Okay let's start the interview by asking you what direction you see this project going in?
As a producer, I’m still relatively new, so I’m still learning new skills and techniques and finding out what I can get out stylistically. As my skills have progressed, I’m finding it easier to put my ideas into the actual creation, get what’s in my head out there. I’m still a long way off being pro though.
When did you start making your own music and what influenced you the most to create electronic music?
I started making my own music really young, I got my first keyboard when i was about 5 or 6, but only really started taking writing music seriously when I learned to play guitar. The Electroclash scene was my introduction to electronic music, stuff like Adult., Fischerspooner and really early LCD Soundsystem, but it was when I got into Goldfrapp and discovered Depeche Mode that I really started thinking, hey I wanna do something like this. Then, later I got into goth, which lead to industrial and eventually witch house. Man, I got some demos that no ones ever gonna hear haha.
What was the first official track you released for this project? And how do you feel you have grown as an artist since then?
‘Eulogy’ was the first track I felt happy enough with to share with the public. I played around with some other ideas before then, but didn’t know how to get the sounds to work. I think I’m growing steadily. Last year I lost a lot of focus, so that’s something I’m only now getting back, it’s nice to be in the same frame of mind as when I made the ‘MMXII/End Of The World’ album. I was very focused and really enjoying making the music and I think that came across, even though it’s a very dark album. So it’s nice to feel that enjoyment making music again. That, for me, is the most important thing.
Are there any styles of music or artists that you strongly dislike or vibes that you just don’t enjoy?
I’ve never been big on really heavy stuff or fast paced music, like the extreme end of metal or whatever, though I do dig some of it, but more the melancholy side like My Dying Bride or Type O Negative, I used to love them. Basically, I’m not into things that are too aggressive. I like chilled stuff, but with a deep darkness to it.
You did have a moment there when you wanted to create a whole new identity for your work but then you seemed to have a change of mind about it. What made you not want to just stick with your original alias??
Like I say, last year I lost a lot of focus. I really didn’t know what I wanted from the music and I ended up very depressed. Mostly due to outside influence in my personal life. Sometimes that can be a good catalyst for creativity, but it just seemed to stifle my growth. In hindsight, I should have taken a year off, but I’m glad people still liked what I did put out. A very important aspect for me, is to constantly push yourself and just see how far you can take it. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need more than one project for all my ideas, I don’t want Okkvlt Katt to come across as having an identity crisis.
How do you feel the scene has changed over the past couple years and what do you think is having the most influence on the direction it is taking?
I personally think it’s much more focused now. You’re always gonna get sound a likes and stuff, that’s just the way it goes. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, it shows respect and inspiration from the more established artists around, while newer artists are finding their own vibe. The Russian scene is extremely influential to me, they seemed to have just ‘got’ what it’s about and harnessed it, given it structure and added extra life to the sound and overall image. I really like the Russian scene right now.
What inspires you in your work the most, things like other music, visual art and writing or do you get it mostly from your own personal experiences?
Bit of all of that really. Mostly emotions, but imagery definitely plays a part. I like drawing from otherworldly vibes, like meditation music sometimes, but also bands like Cocteau Twins, who I’ve loved for years. As far as a technical approach goes, I usually draw from other producers in the way that I wanna know how they got that kick or that synth to sound like that and try to emulate it, but with my own vibe added. So, as far as being influenced by other producers, yeeh to a point, but it’s mostly drawing from my surroundings.
You are inspired by an other worldly vibes do you mean in a spiritual sense?
I’ve always had an interest in Paganism, Native American philosophy and I studied Buddhism when I was younger. Even though I wouldn’t say I’m particularly religious at all. I’ve meditated since around the age of 12 or 13, so I think it’s had a strong influence on the way I view things.
What is your current location and how much does it have influence on your work??
Right now, I’m living on the outskirts of London, UK, in the quiet ‘burbs of Hertfordshire. Now that I’m focused on what I want from Okkvlt Katt, I’m thinking much more about how my town influences me. It’s pretty much a typical modern UK suburb where there’s nothing for young people to do and businesses are struggling, pretty apocalyptic stuff, very dark vibes. So it definitely has an influence on the mood I try to create.
What have been some high points for you in the past while and things that have made you feel inspired and appreciated for the work you do?
It’s always good when you get feedback, either positive or negative, although I don’t view it as negative, more constructive criticism. It’s fascinating to see how others view what you do and how they relate. Also when people who listen to your music do something like make a video for a track, like what happened with ‘Life After Life’ recently. They don’t have to do that and I never asked them to, so it’s really heartwarming that your music has that affect. Maybe I’m thinking too much on it, I don’t know, but I appreciate it. One of the main high points is all the people I’ve met in the witch house scene. Everyone is so supportive, I really haven’t met anyone who has a negative impact at all.
Are there any other artists or people who have supported your work along the way that you would like to give a shout-out to?
Definitely, ViatataiV has been amazing over the past two years. I’m still pretty new to the whole producing thing, so I’m still learning and he’s taught me so much and constantly helps. I love that guy haha. Toby Borrow and Ryan Knowles of Witchmasterz Audio, Jake from Sidewalks And Skeletons too, he’s just a cool dude, but everyone knows that. More recently I’ve become good friends with Denzi Suarez from Tenebrae and Jared Cormie who runs the Nightmares And 808’s YouTube channel, they’re like brothers to me now. Also, Chris Lacroix from Apollyons Visage and Niko from Corvus Cornix, BlvrDeBlvrp and Insidious Ghost have been massive for me too, so big love to all of them. Man, they’re just too many, I don’t wanna leave anyone out, but this will end up reading like an acceptance speech haha. But, I think most importantly, I wanna say a big thanks to everyone who has listened to my music and followed me, it really means alot that they dig what I do and I’m forever grateful.
Tell us a bit about what you have been working on in the past while with SPH3R3S and about your newest release Spirit Box II?
I’m still growing and trying new techniques, so I have no idea where I’ll be in a year for example, but for now, I’m just focused on enjoying making music and we’ll see where it leads. Sph3r3s will represent my more chilled, ethereal way of producing and I’ll play with live vocals. I love listening to music like Clannad, Sigur Ros and Bjork, so they are a big influence on where the Sph3r3s sound is right now. Okkvlt Katt will stay more or less how it always has been, just growing in quality I hope. Spirit Box II is a special album for me, even though there was still an element of not being fully focused on it. I see it as a marker, end of Chapter 1. I’m excited to see how it goes from here.
† mike fleming // LDN †
Links:https://soundcloud.com/okkvltkatt // http://okkvltkatt.bandcamp.com // https://twitter.com/OkkvltKatt