[Ówt Krì] originate in Helsinki, Finland and release music through the renowned Alrealon Records. If you listen to an [Ówt Krì] release, you will undoubtedly be taken on a journey, though this here reviewer will not vouch for your state of mind at the end of that journey. [Ówt Krì] specialise in experimental and ambient sounds. John E Smoke approached [Ówt Krì] in trepidation, eager to learn more.
JES – Thank you for speaking to Rivetheads Radio on Midlands Metalheads. Happy New Year! Did you celebrate the transition from 2013 to 2014 in style?
OK – My pleasure John and Happy New Year to you too!
The transition was a calm and cozy one which included family, watching fireworks and enjoying a few good beers.
JES – You state that you do not count yourself as a musician, but as a painter, a sculptor, a poet, and ultimately an artist. Is there one medium that you hold closer to your heart and one that you feel that you can express yourself most freely?
OK – Throughout the years I’ve tried out all kinds of crafts and art forms. I was always more of an artist than an athlete. In my teens I loved drawing and later I started painting minimalistic color fields and writing poetry. Nowadays I’ve even started building my own guitars.
Even after all this I ultimately love to work with music. I simply love to shape sounds and layer them upon each other to create textures, so my statement is more of an abstract depiction of my way of crafting music.
I always feel shy about calling myself a musician and prefer to think about my works as sculptures or layers of aural paint.
JES – [Ówt Krì] started in 2005. The first release I heard was ‘The New Seed’ which was released on Alrealon in 2013. Would you like to sum up the musical journey of [Ówt Krì] so far?
OK – My journey to date has been a very varied one, back in 2005 when I started composing the first [ówt krì] material I really had no idea what I was getting into. Until then I had mostly worked on different types of metal pastiches, so the experimental, dark ambient, drone scene was a complete step into the dark for me. I was very surprised when in 2006 the wheels started turning with a bang.
I worked together with German label Raumklang Music who released a compilation tape witch featured one of my songs and later, in 2008, their web- / sub-label format-noise released digitally “Fairytales on a Flowerbed”.
That’s pretty much where the initial hype ended and I worked alone for quite a while only releasing demos online.
The years 2008-2012 I spent experimenting with different styles, absorbing tons of influences and refining my musical pallet. Artistically speaking it was a very nourishing time even if the constant “zero downloads” on my site made me wonder if it was all worth it.
In 2012 my luck seemingly changed when Philippe Gerber of Alrealon Musique crossed my path and the rest of the story is yet to be written.
JES – “The New Seed” is certainly a musical journey with both lighter and darker passages. The mood of the release frequently changes. Was the recording of this release a mood altering experience for you? When you listen back to the album now is your perception of it different than while you were recording it?
OK – I think “The New Seed” is to its core a reflection of myself, maybe even an expression of feelings that weighted upon my soul at the time. All the switches in mood tell a story of the turmoil inside a soul during the pressure of a creative process.
The whole process was intense and exhausting; I completely renewed my methods of composing and revising my works but also I gained new insight and a more professional touch to working. I was working in a sheer frenzy on details and tweaks for the tracks.
Bottom line is that I have never been happier with a release.
However, the album never actually turned out the way I envisioned it from the beginning. Right from the start I was going to create a marriage between different elements I had utilized during my career. It was supposed to be a sort of new beginning for me, that’s where the name first came up for me “The New Seed”.
Anyway, the compositions started living a life of their own and also I was part of the adventure. Every element holds its ground and I feel confident that the album will withstand time well.
In the end “The New Seed” still reflects, for me, a storyline I thought out when sorting the tracks, but I don’t want to spoil the experience for other listeners, you should just let your minds run free and let your imagination make your own storyline.
JES – Your latest release is “Darker Sensation” which is a track lifted from “The New Seed” with other remixes and collaborations. Is this intended as a companion piece to ‘The New Seed”? What is coming next?
