For this weeks music interview, I’m introducing you to rather different style of music which is more artistic and likely to be heard in film scores and soundtracks. Please welcome composer S. Peace Nistades.
Band/Artists Name: S. Peace Nistades
Members: S. Peace Nistades, (Composer and Co-Mixing Engineer), Ken Goerres, (Co-Mixing Engineer), Gerhard Westphalen (Mastering Engineerj, & Chen Shen (Technical Assistant)
Genre: Alternative/Electronic/Musique Concrète
Originated: Los Angeles, CA via Thailand
In a Forest Dark – Album (2019)
Los Angeles Pieces – Album (2018)
J-Tree Score – Album (2018)
Fall into the Dark (with Terra Naomi) – Single (2018)
Le Fil D’Ariane – Album (2017)
Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Album (2017)
Origin Score – Album (2016)
Viens a Moi (feat. Zane Carney) – Single (2016)
Je T’ai Aimes Dans Le Noir (feat. Emily Daccarett & Jean-Louis Darville) – Single (2014)
How would you describe your music?
My sound has evolved a lot over the years but I feel it has solidified with my latest release In a Forest Dark. The constant from the beginning is I’ve always been interested in manipulating recorded, organic sounds and instruments rather than either a direct ‘live’ recording of say a string quartet or a purely electronic synth-driven piece. I’ve come to realize particularly with this album that the sound I’m most drawn to is that of the internal, an internal mind and its wanderings of memory and dreams. Looking back this was present even in my first film score for the psychological thriller Dark Woods back in 2008 (unfortunately not yet released as an album but I have plans to soon) and has continued throughout the years appearing in various projects and albums. I would say my sound takes root from the earliest form of electronic music, musique concrète, but utilizes modern electronic production techniques creative a narrative tapestry and particularly employing the use of the ‘cut-up’ method as William S. Burroughs did in his writings.
How did the band form?
As you can tell from the roles of the people in my ‘band’, it is not a band per se but rather my team. Over the years people have come and gone but this is my core as of today. Ken, I’m pleased to say, has been there almost from the very beginning. We’d met in 2007 practically when I first moved to LA and had been gracious enough after hearing a few of my pieces to offer to help mix them. Our workflow has evolved a lot since then but the co-mixing we do is still very essential to the sound I’m looking for. Chen and I met several years ago now. She’d been my intern back when she studied at the Musician’s Institute here and I knew right away she had something in her creatively and professionally that was and is quite special and she’s been part of the technical side of my productions ever since. Gerhard I met a little later but has grown to be my right hand in terms of mixing a lot of my film work as well as mastering everything I do. I trust his ears and technical expertise in the finalizing of my music.
Who influenced you within the music industry?
I’ve had many influences in the industry over the years. Earlier on before I even came out here it was James Horner and Hans Zimmer. Then it was Trent Reznor and Max Richter and Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke, to name only a few. The industry, and I’m speaking mainly of the film music industry here as I myself am still rather new to the ‘music’ industry itself and have not really had to play by its rules as such, has changed so much even just in the past ten years of me being in it but the major change I’ve felt I think is for the better. There is more a sense of collaboration between artists now as opposed to hiring the traditional ‘film composer’ as such and I do think it’s yielded some fantastic scores in the past few years; Jonny Greenwood’s work with Paul Thomas Anderson is a great example and Thom Yorke’s score (and songs) for this past year’s Suspiria is in my opinion the best score of the year though sadly won’t be nominated at the Academy Awards.
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play at?
I haven’t performed live in a long while. I came from the classical world growing up as a concert pianist so I used to perform a lot more though of course in a very different way than a contemporary artist/band would. I used to be part of the opera choir at the Bangkok Opera and some of my favorite memories of performing was with them. Getting to do Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) was pretty special as that’s been my favorite Mozart opera since I was in Kindergarten. Also getting to be an extra Niebelung in the first ever production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold in Thailand was a very important moment for me.
What is the best thing about being in a band/musician?
Music itself is one of the most direct of artforms but where it exceeds in emotional directness it lacks in specificity, the specificity of language. One can never listen to a piece of pure music (without lyrics or language) and say the piece is clearly about a boy walking down the street at dusk in Syria for example. Whereas language and stories, poetry, novels etc. have that specificity and evoke the emotional impact through it, therefore indirectly. For instance, one will rarely encounter a book where the first page says “Emotionally devastating” but would rather discover that for themselves through the unfolding of language, character, place, plot etc. I’ve struggled with these two natures a lot in my work as a major part of me is rooted in my love and the influence from language and a lot of my work in music (this latest album for example) did come out of my own writings (I’ve been working for almost three years now on a novel set in the contemporary world of divided Thailand). I say all this because one of the best things about being a musician, if one can find the voice to speak in, is that you can bypass all the specificities of culture, of time, of place, of character and speak directly towards an inner emotion or to create an atmosphere which could evoke in the listener a sense of time and place and memory in a way that most other artforms cannot, perhaps with the exception of scent but that’s for another discussion. To get there though is hard and for me it’s taken most of these ten years but I do feel that I’ve finally found that balance with this album.
What plans have you got coming up in the coming year?
I’m planning a remix album of In a Forest Dark with some of my close friends and frequent collaborators. I plan to do some myself as I’d love to explore the material in a new light. I’m also toying with the idea of doing this album live and exploring the possibilities of how I could play with that and not simply recreate what’s on the album but re-present it as a new tailored experience for the audience. I’ve got a collaboration with concert pianist Christopher McKiggan which has been in the works for a few years but is nearing its completion. I also have a few feature films coming up that I’ll be scoring so it’ll be a fun year.
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