Interview: Henry Saiz

Henry Saiz is an electronic music artist with a musical language that can be difficult to describe, but simple to enjoy.

The Madrid-native DJ & Producer has released on the likes of Last Night on Earth, Permanent Vacation and Suara, as well as his own label Natura Sonoris. Over the years, Henry´s impressive output has also led him to perform around the world, including festivals such as Sónar, Creamfields, Ultra Miami, Global Gathering and Benicassim among many others.

Now, Henry Saiz has launched an ambitious new project, creating a 10 track Audio Visual album that traverses the world, mixing nature, art, and inspiration into something never seen before in the world of electronic music. Anticipating this most interesting project, I managed to catch up with Henry to speak at length on the project, his relationship with nature, the need for artists to be politically active, and much more. You can find complete details on the project, including how to support at the end of this article.

“I don’t know if this will democratize the electronic scene but perhaps the consequence is that artists would have to demand more from themselves.”

I’d like to primarily focus on your new Audio Visual project currently funding on Kickstarter. First of all, regarding the funding strategy, why did you choose to go the crowdfunding route? What is your strategy in acquiring funding via Kickstarter?
Essentially this is an ambitious project involving a team, not just me. My intention is to record and compose music around the world, and that means many logistical expenses. Everything gets more complicated if we consider that, in addition to the album, the project also includes a film.

Obviously the production process of all this goes beyond a conventional album so that’s why I thought about the crowdfunding option. The second reason for doing it this way is that this is a conceptually complex project, so I wanted to share it with my fans from the beginning, so they can really understand the idea. It will be a very participatory album so I need the help of many people. Also, I’d like that when the album and the film are completed the listeners feel as if it’s their own, as something we’ve built together. So I think that Kickstarter was the right platform to carry this out.

How do you see crowdfunding affecting the electronic music industry at large? I ask because, when I was working in film back during the initial introduction of crowdfunding, it really democratized the industry, leveling the playing field, if you will. BUT as time went on, more and more established artists turned to Kickstarter to fund their million+ productions actually de-democratizing it. Do you see this process in Electronic Music?
This is a very interesting question. There’s something that we need to understand: people will not fund your project for the sake of it. You have to explain very clearly what you need the money for and offer something interesting in exchange. It is useless to say “Guys, I ‘m going to record an album and I need your help “. I don’t know if this will democratize the electronic scene but perhaps the consequence is that artists would have to demand more from themselves. They will have to create projects that excite people. Anyone wanting to fund their album through crowdfunding has to offer a unique experience to attract the attention of fans. In that sense, I think the growing popularity of crowdfunding can be very positive.

Let’s talk about the idea behind the project. Why an audiovisual project? Many may correlate electronic music specifically with audio, but I’ve always seen it as a complete sensory experience. Do you agree? Is this why you wanted to go down the audiovisual route?
This project is about the influence of the environment on the artist; how everything around you can be used as inspiration. I’ve always tried to make very visual and cinematic music, music that generates images in your mind when you listen to it. In this project this is more important than ever. I’d like that when the listener listens to the album you can actually travel to where the track was recorded. If for example the synths have been recorded in a cave I want the film to show how the process was. The nuances of audio (reverbs, textures) are a tool to achieve this but the video makes it even more powerful. I also want to make clear that the film will not be simply a making- off , we will use an original format that combines documentary with fiction. It is a film where the most important thing is the music and not just the technical aspects of the project.

In your Kickstarter description, you mention locations such as Tokyo, Joshua Tree, and the Canary Islands as 3 of the 10 locations you will use to record in. Can you briefly describe why you chose these three specifically? Also, are you willing to talk about other locations where you are hoping to travel to?
From the first moment that the idea of the album came to my mind I knew that these 3 places would be included. Tokyo is perhaps my favorite city: people, aesthetics, culture… I was very impressed the first time I visited it and there is something in that place that I can’t find anywhere else on the planet.

Joshua Tree is also a mythical place, when I visited it had the feeling of being on a movie set. I don’t mind saying that psychotropic drugs have a brutal influence on my music; not because I’m always high when I compose music in the studio haha. Rather, I think I’ve learned a lot from such experiences and I try to reflect those feelings in my music. So Joshua Tree is the perfect place for the challenge of composing a track during that kind of trip.

And finally, the Canary Islands is a place I’m completely in love with. I travel there whenever I can and I consider it as a kind of refuge, so it was an obvious choice for the album. There are many other places that I also want to include in the album: Australia, Argentina, some unique areas in Europe … It’s a shame I can only choose 10 places, so I will ensure the selection is as varied as possible.

Described as a combination of documentary and fiction, what else can you say about the narrative of the finished film? Would you equate it to a travelogue, for instance?
Not just a travelogue. The film will be divided into 10 sections or chapters, one for each track. They show how we have recorded the different sounds that have been used in the song and also how the experience of visiting that place was. We want people to see how was the process but showing it in an entertaining way, with a very dynamic pace. Each of these sections includes a music video of the track; in some cases it will be a more conventional music video with a narrative history, etc. But we also want to experiment with other formats of music video. It will depend on what is right for each track.

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