OK – “Darker Sensation” is the single cut from “The New Seed”, but Alrealon came with the idea of adding extra value through having Speak Onion remixing one of my old tracks, “Traffic Jam”, and I got a chance to showcase a collaboration with Black Saturn that didn’t make the final cut for “The New Seed”
Next up there will be a collection of ambient tracks I’ve done throughout the years. I’m working together with the netlabel Spheredelic to have it released as a free Creative Commons release. Except that I am recording tracks for a split release with John 3:16 and getting ready to hit the stages.
JES – How are your sounds constructed? Firstly, what does your physical recording set up include in terms of hardware and software. Secondly, where do you source some of your sounds and ambiences? Are some found sounds?
OK – I run a Windows based desktop studio which runs Cubase 6, so that is the core. In addition I use a variety of VST plugins, but most of my sounds are recorded.
In terms of instruments the main affiliates are my Korg X50 keyboard and various guitars and bass’, but I also collect spatial and environmental sounds. Then I run it all through various effects and reverbs to give it that ambient sound.
Much of my compositions are built one layer at the time. As I record I never write down anything, I just press record and let the sounds flow, so there is also a lot of trial and error going on with the overdubs.
In the end I always follow my preferred aesthetics for sound and thus far it seems to work for me.
JES – You appear to be very open to collaboration with other artists. Which collaborations have you most enjoyed to date?
OK – I love to collaborate with people on tracks as it brings me the outside point of view to my own work.
Then again the other way around it sets me up with the challenge of exiting my own comfort zone and really pushing myself to the limits.
It’s really hard to rank the collaborations but if I need to give out names then I’d have to say all the collaborations on “The New Seed”.
The guys really helped realize my vision and bring an external take on the material.
JES – I understand that you are due to work with John 3:16. As a big John 3:16 fan I am eager to learn more, pray tell…
OK – Yes, I think I already spread the veil of mystery a bit on this one.
John 3:16 asked me if I was interested in doing a split release in the vein of his work with FluiD back in 2012, The Pursuit of Salvation. So it will be a split album with a common theme throughout the release. I may be out of line here, but expect some dark and disturbing material from that one.
Many of the details are still open but we are hoping to release the split this year still.
JES – A couple of stock questions, but ones I always enjoy asking and hearing the answers to. What is the first music you remember purchasing and what is the most recent release you purchased? Tell us a little something about each.
OK – If my memory serves me correctly, the first music I ever bought was some 90’s Euro dance collection in my early teens. Apparently it was soul searching on every level and a mission to find acceptance in my peers. Needless to say some things have changed since then.
The latest album I’ve bought must have been the latest effort of Finnish battle metal act Turisas. It’s a band I’ve followed through their career since their first album in 2006. The latest effort really breaks their pattern with less bombast than before and more quirky curveballs in the compositions.
JES – You have released music so far digitally and on CD. Are you interested in releasing on other formats such as vinyl or cassette? There is definitely a revival of the older formats at the moment.
OK – First off, I love the revival of those old formats. Vinyl has been huge for a long time but the cassette is also a welcome resurrection that brings diversity to the field.
After all, it’s seldom a bad thing with more varied options for the consumer.
Personally I still collect music as CD’s, so I’m not in pursuit of options but when given a chance I would for sure release on any other medium.
Any physical format is always a more concrete release than a mere digital one.
JES – Would I be right to say that [Ówt Krì] are also working towards some live performances? What can we expect from your performances? Are you recruiting other performers?
OK – You are quite right on that point. I have been working with figuring out the live show and for now it will only be me on stage. The idea is to create a versatile texture of sounds and take the listeners away for a trip inside their minds. Right now I have only a few set dates in the calendar that will be announced in due time. Also a big announcement coming up concerning next autumn, expect that in June/July.
JES – Once again, thank you for talking to us here at Midlands Metalheads and Rivetheads Radio. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
OK – Thanks so much to you too, it’s was great. Keep a lookout for those announcements and thanks to everyone who listened through “The New Seed”.
Those of you who didn’t: Do it! Now!