T.H.E Interview – Nej!las


Nej!las has impressed with her newest release ‘Event Horizon’. With positive reviews all round, her intricate and futuristic sound has had a lasting effect on many, and there is a great hype around the young producer’s next movements already.

We caught up with her to explore how she made the release and learn some behind the scenes details!

T.H.E – So – can you sum up the inspiration behind the name and why you chose it?

Nej!las – Both tracks include tempo changes that drop the song into a very Techno vibe. You can really hear this with the track “Transfixed”. It’s as if you’re listening along to the song and getting immersed in the world the track is creating for you. ‘The Event Horizon’ can very much be seen as the tempo change drop – drawing the listener in closer to this world – and when the Techno starts and the song changes genres, one is very much through the event horizon in a Techno-esque black hole.

T.H.E – It’s a really special release which has been received very well; do you think it’s a sign of things to come in the future for you?

Nej!las – I hope so. nej!las is definitely taking a turn and focusing more on Techno. I want my music to be “alive”, always changing and morphing into something new and creative. I want to continue to innovate and bring original music into the traditional “Techno” genre. I want to create a niche of original, harmonic, progressive, Techno songs.

T.H.E – Do you have any particular influences you think are noticeable in this release?

Nej!las – For ‘Transfixed’, the Techno middle was very much influenced by “Neverdeader” (feat. Brooks) by BlackGummy. I think this song is genius. The BPM change in the middle moves one to the core. It’s very cool. A really creative way of changing up a song. You can definitely see elements of “Neverdeader” in Transfixed!

For ‘Harder Than Steel’, you can hear traces of “Conduction (Santiago & Bushido’s Remix)” by Johnny Fiasco. I love this song; it’s what I think of when I think of Techno. It’s fun, it gets one to move, and it’s a good example of original production. There is a simple melody that carries it all the way through the song that just gets you to move. The innovation comes through changes. I hope one feels this way when listening to ‘Harder Than Steel’!

Overall, the entire modern Techno genre is super inspiring, as the tracks have the ability (and even the requirement) to make, not only harmonic melodies and bass lines, but to additionally have percussion and drums that could, by themselves, carry a song. Techno pushes the envelope by requiring and allowing for creativity in all areas of a song. It requires one to constantly innovate and come up with new, original, creations and techniques applied to the production.

T.H.E – How long did it take to complete the tracks from start to finish?

Nej!las – ‘Harder Than Steel’ took over a year. It was a completely different song that I worked on for months. There was something about it that just wasn’t enough. I then came across some great vocals, which I thought I could incorporate into the production. I completely scrapped the originally concept and worked with the MIDI data to make something completely new, incorporating the lyrics.

‘Transfixed’, thankfully, didn’t take as long. It started out as two different songs, which might be apparent when listening to it. The Intro/Outro have a very Trance/Progressive vibe, while about 3mins of the middle just screams Techno. I took these two songs and combined them together into what is now ‘Transfixed’. Very cross-genre, I know… but who needs boundaries and labels?

T.H.E – Are you working on new music for us now?

Nej!las – Yes! I have a 3-track EP already lined up and ready to go…. nej!las fans are in for a treat with this one. I’m so excited and proud to have the world listening to what I’ve been working on. If you think “The Event Horizon” is good… wait till you hear this next one! So. Excited.

T.H.E – Was there a specific moment you knew the tracks were finished, or was it a slow burner that took a lot of time to perfect?

Nej!las – Very slow! I mean, ‘Harder than Steel’ took over a year, and ‘Transfixed’ was originally two different songs!

T.H.E – Do you have a method to starting tracks and were these unique or similar to usual?

Nej!las – I create two different live sets.

The first live set – the “progressive, melodic set” focuses on the harmonic elements. This set, by itself, would be categorized as “progressive” music. I spend days creating and manipulating analogs, wavetables, and filters in order to find a unique synth sound. I tend to favour almost a guitar-like synth – overdriven and raw. I then, likewise, formulate an “opposite” synth that it sweet and melodic – as if it could lead a progressive/chillout song. This synth tends to be a string or rubber instrument. I then spend additional days writing, rewriting, and rearranging midi data and arpeggiating it. With all the variations of synths and midi, I usually have enough sounds and tracks to form an entire arrangement. This is the next step, to formulate all the melodies into an arrangement of a harmonic song from an intro to an outro.

The second set – the “Techno” set focuses solely on drums and percussion. I likewise arrange a very heavy techno arrangement from an intro to an outro. Hardware, like the Alesis SamplePad 4, is very useful to continue to create original midi data, or even audio samples, for percussion. I want this second set to be able to stand alone as a song without bass or melodies.
In the end, I combine the two sets that could, by themselves, be sufficient for a song, into one set that has movement and free flowing segments. I arrange the set to make it play as if I were playing it live. I even record all the modulations and envelopes from a MIDI controller (the AKAI MPC40) as if I were performing it live. This “live performance” of the song becomes the final track.
Both ‘Transfixed’ and ‘Harder Than Steel’ are unique, as both of them are completely different beasts than what they were when the concept was first produced.

T.H.E – Finally, where can we get our hands on the tunes?

Nej!las – The Event Horizon is out everywhere digitally! Download it here.

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