Today we have among us Stelios Vassiloudis, one of the most active DJ/Producers of the Greek music scene in recent times.
1.- IBR. Do you think that these moments of pandemic have contributed to your music and
the way of seeing it?.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- Of course! Apart from the introspection it encouraged and the inspiration artists were able to draw from the unprecedented uncertainty and isolation, I’d say that the removal of performing / touring from the supply chain equation of the industry forced many of us to re-examine how and why we make music.
2.-IBR.- In your own words : You are in a new phase of your life musically talking, , can you explain to us what you think has changed in your way of living and seeing the world of production.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- As I mentioned above, the circumstances many artists found ourselves in, as a result of the pandemic, encouraged us to evaluate how and why we connect with audiences. It’s sad to say but a large part of the electronic music industry runs on hot air and bullshit and, as a direct result of that, the components that yield the least amount of return (such as music recordings) have suffered greatly - in terms of quality.
The pause in gigging activity, together with the limitations of having to stay at home was a perfect combination of factors for someone wanting to take the pressure off and reconnect with the joy of making music, rather than frantically producing tracks in order to satisfy some kind of imaginary demand.
3.-IBR .- Your new LP All Else Fails will be released next March 25th, tell us how the project started and the differences in relation to your previous works.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- Most of the songs on the LP started out as demos and jams I had on my studio HD - things I tinkered around with when I wasn’t making club-oriented tracks. Even before the pandemic struck, I had started to get very restless and bored with (what is often) formulaic music, so being able to develop those ideas into full compositions was a welcome change.
The obvious differences between this LP All Else Fails and (a lot of) my previous work are mostly aesthetic and stylistic but, for those that know me or follow my work, I hope that there is evident confidence and maturity there, too. It’s been terrifying and refreshing (in equal measure) to just write music for the sake of writing music again.
4.-IBR .- You have said : it's very important to make music with a purpose, what is the purpose
of this album?.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- If I remember the full quote correctly, I was trying to make a point about making making music with originality and sincerity. Obviously, these are both subjective qualities and artists express themselves in ways that (have to) make sense to themselves, first and foremost.
Echoing this sentiment, the purpose of this album - if there ever was one- was to enjoy myself and experiment with composition; freely and without having to be mindful of factors such as genre, format, style etc
5.-IBR - How many tracks does the album have, tell us a bit about them.
Stelios Vassiloudis .-There are 10 original tracks and a handful of remixes and alternate versions available - I’ve been lucky enough to get some amazing producers involved and they’ve all turned in stellar re-interpretations.
Most of the original tracks on the album began as sketches and demos - really, really simple ideas or loops I worked on intermittently in between other, more formal projects. When I consciously decided I was making an album and began mentally outlining certain parameters, I went back to the demos and concentrated on developing them into full ideas. Some other .songs were written specifically with the album tracklist in mind - once I’d settled on a direction and aesthetic
6.-IBR .- You have always felt very attracted to the world of films, cinema, has there been any in particular that has served you as a muse to create this LP?
Stelios Vassiloudis .- Very much so. I’ve always been a huge film buff and actually hold a Master’s degree in Composition and Arrangement for Film/TV. An enormous part of the music on the album is influenced by this love and my (frustrated) aspirations for scoring films.
It’s pretty hard to single out any particular soundtrack that directly influenced me to the extent that I’d credit it as a muse - but I’ve consumed an unhealthy amount of Mac Quayle, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Benjamin Walfisch and Vangelis. The latter, actually, was a family friend when I was growing up and was one of my most formative influences - it’s safe to say that “Blade Runner” is an integral part of my musical DNA, in this respect.
7.-IBR.- Do you prefer to work alone or with other artists?.
Stelios Vassiloudis .-Definitely alone. I’ve become too rigid and disagreeable to be considered a good collaborator. However, there’s a (growing) circle of people who I exchange ideas with and whose opinions I really value so perhaps there’s still hope!
8.-IBR .- How would you define this project if you could sum it up in one word.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- Introspective
9.- IBR .- Future projects for the next few months.
Stelios Vassiloudis .- I’ve produced more music than I care to mention these last 2 years. My immediate plans are to be able to get back out on the road and support the LP in any way I can. My next projects are a series of EPs - some following my more minimalist, dub techno style and some continuing the electronic and experimental approach of the LP.
10.- IBR .- For people who have been following you for years and who are used to listen to a more minimalist, techno sounds, do you think they will understand this change?
Stelios Vassiloudis .-I hope so! From my perspective, there is a definite connection and progression that runs through my work - although I doubt anyone pays that much attention. Obviously, some material resonates more with certain audiences and there will always be a few people that persistently associate me with a certain sound or style - they’re the ones that are least likely to understand or accept this change. However, I’ve begrudgingly resigned to the fact that you can’t please everyone.
11.-IBR .- When it comes to producing, do you work more with analogue or digital?
Stelios Vassiloudis .- A healthy mix of both. Digital production / recording is extremely convenient and powerful but, for me, nothing beats the sound of a guitar into an amp pushing air through speakers - turned up to eleven.
12.-IBR .- Many artists are going back to working with analogue equipment, what is the big difference for you when producing with analogue or digital.
Stelios Vassiloudis .-There are some sonic differences between the two and I won’t deny that there’s a very tangible pleasure factor that comes with physically touching and manipulating an instrument (or any piece of hardware). I’ve played in bands all my life and spent much of my life learning how to play various instruments.
But digital technology has come a very long way and the convenience it can offer (without sacrificing significant quality) is undeniable. If you can tell me how to record a decent string and wind section on the road on your laptop I’m all ears!
13.-IBR .- I understand that many artists are concerned about having a lot of quality in their productions, but what steps do you think are important to spread it and make it known in order to be able to make their gigs and make people vibrate live?
Stelios Vassiloudis .- The sad reality for the contemporary musician is that their work is not finished once the premaster leaves the studio. In the age of instant gratification and limitless content, the fight to get noticed can seem like an uphill (or losing) battle - there’s just too much noise. Anybody with even cursory knowledge of marketing can tell you that there are plenty of tools at your disposal - such as social media - that are essential components in your brand’s promotion. And there are time-honoured traditions of networking, collaborating and hustling that could and should all be incorporated (to varying degrees) in your conduct as a member of the modern music industry.
Unfortunately, there’s a point of saturation for all of the above as well as an (even more dangerous) point where the energy and attention you expend pursuing them yields diminishing returns - and make you very unhappy, indeed. Call me idealistic or naive, but the pursuit of quality and improvement is not futile - the Japanese call it Kaizen when applied to business activities - and it’s what gives an artist true fulfilment and distinction. And in any case, if I’m going to fail at something, I’d rather it were doing something I put my soul into instead of fucking up a promoted Instagram post.
Very interesting point of view and vision of this great music connoisseur and complete artist.
Thank you for sharing with us iso sincerely your way of thinking and we wish you a lot of success in this new work.
We will support you of course!