Amandus Schaap of Equal Stones talks Self Deliverance
Today we present you an interview with Amandus Schaap, music producer and texturalist from The Netherlands and creative mind behind Equal Stones. Here he gives us some insight into the layerings of his newest EP Self Deliverance as well as pondered some deeper truths with us.
Merigold Independent: The title of the EP, Self Deliverance, brings to mind a quote I once read by Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord on his work The Desanctification in which he talks about being an orphan in the universe and having to overcome ones own self. The quote is: "Before the learning of freedom, of instinct, of pure life, this man disowns God. The Desanctification represents this precise moment of monumental solitude. God is dead (no matter), but you are still the consequence of past centuries, you are still a reaction, the slave of your thought patterns, and they create a new form of endless fear. This is The Desanctification, the distress of an orphan face to face with the morbid breath of the universe." Do you feel like there are similarities behind the concept of your EP, or am I completely off in my assumption?
Amandus Schaap: there are not really similarities between this EP and the quote which you've shared (which I think is very beautiful), there are similarities regarding to me as a person. I too, see not the relevance of a god in our universe, however such a thing could be, I'll stay agnostic in that context. As for the title itself, "Self Deliverance" is typically defined as suicide. It's a subject which doesn't influence my life in total, but upon reflecting on the music and textural atmosphere I feel hints regarding suicide out of every corner of the sound spectrum.
MI: Your previous album, Transgression, seems to touch on darker themes, but acts as a sister album to Self Deliverance regarding the realization of going from depravity (Transgression) to liberation (Self Deliverance). Are there any concepts that carry over from your last work?
AS: I always try to avoid any similarity between past work and present work. I guess the only thing that stuck with me on the more melodic side of "Self Deliverance" is the textural layering, in a sense of a drone-like way. I would describe "Transgression" as more apathetic, perhaps darker and perhaps more influenced by textures. Furthermore both records are depressive in its emotions, as far as I can see.
MI: The song For Her is quite an outstanding composition, with interacting over and undertones. It's as if two songs are interacting, or speaking to each other. What was the inspiration behind this song? And was it a complicated piece to compose?
AS: Thank you, I'm glad that you like this track. It is indeed melodically quite layered. I'll have to be honest with you and say that this wasn't intentional. Most of the time, with certain exceptions, I work on pure intuïtion. The harmonies were very naturally achieved and the piece was certainly not complicated to compose. I guess it could have been if I'd been working with the structure of the overall flow, yet instead I'd let this one flow as it came. So it was perfectly natural.
MI: What does your writing process entail? Do you find inspiration around you and then go into the studio, or do you find your inspiration while already composing?
AS: It differs. Most of my inspiration comes from music which I listen to on a daily basis, which could be Ambient/Drone, Progressive Music (mainly from the 60's and 70's), Death Metal, or even Classical. Then again during a composing process I find myself leaning towards inspirations or creative outlets which fit the building blocks I come up with. The moments I choose to discard on a project I have been working on is rare.
MI: Who are some of the artists (musical or otherwise) that inspired you?
AS: Definitely Rafael Anton Irisarri, Mamaleek, Benoit Pioulard, Bvdub, Grasslung and Belong. But also alot of music outside of the electronic genre, for instance Opeth, King Crimson and Camel.
MI: How long have you been producing music and what caused you to start?
AS: I'm not very good on reflecting on a said time, but the first record I released was together with a friend of mine in October 2012. We released the album Intersection as Myosotis together. This person (a dear friend of mine) called Evert Kramer also introduced me to the ambient world and we're still working on several projects over a longer period of time. Perhaps soon we will start sharing some interesting work. I can't say much more on that though.
MI: Do you ever perform live? How is that experience for you? Or if not, are there reasons you prefer not to?
AS: Well, no, I don't perform live. I would if I could but I don't have any experience. Also I'm very used to endlessly layering textural additives. I'm not sure if I could make this work live. I have a Prophet '08 analog synth and the possibility for electric guitar processing which I regularly use but I don't see the textures I create with VST's happening live. Perhaps sometime in the future.
MI: Is there a story behind the title Forgive Me, Forgive Yourself?
AS: Forgive Me, Forgive Yourself is a track I wrote for several people, in which I felt I have failed them and once more trying to reach out to them. Its actually not about anyone in general but it's my way of closure for a lot of friendships and hardships by delivering an emotional cool breeze to close the doors and turn the key.