Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Olympias. Let’s begin with where your love of music came from growing up and in particular of the playing the piano, where did that influence originate from and can you tell us about how you learnt to play and how you found that process?
Hi Greg, thank you for having me at Magazine Sixty. So nice of you. The connection with music started with the piano. I began to play when I was six. My parents love music and they know that learning to play an instrument is a beautiful gift. I had to play by ear at the beginning! I was living in a foreign country and couldn’t understand the teacher very well. It’s not the usual way to learn, but it definitely shaped how I listen to music. Once I moved back to Ireland, I had to prep for exams. Passing your piano grades comes with a lot of pressure and you have to be perfect, but going to learn and to play, that space, was like a haven.
Talk us through your time spent at Hybrasil’s Elevator Program, what are the most important lessons you learnt from that experience, the ones you still use today?
It was great. Once you join you have access to the content for unlimited time. You produce 4 tracks from start to finish and at the same time, you learn how to mix and create a workflow. What makes it special are the techniques used in the course. By the end, your tracks sound big and clean. I use the mix and eq technique every time I go to produce.
Your excellent debut EP is also released on the program’s label. Listening to Black Bird the keys running throughout suggest reflective introspection until the flourish of musical hope occurs after the main break, pointing towards Jazz and Classical. Can you tell us about your diverse influences past and present?
There was a lot of classical music around me while I was growing up. Also jazz. My mum loves Nina
Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. And I had to study composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and
Gershwin for music. You learn a lot about building tension and adding a call and response. In Black Bird, the main cello answers the pad. After so much tension, you expect it to happen and when it does – magic.
Your music is full of space for the elements to breathe. Can you talk us through how you produced Back Bird? Do you have any particular pieces of software / hardware you like to use in creating music?
Thank you. Again Elevator program gave key methods to creating space while producing. Making sure everything is eq’d correctly and compressed. I use Ableton with a Nektar midi keyboard. Ableton is such a powerful tool. I don’t actually have plugins. I’m still discovering what I need and there is so much choice. I have a good audio card (Apollo Twin MKII) and Genelec monitors.
How do you feel about the role of social media as an artist but also in broader terms of how it effects culture and society?
I find it hard to use, but there are many artists out there with great content that followers love. In terms of culture and society, it’s mad but it’s here and we have to navigate.
Tell us about DJ’ing and how you feel it differs from producing music in a studio? What do you aim to communicate to an audience when playing music?
Selecting tracks and learning to mix as a DJ takes a lot of time. Producing is the same. You just go deeper and can do more. Instead of selecting tracks, you are creating and selecting every individual sound, and blending them all together. I’m not really sure what I’m communicating! I’m just sharing.
Great cover Art for, Black Bird. Can you tell us about how it was created and what the meaning behind the title is for you?
Thank you. Geoff Miller (Redesign). He has a style so all I needed to do was say Black Bird. The track is inspired by Nina Simone’s Blackbird: I was looking for samples and this one came up. I had never heard it before. It’s just her and the drums, and one guitar doing a simple glide. I sampled and tweaked a loop, recorded some vocals, used drum racks and instrument racks.
You have also enrolled on Mathew Jonson’s Freedom Engine Academy. How have you found that experience and are their different qualities between to the two course you have benefited from?
They were both amazing and really different. Elevator programe’s Mixing and Mastering 6 month course is focused on creating a track in Ableton and learning how to mix to a point of mastering. Freedom engine had a mix of drumming styles, piano theory and practice, singing, composing, mixing and mastering. They both had a wonderful group of people. I couldn’t recommend the courses more.