Back in March, we launched our new and exciting collaboration with the world-class creative institute, Catalyst Berlin (formerly dBs Berlin).
Aimed at connecting, inspiring and invigorating students from two of Europe’s most musical cities, Interface connected students from each of our schools to remotely work together on a project of their choice.
Two weeks ago, we announced the winners of the music industry project, Interface 2020. Despite fierce competition, Mihnea and Alix were selected as the winners, with their remarkable cinematic soundscape, Metamorphosis.
We had a chance to catch up with the winners to speak about their involvement with Interface, how they created their winning piece, and how they have evolved as producers and musicians through this process.
Thanks for chatting to us guys. Back in March you were both picked to take part in the music industry project, Interface. Can you tell us a bit more about the collaboration and your involvement in it?
Alix (as Parallel Processing): Definitely. It was a very quiet time for me, I had no work because of the pandemic, and all of my classes were online. So when Catalyst (previously dBs Berlin) announced the Interface Project I thought it would be a great opportunity. My production style is quite different from Mihnea, and it took a little while for us to find our rhythm, but once we did, we progressed much faster than either of us expected.
Mihnea (as Deckster): The project was great! I had my fair share of student exchange programmes back in high school in Romania, but it was all academic. Interface was the first project that allowed me to collaborate with somebody from another school creatively. Alix is great at making dark, raw, visceral, atmospheric, sometimes rhythmless stuff, while I make pretty techy, deep, minimal, very rhythm-oriented drum and bass, dubstep and rap-type beats. I always push myself to seek discomfort and this collaboration forced me out of my comfort zone, and I loved it. We took the best parts of each other’s style and managed to create something we’re very proud of.
That’s great to hear. Your final piece, a cinematic soundscape titled ‘Metamorphosis’ was chosen as the winner of Interface 2020. So firstly, congratulations! Can you tell us a bit more about your piece and how you came up with the idea?
A: Thank you! Originally, I wanted to create some kind of art installation, like a sonic cinéma. The idea came from going to see audio/visual shows at MONOM, the 4D sound system located next to my school in Berlin. We decided to produce a 6 track EP that, put together with visuals, could be displayed anywhere. The name Metamorphosis came quite spontaneously; Mihnea suggested it one day and it worked so well with what we were creating. It also tied in really nicely with this project, as we were both out of our comfort zones and metamorphosing as artists and producers.
M: Thank you! Building on what Alix said, our installation represents a dark perspective of the circle of life, from the beginning of mature life, to the uncertainty of death. Through this project, we tried to showcase both our skill and knowledge of sound design as music producers, but also show our creativity and our ability to express ourselves as artists.
That’s really cool. Since lockdown we have seen a shift from in person events in the music industry to virtual experiences. As performers, how did you prepare for a virtual performance?
M: It was quite tricky, especially considering we realised quite late in the project that we had to perform. I’m lucky enough to be friends with some talented people I used to collaborate with back when I’d put on events in Romania, and they were happy to help us with the visuals, VJ, and anything else we needed. We made the visuals together in about 3 days, then we put the tracks together, shortened them to fit in the 15 minutes time frame for the performance, and the rest is history.
Impressive! Just before you go, tell us, how has the project helped develop your skills as performers and producers?
A: Both of us are DJs, so this type of virtual performance was different to what we’re used to. That being said, this project forced us out of our comfort zones and opened us up to new perspectives, which has been great.
As producers we found working together inspiring. Our main mode of operation was for one of us to start working on a track, then send it to the other for them to add to it. I personally learnt a lot by looking at Mihnea’s work and thinking about ideas of how to achieve a certain type of sound, or improving the mix.
M: I learned a lot from Alix, and because of this remote project I’ve improved my ability to work under pressure, while still allowing room for improvisation and fun. I also learned a lot about collaborating, since I hadn’t really done anything like this before.