Timmus: How I Made The Bridge
Ahead of his upcoming headline slot at Tempo Comodo, the Victorian producer opens up on the making of his new album - a beautifully melodic and kaleidoscopic body of work titled 'The Bridge'.
How and when did the idea for The Bridge come about? What were you aiming to achieve?
I had a few epiphanies sometime after July last year, where I had accumulated a body of work that I felt couldn't be broken up into separate releases and slowly dribbled out over time. I had experienced things in my life that changed, challenged and healed me as a person and an artist. I realised I wanted to tell this story in an album. I didn't know what it was called yet and I hadn't written the title track. So now I was on a journey that consumed my thoughts almost every second of the day (even during sexual intercourse I had ideas coming in). As I started to tie each song together and add more love to every bar of music, I was naturally inspired to write new songs. This is where the magic happened and I ended up swapping out tracks and mashing new ideas with the essence of recordings that had already spanned many years.
Was there anything specifically that inspired you while making the album?
Yes, nature to start with. A subtle narrative prominent throughout the album are the nature soundscapes. They are in a way inspired by the healing properties of ASMR triggers, especially when in partnership with sound frequencies. Comfortably nurturing, accepting and allowing the tonal sounds to be received in the meridians. Also, I'm a music digging fanatic, always on the hunt for new, different, independent and unique music and sub genres within the nooks and crannies of sound artistry.
Was it made with live performance in mind? Or for DJs to play?
The album is full of different instruments and objects, animal sounds and twigs snaps – sounds that I'll never be able to replicate quite the same within a live context. So, I've also gone on a journey of finding new ways around live formula.
To be honest, I didn’t actually write any tracks with DJs in mind. It's an absolute honour and an inspiration if they do, though. The creative process was a huge journey for me and I was adamant about putting out a body of work that would make people feel, think and mould different realities together. To open listeners up to new ideas and ways of being, no matter what context it was listened to in.
Can you tell us a little bit about your studio setup? What equipment did you use to make the album?
I am not a rich man and music is no hobby of mine. Music is my life. I am a multi-instrumentalist and experimentalist, living this life to experience every possible compound in this art-form and science of music. I’ve had many studio spaces over the last 21 years. I don't have a lot of synths, but I always have instruments, kit, stringed instruments, percussion, microphones, a loop station and midi instruments all plugged into a mixer ready to go.
Feng shui is important for me – I always have my chair and work station positioned so I can see the doorway, to save me turning away from my creative process if someone comes in. I like to have salt lamps and warm colours around me. I've also become very conscious of anything being in the studio that may not have the right energy, to keep the space safe, energetically sound and purely in the right light of what it's all about – making music.
How do your ideas for tracks manifest themselves? Do you draw inspiration from everyday life? Or do you have to be noodling in the studio for an idea to present itself?
Everyday life inspires me, then I get the urge to get in the studio and noodle. Depending on the magnitude of the idea and my schedule, then I may start rescheduling and cancelling plans and appointments and making those sacred sacrifices in order to clarify my dedication to the craft. I have to hit the groove running when the epiphanies arrive!
"Life is like a bridge. There is a pivotal moment where you cross it and everything changes for good."
I would say I'm a collage artist - obsessed with meshing together many different elements from different walks of life, cultures and experiences. Each micro sample, no matter how small, carries with it an energy that tells a story of the time and place from when it was recorded. Whether the listener is conscious of it or not, their soul will still likely receive and carry that energy and use it to discover and align with the universe. It has great power to heal and grow.
Does the music making process come easy to you? For many artists – regardless of their field – the creative process either flows effortlessly or takes a lot of work.
I try to let it ride on the natural path because it's got to feel right inside. If it’s not flowing, then it's a sign to fulfil another aspect of life and let the ideas sit for a while and mould together. Then you can be ready for flowing, glowing, creation sessions. Sometimes the challenging part is the things I have to overcome in the digital world - the process of going back over my creations after conversations with my mentors. They will give me different pieces of advice, then I have to go back to my raw, grassroots way of making music and modify it with new skills and techniques. Although it's rewarding, sometimes it's hard for me to compute changing the way I am and manipulating sound through technology.
How did you approach the vocals on the album? Are they sampled or live vocal recordings?
Part of my journey in this album was going back to my roots as a singer/songwriter and bringing my singing voice more into the project. It has definitely opened a door back into this kind of song writing again. With this project and my latest music, I have incorporated my own vocals even more and taken things to new and exciting places.
The other vocals featured on this album were from my ex-girlfriend, who was writing a psychotherapy thesis in the other room. She came into the studio and read a passage from her thesis while I was writing a tune. It was magic alchemy.
Another was my beautiful friend Emzi. She had written a beautiful passage for her sister whom she lost to cancer. I also produced a special, private piece of music for her and her family, which had a recording of her sister and poems for her. It was such a deep and powerful experience to use the power of music to dedicate a song to someone’s life and their essence. There was a particular part that really shone for me, so I had Emzi's blessing to include it on the album.
What did you learn about yourself as a person or musician while making The Bridge?
That life is like a bridge. There is a pivotal moment where you cross it and everything changes for good - you live your ultimate reality and life’s purpose. It’s not easy crossing the bridge, but manifesting and building your ultimate reality before you get there is half the fun and it makes it even better on the other side.
What can we expect at your upcoming Tempo Comodo gig? Will it be a DJ set, live set, or hybrid?
I will be performing a live set and a separate DJ set. I’m looking forward to adding and manipulating tracks from the album, along with some brand-new material fresh out the studio.
Timmus plays Tempo Comodo on Thursday 31 August as part of his The Bridge album tour. Support comes from Phil Smart and Neeco. More info here.