I was very excited to get in touch with CINNAMON CHASERS a week ago. Cinnamon Chasers first captivated listeners with his club hit, 'Luv Deluxe', of which the music video currently has more than 2.7 million views on YouTube. I show this video to people all the time-- they are almost floored by the creativity, and the beautiful groove of the track sets the background mood perfectly.
This past year, Cinnamon Chasers has released Science, another brilliant dance record with grooving synths and big beats. He's even further remixed this record for the club scene as the Science Remixes, Pt. 1. He also exemplifies beautifully that you don't need a big analog collection, or even soft synth collection, to bring down the house. Read on below to hear about what goes on behind the scenes with Cinnamon Chasers.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got started as Cinnamon Chasers? Who are your influences?
CC: "Cinnamon Chasers came about as a way for me to express both my love of songs and of dance music. I've always grown up writing songs on the guitar, as well as at the same time going to EDM clubs in london every weekend. I wanted a music outlet where I could express both these loves and CC was the platform for this fusion. My keys music influences are infinite and varying every day, but certainly milestone artists who have influenced my music are FSOL, Moroder, Orbital, Fleetwood Mac, Pink floyd, Mylo, The Beatles, Royksopp, Morgan Geist, Vangelis, Air, Daft Punk."
What are you currently working on now? Are you touring, writing, remixing, etc?
"Yes I'm touring quite a bit. Always writing too, new songs and new dance tracks. I enjoy have lots of fresh material for gigs. Also really excited to soon go to Serbia to start filming the next Cinnamon Chasers video, we're cooking up a twisted tale."
What is your current production setup? What are your favorite synths and plugins?
"I work in cubase 5.2. I do everything entirely in software, apart from when I'm recording guitars and vocal. In my studio is my pc and midi controller keyboard, Dynaudio monitors, my electric guitar and valve microphone. It's a nice minimal setup. My favourite softsynths are Uhe Zebra, sylenth1. Both these synths are extremely versatile, have a great sound, and are very processor friendly (nothing more annoying than using a processor intensive synth that clogs up your system and hence creative flow)."
How do you typically start a track?
"I work by pursuing moods. I start out by discerning a mood, feeling and aesthetic I'd like to aim for. Then I'll lay down a basic groove so I can start jamming music ideas as quickly as possible. I like to jam most of the time and just see what comes [and] gets fired up. I'll put myself in the mood I'm aiming for and then start playing chords that fit that mood, then some melody ideas. then will jam a bassline. maybe some vocal bits on top. then I revisit the groove and fatten it up. then thrash out a quick arrangement. I don't look back or doubt my ideas much, I prefer to create a large volume of music sketches, notes and short songs, then I revisit them in a week or two (or year or two sometimes) and see which ones happen to have the strongest natural vibe and feeling to them. Then I work on the mix of those ones and reject the not so strong ideas."
In your tracks, are you building sounds from scratch, or mostly editing presets?
"Mostly from scratch. I have certain presets I use or have created which I'll use as a starting point, but there'll be a hell of a lot of tweaking and fiddling to get it right. I've got a degree in electronic engineering which helps a bit with the synth programming. I've built up quite a big library of all my own favourite sounds I've made and often refer back to those when jamming ideas down on tracks."
Do you have any tips for budding producers?
"DO NOT COPY MUSIC. BE ORIGINAL. Many producers are trying to copy the sounds they hear by other artists and this can hold back their true potential. I believe every artist has a natural talent at a certain style/genre/feeling. If you're not harmonious with your 'natural' talent then your music will be just mediocre copies. But if you let go and embrace the unique feeling inside and believe and follow through in your bizarre ideas then you'll have the best shot and making great original music that will get peoples attention. I'm still learning to hear that voice, it's there but it takes skill to communicate with it."
What are your top 5 pieces of dream gear?
"All sorts of classic analogue synths would be nice. But realistically right now I'm quite keen on getting the Arturia Origin keyboard at the moment, I like the look of the TLAUDIO Valve desk and a really high-end monitoring system like an ADAM. And of course most importantly the custom designed studio in the garden, built in beautiful pine wood and glass surrounded by woods and streams."
A garden studio sounds awesome. Would you say nature is a big influence on your work? Your artwork certainly contains many pictures of space, I've noticed.
"Well I like a nice ambiance when producing music, somewhere where I can really chill and write. A nice studio in lush surroundings like in woods and nature would be a rather pleasant experience indeed. And space, well yes what is there not to love about space, galaxies, other worlds.. How about a studio in a space ship flying through some fluro cosmos, that would be pretty sweet."
A couple of months ago, you put out a remix EP of your last record, Science. Are these EP remixes yours? Tell me a bit about how this idea came about. "
Yep these mixes are all done by me. The idea was basically to create mixes which are for the club, as the album was more 'albumy'.. I like to play harder and more spaced out mixes in my club sets."
Your soundcloud lists that you've remixed other classic tracks by artists like Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and Tears for Fears. What is it like to remix such famous artists? How do you approach a remix for someone like that?
"Yes I've remixes all those guys this year, we're still waiting to release the mixes tho. I just wanted to remix tracks I loved as a kid and had loads of fun doing it, they are bootlegs. just looking forward to getting them out there."
And lastly, do you still talk to the cutie from the Luv Deluxe video?
"So do you want me to setup a date for you?"
Thanks for joining me, Cinnamon Chasers.