I have never met George ‘Embryonik’ in real life, I only spoke to him about a couple of times on the telephone after a whole year of communication only via e-mails (literally… hundreds!). He lives in Thessaloniki, about 550 km away from Athens (where i live). However I can guarantee that apart from being a gifted musician and one of the most talented electronic producers of our time, he’s also a truly great guy; very friendly, very kind, very supportive, George has a good word for everyone. A true gentleman! And, at the end of the day, when music fades out and lights go off, this is all that matters…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi George, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Let me start by asking you about something I read in last October’s ‘Golden Scissors’ Embryonik feature and found it very interesting: you said you started making music because you gave up painting. That leads me to believe that if it wasn’t music it could be another form of art. I mean I get the feeling that what you’re doing is more than producing and remixing tracks; it is a way to express yourself artistically no matter the medium, am I right?
Embryonik: Hi Evan, thanks for asking me to do this. Well, it was not really a conscious transition from painting to music but I later realized that there was a very close connection. I’m sure many people who feel the same way, will agree, that when it comes down to self-expression, you don’t actually have a choice. You just do what you need to do and whenever you feel like doing it. For me it would be either music or painting (or both) and nothing else. If we define a piece of ‘art’ as someone’s creation that causes – any kind – of emotional reaction to the listener/viewer, then I think that is definitely something I aim for and a major goal for me. To try and go beyond the beat. That goes for my own music but also for the remixes I do, because I approach remixing in the same way (both hopefully, with at least ‘some’ positive results…).
Chain D.L.K.: Your tracks are full of passion plus they always have a ‘twisted’ touch, definitely not the ordinary electronic disco that’s… bombing Juno and Beatport charts. I guess a simple explanation is that they’re not based on loops and that you are using more and more analog equipment. But I’m sure there’s more behind the unique kind of your music…
Embryonik: I can’t really say how ‘different’ my music may be, and I am not really aware of how ‘twisted’ it may be or not, to tell you the truth. I know I am not interested in making music to be played in ‘clubs’ (with all the good and the bad that go with that). As for what’s behind my music, when I’m doing a track, I always use a synth sound that I may like, as a starting point and then take it from there to where it leads me. There is no conscious decisions that I ‘have’ to sound that way etc… I always go with my gut and I go with the flow and see where it goes. Most of the times, I consciously choose to have a dark vibe in my tracks and especially when there are lyrics/vocals, then it will mostly be about darker themes. I am totally against ‘genre pigeonholing’ and I don’t want to be formulated. That is also quite evident if you listen to any of my remixes, where there is the same mentality too, so I always ‘warn’ the people who were kind enough to ask me to do a remix for them, that the outcome may be very different to what they might ‘expect’, and that my mix will not be a ‘typical club mix’. So I guess it is not so much the ‘medium’ (loops or synths or analogue or digital etc) as the way someone approaches the music making process – on any project. I am also not quite aware of how ‘unique’ my music is – or not, but the common thread will always be that the outcome is ‘synth music’, or at least that’s how I perceive it. I haven’t got many releases out, so far – but that is closely related to the answer of the first question.
Chain D.L.K.: I have to say I’m quite confused about your music influences. From time to time I ‘see’ you on Facebook posting or liking stuff that ranges from fine electro-pop or synthwave to cheap 70s disco and… hard rock (Motley Crue for Christ sake!-lol). Do you like every kind of music or there’s a… secret link between Vince Clarke and… Def Leppard we just don’t know?!
Embryonik: Oh I am a passionate music lover and that sometimes leads to a schizoid taste in music. I love most kinds of music with the exception of maybe some classic rock and some 50s/60s soul and 50s/60s R&B. But I enjoy listening to Motley Crue (i’m a huge fan) and Pet Shop Boys and Marilyn Manson and Abba. I think music ‘snobs’, are missing the whole point, but that’s just me. My influences are: Kraftwerk, Martin Gore and above all Vince Clarke, whom I consider to be a musical genius.
Chain D.L.K.: Recently you enjoyed a “Electro Single Of The Month” feature on DJ Magazine with “Skyscraper”. How does it feel to see your work celebrated in one of the most respected magazines for club music and culture on earth?
