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“Artist” really is the most adequate word I could use to describe S O H N, who had our hearts fluttering here at Dummy with the release of his slow-burning track O S C I L L A T E last month. An astounding singer and songwriter, he not only conceives incredible vocal melodies, but he also pins these melodies to a multi-instrumental, carefully produced backdrop of sound. When someone is so talented and dedicated to so many different areas of the music-making process, it seems like a criminal understatement to call them just a “singer” or “producer” – S O H N is an artist, for sure.
His first official single, ‘The Wheel’ – taken from the upcoming EP of the same name, to be released in November by Aesop – is a delicately crafted, annoyingly catchy piece of melancholic, intelligent pop music, creeping up on you with a haunting chorus and a dreamy build-up of vocal magic. I caught up with S O H N over email this week to pick the brains behind this stunner of a track; stream ‘The Wheel’ below as you read what he had to say.
Hi, S O H N! Could you introduce yourself to Dummy readers?
Hi Dummy readers, I’m S O H N…
How did you get into making music?
I’m not really sure actually, I guess I just always have been – I learnt guitar at a young age but drums, piano, bass and programming, mixing and production were just self-taught over the years.
You have a lovely voice. When did you start singing?
Thank you… I sang from a very early age, then stopped through the teenage years – everyone else’s voices were getting lower, mine not – and then picked it up again after. It took me a long time to actually find “my” voice and be comfortable with it.
I love the play between instrumentation and production in your music; which part of the process is the most enjoyable for you?
It has to be working in an on-the-fly, analogue method which I find most enjoyable. I’d been making music already for years using software and thought-about-programming, so the discovery that some things are better done on instinct and unplanned has been a revelation.
‘The Wheel’ is a great track. Can you tell us more about the story behind it?
Thanks… It’s a track about the end of something, the beginning of something, and the over-thinking of that time inbetween – I feel like the track is like a big sigh, in some ways. Like exhaling after finding out that something you’ve been dreading doing actually is nothing at all.
You claim to evoke the loneliness of London in your music – is place your biggest influence?
I’d say so, yeah; I think that’s the same when you listen to music, your favourite tracks are associated with a memory, a smell, a place. For me it’s no different when creating something. The places I’ve been, have experienced and have lived all play a massive part in my sound, because they formed my memories and feelings.
Have any other cities inspired your song writing and your sound as much as London?
Definitely, though London has a unique place in my stuff due to the fact I grew up there. Vienna, where I currently live, has a totally different feeling and climate a lot of the time – going from extremely hot and long summers to extremely long freezing cold winters (which I look forward to). That in itself is an instant inspiration. Walking alone in -10 degree temperatures below railway arches in Vienna is inspiring, just as a busy night in London alone is inspiring, just as looking out of a window to the Acropolis in Athens is, or going from Brooklyn across the water to Manhattan alone. I guess most of my music is rooted in being alone with my thoughts, come to think of it, haha.
What’s the best thing you’ve heard this year?
Deptford Goth – Life After Defo
What are your plans for what’s left of 2012?
It’s changing daily! When I decided to put the first track out I had no idea how fast things could go, so I’ll be spending the rest of my year catching up I guess. Plus working on new tracks and sorting out how I can control all of these buttons, knobs and keys live……