In Conversation: OQLRR

In Conversation: OQLRR

Name: Sparsh Narang
Nationality: Indian
Occupation: Music Producer, Visual Artist, Guitarist
Current Release: Pipe Dreams
Recommendations: Max Cooper, Aphex Twin, Mr. Bill, Apparat, Moderat
 
 
When did you start writing/producing music and what or who were your early influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started making music in 2017 when I bought my first microphone, Ableton Live software came with the package, so I used it to start recording basic stuff here and there. My early influences were artists like John Mayer, John Butler, Andy Mckee etc. I wanted to be a finger-style guitarist and also produce ambient music. During this time I was very drawn to the calm expression of the genre.
 
What's your take on how your upbringing and cultural surroundings have influenced your sonic preferences?
 
I wasn't born into a really musical family, my parents really loved listening to music but i got into it around the age of 17 and used to generally see my friends play the guitar, that particularly is the time when i started to get influenced by them and began exploring by myself. I actually was 22 when I essentially got into Berklee College of Music in Spain and literally was introduced to the vast experimental world of music and that for the most part is probably when I understood the influence of my surroundings my appreciation towards music of all genres was greater.
 
What were your main compositional and production challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
 
When i started, i faced the same challenges as everyone, few of them being not being able to express myself completely through production, i generally had ideas in my head but they never particularly got translated well into concrete songs and the there was the general lack of equipment at hand, which particularly is significant. But with time, practice and patience you definitely do get to actually overcome them, i specifically have been producing music for almost 6 years and now i can say that i may have overcome some of the challenges in a fairly big way. Making music teaches you patience and one would need a lot of that in their days ahead.
 
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
 
When I started i had nothing except my laptop, and it all started when I requested my parents to get me a particular audio interface bundle which came with a microphone and a pair of headphones that was literally my first piece of gear. Since then i have had a list of equipment's so whatever money i could really save would mostly go into investing in gear, like a MIDI keyboard, studio monitors, upgrading my existing gear. Currently my main gear revolves around a Behringer Crave Analog Synthesizer, OLLO Audio S4X Headphones, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones, Focal Alpha 50 Studio Monitor, Akai MPK mini MK3, Novation Launchpad Mini MK3, Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic guitar and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio interface. It certainly is a slow process to invest into obtaining better gear. Till date my most important piece of equipment is still my laptop (Macbook Pro) and headphones (Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro), i can produce and mix with just these things. Side note, I am a gear nerd so i keep buying new stuff.
 
Since you actively collaborate with your experimental group L1MB0, what role does a collaborative effort play in your approach and how does it impact your inspiration for your own music?
 
Being a part of L1MB0 has made me so creative as a individual. One member would have an idea and the other two would just be ready with demo's based on the idea. Its a collaborative and supportive group with different backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses which is always inspiring because working with such talented people just makes you learn and explore so much. It's a constant motivation to push beyond my so called boundaries and break free.
 
How do you overcome the creative block that clouds every artist at a certain point of time? Do you take some time off or find inspiration in other things that might help reinvigorate the process?
 
I have been through a lot of creative blocks and the following ways have helped me overcome it
  • Watch videos or listen to music of your favorite artists. Actively listen to a lot of music.
  • Do not panic if you are in a creative block; it's a part of the process and trust the process.
  • Practice every single day, even if its for 15 min, try to make something everyday.
  • Keep stimulating your brain with new information, that could be reading something, listening to something new, or even a change of surroundings.
 
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own sound?
 
I think everyone should try to recreate or get inspiration from their idols because it's part of the practice. It's like when you start playing an instrument you always try to play the songs you love in order to practice. I started with the sole aim for recording my finger-style covers/composition on the guitar. So most of the influences were more melody based than the sound it self but after going to Berklee and getting a deeper look into sound design techniques I found my self getting more inspired to make textures and experiment with soundscapes and that was not a conscious choice it kind of happened as my music taste changed.
 
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
 
Making music is such an addictive activity that anything could get converted into an ideal state of mind. For example. I have made psy-trance songs when I was very disturbed in life and I just channelized that energy towards making a song and I think that was the “ideal” state of mind that I needed to be in at that moment. I would say just be comfortable with whatever state you are in as it can be channelized into making your next great hit.
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