Embryonik: Well, firstly, I was so happy to see my ‘Space Cadet’ EP getting a positive review in DJ Magazine, last year, and I thought the possibilities of that happening again were quite slim (to none). So I was extremely happy (to say the least) and very surprised to see my ‘Skyscraper’ EP receiving such a positive review in DJ Magazine, and of course being asked to do the ‘guest electro chart’ for the following DJ Mag issue was a great honour too. It made me very happy, especially when it went hand in hand with the ‘Skyscraper’ 12″ vinyl release by the ever so supportive Binalog Productions label, (and it can be ordered through the online Paypal store at the label’s website: http://binalogproductions.
Embryonik: It’s funny, but a few days ago I posted on Facebook that I was about to stop buying ‘major label released’ music and focusing on/supporting the small indie labels from now on. In my humble opinion, major labels gradually ‘killed’ music, because the love for money – first, as opposed to the love for music – first, may lead to very different paths. That is not always good when we deal with music which is something too close to our soul. I think the more ‘little voices’ are out there, the better. With digital distribution making it so easy to everyone to share their music, I think the music world gets richer and the listener surely benefits from that, provided that he cares enough to search for it – like I do, for example, since the small net-labels rarely have the promotion means to fully support their releases. As for the low or high quality of the released music… well this is – and always has been – up to the listener/music buyer, to decide, isn’t it
Chain D.L.K.: How do you see the current electronic scene? What’s your favourite artists, labels, tracks? I know that you’re pretty much updated as far as it concerns new electronic stuff
Embryonik: I find the current electronic scene to be thriving! It is vibrant, alive and constantly evolving! Very satisfying, for me (I have spent a small fortune on Bandcamp, the last few months). I wouldn’t like to refer to artists but some of the labels that I surely make sure to check out are: ‘Binalog Productions’ (of course), for some forward thinking top quality electro releases (and not only), the newly formed but solid quality ‘Datarocket’ label, ‘Boombar Music’ for some of the most sweet synthwave stuff, the very newly formed ‘Electronic Rumors’ label, the ‘Ghost Car’ collective (on bandcamp), the very new and up and coming ‘Future City Records’ and ‘Rosso Corsa’ records. I think these labels are a very good start for someone who would like to explore some of the best music in the ‘electro/disco/synth’ and associated genres and support the electronic underground, like me.
Chain D.L.K.: Let us know about your analog equipment and, maybe, some new stuff you’re working on.
Embryonik: Well, I have a very modest setup , with some analogue and some digital stuff. I have a Doepfer Dark Energy synth and a Dark Time sequencer (that i use with other synths too), a DSI Mopho, a Roland SH-201 synth, a Korg Microkorg xl (which I love), the Mochika analogue synth which is beautiful, all the old Korg electribes (EA1, ER1, ES1) with my ER1 (drum machine) as a favorite, an old (and great) Yamaha RX8 drum machine, I love Korg so I have all the little ones (monotribe, monotron, kaossilator, the KP3 fx box), so that’s pretty much it, I think. I’m planning to get the Arturia mini-brute though… I fell in love with it.
I also enjoy having fun with my monotribe (the OS update was so cool) and there are some monotribe tracks available for free download through my website, www.embryonik.net , in case anyone might wanna check them out. They were more or less done in one-take, with the KP3 for some fx.
Well, the last few months I was mainly focused on doing remixes (and since I pay great attention to detail on every project), remixing took up a lot of my time. Some of the remixes have already been released and some will be out in the coming weeks/months – which I’m quite excited about. I have just finished my last remix so (I’ll maybe do another one) and I will focus on working on my own stuff from then on.
Chain D.L.K.: Your plans for the future.
Embryonik: I plan to make VERY electronic music, with an ‘edge’, that will – hopefully – appeal to people and make them happy (with the broader sense of the word). Simple and very difficult at the same time! But I will try my best, doing my thing, from time to time.
Chain D.L.K.: Thank you very much George!
Embryonik: Thank YOU Evan! It was very kind of you to let me ramble on about myself – uncontrollably!
Visit Embryonik on the web at:
[Interview: Evangelos Zacharopoulos]