July 2012 Interview: Bruised Skies
Location: Coventry, Britain (UK)
Contact: SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
Would you mind starting off with a brief introduction behind the project?
Could you give us a bit of history on yourself?
How did Bruised Skies form? What are you all about?
Bruised Skies started November last year when I was just getting into making my own music, I didn’t want to go by my own name and after much deliberation and a long conversation with Budeaux about it, I tentatively chose “Bruised Skies” from a description of a landscape in a book I was reading at the time.
Most of my work is based around some sort of improvisation, which I used to use as more of a therapeutic way to express myself, before I even ever considered making music with it. For the longest time I’d just play around with my guitar or keyboard, coming up with melodies and riffs, but I’d never make anything of them.
We understand you’ve only recently made way into production these past few years. How were these beginnings for you, and how have your methods evolved since?
My method is pretty much the same now as it was six months ago when it comes to the creation and manipulation of sounds, it’s just become more refined. I also put a lot more effort into the production side of my tracks after actually learning how to record and mix to a higher quality and how to use effects better.
Where did your knowledge come from during this introductory period?
Did you receive any formal music training, or did you just go about teaching yourself?
I did attend a music tech course which basically taught me how to use Logic properly, but as far as my playing, I had a few years of lessons for guitar and piano ages ago, but I’m effectively self-taught. I didn’t pay enough attention to the theory side of things; I just learnt the technique from copying other people by ear.
Any hobbies; interests you dabble in, outside of music?
When I’m not doing music I spend most my time on pieces of art and the occasional bit of design.
Any specific favorite artists of yours?
Those which you draw the most inspiration?
Off-hand, are there a few all-time, absolute favorite albums?
The people who got me into making ambience were people like Nils Frahm, Tim Hecker, Aphex Twin, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Polmo Polpo. Defiantly check out all of them, I still remember the first time I heard Like Hearts Swelling by Polmo Polpo, I ended up listening that EP all night there was just something about it that connected with me.
Having listened through all of your tunes, we’ve noticed a real depth in your sound. You pay a lot of attention to the atmospherics in your music. Can you tell us a little about this choice of style?
Originally I started the whole ambient vibe because I wanted to make music but I didn’t have the equipment to make the live sound music I was listening to at the time. By chance I found that I could mask the shitty sound of my mic and guitar with reverb and never looked back.
I think I pay more attention to making music that’s emotive and almost visual. With every track I try to convey some kind of emotion or feeling at the time and to do that I try and mimic the place where I’m feeling that emotion. For me at least it makes it more tangible and weighty, it’s kind of my way of keeping memories.
How do you go about creating such a warm, spaced-out, distant sound?
I often start with a piano progression of a guitar riff then just play around with different combinations of reverb and other effects until I end up with a decent pad sound. The distance has obviously got a lot to do with the reverb I use, but It’s also to do with how my ambient pads are usually made up of somewhere between five and twenty sounds, samples and pads that are all blended together.
The ambiance you are able to create is truly astonishing; very touching on an emotional level, and quite organic in sound.
How do you go about envisioning these dynamic landscapes?
Where do you find inspiration?
I never really plan out what the ambience is going to sound like, it’s all very spur of the moment. Most of my music is created in two sessions. I’ll record and essentially create the track one night, then leave it a few days and look back on it and distill it down into its final form. A lot of my initial inspiration is from how I’m feeling at the time, but also from stuff I hear out my window. I live near some trees, a railway, and a vaguely busy road, so there can be a real plethora of sounds going on that intrigue me to no end.
How do you intend for people to interpret your music?
Does this at all tie in to why you began, and continue producing?
My music is defiantly made for introspective listening, but every track I create holds some personal meaning to me. Although I do try to avoid forcing what people should feel when listening to my music by keeping things pretty ambiguous. It really surprises me what people take from my music and how it can affect them. I think the fact that people can connect with these, in some cases pretty personal tracks and find a meaning of their own is defiantly something that keeps me producing.
Could you tell us a bit about your field recordings?
Is there a set process?
At the moment, my field recordings mean me hanging out of my window to record the outside world; luckily I have a condenser mic so I can pick up all sorts. I tend to record when I hear something cool outside my window and just leave it recording for a while then go through it and find any nice sounds.
How exactly did you go out recording, and come back with a five hundred gigabyte hard drive filled?
That one was partially due to me being a moron. I’d accidentally set my sample rate and bit depth way too high. I was doing a series of recordings of just recording different places for half an hour and seeing what I could hear. Then sampling sections for atmosphere one of the products was my “Birds (Ambient Sketch)” track.
When it comes to putting together a tune?
Is there a set process there?
Nothing is too set in stone, but it tends to start off with me just improvising on my guitar or keyboard until I find a melody or progression that stands out to me. It just flows from there.
Last question. We have very much so enjoyed your collaborative work.
How was it brining these efforts together?
Any future plans here?
By chance, are we ever to look forward to a release with Retral?
Any more with Atsuko?
They’ve actually been remarkably easy so far. With Atsuko things just clicked, within the first five minutes of talking to him, I knew it’d work. It was a similar case with Sangam. To be honest, they’re both extraordinarily talented people to work with. Atsuko and I have been talking about making a new track, it’s just about finding the time. He’s busy with his Atsubox project with Stombox another great guy, we’ll make it happen at some point I’m sure.
As for future plans, I have a few lined up: I have more stuff with Sangam in the coming weeks and maybe even a collaborative EP. Also, Twin Empire and I have also been playing around with a tune which we need to get done, but he’s been busy with exams. I’m also doing a little collab work with Patterns In Plastic: there’s a few others that I still don’t know if they’re happening, but should be a busy summer.
With Retral? I’d be more than happy to, though I think he’s pretty busy with his label Black Hymn Records which is really looking promising, though I should be releasing an EP through them in a few months time, so I might try and get him to guest on that in some way.
That’s about it. We appreciate your time. Thank you for sitting down with us, and thanks for the beautiful mix. We look forward to hearing what is next in store for you.