Double Helix interview
I spoke to Austria’s Double Helix about his sound as his weighty new release ‘Microgravity/Leviathan’ drops on Deep Field Audio.
DB: I feel that you approach the work with a high degree of visualisation, that you ‘see’ how the tune should be. It’s not just a simple, linear tune. But you tell me: how do you approach writing your stuff?
DH: For me, most of the time making a tune is quite a journey. I start with an idea and in the process of evolving the sounds and the structure of the tune everything can happen. It´s always a mixture of my ideas and the interaction with my gear, because a lot of good sound you meet on your way are simply created by coincidence. So it´s like dancing with the chaos and then collecting all the good pieces and putting them in the right places.
That´s the beauty of music, it´s so transient.
DB: ‘Double Helix’ is a cool name.
DH: Thanks! I found the concept of that structure and its purpose very fascinating and mystical. It´s in a way how I see myself creating sound.
DB: In regard to creating sound, do you subscribe to the notion of ‘sound design’? How do you define this term, yourself?
DH: Sound Design and producing D&B is hard, even impossible to split. I mean everything you do, every sound you work on should fit in that ‘room’ you’re creating. So you have to fit it in the stereo field and in the room, like if it is far away or in your face or something between, and you have to cut it in the frequency spectrum so that every sound has its own space to be. And then all the sounds should work with each other so that all together becomes more than just details. I think that´s the art of it. In a way, it´s like architecture. And when you’ve done your job right, you’ve created a world.
So I think sound design for me means controlling all the layers in the sound and thus the sound itself
DB: Speaking of architecture, if your music was a city, what would we see if we walked in there?
DH: It would be a combination of futuristic design and organic forms, and a lot of plants and trees. It would be very highly defined and mysterious. Speaking of my recent release, it must have a dark touch, no doubt, but not really evil, more like epic. Like the feeling before a storm, when you can sense something really big is coming. All that free energy is waving around you, telling you to be ready. Elemental force would maybe be a good word for it. I think the bass in general has something very powerful and elemental, it’s awesome.
DB: How do you physically work on your music?
DH: Most of my work is happening in the box. I don´t have a real hardware synth (or the money to buy one). Most of the time I work with a good level of volume, so that I can feel the music. D&B is a very physical music in the end. I like that combination of ‘intelligent’ information and the way you can feel the music in the club.
But when it comes to the mixdown I change the volume a lot to hear it working with different levels. I also change my position in the studio, to get different perspectives.
A little ‘trick’ I do sometimes is turning my speakers down and my subwoofer up so that you get this sound like you’re walking into a club, like you are in the hallway that is leading to the dancefloor, to really hear what kind of groove is going on in the bass region. I think it´s really important that the movement and the harmonics in this region fit together nicely, so that the tune works fine when you play it loud.
I got two adam P22-A which I really love! I use my Headphones to correct details you can´t really hear on speakers, but I cannot really produce with them because it´s just too exhausting for my ears.
DB: Where you live must be a great tonic when you want an escape.
DH: I life in the south of Austria in a little town calles Maria Saal. From my place it´s like a one and a half hour ride to Ljubljana, three hours and you’re in Venice, or same time in the opposite direction and you’re in Vienna. It´s always nice to get a change of air.
‘Leviathan/Microgravity’ out on Deep Field Audio on June 24th via Juno, Digital Tunes, iTunes or Amazon.