Following on from 2021’s critically acclaimed EGO DEATH, ALEPH is back with another masterclass in the shape of his sophomore album SEPULCHRE. When We Dip catch up with the Minneapolis-based producer for a little talk.
WWD: Hi ALEPH, thanks for having this ‘Little Talk’ with us. Where are you joining us from right now and how has your week been so far?
Hey! Thanks for having me, very glad to chat! I am currently having a coffee in my studio relaxing after a festival set this past weekend.
WWD: We’ve been listening to your new album SEPULCHRE a lot. The soundscapes you create are huge. How do you manage to create such a big sound, whilst creating definition in the smallest of details?
Depth and motion are very important facets of my work, and juxtaposing that with the infinitesimal is a way I try to make my computer sounds have dimension. Giving each element both space in what frequencies they occupy as well how they sit in either the left or right stereo field gives one so much opportunity to expand and explore. It is like being a painter working on two canvases at once.
WWD: When you write new music, how would you describe your process and has it been different for SEPULCHRE in comparison to your earlier work?
Early on, my process was very destructive, trying to force sounds to behave how I wanted. With ‘SEPULCHRE’, I became less concerned with that and instead sought to let the elements behave how they wanted to and began to build around them with sounds I felt were complementary. My current process has continued off that a bit more, exploring groove and simplicity and allowing things the time they need to find their place in a track, finding depth and beauty in their natural states.
WWD: There are plenty diverse sounds and a range of influences on SEPULCHRE. Which musical artists and genres that inspired you on this album?
With SEPULCHRE, since it wasn’t written like a concept album, but rather pieced together from a long timeline of fragmented ideas, It became apparent that applying more dance-centered (i.e. loop based) arrangements and structures could be a good way to recontextualize the stranger aspects of the project. I wanted to write music that was more free-form like Floating Points or Burial, as their work finds such a beautiful balance between exploration and the razor sharp focus found in dance music.
What music helped shape your tastes when you were growing up?
I found Drum and Bass at a pretty young age online and fell in love, artists like Noisia, Pendulum, and Bad Company really amazed me, it was like nothing I had ever heard growing up in the rural United States. It sent me down a rabbit hole into early dubstep stuff, Skream and Benga were heavily listened to, and then I found Burial and the rest was sort of history (haha)!. I was also a bit of a metal head back then too though 🙂
WWD: Where do you prefer to hear your favourite music? In a club or on a really good home sound system… or somewhere else?
Really hard to pick one answer! There’s something really special about being in a room with a bunch of other people feeling the physicality of the sound together, knowing you’re all there for the same reason. There’s also something really special about going through your favourite records at home, the ritual of using a turntable and letting the record play out can feel very intimate too. I think perhaps though the experience of listening to music on your way home late at night might be the most special, when you just feel sort of alone in the silent world, music almost serves as a kind of guidepost.
All musicians face challenges of some kind. What challenges have you faced in producing your music over the years?
It’s very easy to get so wrapped up in your work that it sort of becomes your identity. You start making unreasonable sacrifices to maintain that, which can lead to all sorts of problems as one might expect. Additionally, when you find yourself unable to create, it has a huge impact on your self-worth. I’ve been stuck in that place too many times and it can be very devastating.
WWD: What’s the last really good gig club night or event that you’ve attended?
I just got back from Driftmore Festival, where we played a DJ Set from my ‘Bastard’ project that was really fun. I love the intimate nature of playing in the woods, hearing the reflected sounds off trees. Feels absolutely magic!
WWD: Outside of music, what do you do for fun and what do you do to relax?
I read a lot and I love to hike! When winter prevents me from exploring the outside world, I’ll watch movies or play games with my friends. I enjoy cooking a lot as well. I think I’m pretty boring to be honest!
WWD: What do you have in the pipeline? Anything exciting for the end of this year and into 2024?
I will be Joining KOAN Sound for a few dates this fall for their new Album and a bunch of new music I’ve been working on that I can’t talk about yet, but I am very excited for the new year 🙂
WWD: It has been great catching up, thanks ALEPH.
Likewise! Thanks for having me!
ALEPH ’SEPULCHRE’ is out now on VISION. Buy / Stream Here.