Axletree on 09/13/2017 at 08:21PM
Browsing the FMA charts recently, I came across the track ‘If Only They Hadn’t’ by electronic music producer Sro. I found myself drawn in by the slow, gentle intro and bouncing drum machine, opening up into a layered world of reverbed synths. Spending some time with more of his music, I found time and again an infective catchiness infused with unexpected and sometimes unsettling undertones, bringing to mind electronic outfits like the Orb, Ladytron or Depeche mode, as well as nu breaks producers such as Plump DJs. With programs like Netflix’s Stranger Things or the BBC’s Trust Me and White Gold, there seems to be something of a move back to 80’s synth influences in production music, so I thought I’d take a little time to get to know a little more about this talented, experimental producer, and see what is involved in making this kind of thing…
Axletree: Your music combines a lot of elements, from grimy break-beat to syth-pop. Who are your chief influences in your work?
Sro: I'd say there are six main artists who really influence my work. Those being Hermitude, HOME, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, the Old Gorillaz and DJ Shadow’s older tracks as well. These artists have been a huge inspiration for me in finding what I enjoy making. Along with the Oldskool sound of Hip-Hop/Boombap from the 90s.
Axletree: Can you take us though some of your working process? What kinds of equipment do you use? Do you have a song planned at the start or does it emerge over time?
Sro: I don't have much in the way of equipment besides the very basics. I have a Axiom 49 (sitting atop a box that acts as a stand) that I got off a family member who wasn't using it and an old Pioneer SX-6 that was my great grandfathers stereo back in the day. Most of the time though I just use my desktop keyboard instead of the midi because it's more convenient in my current bedroom setup. My DAW is FL Studio and I have it filled with free VSTs that I've found from 1990s to 2017 and sample one shots from over 70 drum machines; I'm just constantly adding more to my collection.
The process of making music, from what I've found, is very subconscious. Like for me if I try to make a song with a set idea of what it all should be then nine times out of ten it will never go anywhere and I'll get bored of it. Of course there is random inspiration from an idea in which you will try and cultivate into musical form, but trying to forcibly make it happen is just a no go. All my tracks give off a certain feeling or vibe to me that I had when I first started to create it. I know this may seem hard to understand but I don't know if there's any better way to explain it, other than a vague answer such as I just let it happen. Or I guess another way of saying it is all the feelings and happenings that happened that day play a huge role in the making of music even if I don't consciously think of them.
Axletree: It's nice to put the work into context - where are you from? Would you say your place and time has an impact on your music?
Sro: I'm from a small town in West Virginia, I'm not classically trained in music, and I only just started to really get into making music last November after graduating high school. I also plan on making music videos for my songs soon too since they all have their own story to tell. Now my place and time definitely have a huge impact on my music. There's no doubt about that because like I said, I find it to all be a subconscious process and the world I'm living in is filled with constant coverage on stuff that gives fear. Always filled with morbid, depressing, or outrageous things for the masses to digest. I feel we all need to cool down and just chill out for a bit, find a healthy mental balance in your life. At least that's what I hope to convey in my music.
You can hear Sro here.