all me. Part of the curriculum is both composing and transcribing big orchestral scores. However, the intro for ‘The Digital Alchemist’ was written in MIDI format with a generic guitar sound, just to get a feel of whether I’d like it once I could play it myself. It turned out that the some of the section was next to physically impossible to play fluidly, so, for the toughest transitions, I recorded it piece by piece, and smoothed it over in post production.
As for the rest of the instrumentation, you have a variety of strings, horns, woodwinds, and many other orchestral samples that are supplied in Ableton Live, the program I use to produce. They are live/real time recordings, done with super high quality microphones so that the sound is completely authentic. I did not play these myself. I should give a shout out to Kerri Joy Javorka for lending her wonderful voice and violin to the songs “Mellifluence” and “Acrobionic Gala.”
And then there is a lot of percussive, bell, mallet type sounds that I actually just designed on a synth from scratch.
Finally, you have the synths/software synths, most of which I design from scratch, or mangle presets until they’re something totally my own.
What was your inspiration for DigitAlchemy?
Aaron :: I would say my collective life experiences that took place during the almost 3 years it was being made. Love lost and gained, emotions of every variety, the soul searching, passion for experimentation and pushing boundaries, and discovering yourself in both a conscious and subconscious manner. And as with any album, it’s an opportunity to push your craft to it’s next level, or better, to the next stage in the evolution of your sound. Also, I think one’s art will always reflect their past experiences, even if it’s not in the front of their mind when making it. Sometimes, especially after certain impactful life events and reflecting on older tunes, I think it might even show your future in an abstract way—or at least the possibilities therein, kind of like a musical crystal ball of sorts. I mean, there’s no science to that, but it’s a fun thought, ha. “It’s ALL inspiration, maaan.” *in my best Dude voice*
When and why did you start playing/producing?
Aaron :: I started piano when I was 9, moved to guitar as my main when I was 14 and started my first band and gigs that same year. I started producing seriously about 4 years ago. I used Ableton in a Live setting for a couple years before that, but, only used it for looping and some effects for my guitar and synths.The reason is the same it’s always been, and that’s just my deep passion for music and wanting to create something truly unique. Once I discovered the endless possibilities of electronic music production, it was game over. Or game on. I should say, ha.
What does it take to be a Digital Alchemist?
Aaron :: Lots of time and experimentation—but it’s something anyone can be! Haha, also I think the idea was create an amalgamation of electronic (Digit) and organic (Alchemy) sounds, and a connection between modern electronic composition and traditional orchestral instrumentation. I mean, I guess the image of the Digital Alchemist that I see is like a mad sonic scientist conducting an orchestra of androids on synths. Or something near to that.
What event are you most looking forward to this year?
Aaron :: Infrasound Music Festival (and Infrasound Equinox). Every year. It’s put on by a few of my very good friends, who are incredibly genuine in their intentions of providing a life-changing experience while maintaining one of the most diverse, high quality production, and original line-ups in the country. The attendees are like a giant extended family and the festival is the Midwest (and extended) reunion.
Is there anything else you’d like to discuss before ending the interview?
Aaron :: Oh yeah, I’ve got an upcoming Western US tour in April to support the DigitAlchemy album. It’s still getting filled out and confirmed, but so far I’ll be Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Ashland, and Tahoe. And for the Minneapolis kin, I’ll be support for Thriftworks when he’s through on 2/25. I’ve got to give shouts out to Mycelium Music for hosting the album on their label (100% of the proceeds are going to Conscious Impact, a non-profit rebuilding schools and infrastructure in Nepal), the Stilldream crew (looking forward to coming back!), Dennis Bunton (aka Ion Driver) for the excellent mastering done on the album, Wormhole Music, and of course you and the lovely people at Igloo Magazine for hosting the interview! Much love!
DigitAlchemy is available on Mycelium Music.