The German producer de Antiquis et Novis has created a great chillout album, which has been published just in time for the summer holidays. Any of the songs on this album may easily become someone’s vital chilling tune, but the entire album is great.
There are additional radio-friendly versions of “Deep Blue Ocean,” “Bruises,” and “What Do You Do” on the CD. While designed to fit into the limited airtime, these four may also fit into the schedule of a very busy person looking for a calming song that is also conventionally short. There’s also a fantastic remix of “Calm” by Loyd Ink.
The final two songs have a deeper meaning. “Hold On To Your Dreams” is a peaceful and encouraging song that was written for a girl who was going through a difficult time. The song, like its title, offers cheerful and shimmering melodies that bring tranquility to one’s mind and allow one relax just a little to see things more clearly. The final song delves deeper into the darkest aspect of relationships, with whispery voices declaring “I bruise and I break.” It’s the title song of a woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship but refuses to escape, drawn to the love offered by the other side.
Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: I come from a very musical family. My father played the violin, my mother the organ and my brother plays guitar. In fact my grandfather was a master pipe organ builder and I loved being with him in his workshop. Music was all around me since I was born. And when none of the family members played music then we either listened to the radio or my brother and father build music equipment like electronic organs, amplifiers and guitar effects. The combination of electronic and music was there from the very beginning. So it does not come to a surprise that I have built my first modular synthesiser myself from a DYI kit when I was 14. It was a modular system called Formant. I still have it and it still works!
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: I had an organ teacher when I was seven or eight years old, but really did not enjoy learning music that way. Especially because of the pieces I had to play. They were all very antiquated. Plus my organ teacher hated it when I memorised the song after playing it once. So then I quit and taught myself by listening to records and playing along with them.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS’?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: I grew up in the 60s and 70s and there was so much music going on! The record which really inspired me to play electronic music was “Switched On Bach” by Wendy Carlos. My brother brought the vinyl home one day and I never stopped listening to it for days. Not only was it Bach, which I knew from the organ music, but it was the combination with the mighty Moog Modular System which totally blew me away. I then spent almost every buck on new records. After school I would go to the record store and listen to Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, Tomita and many other electronic artists. Later I added ProgRock to my list of influences. Saga from Canada really stood out for me because of their use of a massive array of synthesisers which defined their sound. But also Pink Floyd had a great influence, with “Dark Side of the Moon” still being one of my favourite albums. Last but not least Manfred Mann with his experimental sound designs and the fantastic solos on the Minimoog. Today I am influenced by the amazing Christopher von Deylen and his project Schiller, as well as acts like Blank & Jones, Yello and Nigel Stanford.
The project name “De Antiquis Et Novis” is latin for “from old and new” and it stands for me being inspired by old and new musical influences as well as using vintage synthesisers to very new ones, combining their sounds to vast soundscapes.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: It is always difficult to describe ones own music, but someone once said that I create many memorable moments by offering different timbres of smooth sounding sound waves. And this describes it quite well. I want my listeners to feel the music and that it creates a positive sensation in them. My current album Afterglow is focussed on bringing calming and relaxing music to my fans. And a lot of the feedback I get is exactly into that direction. It makes me happy when fans say that they use my music to calm down after a stressful day or that they love listening to it while driving in their car. Key elements of my sound are mellow synthesiser landscapes, combined with modern beats and ethereal female voices.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: Phew, that is a difficult one! When all the terrible things happened to George Floyd and other people of color in the US I felt very sad about it and spontaneously covered the song “Seven Seconds” by Neneh Cherry, together with some of my musical friends, because we all had the feeling that all that was going on was so wrong and we needed to speak up about it. The video is still up on my YouTube channel by the way. Unless I feel super strong about political issues I would not let politics influence my music. There is so much bad shit going on in this world, and I hope my music helps easing the mind of the people being impacted. For example It makes me very happy that many of my fans actually come from Ukraine and that they regularly listen to my songs – even now with the war raging in their country. I hope my music helps them to have some happy moments in all this craziness.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: It makes me proud to see that people regularly listen to my music on Spotify, Tidal or YouTube. Having thousands of streams per month really fulfils me. Luckily I have a daytime job which pays my bills, because income from streaming is currently not able to do that -(laughs)! Every artist wants more fans and listeners and I am not an exception to that, but knowing that fans love my music and word of mouth adds fans is a great feeling!
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: I often start by sitting down on one of my synths searching for new sounds. And when a sound really captures my mind my fingers start to play. I then either note down the chords or immediately record the MIDI information in my DAW. Then I build on top of that. I regularly use the Live Loops feature of Logic Pro to record sequences, moving them around and trying out various parts. Then, once the song sequence is clear I record the loops into separate tracks. I might change synth voices along the way, or add additional tracks. And if I have the feeling that I need a piano or a guitar then I reach out to friends and family and they are usually happy to contribute. You can hear my brother Edi playing guitar on the song Calm. My friend and ex band mate Tom Stroeter contributed the piano parts on the song “Afterglow”. My son Nat who lives in Thailand is an awesome guitarist and he played all guitars on the song “Apollo – The Journey”, which can be found on my previous album “Moon”. Check it our on my YouTube!
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: When my mother died, back in 2003. My family and I spend a week at her bed in the hospital and it was so hard and sad to see her slowly fade away. The picture of her closing her eyes for the last time is still in my mind today. Shortly after I wrote the song “Requiem” in her honour and memory. Every-time I listen to it the memories come back, but in a good way, because I also remember what she did for me and our family.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
DE ANTIQUIS ET NOVIS: For me it was very significant to go back to working in the studio, finding my own sound and to actually start producing and releasing music on a regular base. This has always been my dream!
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Photo credits: Adobe / Glebstock