Image credit: Sven Helbig
Sharing his new album Skills, German composer Sven Helbig gave us a taste of what to expect with the release of the album track ‘Metamorphosis’ ahead of the official release. Drenched in passionate violin arrangements, this classical track carries a tense but intriguing atmosphere nonetheless. The musician shares that this album was inspired by people around him, exercising their abilities to create new and wonderful things. Also featured on the album, is the noteworthy track ‘Flow’, which takes a more adventurous route with its blend of electronica, string instruments, and ambient embellishments. Today we present an exclusive Q&A with the composer below.
Describe your sound for us. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
My sound consists of classical instruments in synthesis with subtle electronics. For the new album, I used French horns and tuba beside a string quartet. I can’t say what people should feel. I am transmitting energy and I hope it finds some receivers.
Which 3 artists have influenced you the most growing up?
John Tavener for his deep spiritual composing, the drummer Questlove for the incredible joy he pours into my body with a simple 2 and 4 in their right places, and Stevie Wonder for everything.
How did you discover your particular sound?
I always loved the musical waves that an orchestra or classical instruments, in general, can produce. This is very different from any other sound source, and I wanted to work with this type of musical energy.
Tell us about one of the first struggles you faced (as a group or a solo artist) and how you overcame it?
It took me a long time to see sense in making my own music, after growing up with the masters and their complex perfection. Do we need more music? That doesn’t matter! Am I good enough? That doesn’t matter either. It sounds simple but finding those two answers was incredibly hard for me.
What are the most important pieces of equipment to you?
For creation: My brain, my intuition, a pencil, and paper.
On stage: I couldn’t live with a laptop.
Music for the individual or the masses – which do you want to create?
I can’t answer this. It is a typical western-world-21st-century-question. There is a difference between whether by “for the masses” you mean the audience of Johann Sebastian Bach, or that of McDonald’s. Bach’s music was created for the masses and still is accessible for everybody. I wouldn’t make music that is only limited to a few individuals.
Do you have a favourite memory of your career so far?
Yes. The most touching moments have been the after-shows with my choir project. When a choir of St. Petersburg or Minsk or Cuba is singing folk songs for you, in a pub after the concert, that is incredibly moving.
If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist living or passed, who would it be?
I would very much like to collaborate with Ryuji Sakamoto. His work was with me for so long and it would be a dream to write something with him.
What kind of message are you trying to send with your music?
My music is made to make it easier to stand up again. I want to share energy for this. Every one of my projects is written in search of leaving a foggy time and finding a new way out.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I am looking forward to performing my new album Skills live. Especially being invited by the London Contemporary Orchestra to perform with them at Southbank Centre makes me very excited.
Skills track ‘Flow’ features on the Spotify playlist XPERIMENT_GROUND.fm
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