Music is an undeniably powerful thing. It's something I've been striving to learn how to use since childhood days when my dad's acoustic ramblings would put me to sleep in comfort. It wasn't a grand production, a full orchestra or an electronic masterpiece that made me feel safe, it was one man singing and playing from his heart. Music that is borne of emotion and inspiration is able to move us so deeply within because it all comes and goes from the same place, it must be the soul or spirit. Something we can't see.
Like most things, music has been manipulated and formatted over time to become a money-making device. Finding the perfect balance has been a continuous contest for me over the years, to make something appealing to the public that's still deep and honest. I make electronic music for the most part. I spend time trying to find beats that energize, sounds that perk the ears, bass that makes your chest swell. I ask myself how it will come across live so show goers will have a good time, make sure sounds and frequencies are sorted appropriately so that it will fit well with all the other music of the world. It's fun, I enjoy that aspect of music creation.
But at the end of the day I always have this vision of the end of the world, when everything is gone and burned away and there is no electricity. I submit my songs to the test every time, will it still affect and give if the planet goes dark?
In March of 2011, right after the songs were written and largely finished for Siberia I spent 10 days holed up in a wintery Tobermory cottage with an acoustic guitar and a cello. I recorded each of the songs using only these tools to make sure they all translated well stripped right down to the bare bones. Things came out of the lyrics and melodies I hadn't heard before. In the two years following I got to know the naked versions more and more, changed them around, learned their live dynamics, perfected them. Jet-lagged, sleepless nights spawned arrangement ideas that my (sometimes) too logical mind might not have conjured up. And finally, last summer I began laying down what had been steeping for a year and a half.
I realized it was the most time I've ever spent with material before it was permanently recorded. Siberia's acoustic counterpart began to take on a life of its own. It suddenly became ironic, Siberia (the original) was intended to grit and grind, move and quake, rise and drop. Live shows became more and more energetic, bass got heavier, drums got crunchier. That was the point of the record; new sounds, new turf. Siberia Acoustic became so much more than just the songs stripped down. I sat down in the corner every day in the studio and sang tiredly; the intimacy of the guitar takes and vocals were intense and raw. It shook me up and moved me from the inside, it reminded me of my dad playing when I was a kid, something so simple and honest and invisibly powerful that everything around it trembles. It was why I do what I do.
It was an otherworldly experience and I'm so thankful for the alone time I had to spend on these songs. Siberia Acoustic started out as just acoustic version of Siberia but turned into an entirely separate album. I hope this is what I'll get to play at the end of the world.