Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Anna. Let’s start at the beginning and can you tell us how your alias came about: An On Bast and what it means for you?
Hi and thank you for the invitation. An On Bast is a connection between my name and Bast (or Bastet) – Egyptian goddess half-woman, half-cat, she ruled cats in the ancient Egypt by playing the Sistrum instrument. Well, the story behind my artist name is that I grew up with lots of cats around, I spent most of my time with them. So I feel I’ve learnt a lot from them, they kind of shaped my character. From the other side I wanted it to start with an “A” as my name, so I wrote Anon (because I do snowboarding) but it sounded “too cold” for me so I divided it into An On and added Bast as a “cat element”. All in all I wanted something very mine, something that is significant to me, also 3 parts sounded cool to me as (I am a fan of both!) Boards of Canada and Mouse on Mars.
How would you describe the creative rewards of performing live? Do you feel that if there was more live electronic artists the music would be more experimental, more about future than the past?
It is an individual approach, I can only speak for myself and for me it is essential to play live act, to make music live from very small elements, have such a deep control over every tiny step so I can create this live energy I want in the very moment on stage. I think I perceive myself as a musician to whom electronic music technology nowadays gives the opportunity to create many sounds at the same time, to trigger and control many voices happening.
So for me it is very rewarding as it gives me every time a unique experience of improvising and experimenting, having the ideas that might not appear in a quiet alone studio work. It also contacts me with the audience, as I play completely with interaction not only with myself but energy of the people.
Tell us about your excellent new single: The Ballet Began At Eight and where the title came from for the title track? Plus your relationship with Catz and Dogz, Pets Recordings?
Thank you, the title hit me as I was reading a book about Igor Stravinsky, about his premiere of “Rite of Spring”, how nervous he was and how bad it was received soon after the orchestra started to play. And it hit me because this performance began at eight and it was like a new world opened up, the new chapter of history of music was started – even though the first performance was took by the audience and critics very bad. But there was something significant in the air that has changed the music forever with this ballet.
I like a lot releasing albums and Eps. because they mark some point for me. Every record after release cut off the line from the past and I think I felt that with this title. But I feel it with my every release, however they don’t change the world 🙂 They just make me move on. It is beautiful that every album, EP lives its own life influencing people here and there, giving them good emotions or not at all but the beauty of it is that for me it is done and I’m just an observer of my work and of course I’m very happy that I can spread good feelings and that there are people who are catching them in my music.
We know each other with guys from Catz and Dogz for many years, I remember them as 3 Channels already so the beginnings of their remarkable career. Our paths were cut many times not only by playing the same parties, we also have common friends. I always respected a lot their talent and work but I always thought we have different taste in electronic music. But about two years ago they proposed me an EP making for Pets so that’s was I guess a process of finding the common music language. I’m very glad that we did, as the label heads they are very good in what they like and what they don’t, there are no grey fields, and I stand for the same values so that’s why we are all super happy with the result.
Can you describe the production process involved in creating it, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to refer to?
I wanted this EP to contain the tracks in different moods. I used modular synthesiser a lot in all of them. Generally my music production attitude is that I like to play and record rather than draw in a software. So as usually I played my instruments in various connections.
The more house tracks are made by playing Korg Minilogue. I used also the samples I recorded with Dave Smith Pro2. Drum parts are made by total fusion of eurorack modules, Elektron’s Analog Rytm drum machine and digital Yamaha gear. I work with Ableton Live and Midas Venice mixer console as a centre of my studio for recording, arranging and mixing. I use Avalon 747 sp a lot and some of my all-time favourite Vsts too with D16 among.
If electricity didn’t exist which acoustic instrument (e.g. guitar, piano etc.) would most appeal to you?
In fact I thought about it a lot. Because it is true that now I’m totally dependant on electricity. So I thought many times what would be my instrument let’s say two centuries ago. And definitely that would be the violin. I can’t play it in this life though but I feel connected somehow to it. I just touched it a few times but usually I have a great respect to the classical instruments and it’s individuality so I stop myself from asking my friends to give it to my hands 🙂 Although I wish to spend some time trying it.
Here and now without electricity? I play the piano and the guitar so yes, definitely both.
Who are you main influences both within and outside of electronic music? Any particular writers, painters, poets, musicians you particularly admire?
Influence for me happens as a trigger, motivation to be, to say, to express. That’s why probably I make music from the start. I guess I’m inspired mostly by non-music world, by people who are talented, hardworking and challenge themselves to be the best. Not to rival but to cross their own borders. That’s why I can surely say that I admire Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kamil Stoch (polish ski jumper) among many other professional sportsmen, their force inspires me to go to the studio every day and do my search within sounds creation, by philosophers like Henri Bergson, Aristotle, Jiddu Krishnamurti, writers Hermann Hesse and Philip K. Dick. I’m for sure under influence by cognitive science, quantum physics, sci-fi movies, joga, rock climbing and most importantly my everyday life with my family, cats and friends.
From the music world it is still Mozart, Bach, Arvo Pärt and Stravinsky that amaze me.
Lastly the instruments themselves, all about them, are super influential for me.
You have released several albums already. Where does all your creative energy come from to do so and describe a typical working day in the studio?
Yes, well as far as I remember I played instruments, sang in the choir, etc. When I realised I can express through electronic music that I loved in that time the whole world opened for me and I feel this energy to create ever since. I’m grateful for that as I have too many creative ideas than time, so I spend plenty of hours a day in the studio. I start usually after breakfast and work until the evening. I usually have a few projects I work during one day, that’s kind of multitask thinking in me probably. But I also have learnt consciously to keep a good balance between music work and doing other activities that I love like sports which give me distance and support my discipline.
In the studio I work on my own tracks for albums and Eps or I’m a producer for some other artists, musicians, vocalists. Sometimes I sound design films, animations, art installations or I work with dancers and choreographers making music specially for modern dance performance. I compose my special concerts for special occasions (historical, connected with an idea or re-adaptations of classical music). So it depends on my mood but also on deadlines 🙂
I feel a unique connection with my equipment and I experiment with it often. I use a lot of my own technics I developed over the years to use the gear creatively to achieve something new or to figure out some new ways of doing something. That’s what interests me the most – my new methods, new sounds, new possibilities. Probably my energy comes very much from my curiosity, fascination and personal development.
And finally. Besides you busy touring schedule what would be your ideal goal to achieve as an artist for 2019?
Ideal goal would be to write a piece for An On Bast and symphonic orchestra and tour with it around the world. Also I dream about scoring sci-fi movie.
Generally I am on the path that I am grateful for. I think I just would like to continue my way, play a lot of concerts in many places sharing good vibes with different audiences. I just wish to continue this beautiful journey.
Buy: An On Bast – The Ballet Began at Eight – Pets Recordings https://petsrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/an-on-bast-the-ballet-began-at-eight-pets095