Artist of the week

Friday, May 31, 2013


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22 years old producer/sound engineer from UK

 -Who are you?
I'm Sam Ellison, I'm 22 and I currently live in Guildford in the UK. I've been there for the past four years studying sound recording on the Tonmeister course. Now I'm about to graduate and move up to London where I've recently started working in a recording studio.

- Why did you choose this pseudonym?
Well... Firstly it's *really* hard to think of a good name without it being pretentious... I was deliberating over it for a while, but I needed to pick something fast so I could release on the first Wizard Sleeve compilation (check it out here - I chose Lisson because it sounds like 'listen' and it's a play on my own name if you break it down (sam L isson...).

- You are young. When did you start to make this music?
I only really started making this sort of electronic music just over a year and a half ago. It's progressed a lot since then I think - I used to make tunes around 140bpm, and now I don't have much inclination to anymore. I think I'll stick between 120-135 mostly, as that encompasses the majority of music I've been into recently. But it's a constantly evolving process, and my sound may be something entirely different in a year. Watch this space... 

-Talking about the compositions of your songs: how and where are they born?
Most are born out of experimentation - I'll make something I like and branch off from there. I'm still trying to fully define my technique for compositions, it can be a bit of a haphazard process and I worry that there is a certain incongruence between the results. I'm working to try and make my own sound, so people hear a track of mine and know it's me. Since getting a Maschine I've got more of a defined process to starting my tracks. Problem is it's not the right software to finish tracks in, so from there I move to Logic Pro but often get stuck if I'm not quick to realise my ideas. In terms of where: I'll begin a track on the Maschine at home, do as much as I can on that, and then I'm always pulling out my laptop on train journeys and free moments to try and make progress and come up with ideas. It's definitely not ideal - I don't have any controllers with me when I'm travelling so realising ideas is often quite hard. It's a good time to program synthesisers though :)

- How would you define your sound?
I don't know exactly... How would you define my sound? I'm very interested to know what others think, it's quite easy to lose perspective when you're the only person working on the music. I try and aim to sit under the umbrella of 'bass music' - as a term it isn't very well defined, and I like that, since I just like making music that works well in the sub frequencies. I want to push the subs in a club (like this -  - I think bass can move people in a different way and I really like that. I'm still working to achieve that control though.. still working on it.

-What genres and artists influenced your music the most?
I think the biggest influences on my sound are my peers who make music too. I started this type of music at university, so people and collectives there such as Wizard Sleeve and Presha Bass Music helped develop my interest and my sound. I got into electronic music through IDM, followed by drum & bass then dubstep. It was after dubstep was killed that I started making my own tunes. The artists that influence my sound most... too many to name, but a couple that come to mind are Randomer, Paleman, Dark Sky, Blawan, Jon Convex, Objekt, Rumah and Tarquin.

-You come from UK. What do you think about the music coming from your country and how how do you see yourself in relation to them?Well theres a lot of music coming from the country - I've only got into this scene in the past few years so I'm certainly no authority on it all. I think the music coming from my country is great - but I feel it's not defined by the country, it's a much more international thing. All the blogs that have posted about me so far have been from outside of the UK! When I move to London soon I'll try and DJ more and be a bit more lucrative with my own tunes, then I'll get back to you!

-What's your favourite artist and song?
I don't have a constant favourite song anymore, though when I was younger it was Citizen Erased by Muse. My current favourite song... maybe Freak Dub by Randomer? That one's fun to drop. But it all depends on the vibe doesn't it!

-Who do you think are the most relevant musicians nowadays and who are you listening to the most?
I don't know about relevant - if I try and answer this I'll just end up repeating myself - see above :)

-If you could pick an artist or a band to play with on a stage, who would you choose?
It'd be pretty fun to play with an electronic outfit that do their live sets properly, like Mount Kimbie...

-What do you think about the music industry nowadays?
Oh god. Don't get me started... So as I mentioned above, I'm working in a recording studio in London. I've also worked for one of the major international publishing companies in London for some time. Doing that gave me a first hand view of how the commercial music industry works. It was pretty down-heartening - but I'm trying to keep positive about it all since I'll be a close part of that at least for a while. It's all about making money, but I like good music. The two just don't co-exist very well. I'm not going to provide you with any insightful suggestions about the whole situation. But yeah, it's either music, or money, it seems. But the underground scene is awesome, and never was about making money in the first place, so that's all cool. Weird/interesting to watch an artist I consider/considered good make the cross from underground to commercial releases. Disclosure are a great example of this.

-What is the message that you'd like to express to the people who listen to your music?
HA. I don't take myself that seriously. Neither should any of you.
-How and where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
I reckon I'll still be around London. Ideally I'll strike a balance between DJing and producing, and some sound engineering work. We'll see won't we! No WAY did I think 10 years ago that right now I'd be sitting at work in a studio full of high tech equipment, good musicians and hazy air. It's a pretty sick job.
-Pc or Mac?
Mac. But whatever your machine is, as long as it works, that's fine.

-What about your future plans? Album, EP, Live eccNot much as of yet, still need to develop my sound a lot. Might be doing some collaborative work soon, also might be releasing a track through a blog in the USA.

-Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Not much of a preference - but Beatles.

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