With a deep passion for storytelling, up and coming electronic music producer Psolkaiyn has been busy creating a number of unique and interesting pieces. His music focuses on themes of fear and he utilizes musical elements expertly to communicate this ominous sense of dread. With a recently released EP and plenty of new music on the way, Psolkaiyn is one of electronic music’s most promising new artists.
Hi Psolkaiyn, can you begin by telling us about yourself and what you do?
Heyo and hello to any readers out there. For those curious, my pseudonym can simply be pronounced as sole-cane. It’s a weird spelling, but I think it looks cool. That’s how it’s done, so I’ve heard. On topic, the first thing I’d like to say is I love creating stories. I’ve used several mediums to do this but instrumental music is the one I use most commonly, with writing coming in at a close second, though I have no prose published as of yet. I love reading fantasy novels and listening to inspiring music and doing so drives me to make my own. Currently, I have a full time warehouse job, which is a little grueling. It does pay, though. All things to the plan, I won’t need to work there forever. However, with this as it is now, I have only a little free time to spend where I am not already exhausted. Quitting to focus on my craft has been on my mind for a long time, but I know I still have more to grow in skill and presence before that becomes a real option. That is the eventual goal, though.
Has music always been what you wanted to do?
Ah, no, actually. I’ve always loved music and reading, but throughout my entire schooling, K through High, I always thought I was going to be some kind of engineer. Probably in the robotics or biomedical field. It wasn’t until after I had graduated high school and begun experimenting with writing and music production that I decided that, yup, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I fell in love with the creative process and eventual results of my work, raw and uncut, as they were. It was a bit of a paradigm shift, if you ask me.
How did you become inspired to start releasing your own songs?
Well, I’ve a strong conflict of emotion on the subject of releasing my music, or any of my creations, really. On one hand, I get really excited to share them with everyone I meet to see what they think. I crave honest, personal, educated critique. Receiving and implementing changes based on them is the most efficient way to grow in skill. On the other hand, sharing my work with the harsh world out there is a very scary thing. Having a fanbase, as is necessary in a career of music production, is very scary as well. I obviously don’t have one yet, but I imagine it adds some significant pressure. In the end, it was more of a business decision for me. If I want music to be the thing that I spend my precious time on, or in other words, my business, then I need to get my name and my music out there. I can’t be keeping it only to myself, with the addition of those choice few around me who I’m brave enough to show it to.
How would you describe the style of music you make?
Hmm. I’d say it’s a fusion of two main things. Electronic drum ‘n bass and epic cinematic orchestra. Maybe with some metal elements. My father is a metal-head, so I come by it honestly. It’s dark and maybe pessimistic. Perhaps it can be considered spooky at some places. The song structures are not conventional, as I feel the whole intro-(verse-chorus)x2-breakdown…etc pattern, which is common, wasn’t conducive to telling an evolving and climactic story. If you’re into music theory at all, you could say my music is very minor-y. Happy harmonies are rare and are mostly included to give me and any other listeners a little respite or change of pace. It can also enhance the impact of the darker parts when done correctly.
Congratulations on the release of your EP Fail the World! What was the main inspiration behind this project?
First and foremost, the foreboding feeling of future failure. Ha, alliteration. Fun stuff. Anyway, yeah. Fear. That feeling I sometimes have in my dreams where I’m running away from something I can’t see, but I can feel and hear that it’s huge and it’s coming for me. Those dreams kinda suck, by the way. There were other sources of inspiration too, of course. One of which is simply the work of several amazing artists, whose work I admire. I’ve been listening to the work of many talented people all my life and I wished to try to emulate them as best I could. I tried to incorporate different pieces of each in my music to create my own style, which is really an amalgamation of pieces of theirs. I think all artists are like that, to a degree.
What was your process for creating these songs?
All of my songs start with fiddling with some kind of musical … thing. That could be a piano (which I will note, I have very little skill with), a guitar (same note), a virtual synthesizer, or even just my fingers tapping on a table. Many drum patterns have come from that last one, though, for melodies, a piano is my weapon of choice. From there I paint it into my DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice, LMMS for now ‘cause free is a great price. I draw it in, note by note, beat by beat, using a mouse. I have done no direct recording of myself playing for my currently published work, though I’m planning to in future projects. After I get a finished melody or chord loop in, I begin searching for sounds and instruments which fit the theme I’m going for, though that theme is rather loose at this point. I have a few favorites which I come back to with some consistency.
After I find some suitable sounds, I expand my melodic loop into a real song, complete with all the dips and peaks that comes with. This step is where my inner storyteller comes out to play, influencing every decision and whim. It’s sort of magical, in a way, though I can tell my musical wizarding skills could use some more refining and practice. Always, there will be room to grow. After all the pieces are in place, I add effects, like risers, crashes, and other more unusual things to enhance the mood and highlight transitions.
Then comes the mixing and mastering. In this step, I try my best to make the things I want to stand out, do so. I’m still working on that part, honestly. It’s not quite as simple as increasing and decreasing the volume of different pieces, as I’ve learned. I don’t really know what I’m doing yet, but I’m consuming tutorials on the subject and searching out other sources of knowledge at a voracious rate. Hopefully, I’ll have it pinned down a little more securely in my next releases.
That’s pretty much it for my process. Not very complex, honestly.
If you could collaborate with any artists who would they be?
Okay. This is a big question. Wow.
The first one that comes to mind is Protostar. I love his style. He knows how to make things punch. I have the majority of his songs in my expansive and expanding library. From the little I’ve heard of him as a person, he also just seems like a cool guy. The rest of the people I’ll be mentioning here, I’m judging purely on their music. Rule of Two and Righten also come to mind. They produce electronic music with cinematic qualities as well, though they don’t lean so heavily into orchestral aspects as I. Infected Mushroom is a big one. They’ve had a huge influence on my style. They have a knack for making complex music which I can listen to relatively often. On an intellectual level, I get bored of most given songs very quickly, so I must save only ones which take longer to learn and explore.
Anyway, a few other notable artists I’d like to collaborate with some day are Vexare, Panda Eyes, and Noisia. Vexare, in particular, currently holds the title for making my most favorite song. He’s a small artist who honestly deserves more love in my opinion. His song, The Clockmaker, is the favorite piece I’m referring to. It’s brilliant. He hasn’t released anything in a while, though. I wonder what happened to him.
Can we expect new music from you soon?
That depends on your timescale. If soon means in a week or two, then no. However, if soon means within a few months, then yes. So long as I can avoid any potential disasters which result in my death or any other unfortunate states of being. As I’ve mentioned previously, due to my job, free time is a limited resource. On top of that, my family takes chunks out when I least expect. However, I have two songs nearly finished and several more with strong starts. It may be sooner if I decide to release singles, but I think I prefer to work in small batches of three to nine. I think, I’m similar to most other electronic music producers in that sense. Also, odd numbers are better and I can’t be convinced otherwise.