The Trees Are Dancing is out now.
There’s an attraction to the time 3 am that is wonderfully appealing. The night is quiet. Everyone is asleep. You can be completely alone. There’s a wonderful peaceful serenity to that to the point that it feels as if time is standing still. This is the same feeling I get when I listen to Berlin ambient pop producer DEADBEAR.
Combining organic and unobtrusive beats, he creates a relaxed and gentle atmosphere that still manages to be eurphoric, albeit in an understated manner. We were lucky enough to have a chat with him about his new EP The Trees Are Dancing, which is out today.
1. Holding Heart Aces
This track is an introduction to the whole record. The mix of electronica, ambient material, mixed world music elements (with Western pop hooks and structures) is very much a representation of the kinds of sounds and ideas explored in the album as a whole – even if some tracks border on very different genres. In some ways it’s also a sort of bridge from the last release I put out with Cascine in terms of production and aesthetic. Emotionally, this track is simultaneously euphoria and deep sadness for me. The track was produced at the height of pretty uncertain and difficult time and it reflects those two emotions pretty well. I think ultimately though the track is consumed by positivity and light – I hope people can feel that.
This is probably the most ‘Berlin’ track on the record. It’s the only track I’ve made which is a club inspired piece – normally I try and stay away for the ‘four to the floor’ vibe but this track absolutely needed it. I recently wrote a little background on the making of this on my website but essentially, this was the last track I wrote for the record and it’s very much tied to the time and place towards the end of the recording process. Modersohnbrücke is actually a bridge near where I live in Berlin and a lot of people sit out here drinking on sunny evenings watching the sunset and trains pass below. The bridge faces the more ‘developed’ West of the city on one side and I would come here early on writing days and weekends to listen back to mixes I’d made the night before, writing notes down on structure in my notebook, watching the city and transport spring into life. I’m also a massive coffee fan so I’d usually be highly caffeinated – which may explain why this track is so intense.
3. The Trees Are Dancing
‘The Trees Are Dancing’, the title track for the album, is also heavily tied to Berlin. When I first moved to the city I was blown away by the amount of forests both in and surrounding its outskirts. There is wood near where I live which is like an oasis of green in the middle of the concrete and grey urbanity which has the most incredible variety of trees. In all seasons it’s amazingly peaceful and I’ve had some really amazing, happy times there: the time when it was 38 degrees and full shine but torrential at the same time for like 15 minutes, or the Autumn making the colours incredibly rich. This sounds really boring I know haha, it’s quite hard to put a place and experiences like this into words. For the whole record though, the forests and woods of Berlin have been a huge inspiration and it seemed only right this would be the title track.
4. The Vault
I wrote half of this record in Manchester, and half in Berlin and this is the part where that split happens. I didn’t track-list it consciously to do that – it just happened that it flowed the best. ‘The Vault’ is kind of concept track without a story. I wrote this when I was listening to a lot of Arca and and Venetian Snares and I wanted to write a song that kind of delved into drum programming and more complex automation. Essentially, I imagine ‘The Vault’ as a space that’s really intricate, machine made and extremely complex to navigate. Something we may find after the world ends and there’s only a few hundred thousand of us left.
‘Hymna’ is probably the oldest song on the album. I wrote this after I finished my last release – Tongues ft. Qrion. I’ve had the chance to play this out live a fair amount of times and the effect is always really powerful. The drums are focal point and the song actually has a ten bar pattern or metre which gives a syncopated, off-kilter kind of feeling even though it’s in 4/4. I used a really great synth in making this, it’s called the Kaivo (made by Madrona Labs). The synth itself is incredibly hard to master, or I should say incredibly easy to create something you never expected which is my favourite way to work – the times I feel I have less than complete control or understanding of something is my favourite way to work. The choir part at the end was recorded in Paris in the Sacré-Cœur during an open choral practice session. The added police, search radio was added on top as nod to Kate Bush’s ‘And Dream of Sheep’. I love Kate Bush.
6. Ishtar (The Evening Star)
With ‘Ishtar’ I wanted to create something that was a mix of sacred music and UK trip hop, almost garage-y kind of electronic music. The effect was a little different to what i’d intended by I ended up with something really powerful and difficult to categorize. I also had the album on loop a lot when I was doing the final mixes and this track sets the path back to ‘Holding Heart Aces’ really nicely.