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MORPHEUS MUSIC INTERVIEW - CHAD KETTERING

16.07.15 - on release of Pathways

 
   

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Q: How did you first get into music?  

My first involvement in music was as a professional classical musician. I played trumpet in several orchestras throughout Texas and Colorado. But it was an electronic music course that I took while obtaining my degree in music at Baylor University that opened my ears to this way of creating sound. Shortly after taking that course I discovered the world of ambient music. This discovery was the genesis to the music I create today.

  Q: What would you say defines the musical vision of Chad Kettering as contained in your three recent albums?  

I tend to gravitate towards music that feels grandiose and expansive. Something that creates a feeling of awe and beauty, much like stargazing. My first album Into the Infinite was an internal journey. The second album Voices of the Ancients was focussed on the metaphysical power of the desert southwest. Pathways is about the actual journey of living life.

       
     
Q: How did the current album Pathways emerge?  

Pathways emerged from a sense of positive energy in life. I wanted to create music that was uplifting, inspiring, melodic, and fun to listen to. I didn't want the album to be as abstract as my other works. Most of the inspiration for the album came from my wife Kari. We first met just as I began work on Pathways and she has been a huge influence all the way to its completion.

  Q: Would you say that you wanted to develop a certain aspect of your sound/vision with this album?  

Definitely! I became quite excited at the idea of merging orchestral instrumentation with the electronic world. I loved how this combination would energize the epic feeling of the music.

         

Q:  Can you tell us something about the techniques you employ to record your music?

 

My studio has evolved towards a more minimal setup over the years. I used to have a lot of hardware but now I do nearly everything in the computer. My ideas usually begin with a thought or feeling. I tend to write in words what I want a song to express. From there I begin recording each part one phrase at a time. This process builds and evolves all the way to the completion of the mix. I tend to work slow as it takes me about a month to write, record and mix a song. The songs on Pathways were the most challenging for me to work on. They involved structured melodies and phrasing along with highly complex layering between acoustic, orchestral and electronic instrumentation.

  Q: The album does has a very dramatic, epic nature in places - was this something that you found came naturally or did you have to work hard to build this?   Dramatic and epic sound design, while not easy, I tend to gravitate towards creating. I love films with huge expansive scenes. From 2001 to Baraka, Star Wars, and other great movies, I like to create sounds that exude this epic feeling.

 

         
 
     
Q: How did you work with artist Michal Karcz to develop suitable artwork for this release?
  Michal was always my first choice for the artwork. I knew that to capture the vision I had for the cover and for it to reflect the epic nature of the music, he was the only artist that I knew that could pull it off. And Michal is a huge fan of ambient music! I started by sending Michal a very crude drawing I made as a general idea for the cover design. His first draft design blew me away! Absolutely incredible. We would fine tune the artwork over many weeks until obtaining the final design. At first I only intended to release a two panel insert for a jewel case CD. But Michal kept sending me other ideas for the album artwork that I could not ignore. This lead me to decide on a 6 panel digipack CD. The final CD layout is stunning and of very high quality.   Q:  Now that the music is complete - are you able to listen to it without still needing to assess it as a writer? If so what reactions does it produce in you?   I am! This is a first for me as I tend to be very critical of my own work. I spent so much time tweaking every minutia of detail in its production that I feel I have left no stone unturned. Every song underwent so much scrutiny that I feel very satisfied with the results. When I listen to it now I wonder how I ever completed it given its complexity and scope. I am very excited to reach this point and can now share this new music.


         

Q: What are you hoping for regarding your next musical venture?

  I do have ideas for a next album. Right now I am taking a break from the studio and spending more of my time marketing and promoting Pathways. I fascinated by exploring more acoustic ideas with my wife's cello playing. If the existing songs in Pathways that feature her playing truly resonate with fans, I will continue developing these new ideas. I also want to do more long form ambient works that are purely electronic but created in a more live, organic and less computer oriented way. Minimal MIDI, minimal software.

 

       
         

Thanks to Chad for allowing us that interview.

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