Ahead of the launch event this month we speak to Irish producer J Colleran about his new album ‘Gardenia’. In an interview with us, Jack describes how he "was inspired by the idea of writing music for a place - specifically a place outside of reality." Get ready for futuristic visual metaphors from sonic worlds.
Tell us about the album Gardenia and the influences that inspired it
I wrote Gardenia in 2017 – I had wanted to work with a quartet for a while at that point. I was inspired by the idea of writing music for a place - specifically a place outside of reality. I wanted the individual pieces within the record to represent these sonic worlds that the listener could explore. I was working a lot with pianos and strings so were aware of things feeling overly organic and wanted to balance that with heavily digitalised elements - almost trying to mirror the pianos and strings with metallic or digital textures.
What does your music represent?
I guess without getting too cliché, it’s simply just a form of expression and an outlet for me to experiment with sound.
Did you aim to translate a narrative through this album?
I just really wanted the record to be something that felt quite open to interpretation and a place where the listener (or myself) could explore sonically. I tried to veer away from it being forceful and wanted the music to be quite open at its core.
Tell us about the early days
I started making music quite young, and I guess over the years have learned to adapt to change and to accept that we are constantly growing and altering. I grew up in Newbridge, a town outside of Dublin. Growing up I was always given the opportunity to create, I always had strong support from my family to do that - something I’m beyond grateful for.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I guess to try to be open to the fact that things do change and that that’s okay.
Where do you take inspiration?
It’s kind of difficult to say where exactly the inspiration comes from directly. Often it reveals itself nearing the end of completing the work. When writing I like to collect a lot of images, while working on this record, it was images of the work of Peter Alexander, James Turrell, Daniel Swan and Hart + Lëshkina.
What do you want your music to evoke?
I don’t really think it’s for me to say what I’d like the music to evoke - it’s quite an individualistic thing. Once it’s out there, I think you have to let go of any attachment to it as it’s no longer yours.
How does the creative process start for you?
I usually start by putting together a palette of sounds and then will create individual projects from each. I try not to write each piece of music in a linear fashion, so I’m constantly pulling parts from project to project in order to build something that feels complete.
What part of the creative process is most symbolic for you?
Experimenting in the earlier stages is always the most interesting part of the process. For this record I knew I would be working with traditional instruments and wanted the process of writing their parts to be almost entirely digital - not in the sense of composing on a computer - but that the computer would write the music itself. I used systems in Max MSP that would alter the notation I would give to it and in a sense make the software score the parts itself. I think this is quite symbolic of the record - finding a balance between the organic and the inorganic.
What’s next for J Colleran?
The record is out next week and will be playing live over the next while. I’m working on new music, and I’ll be attending Red Bull Music Academy in September so it should be an interesting few months ahead.