Sunday 5 August 2018

Interview with Hakan Sunar of Spiritual Machinery

Love Music : Let’s talk a bit about your music and what is the secret behind your success ? 

Well, the thing is that pop and rock music have their limitations due to the set of rules that define the music. It's not just about the musical rules. Scales, notes, chords etc. But it's also about the fact that what you do is that you just copy something and try to add some of your own personality, or whatever to it.  

I mean, almost anything you hear can be placed in a genre. If you make a reggae track you copy reggae and try to come up with something of your own. That last part is very difficult. It doesn't get easier when you have all those favorite reggae tunes in your head. It's sort of unavoidable. 

Nine times out of ten you'll most likely end up with something like a remake or remix of all that reggae stuff stored in your memory. 

So what I'm trying to do is to add as much of my own musical identity , or whatever, to what I do.

Love Music : Can you please tell our readers about your latest released project? 

"As The World Goes Around" - That was a very difficult track. It started out as a simple synthpop track. But somehow the chorus didn't fit the arrangement. It has a bit of a 60's beat music feel to it. So I'd to rework the orchestration for the chorus part. But that didn't solve the problem. It just reversed it. This time the verse parts didn't fit to the chorus. 

I lost count on how many changes I did on this track. The final version is a hybrid of beat music, eurovision, synthpop and whatever else that's in there. Unfortunately I missed out some pitch issues after the track was released. But despite that I think it's a very catchy and uplifting tune. 

Love Music : Any new project do you have coming up ?

Yea, I'm currently working on a song we recorded a few months back. Struggling actually. Because there are some technical issues I haven't solved yet. However I released a short teaser for fans and followers on the Spiritual Machinery Facebook fan page. 

It's a mid-tempo electro-reggae-ish soulful tune called "Hold On". 

There are also plans for a video for a previous release.

Love Music : Please tell us more about your first synthesizer (a KORG Polysix) ?

I and some classmates used to jam in a music studio. They had a small control room with an 8-track tapemachine, a 12-channel mixer console, some audio processing gear and two synthesizers. A, at that time, new digital synthesizer Yamaha DX 7 and an older analog synth KORG Polysix.

Everybody was drooling over the DX 7. Because you could play acoustic instrument sounds on it. Like piano, saxophone, cello et cetera.  

I didn't quite understood the point of playing saxophone on anything but a real saxophone. To me a synthesizer should sound like a synthesizer and not like an imitation of a cowbell.  

So, I was way more interested in the OTHER SYNTH.

The KORG Polysix is actually a quite simple analog synth. It has only one oscilator. But the sound is very fat and warm. It's great for strings. It has a small memory . So you can store your sounds. There's also a fun arpeggiator aboard.

Anyway, my father bought me a Polysix in a second hand shop for musicians. I think it cost around $250 or something. He also bought me a drum machine and a 4-track portastudio one or two years later. Still to this day I'm endlessly grateful for that. 

Love Music : Who are your musical inspirations? 

Oh, there are so many. When I as 6 or 7 I started out by singing along to StevIe Wonder's LP "Talking Book". Y-know, songs like "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" and "Superstitious". I also loved MGM musicals with Gene Kelly. "Singing In The Rain", "An American In Paris".

As a teenager I mostly listened to synthpop music. Like Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Jarre, Vangelis stuff like that. 

I actually enjoy all kinds of music. From Bela Bartôk and Karlheniz Stockhausen to Peggy Lee and Bowie.

Sounds are also a great source of inspiration. The funny thing is that soundS somehow dictates the way you play. Depending on the sound's pitch, velocity et cetera you're going to play a certain way.

Love Music : Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to be a professional electronic / pop musician ? 

In the post-punk era of the early 80's there was this idea that anyone could make music. You didn't have to be a brilliant instrumentalist. Sure, that was true - to some extent. Technology made it easier for non-musicians to make music. 

Today that should be even more true. Especially considering the technological development over the last few decades. 

But it's not. 

You have all these loops, samples, presets and production kits that you cna play around with. Like LEGO. You can alter a great drum loop and play a vocal sample on top of it. Naturally the pre-made stuff will sound great. But, apart from that won't really be your own music, it's actually very hard to make a good production out of that. 

A good song or production isn't something you just sneeze out of your nose. It'll still boil down to the fact that you need some level of knowledge and, hopefully, some talent. 

And so, my advice would be to bite in the soar apple and do the homework. 

Love Music : Have you set some goals to achieve ?

Yes, to clean up and organize my audio library. It seems like it's never going to happen.

Love Music : If you could perform anywhere, in the world, where would it have to be? 

I don't really know. Maybe the Meistersal at Hansa studios in Berlin. It's the famous studio next to the, former, Berlin wall where David Bowie recorded his Berlin trilogy albums. He recorded the vocals for "Heroes" in that location [Meistersal aka Studio 2]. Since then a string of well know artists have been recording there. Depeche Mode, U2, R.E.M and so on. The Meistersal is a very big room with absolutely fantastic acoustics. I saw a video a couple years ago when Daniel Miller, the head of Mute records, performed there together with producer Gareth Jones. It was great. I would love to perform there. It won't be a to big audience. So I won't get nervous and play a bum note [laugh].

Love Music : Please share with us your proudest moments ?

Oh, there are so many. I contributed with some music for a commercial for the city's enterprises. There was a reception. Everybody was there. The mayor, all the politicians, business people, local media and so on. We got standing ovations for like 10 minutes or so. That was pretty cool. 

I remember a gig on a club when suddenly somebody in the audience threw something on me that landed on the keyboard. I was thinking "f**k they hate us !" Then I realized it was a girl who had thrown her bra. O.K - that's maybe not a "proud" moment. But it was pretty flattering. I mean, I was just 22 or something and any expression of appreciation from any girl would have been counted as a success. At that time. Well, O.K I admit - I guess I'm still vulnerable to that [laugh]

Love Music : Are you active on social media? 

Yes, you sort of have to these days. There's this Facebook Fanpage and I'm also on Twitter. I guess I should sign up for Instagram, Google+, Snapchat etc. I'm not so familiar with all the social media. I'll have to ask my daughter. She's a dedicated expert.


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