Built on introspection, conflict and transformation, as he tells us in the interview, the creative universe of Amadeus, SHMN's new project, immerses us in a hypnotising cosmos through sound. Following his debut LP Interstice released in 2022 and being the second chapter in an exciting trilogy, his upcoming album will be unveiled in less than a month. But from today, we can enjoy its title track Amadeus, which has played a major role in the genesis of this project. Ready to learn more? Keep reading!
This new single serves as an invitation to contemplate ideas of faith with its lavish synth work flashing over the turbulent drums. Special mention deserves the Swedish singer-songwriter Jonatan Bäckelie, who is also mentioned in this conversation and with whom the artist shares his interest in philosophy and theology.
Hello SHMN, welcome to METAL! How are you?
Thanks for having me! My new album Amadeus is finally here and I’m happy to be sharing my experience working on this project, delving into storytelling, influences and more.
What are the fundamental pillars on which your creative universe is built?
The creative universe of Amadeus was built on introspection, conflict and transformation. In the process of writing this album, I have realised how much my sound is intertwined with my own life, with all of its trials and tribulations. Introspection can be considered one of the main instruments in my creative process at the moment. More specifically, it was important for me to identify my intentions when it comes to music production and of course my personal life. This ongoing inner dialogue allowed me to shape and better understand ideas that I wish to share with the listener.
Another element that plays a big role in the sonic universe of Amadeus has to be conflict. More specifically, I’m looking at conflict from the perspective of an ongoing duality of human nature with its corpus and anima counterparts which I seek to synthesize with this project. Transformation comes as the third and final pillar on which the creative universe of Amadeus stands. This idea relates both to my personal transformation as well as further formation of my own trademark sound which I was aiming to showcase in this long play.
You will be releasing your sophomore album Amadeus on December 1, in which you explore the ideas of faith and transformation. How long have you been working on it and what would you highlight about the development process?
Amadeus is the second chapter of a trilogy which I have conceptualised in the process of working on this project. The album was inspired by various forms of art which include literature, philosophy, fine art, cinematography, and more. As far as cinematography goes, I have been influenced by the work of Park Chan-wook, Wong Kar-wai, Christopher Nolan, and Jim Jarmusch to name a few.
Apart from the storytelling and visual components that make the work of these directors great, I have always been moved by soundtracks that I always thought were very important in cinematography. Essentially, Amadeus was a soundtrack for my life in the last twelve months and I intended to share this story with people that could be going through similar experiences at the moment.
Do you feel that the world and society are experiencing a time of radical transformation?
In my opinion, society and the world are always going through change and transformation. However, I believe there are a couple of points which I believe are important to highlight in 2023. At the moment, the overwhelming technological progress is outrunning human evolution, which is leading to the overall neurosis of the world population. Important to step back to make two steps forward.
Again, it’s important to mention introspection and inner dialogue which I believe can help people in times of crisis. Our attention is a non-renewable resource which is facing a threat in the current technological and social climate. The recent pandemic and ongoing warfare have an enormous influence on humanity, therefore I think it’s important for us to maintain moral dignity and seek resolution through unity.
As you've said, Amadeus is the second chapter in a trilogy following your debut LP Interstice in 2022. What are the main similarities and differences from your previous release?
Amadeus showcases a much more refined sonic soundscape throughout the project. Both sonically and visually it was important for me to create an identity for this album. It was also important for me to approach this project from a more conceptual angle and focus on storytelling through sound. If we had to compare two of the projects, Interstice was more about showcasing my musical influences and experimenting, while Amadeus is an album that I believe is a great representation of my trademark sound and where I’m heading both sonically and artistically
The first track on the album, Amadeus, serves as an invitation to contemplate ideas of faith and transformation with its lavish synth work flashing over the turbulent drums. What was the idea behind this track? How did you bring everything together?
The track Amadeus has played a major role in the genesis of this project. Originally inspired by a soundtrack from Devil May Cry, an action-adventure game franchise created by Hideki Kamiya. The game alludes to Dante’s Divine Comedy and has been a huge influence on the track and the project in its entirety. From the very first chords, I was convinced that the track had potential. However, for a long time, the track was kept as an instrumental.
After re-connecting with Jonatan Bäckelie and sharing all the ideas behind the track, I received the first demo and was blown away by the results. Jonatan has delivered an ethereal church choir part that brought the track to its complete state and has set a tone for the whole project. From the moment I received the first demo, I knew that this project should begin with this track.
Jonatan Bäckelie, the Swedish singer-songwriter you've just mentioned, takes us into heavenly sound worlds with his gorgeous choral vocals. How did this synergy arise?
I connected with Jonatan a couple of years back and we have worked on multiple projects since. Sonically, we had a lot of common ground which was clear to both of us from the first tracks that we worked on. Another thing important to mention is our mutual interest in philosophy and theology, as I believe this has played a big part in establishing a strong creative bond where songwriting and music production complement and bring the best out of both worlds.
Where and what would you like to be doing in five years?
In the next five years, my goal is to create the third and final project of the trilogy that I have earlier mentioned. Another goal that I have as a musician would be to coin my own trademark sound and create a music collective/label that would focus on exploring and developing new talent. I also intend to incorporate my own singing and songwriting into my music - something I have been learning and exploring in the past couple of years.