Artist Feature: Liam Back
Liam Back is a German based audio visual concept artist. His British heritage made it natural for him to dive into the UK Garage/Dubstep realm, before approaching the wide world of EDM. Listen to all Liams bangers here.
"I get influenced by a lot of weirdness to be honest. Caribbean Steeldrum Vinyls. Tantra-meditation albums. warm, crisp and raw analog sounds is whats good for my ears.."
What is your story in music to date?: My first music-collage was on a one-track recording app, which came free with some cloning software, I mashed my mums favourite acapella tracks and my Dads favourite instrumental tracks together. Basically T'Pau mixed with U2 or something. It was awful, but I had fun. At the age of 16 a mate of mine handed me a copy of FL Studio and said I should make my own beats. I had it lying around for about a year or two before actually installing it. Once I did, I was hooked.
Then years later I converted to Apple and started to use Ableton. I'm still learning to this day. There's just too many new and efficient workflows, it's incredible.
Who are your influences in music? And what are you currently listening to?: I get influenced by a lot of weirdness to be honest. Caribbean Steeldrum Vinyls. Tantra-meditation albums. warm, crisp and raw analog sounds is whats good for my ears. I just bought "Andy Stott - Faith In Strangers" a couple of days ago now that's an LP i can not do without right now. It's next level cognitive shit that messes with your psyche. And I've been pretty much diggin Tom Dissevelt's tunes (acid house from the 50s) amazing to think that stuff was created back then.
How does it feel being part of the independent music scene?: I used to create and upload just for the sake of things. Getting it out of my system as quick as possible. But now i feel i have more of a responsibility when creating work and setting it online. I guess things start to change once you see the impact/reaction of the people. It's incredible how it can affect someone on the other side of the globe in an instant, regardless of a language barrier, yet feeling the same way about a piece of music. I now spend up to a couple of years on a single album, a couple of weeks on designing artwork and videos, giving the tracks its own visual feel/look. It's time consuming, but worth it in the end. I doubt I would have the same freedom if I were signed to a major label. So I can say It feels like a positive experiment.
What's been your career highlights to date?: On a personal level, my biggest highlight was to finally sit down for a week or so and organize my sound library. Honestly, i work much faster than before, cause i know exactly what Kick works and what doesn't.
I have been collecting bits and pieces, acapella's, presets, etc. for almost 15 years now. Friends of mine record their Drums, send them through or Vocalists that just send vocal chops via e-mail.
I mean I'm really grateful of any kind of sound I get, but actually organizing my own "Signature sound-kit" folder, has helped me out big time. Other than that, reaching a million plays on Spotify, has felt like a career boost, on a global level. Having loyal people support one's music, year after year is kind of a reconfirmation, not to put this to aside just yet.
What would be your dream collaboration and why? : I have a long list of dream collabs, but right now it would have to be someone like "Burial" or "Lorn". It might be daring for me, but not fascinating for others to be honest. Collaborating with Producers that cover the same type of music/sound spectrum is one thing, what challenges me the most is twisting my approach of Producing. If "Piero Umiliani" was still alive, id love to work with him, he’d bring the Film-score vibe and id try and make it head nodding and footwork worthy.
What's the story behind your releases to date?: There's something like 10 Album releases in total I think. Five of them are officially on iTunes, the rest are somewhere on a forum.. or on a storage host, I'm not sure. I'm basically a conspiracy nut, so when involved with a subject, I chew at it till I cant take it anymore. I then find myself slipping subliminal messages into my tracks here and there.. just to see how far i can go with this. I'm not a fan of pointing a finger at a subject, but a little awareness nowadays is vital. So I try and keep that consistent throughout my Album themes.
It's only until I've actually finalized and released an album online that I cut all emotional cords.
Weeks later, I then begin to see it living its own life.
What do you get the most out of? Studio or Live performance?: I really want to say live because I do like the reaction when dropping an unreleased track for the first time. However I get the most out of a creation-process and sadly I find I only get this when completely alone..
That's like the first 5-10 mins of making a Track, after that, it's just tweaking buttons. It kind of dies, when sitting for hours trying to mix and master. When collaborating, I tend to absorb too much of the other person's vibe, which can be good in some ways but distracts me from doing me.
As Philip Jacobs would say "I take personal space very seriously".
What would you be doing for a career if music hadn't come a knocking?: I Think i'd probably be a 3D Graphic designer of some sort. That's something I've been wanting to do for ages. The music just keeps calling me. So much to do, so much to mix, so much to release.. so i'll have to put my dreams of taking 3D Courses to a side, for now.
What's next for you? Future plans?:
Theres a lot on my Bucket list at the moment, but this years plan is to start producing Film Scores.
Also my first attempt to an Indie Ep/Album had to be postponed to end of summer for personal reasons, so i’m really wanting to complete that project first.
You can find more from Liam Back over at northnote.com