Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Sean. Let’s start with the release of your debut solo album: Out Moving Windows. Tell us about the meaning behind the title?
Thanks for having me!
One of my favorite occasions for listening to music is during a commute. Whether it be by train, plane or car, headphones on, looking out the window, giving the music your full attention and watching the world go by.
There’s a particular contemplative sentiment that goes with that experience, and I guess that’s what I was trying to tap into with this release.
The album plays beautifully and is very rich in depth and emotion. How long did it take to compose and produce its completed release? Are you ever left feeling like you have rushed something for a deadline or do you always give time the space needed?
These tracks were made between late November 2020 and March 2021, I had been making a lot of music within that period of time, and these tracks felt like they worked best together for this release. There was no deadline for these fortunately!
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the album? Including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use?
The first track on the release, entitled Splash, was composed around a collaboration with trumpet player Fernando Ferrarone. I first made the groove by recording percussion and claps in my studio; it has a slightly different feel to it because it’s in a 6/8 time signature. I then started layering on the pads which all come from a synth I’ve been enjoying recently, the Ensoniq TS-10.
At that point, I had Fernando come into the studio and we jammed over it for a couple of hours and recorded a bunch of takes. I then took best of the recordings and continued to layer on more elements and arranged the structure to be tight.
The music has an ambience drifting throughout. Where does inspiration for creating music come from: hearing other music, or something you have read, or an unrelated sound from the world outside?
I draw a lot of inspiration from other music, across many genres and styles, but I think the ambience comes from a desire to make music that is less dance floor oriented. I wouldn’t say unrelated sounds influence my music, but I definitely aim for particular emotions.
Can you tell us about some of the other musicians who have played on the album? And where some of the field recordings where recorded?
Oliver Paterson (plays guitar on Thank you For Everything), is an amazing musician I’ve known and played with for more than 10 years. He has made a few appearances on Analogue Attic with Alex and myself. He’s known for his beautifully melodic guitar lines which are perfectly on show here.
Kalia Vandever is a trombone player who regularly plays in jazz bands across New York. I first heard her playing an ambient solo trombone set in Brooklyn using a microphone a loop pedal. She has a really distinct energy in everything she plays, and everything sounds so deliberate and meaningful. I was very lucky to have her play with me on Triplet Falls.
Fernando Ferrarone is a monster of a trumpet player who regularly plays in jazz bands in New York, particularly salsa bands, where he brings the party. He deserves 97% of the credit for the first track on Out Moving Windows for the beautiful lines he plays.
Most of the field recordings in this are from a huge folder on my computer of the hours and hours of recordings I’ve taken over the years. Most of these were from improperly labelled takes that I haven’t been able to identify, most likely in country towns in Australia as well as some nature clips. There are also pieces from my apartment in Brooklyn and a recent trip to Mexico.
You cofounded the label Analogue Attic. How would you describe the process of running a record label in the digital age in terms of generating income (streaming), the importance of PR, the place of social media etc?
There are more outlets for people to engage with music now than there were when we first started Analogue Attic, and people’s listening habits will continue to change over time. We think it’s really important for people to be able to access our music wherever they want to listen to it, whether that be on Bandcamp, through streaming platforms or on vinyl. We have some great partners that make that possible for us. Some labels create a vibe by only releasing music on vinyl or tape, or boycotting streaming platforms. That can be cool as well, but we’ve always preferred to make it as easy as possible for those who want to listen to our music.
Generating revenue from music sales has never been easy for anyone, but having your music out in the world is the best way to get booked for shows, and that will always be the most straightforward path to income for musicians/DJs.
The spirit of independence runs strongly in what you do. Where did that inspiration come from? And how would you describe the more business end of club culture in terms of creativity at the moment?
I guess I have a very different background to most artists releasing music within similar circles; I went to jazz school and played in bands well before I got into electronic music. I very rarely DJ and so I don’t spend much time thinking about where my music can fit in a mix or what time of the night it will work and that sort of thing. I don’t care too much about being unique from other artists, but I do think it’s important to draw on your own influences.
What is your favourite instrument? Do you own one?
I have a beautiful Yamaha Clavinova digital piano in my New York apartment, my friends chipped in to get it for me for my birthday recently, so it has that nice sentimental value to it as well. I also have an upright Carnegie and sons and a different digital Yamaha back in Melbourne.
In terms of influences who has been the most important both within music from outside of it (writers, painters, poets etc)?
There are way too many artists to put my finger on just one, but I’ve been thinking about Keith Jarrett a lot recently (largely because arthritis has taken over and he can’t play the piano anymore, which is sad). He’s one of my biggest inspirations, I think he’s one of the best musicians ever because of his command of melody and harmony as well as his technical ability.
And finally. Do you think music culture will reshape in any way after Covid-19? Have you formed any plans for 2022?
Last year I noticed a lot of producers releasing music that was abnormally ambient for them. I think there were loads of artists who knew their music wouldn’t be played to dance floors and thought differently about what they wanted to put into the world as a result. I don’t know if that’s still happening in a noticeable way, but I think it’s exciting when electronic artists who usually DJ think beyond the dance floors.
I have no formal musical plans for 2022!
buy Sean La’Brooy – Out Moving Windows – Analogue Attic Recordings