_________________________________________________________________ || | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | ||| | ||| | | || ||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|||_|_|||_|_|_|| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_| Siick Ascii art by Dan and Prue. MESS legends 2023.

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Sofie Birch

International Artist in Residence – July 2023

Ambient music artist Sofie Birch shares her creative process, from her love of nature’s sounds to the spiritual practices that inspire her work.

How did you first get involved with synths and electronic sound?

I studied sound design at a college in Denmark, because my approach and interest in to music goes through the quality of sound – textures, flavours and combinations.

How would you describe the sounds you make today?

I always aim to find soothing sounds. Soft and dusty sounds. Rusty sounds, or very rounded and clear sounds. A combination of loose technical connections and crystal clear bells.

Where do you find inspiration, what motivates you?

Birds always open my ears and my creativity. Even in the cities I’m connected with nature through birds. Where there are birds, there is a tree, and there I go. I’m motivated by spiritual practices, such as yoga and journaling. This is how I connect with myself, and find inspiration to produce.

Producing is a huge part of my life. This is how I escape my deep inner life and manifest into the world. I have a huge need to manifest and create. But also, when I listen to music that touches me, and I get the feeling I want to express the same in my own way. I’m never afraid of getting inspired or “copy” others music. Because it will always be something else once it went through me.

What’s been one of the most rewarding or satisfying moments of your journey so far?

Recently I started producing music with my brother. He is 13 years younger than me, so we never really shared our childhood. When we first sat and really opened up to the creative process around music together, true magic happened. It was an epiphany. A big opening into something very golden. We have the same language when it comes to sound. And the same approach to creating. The same tempo and taste. It is a feeling of being a creature with four ears when we produce together. So intuitive and extraordinary fun. We laugh and produce and laugh and record, and out comes music. Looking forward to releasing my next album and tell the world about my brother.

And the most challenging?

It is challenging to be in the process of making a new album. There are lows. And long periods where nothing is produced. But to be honest, I really learned to go through these periods with gratitude, and I spend my time on other things instead. To me my spiritual practices are completely interweaved with the process of creating, so I need just as much time to go on adventures, as I need to convert them into sound.

Do you have a current ‘go to’ set up at MESS? Any favourite machines or combos that you’re currently digging?

I brought a lot of my album sketches to the studio here, and focused on filling out gabs or producing extra layers to existing tracks. I must say, it is a huge experience for me to work on the Novachord. The simplicity and the romantic sound is really something for me. Not too many knobs, no bullshit.

Are there any machines in the MESS collection you’ve had your eye on but haven’t tried yet?

I’m always looking at all the modular setups with a big frightened guilty gaze, and then I hurry on to find another synth instead. I never used a modular synth in my whole life. I’m a real preset girl! And I love coincidences. Presets, coincidences and combinations are my keywords. And if I can add three more; choice, taste and intention. The only thing I care about when I work is the quality of the sound, the work flow, my mindset and activeness. As soon as I don’t find myself joyful or stimulated, I turn off and head out in the light. This is also why the last part of the process of making an album is the most challenging for me. The part where you have to listen again and again and make very small changes. I prefer to do this along with the production to save myself from a too heavy mix-phase.

So back to the question, yes there are, but I am totally fine with few I ended up using (CS-80, DX1, Prophet VS and Novacord).

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you first started what would it be?

Do only the sounds you dig, and then fuck the rules about producing (once you’ve learned to translate your ideas into sound).

Connect with Sofie