Edgar Allan Poe felt that the ultimate purpose of a creative work is to convey an emotion; when the beholder of that work receives the emotion, it is akin to a spiritual experience.
It seems that Oklahoman Eric Saak has this in mind with his EP Aural Motion. Without the help of a single lyric, he strives to reveal the spectrum of his sentiments via harmonic composition.
Skope recently addressed Eric with some questions:
1. This may sound like a slightly snooty question from an East Coaster, but is there any music scene in Oklahoma?
Ha ha, it’s a valid question. Our music scene probably wouldn’t compare to more urban settings like New York or LA, but we do have tons of local bands that are very talented and we have lots of headlining acts that come here now as well. It wasn’t that long ago when we would have to drive down to Dallas on a Tuesday night to see a show and try and make it home in time for work the next day. Those were the days, ha ha. There is a stereotype about Oklahoma that is hard to overcome though and I admit I didn’t know the best answer to this question so I found this short list of some great Oklahoma performers… (I apologize in advance…Tommy Allsup, Garth Brooks, Color Me Badd, Woody Guthrie —and many others—).
2. I see you have a guitar background. Do you believe that electronic music offers more compositional possibilities than guitar-based music?
I wouldn’t say electronic music offers more compositional possibilities than guitar based music, its just a different tool. Personally I’m more comfortable composing on the piano. I used to have this idea that a song needed to be complex in order to be interesting, if I could stand on my head while drinking a cup of coffee and play the piano at the same time, now that’s entertainment. Learning how to play the guitar taught me there is beauty in simplicity and that a 3 chord progression is sometimes all you need to relate an emotion. There are so many great songs that use the same basic chords but still sound unique, it’s not just the chord progression that counts. I feel like I have more depth when working on the keyboard but I love the guitar just a much…
3. You say you play tennis. It doesn’t surprise me that you have some sort of athletic interest, as there seems something very kinetic about your EP. Is this kinetic element something you’re consciously striving for?
That’s funny, I almost titled the EP “Kinetic”… Movement throughout the music is something I strive for, having organic elements makes the sound design more interesting. I think of it like the layers of one of my digital paintings, on one level you see the image as a whole and as you become more familiar with the piece you pick out objects you didn’t realize were there. It’s hard to compete with the energy and organic quality of live musicians playing in a room together, I try to keep the human element present and it’s fun to experiment with many different layers of sound, someday I would like to add vocals as an element.
4. Do you prefer piano/keyboard harmony or dropping an ill bass line?
At this point I prefer melody/harmony as my music tends to be more down tempo but I am working on a few rhythm driven pieces that I’m excited about.
5. Though your EP isn’t necessarily aggressive, do you agree with my opinion that there is an occasional trace of danger (particularly on “Through the Myth” and “Above the Below”)?
I like that you used the word danger, sounds exciting, and makes me think you were transported someplace when you heard those songs. Someone told me once that they wanted a song I had written to be the soundtrack of their life, that’s the greatest compliment you can receive as a musician in my opinion. Music is my way of sharing emotions and most of the time these songs are a snapshot of a moment I’m experiencing, having someone relate to that is an amazing feeling. Most of my recordings are usually based on a single take, which is the most candid version but sometimes it’s flawed on a performance level so I try to bridge the gap between that purity and good recording practices. I still have a lot to learn about the technical side of recording and mastering.
6. Your music seems somewhat reminiscent of Depeche Mode. Do you agree? Who are your main electronic influences?
Music for the Masses and Violator are great records, I used to listen to them back in the day. I have so many influences though across all genres, I’ll try not make another list of 100 people like I did on that first question. Right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of Burial, Pretty Lights, Trentemoller, Nicolas Jaar and The Glitch Mob, A song I really love is “The Broken Places” by Moby. Other influences are BT, Radiohead, Enigma, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Elton John… When I was very young my parents were in a band and we always had music playing. One of the earliest inspirations I had was Jean Michel Jarre’s album Oxygene.
7. I didn’t notice a single discernible lyric on your EP. Do you think that it takes more talent to convey an emotion without any lyrics?
I think this is a loaded question, yes, way more talent… I kid not really, it’s just a different process. I admire vocalists and lyricists, its hard to compete with the human voice but emotion is part of creating anything and I think as long as it’s honest the medium doesn’t really matter. Music is such a personal experience and at the same time connects us with everyone, if only for 2 or 3 minutes. One of my favorite things is that moment at a concert when the band is playing your favorite song and the other 40,000 people there are singing/dancing to it too… thats something special.
Aural Motion is available on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/album/aural-motion-ep/id588588116?v0=9988&ign-mpt=uo%3D1), CD Baby, Amazon, etc… any questions or comments please message me on Sound Cloud (https://soundcloud.com/ericsaak).
By: Ray Cavanaugh – firstname.lastname@example.org