“If it becomes a formula it no longer is a creative expression I believe” – Sebastian Mullaert

Revered Swedish producer Sebastian Mullaert recently released his first exclusive vinyl on Default Position after the huge success of his remix to “Vedanta” in 2014. Sebastian first made his name as one half of the acclaimed duos Minilogue and Son Kite, but in recent times focuses on his solo career, which sees him appearing at clubs and festivals all over the world and releasing on some of the industry’s most respected labels and imprints.

“Samunnati” is a brand new double vinyl EP featuring four original mixes from Mulleart, with remixes from fellow Swedish duo Knutsson/Berg, Belgium’s Daniel[i] and label founder Joseph S. Joyce. Its genesis lies in a melody recorded live on Sebastian’s Roland SH101 which features as the intro to his Dance thru Shadowed Structures Mix. Some time after this mix was published, a young artist named Daniel[i] was so captivated and inspired by the melody he took it upon himself to sample it and create a twelve minute remix without, we might add, Sebastian’s prior consent! Sebastian was however very impressed with the remix and admired Dan’s bold initiative. The pair later decided to approach Default Position with an idea of turning it into a full EP.

Fascinated by the release, video and creative process using the SH101 we caught up with Sebastian to find out more.

Hi Sebastian, First of all, thanks for the insight to life with the SH101. You certainly seem to be getting the very best out of this piece of equipment. How long did it take you to get acquainted before deciding to get married and make the official announcement?

Ha Ha, me and the dear SH have had a long relationship that started over 10 years ago.

The SH101 is a humble machine compared to something like the colossal ensemble Moog machines such as the stack that Hannes Bieger unashamedly thrusts his pelvis over in his latest release. Such as it is with music, how do you feel the theory of “less is more” applies to synthesis?

The SH101 is indeed a more simplistic synth both sonic wise as it’s a monophonic synth but also in the layout and possible routings. I love the simplicity but I do also love complexity; different instruments trigger us in different ways and I like to be triggered in different ways in the creative process.

The press release and story behind the collection of tracks focus a great deal on the synth itself. How do you feel at the suggestion that in the current climate of modular exploration that the art of making music is somewhat being over-shadowed by the craft?

I truly feel that it’s not my business to think about or judge other people in their creative process but focus on mine and find creativity in the means that occurs in my life. At the moment modular synthesis haven’t come into my workflow, but maybe it will one day, when it comes I will welcome it and be thankful. I don’t think there is any specific way or situation that are too much or too little, it’s in our approach we find the flow and balance. When we truly allow this very moment to be as it is and express from that we don’t need to think about too much or too little or craft or no craft, then it’s just as it is; and that’s perfect in it’s very own way.

One of the many things I love about your music as a standalone artist as well as one half of Minilogue is you’re defiant on keeping tracks short and sweet! Ten minutes isn’t a long time for you. How does some of your music break the time boundaries set by conventional tracks? When do you say, enough is enough?

That’s the part of the creation, that answer is coming to you in the process and it can be different every time. If it becomes a formula it no longer is a creative expression I believe. A more concrete answer would be; as most of my musical expressions have a meditative approach and aim, it helps when they are a bit longer and gets time to evolve.

So, Mr. Daniel[i] is somewhat an instigator of the EP with a heist on your original melody followed by several other remixes and renditions. Being the culprit of such a heinous crime of sampling, what advice would you give to new or breakthrough artist presenting unofficial remixes to the original artist?

I believe everyone should try to find their own way of being creative in their life; and then I mean in all aspects of ones life. Being an artist also involves being creative outside the actual musical expression; how you reach out with your music is also an expression of you and you need to find your way in this as well. This is not an easy task and easy to get lost in that process. I think Daniel[i] is a very special and creative person and I love the fact that he does it his own way; that inspires me!

What kind of rework/post production needed to be done after he sampled your intro from the Dance Thru Shadowed Structures mix? What kind of technical issues did that cause and how did you overcome them?

There wasn’t any. He sampled and let that sample be the catalyzer for his own expression.

Sammunati Definition:f. elevation, increase, growth (with manasaḥ -,“elevation of mind”; cittaṃ samunatim aśnute -,”the spirit experiences elevation”). Are we experience the growth of your music, an amalgamation of your techno, minimal and psychedelic tendencies intertwined in your sonic output? Or do you just like Sanskrit?

Hehe, I think you named it all!

The visual contribution of the official video, as intoxicating and involved as it was still left questions that only the music can answer. What can you tell us about the contributing artists and the material they produced for you that the music itself won’t be able to explain?

I’m very happy about the music video. I’ve noticed that it can be very difficult to let someone visualize my music as I always have my own visual touch to the sounds I make. I honestly had a bit of a hard time right when I saw the first sketch, maybe because it wasn’t aligned with my own visual vision of the music but after digesting for a time I think I managed to drop the holding on to my expectations. As you say the video is more of a emotional and visual expression and very open for ones own interpretations, something I think suits the track very well.

And finally, I want to set a scenario for you. There’s a terrible flood in your studio, the water is rapidly rising but the electrics are all turned off so there’s time for you to go into the studio and pull out one of three items out of the room. Your SH101, your studio computer/hard drive or your most treasured vinyl collection boxed and ready to rescue. What do you save and why?

Oh that’s a scary scenario, but one that probably was the case for quite a few producers and musicians the last weeks due to the devastating storms over the Atlantic the last weeks. I don’t know what I would save, everything is insured so it would probably be the things that I have a more personal connection with; my Violin, the art and gifts that my children and wife have made for me, and then yes the hard drive contains a lot of treasures that would take some time to grieve.

Watch the official Samunnati video here

Sebastian Mullaert ‘Samunnati EP’ is out now

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About the Author

A nomadic entity, gathering various experiences from the world of electronic music including previous editorial and photo contributions for M8 Magazine, Mixmag and Ministry, releasing music through labels such as Bora Bora Music and Bonzai Progressive, occasional DJ for super-group, Nero, and co-producer with Rob Sparx for Dirty Thieving Mongrels' projects and Migration Records. As a producer under the guise of Edit Smith and DTM, published tracks received support from Laurent Garnier, James Zabiela, Nick Warren, Anthony Pappa and Luciano, and received positive reviews in DJ Mag, IDJ and Muzik.