Friday, April 19 2024

Today, we have the privilege of delving into the ‘Selves‘ album by the immensely talented Vienna-born violinist and composer, Alexander Nantschev. Known for his versatile artistry that seamlessly spans from baroque to contemporary, Alexander’s latest creation encompasses a symphony of styles, blending classical finesse with the adventurous spirit of psychedelic and experimental music. Join us as we unravel the musical tapestry of ‘Selves’ from the heart of Austria, Vienna.

Hi Alexander, thanks for joining us to talk about the new album ‘Selves.’ The concept of ‘Selves’ seems fascinating, with each song representing a different alter ego. Can you elaborate on how these alter egos influence the musical composition and overall theme of the album?

Thank you for the appreciation! The alter egos were always present during the composition process. The realisation of their significance and how they fit into different songs occurred when the entire album was completed. Embracing these diverse personas, despite moments when they weren’t deemed trendy, was crucial. I’ve always resisted the notion of confining myself to a single style. The concept crystallised when the last track was mastered, affirming that these varied aspects are integral to who I am.

Your musical journey has been diverse, from classical to psychedelic. How did your upbringing, with a mix of classical and experimental music, influence the creation of ‘Selves’?

My upbringing was a musical amalgamation with classical pieces resonating from my dad’s apartment and experimental beats emanating from my brother’s studio connected by a balcony. This dual exposure shaped my diverse musical journey. It feels natural to me, and I sometimes find it hard to believe that classical musicians may lack improvisation skills. The balcony between musical styles has been my norm, contributing significantly to the eclectic nature of ‘Selves.’

Alexander Nantschev 1

The idea of multiple selves in your music reflects a unique perspective on identity. How has this concept shaped your understanding of yourself and your interactions with others, both in life and in the world of music?

The idea of multiple selves, inspired by James Fadiman’s ‘Your Symphony of Selves,’ enhances my self-awareness and understanding of interactions with others. Recognising the various selves in ourselves and those we interact with sheds light on why certain life events unfold. It’s akin to understanding the dynamics of different personas in different situations, a concept that significantly influenced my life.

Having worked across various genres and with different ensembles, how did your experiences with FeinSinn and your debut album ‘Recital’ contribute to the evolution of your style, particularly in the context of ‘Selves’?

Indeed, FeinSinn’s focus on merging various art forms into a Gesamtkunstwerk greatly influenced the theatrical and filmic landscapes in ‘Selves.’ ‘Recital,’ being a classical album, showcased my identity as a classical violinist. Both experiences contributed to the multifaceted nature of ‘Selves,’ combining theatrical and classical influences that are recognisable in my music.

Alexander Nantschev 2

Could you share some insights into the creative process behind the album, including any challenges you faced and how you approached blending the diverse musical elements that define each alter ego?

Amidst the pandemic’s uncertainty, I decided to feed the hungry unfinished tracks on my external drives during the first COVID lockdown. Collaborating with musicians globally served as an emotional anchor. Each song demanded its unique blend, like the classical alter ego in ‘Red Poppy,’ inspired by Rachmaninov’s etudes tableaux. The original three bars find their place in the piano solo at the song’s end. The diverse musical elements were intricately woven, with each alter ego receiving its distinct treatment.

And, finally, a ‘fun’ question – Your musical journey began with a love for psychedelic music sparked by The Beatles. If you had to create a playlist featuring three songs that have significantly influenced you throughout your career, what would they be and why?

‘Echoes’ Live at Pompei by Pink Floyd
This marks Pink Floyd’s pinnacle before ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ showcasing a purity and rawness balanced in a way I’ve never heard from them again. Performing in an empty amphitheater adds to its unique charm.

‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles
Reflecting the genius of Lennon and McCartney, this song captivates with its classical orchestra crescendo. Their instruction to musicians, playing from lowest to highest notes with a huge crescendo, adds to its brilliance.

‘The Goldberg Variations’ by J.S. Bach, played by Glenn Gould (1981 Version)
Whether or not the story about Bach writing it for a count who couldn’t sleep is true, this piece manifests a dreamlike world, making it a vivid and impactful part of my musical journey.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Alexander. Be sure to check out the rich tapestry of ‘Selves’ – an album that invites you to explore the many facets of Alexander’s artistic identity. From classical to psychedelic, each alter ego in this musical journey is a note in the symphony of self.

Thank you for joining us, and until next time, let the melodies of ‘Selves’ linger in your hearts.

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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