Sigrah releases his 'This Is Letting Go' LP
With over 10 years in the game, US based producer Sigrah brings us a brand new, breathe taking LP. We had a conversation following the release to gain some insights into his ideas behind it, and his creative outlook.
Hi mate, hope you’re all well, what have you been up to recently?
Hey man! Good to be chatting with you. So, for the last 7 months or so my wife Natalie and I have been traveling North America full time in an RV, exploring as much of this continent as we can. We left Portland, OR in July of 2019 and now that we have done about as much exploring as we can handle, we are heading to settle down near family in the Midwest. It’s been the craziest adventure ever, but I’m definitely stoked to be putting down roots again.
You’ve just released a new LP, give us a little background info about the process in creating this.
This LP came together in a few different ways. I wrote the first two tunes in early 2019 and thought they would make great singles to put out, but I started having some internal conflict about just putting them out like that. They felt “bigger” and more meaningful to me than just something I’d upload to soundcloud for the purposes of continuously putting out tunes. I decided to shelve them for another purpose later on. Once May of 2019 came around, my wife and I began purging our belongings, which included most of my studio setup. I began downsizing my production set up from a fully-torqued tower PC at a built out workstation, down to just a MacBook, an interface, my Moog, and some headphones so I could still make tunes in our 30 foot RV as we traveled.
Fast forward to August, and I had found myself with close to a dozen tunes I had written as we were traveling across North America, all within the same kind of realm. I wrote them all in different geographic locations and they all kind of pull inspiration and context from the places I had spent time in. Some of the more ethereal tunes on this album were written in the lush green forest of the Pacific North West or in Canada. The abrasive sounding tunes were written in harsher climates like the Gulf of Mexico, or the desert in west texas. Around the same time, I was nearing my 10-year mark of making computer music, and the thought of an LP weighed heavily on my mind. I always thought an album was something to save for when you’ve reached a certain point in your career, but I never defined when that particular moment was for myself. I realized at that time, that I had most of an album on my hands, and I basically said fuck it, lets put out an album.
The music itself shows inspiration from multiple sources, give us a few things that inspired you in the creation of this LP.
In the last year or so of my life, I noticed I was having to let go of a lot. Shit like the physical things I mentioned earlier, but also some pretty heavy feelings and emotions that I felt leading up to this whole RV journey thing. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be quitting my job, selling or giving away most of my stuff, and traveling for the foreseeable future. The tunes themselves are inspired by how letting go of all that stuff made me feel, as well as the physical environments I found myself in while traveling. In some of the places we stayed, we were the only people for miles on end, so there is some inspiration from the deep levels of isolation and seclusion I sometimes felt. Even when you’re on the road, it's a lonely place. No family, no friends (thank god my wife and I are super-homies from day 1). It was just us, our pets (shoutout Noodles and Roadie), and the things that we brought with us.
Another source of inspiration stems from a struggle with addiction. Prior to this whole thing, I had to make a choice to stop drinking in June of 2018. Up until then, regular gigging and weekend benders had started to become a frequent thing for me. I kind of lost myself in the party and developed some pretty awful traits, so in the year leading up to this I had to let go of a lot of habits, people, thoughts about myself, trauma from the past, and a lot more.
What song of the release did you feel you were able to ‘grow’ on the most & what did you learn/develop in the process?
The title track on this LP, This is Letting Go. As I was arranging this tune, I was struggling to figure out how to format it to be DJ friendly, and I had a moment where I realized that not every tune I make has to be that way. It was the one song on this LP where I broke most of my own cardinal production rules, and I’m really happy with how it came together. It’s very easy to get formulaic and process-focused when you begin to hit a stride in your productions, and while I think organization and studio processes are a good thing, I try not to get caught up in repeating myself in the studio over and over again.
When writing a long project do you abide by any rituals? Is there a go to method for you for making music?
I do have some rituals, yeah. I do a lot of session recordings of my Moog Mother-32, and a lot of my favorite soft synths, and then I go back a few days later to listen and chop up what I like. A lot of the repetitious pads, stabs and synths you hear in the LP are from session recordings I did on the road. I do this for a lot of the EPs I write so they all tend to be cohesive in that way, so I had to stick with that to make this LP. Writing an LP from start to finish is a saga that is very difficult to describe. It’s full of so many different ups and downs with the songs themselves, and I think it’s one of those things that you have to truly dig deep to find the “right” answers for yourself.
I also had a logic board failure about 2/3rd of the way into this project, which was not only a huge hiccup, but also a full-on emotional roller coaster. I physically had to extract this album from a dead laptop. We were posted on the beach in the Gulf of Mexico for two weeks during that, and I kind of took that as a sign that I needed to just step back and enjoy my time there as much as I could.
To anyone reading this: backup your hard drive.
What VST or hardware synth/modular did you use the most in this album.
You’ll definitely hear the Moog Mother 32 in just about every tune, as well as Serum. Serum is such a powerful instrument, and you can perform just about any micro-transaction you can think of with it. I love it for that reason.
Which song out of the release was the easiest to write & which one did you struggle on?
Bad Habits came together in about 2 full days. However, I worked on Surface for the full duration of the album writing process. I have a tendency to nit-pick my way into holes like that with certain tunes, and that certainly happened with that one
When struggling with something on a track how do you get out of the rut?
If I’m struggling creatively, I find it super helpful to just get up, drink some water, and just go for a walk or do something completely different for a while. I think of the creative mind kind of like a digital well. There is input, and there is output. Input is required for output, so you have to take lots of other things IN, like art, nature, and experiences. If you don't your creative mind will eventually run dry. If it’s a technical struggle I like to google the issue I'm having or search for a youtube tutorial on how to do something. I still learn new things about music every day.
What’s your go to studio snack and beverage?
Always drinking coffee and water back to back!
Sawtooth, Square or Sine Wave?
SINE all day. Nothing excites my ears more than a super clean sub.
Outside of music what’s new in your life?
I’ve recently started slow smoking tons of meat as a hobby, and it's probably the most delicious hobby ever.
When playing a set what is your go to dancefloor banger?
I played more Fracture tunes in 2019 than anything.
So when did you start writing music?
I started writing my own music in 2009 on a cracked copy of FL9. I had been a drummer in a few punk bands as a young one, but I wasn’t doing much real writing then.
Anything you want to add?
A huge thank you to the following people who have helped, guided, offered advice, or just loved me: My Wife, Natalie. My 2 pups, Noodles and RoadieMy early mentors and friends, JJ Soderling & Lawrence BryantMy Triple A Talent fam - Sev, Patrik, Cody et alAnyone who has ever supported this project in its span of 10 years - I love you all!
"It’s an honest reflection of what it feels like to go through the process of letting go of something. For me, it was many things. It was letting go of emotions like the fear and anxiety of instability. It was physical things with a sentimental value that I had amassed over the years. Letting go of just about every aspect of your comfortable lifestyle, and completely switching things up was quite the roller coaster, and I like to think I managed to capture the process of what that felt like for me." - Sigrah