Parisian producer Awaken joins our guest mix series this week with a sublime dive into a deep and ethereal musical narrative. The talented artists revealed his new project to us a few weeks back with a special remix that we shared with you all.
He quickly followed up with a hypnotic EP on PUZL Records entitled ‘Reflection Eternal’ that served up 4 delightful tracks each with a unique aesthetic while maintaining a symbiotic relationship. Check out his interview with MR PUZL below.
MR PUZL: Welcome to our guest mix series! You’re coming off a busy week with your latest release on our label PUZL Records. Tell us a bit about the mix you’ve crafted for our audience this week.
Awaken: I call it, “traveling through music.” It’s a trip through sounds that make me want to live. Not much mixing in it but essentially the right ingredients to keep you dreaming.
MP: As you mentioned in your release notes for ‘Reflection Eternal’ a lot of the ideas and concepts for the music came from your trip to Finland a few years back. What inspired you to travel there originally?
Awaken: I love nature and always wanted to see Lapland (north of Finland) especially in winter; the cold, the snow, mystic scenes. It’s like time stopped over there. A dream-like experience.
MP: This is the first release from your new project. How did the idea for this identity first come about?
Awaken: Like I said above, being in Lapland totally changed my feeling towards composing music. I actually had done some smoother styles of music few years back, but that trip really inspired me to create this new project.
MP: The name Awaken draws both connotations of introspection while also possibly projecting the notion of awareness and consciousness towards others. What does this name mean to you and how do you want your work to be understood by your audience?
Awaken: The name came naturally as I was contemplating the Lapland scenes, and being overwhelmed by the nature surrounding me. I think the name describes the feeling I got when I discovered this world and obviously reflects on my music. I want people to travel through the sounds.
MP: In your bio you state that you’re based in Paris. The city is rich with musical history and culture, and a hotbed for new trends to spontaneously materialize. What about the city really resonates with your own personality? As a local to a visitor what would recommend they do to get a real feeling for the cities true character?
Awaken: Actually, I discovered the city quite late, around the age of 23. Before, I lived in Ireland, the West Indies, and the United States… Each destination had its own atmosphere. But when I arrived in Paris, I felt a unique impression. I’ve been all over town during the day but also, of course, at night where I’ve become a DJ for many renowned establishments, clubs, and restaurants.
Paris is a painting on its own. It’s unique for any artist. For me it’s the most beautiful city in the world. In every area of the city there are things to see, whether it’s the architecture, museums, expositions, restaurants, or nightlife!
MP: Every artist’s path to music is a different journey. How did yours begin? What did you learn along the way?
Awaken: Well I was brought up with a father that listened to Bob Marley, Elton John, The Bee Gees, Quincy Jones… So you can imagine that good music was around me constantly during my youth. I started making music on Propellerhead’s ‘Reason’ software. At that time I was more into trip hop (Massive Attack, Zero 7, Air…) Then when Soundcloud exploded around 2010 there were so many guys trying to push the boundaries of music with Ableton Live that I eventually switched softwares. I started making remixes club house anthems. More of an obvious root to take in the beginning of 2012.
Producing music is like any artist in any domaine, there are times when you are inspired and times when nothing is going right. Frustration, timing is wrong. You just need to learn from your experience and sometimes stop everything and take a break. Unfortunately patience is not my vertu but i’m working on it ;).
MP: To be constantly making art is a difficult and taxing endeavor. When you’re stuck and cannot seem to get out of a creative rut, what do you do to get inspired?
Awaken: Haha, well sports is a great way to get out of it. Stimulates the brain thus helps the creativity. And obviously traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people is always a great way to get inspired.
MP: If we were sitting in your studio with you what sort of setup would we be looking at? Do you have any particular pieces of hardware or software that you really love to work with?
Awaken: Well with every period of music production I usually have a ready to go Ableton Live set up. Sounds that I’ve found or created with plug-ins. It’s takes me ages to find them. So yeah, a ready to use set up with everything I need to do an Awaken sound.
MP: Since your trip to Finland proved to be so fruitful, where would you like to go to write your next EP or album?
Awaken: Many places to see in this world, but for this project Greenland would be a great choice. I need nature, a lost environment. Corsica up in the mountains is also a great place to produce music.
MP: If you had one night to entertain someone who had never been to Paris what would you do?
Awaken: Done so many different type of things, it would have to depend on what that person is looking for and what type of rendez-vous it is. haha. I guess walking through Paris by night is really worth it. Starting with Montmartre. Great view of Paris walk around the surroundings (small village type of scene). Then walk towards Opera Garnier, then around the Louvre (by night is crazy). Jardin de tuileries then go up the champs elysees then down to la seine river passing by le Grand Palais have a drink near the pont Alexandre III and why not finish up at the Faust club if the line up is cool.
1. Jan Blomqvist – Stories Over (Aparde Remix)
2. Padre – Chasing Mirrors feat. Jova (Christian Loffler Remix)
3. Bonobo – 7th Sevens Fin
4. Kris Davis – Bleak
5. Mano Le Tough – Primative People (Tale Of Us Remix)
6. VIMES – Celestial (Gardens of God Remix)
7. Dominik Eulberg – Sansuta (Max Cooper’s Lost In Sound Remix)
8. Christian Loffler – Licht (Awaken Remix)
9. Kiasmos – Paused (Stimming Remix)
10. Youandewan – Our Odyssey