5 Minutes With… OSTRA

OSTRA Press Pics 2

Not much is known about the mysterious figure that is OSTRA. The talent, who recently released a killer EP on the Solid Shapes Records label has demonstrated a high level of knowledge with a series of well crafted, sophisticated and empowering productions, all crafted for a unique and refreshing listen. We were lucky enough to grab a chat with the main man recently, unearthing what really is behind the image of OSTRA.

Hey OSTRA, there is a lot of mystery surrounding your identity, so what can you reveal about your history in music? Where did it all begin?

OSTRA is more a concept than just a person and it started a few years ago as a four handed project with a friend of mine. At that time we were mostly learning together how to sound the way we wanted. Since then, time has passed and life being full of irregularities, I’m on my own, for now at least. There’s not much to say about the very beginning of OSTRA except we were friends, both in love with electronic music and crazy obsessed with the hardware side of it (even if we couldn’t even afford decent equipment at the time).

Your sound is rich with musical colour and flavour and sounds truly organic, especially on this recent EP. How was your studio set up when recording this one? 

All the sounds you can hear on this EP are coming from my small home studio except for a few 909 and 808 samples layered and processed with other hardware. I am not really into jamming a lot and building tracks from scratch all at once in a few tweaks. I just don’t feel very comfortable with it, even if i try it more and more. Because of this, I basically spent a lot of time on my small modular system, patching and adjusting sounds until i got something i liked and then recorded it. It could be a single pad, a small sequence or a texture for example. After this basis, the track was usually made around a lot of new patching, tweaking, and recordings for each new element. The editing or eq parts, were made with all these recordings together into Reason software.

Was there one piece of hardware/software that you think really contributed the most to the EP?

As I said earlier, modular synthesis took a big place into bringing ideas together, and tracks’ basis. For me, it’s a useful tool to get inspiration. With modular, I often come up making things I wouldn’t have even imagined using regular instruments. It is a bit random sometimes, but the more you practice it, the more you can control it, and this randomness may turn into magic. That is what I love about it.

Apart from this system, I also used a lot of my Korg Polysix for its warm and deep sounds. I find it great to give depth to a track. Some noises, a small detuning and many parasites when recording this old synth helped a lot to turn a texture into something more organic.

OSTRA_Studio_Press_Pics  copy

La Theorie Des Corps is the title of the release, what is the inspiration behind this name?

By the end of composition, I only had temporary titles on each track. I often do this when it is still in process because it helps me get “into it” and focus on a specific theme. I quickly think about a name using the first words I can think of. Oddly, this temporary title is often very close to the final one. The whole ep was sounding tribal, even very primitive in some of its rhythm patterns. To me, it is clearly related to a certain form of body language.

What pulled you towards releasing on Solid Shape Records? Why do you think the label is so well suited to the sound you produce?

When I was approached by Solid Shape, there were a lot of demos running at the same time in my studio. Many ideas from La Theorie des Corps were already recorded but it was still very basic. Nothing really fitted together. The label appeared at a key moment for me, and supported me instantly which is rare. I was questioning myself a lot and that period saw 99% of my musical work ending in the trash. The 1% left is now on this ep, thanks to the confidence Solid Shape gave me, mainly. They acted like a family would, and we have talked to each other almost every single day since then.

I’m intrigued to hear what you do in your live sets as the energy levels change quite a lot throughout this EP, does the tempo fluctuate a lot live or does it stay more fast paced techno orientated?

For now, my live sets are under construction. It is very messy and structure is still lacking. Nonetheless, I don’t see myself suddenly doing a one hour set of 4/4 tracks running at 135bpm with uninterrupted kicks all along  as a live. I only do the music I am able to create, so my sets should definitely be close to what you know from me.

Of course, I intend to get some of the improvisation space needed in a live, but I still need a structure and a sound I am comfortable with to do something interesting enough.

To do so, I can say the modular system will certainly play a big part in it; being the centre of my live setup.

Looking ahead to the future, can we expect to hear more of you on the Solid Shape imprint? Where else will you be releasing on?

I already have a few other proposals for new eps on different labels. I am still reflecting about most of them so I can not say much about it. One thing I know for sure is I will definitely release new material on Solid Shape as I really enjoyed our teamwork together.

Where can we catch you playing this summer?

You won’t catch me anywhere! I haven’t planned any sets or lives yet.

I am more focused on production for now. I think we live in a period where you don’t have to be booked 300 days a year to be ranked as an artist like it used to be a few years ago. I find myself lucky in this situation because I am much more comfortable with creating my own sounds rather than just perform those of others.

Who would you say your sound is most similar too? Would they be your dream collaboration?

That’s a tricky question. I can say the music I make is quite different from the one I listen to. But once again, I only create what I am able to. For example, I really admire the work of the Swedish Label Hypnus Records. Especially regarding Luigi Tozzi’s bewitching compositions.

I would definitely love to collaborate with them, but that’s another story.

Currently, what is your best opener, peak time and closing track to play?

Opener would be:

“Spirale” –  Kettenkarussel.

Peak Time would be:

“From Another Place” – Dyad

Closing would be:

“Continuum (Edit Select Remix)”  - Sonitus Eco


La Theorie Des Corpes is out now and available to buy here.

468 ad