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Exclusive Interview With Axel Thesleff

With his latest single, ‘Find My Way’ out now. We got the chance to talk to Axel Thesleff about the sound he brings, what his influences are and what he has in the pipeline for 2020

For our readers, break down who Axel Thesleff is

I’m an electronic music producer and musician from Helsinki, Finland. My main instrument is piano which I’ve been playing since I was 9 years old. I’ve been influenced by many different genres over the years, from progressive and alternative rock, jazz, classical, to world music, electronica, edm, trap and ambient. I’m always experimenting with different styles and sounds and not locked inside any specific genre.

Can you describe your sound in 5 words?

Melodic, Harmonic, Bass, Multi-Dimensional, Flow.

What got you into music production?

I started out making songs with Guitar Pro when I was a kid. It was the most exciting thing to do for me. Guitar Pro is a notation software that plays back your notation in generic MIDI sounds. So it was not about sound design at all at that point, just about composing. After that, I made a lot of music with a Korg TR keyboard that had a sequencer in it. With that keyboard, I could learn about sound design a little bit. After that, I finally discovered the PC and what you could do with Ableton and it opened up a completely new world for me.

Absolutely love the sound from your latest single, ‘Find My Way’ how did this one come about? The vocals on this are soooo catchy!

I wanted to create something powerful to elevate my mood. I started searching for stock vocals from different sources and editing them to fit what I was looking for. After that, I started designing layers of synths and drums and other sounds to create the underlying song and structure. I was after something slow-moving and epic to give the song an empowering effect. I played many of the parts in with a keyboard and a mini glockenspiel for an organic feel and the rest was sequenced in Ableton.

Listening to your past project ‘Two Worlds EP’, we like the different vibes you brought to that project. What is your favourite Axel track?

The Two Worlds project is very dear to me, glad to hear you enjoyed it! I don’t have any favourite songs of mine, they’re like children to me. Every song has a different personality and is made with a different concept. It depends what you’re in the mood for.

What are your favourite non Axel produced tracks?

Again there are no absolutes and it depends on the moment, I listen to so many types of music. That being said here are off the top of my head some of my favourites from different genres over the years: Yes – Close To The Edge, Pink Floyd – Sine On You Crazy Diamond, Burial – Untrue, Radiohead – Idioteque, Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Storm, Sam Gellaitry – Dreamscapes, Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air.

What production software do you use in the studio?

I use mainly Ableton Live and a whole lot of plugins. I use a lot of Universal Audio plugins that model classic hardware gear to give an analog feel to the electronic sound.

Dream festival / event to perform at?

There’s a great festival called Flow Festival here in Helsinki that I go to almost every year. I’ve got lots of good memories from that festival but have never played there yet. It would mean a lot to me personally to perform there sometime.

Who would you love to do a collaboration project with?

Would love to do some post-rock influenced music with San Holo someday, I think we both have a similar appreciation for that kind of style in an electronic context.

What is in the pipeline for your 2020?

I’m focusing this year on the live show and a bunch of single releases. Several videos are also planned to be released during this year to accompany the songs and highlight the live aspect of the project. I’m also working on building on the live show and bringing in live interactive visuals.

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