Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!
- Dream of Me by Liza Corseque | Free Listening on SoundCloud
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Liza Corseque is a synth-based music producer from the UK. She creates music with "spacey, dreamy, atmospheric, reverb-drenched" sounds. Via email, she told me about how she started making music, the approach she takes to the process of creating new music and her views on the #synthfam on Twitter.
Karl Magi: In general terms, what compelled you to start making music?
Liza Corseque: It's always been the one artform to affect me the most, even as a kid. I love movies and books and all but music just does something that nothing else does for me. I don't come from a musical family or anything but playing music was basically inevitable with that kind of obsession.
More specifically, I picked up guitar as a teenager when I was really into emo/punk/metal (basically anything that was on Kerrang), just so I could learn to play along. That turned into making my own music, and learning about music production and synths and everything, and now many years later here I am!
KM: Tell me about the draw of synth-based music for you. What make you want to create it?
LC: I think it's the sheer number of different sounds you can make. We take it for granted nowadays but before synths you were kind of locked into the tones and timbres of whatever instruments you played, but with synths you're totally in control of the timbre in every way. I just love that amount of freedom - if you can imagine a sound, you can make it. It also lends itself very well to the spacey, dreamy, atmospheric, reverb-drenched sort of sounds that I love.
KM: Who are the musical artists, authors or visual artists who have inspired you as a creator?
LC: I've been into older electronic music for a long time, stuff like Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, John Carpenter, Eduard Artemyev, Jean Michel Jarre. I was born in the 90s so it's not nostalgia or anything, but it's always fascinated me and I have no doubt it's influenced my own music.
As for modern music, it's mostly electronic pop/indie like CHVRCHES, Mitski, The 1975, MUNA, Kim Petras. In terms of synthwave, mainstream stuff like Gunship and Timecop1983 but honestly I find a lot of inspiration from the small synthwave scene on Twitter aka #synthfam. Particular favourites from the scene would be Endeleas, Lunar Femmes and Kerys.
I also grew up watching Star Trek and Doctor Who, so there's no mysteries where my obsession with space came from!
KM: Talk to me about how you create new music.
LC: I usually have a general idea of what I want a song to sound like in terms of themes and emotions beforehand, but beyond that it's literally just me plinking away on the keyboard until something cool sounding comes out, that fits those themes and emotions.
After I feel like I have something I can use, it kinda develops naturally from there. I like to make the basic chord progression or motif repeat for a long while, and try to find ways to gradually introduce new elements bit by bit, sort of trance-like. This is most evident on Dream of Me and Echoes but sometimes my method can be a bit sporadic too. Generally though, it's always about building from that original idea.
KM: What were the ideas behind Dream of Me and how did you go about creating the EP?
LC: I'd not made any music for a while due to general life stuff, but I got a sudden urge to be creative again and I'd also gotten really into synthwave this year. It was very spur-of-the-moment, I just started making some tracks inspired by that, just dived right in. The basic ideas came out pretty fast, and the whole thing, from nothing to release, took less than 2 months overall.
Alongside this, all of my old music is under my deadname, and for a long while this felt like a barrier to making any new music. But then I actually became really connected with the idea of starting fresh with a new project and a new genre that I'd never explored before, because it aligned with my experiences transitioning as a trans woman. It was very freeing, I didn't have anything anchoring me to the past. So that, along with the sudden creative burst just made me want to get something out there.
KM: Where do you want to take your music going forward?
LC: My future releases will be a lot more structured and considered, and I want to explore more space themes too. I'm super proud of the EP but as I said before, I was pretty motivated by just wanting to have something out there, to have something to my name since it's a totally new project. So while it wasn't rushed per se, I do now feel more relaxed like I can take my time. I'm having some ideas already for my next release, something maybe a bit slower and less hectic.
KM: Give me your views on the synthfam? What do you think about that scene?
LC: I've not been a part of it very long, and I'm quite shy generally so I don't interact all that much, but I do love the scene! I find it an amazing source of inspiration because it's not just a bunch of lovely supportive people but it's also genuinely talented musicians and producers too. Like, it's not mega-famous rock stars who are on another realm, but regular people who you can go right up to and start a conversation with. That can really help with my confidence.
KM: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
LC: Like a lot of folk, I find it effective to just walk away for a while, take a break, do something else. Personally I love spending time in nature and stargazing, and also doing yoga. Coincidentally these are things that can bring clarity and focus, but as long as you're doing something else - I don't think it really matters what it is.