Interview: Five Minutes with Alaskan Tapes

Alaskan Tapes is an Ambient music project based out of Ontario, Canada. The outfit is the brainchild of composer Brady Kendall, who set out to explore different approaches and craft songs that aren’t only about memorable melodies, but also about texture and depth. 

Alaskan Tapes releases conventional albums, tracks and EPs, but the project is also busy working on soundtrack work for film and other visual media. With its far-reaching orchestral drones, bespoke arrangements and intimate production aesthetics, the outfit’s recent release, “In Distance We’re Losing”, stands out as a great example of Alaskan Tapes’ work.

Alaskan Tapes has just released his first single ‘The Times Are Tired’ from his fourth full-length album, ‘Views From Sixteen Stories’, via AT Recordings. The album will be released on the 19th of September.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts? 

The arts, music specifically has just been the thing that’s worked out. Originally I had always thought this direction wouldn’t really work, but everything seemed to click a few years ago. Since I’ve been given the opportunity, it’s all that’s on my mind, and it allows me to have reachable goals that keep growing. It’s a very satisfying thing. 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea? 

It’s usually the idea. My tracks always come more easily when I have a theme or a general understanding of what I want a track to be. Even just a track title is usually enough inspiration to get going.

Does your material feature any collaborations? 

It does. First and foremost, I have my good friend Raphael (of Leprous, Kamoncello, The Visit, etc.) on Cello throughout the record, a French horn player named Jay Austin all over it as well, and on track 6 I have my friend, and longtime collaborator Voga, he wrote and played the piano piece. 

What’s on your current playlist? 

Lots of acoustic stuff, as usual (Bon Iver, The Last Dinosaur, Siv Jakobsen).

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound? 

Nothing too out of the ordinary. I spend a lot of time in VSTs making drones, and cool sounds that I think will fit in tracks. But ultimately the tracks tend to favour specific sounds as they come along.

Take us through a day in the recording studio. 

I procrastinate a lot. So I’ll sift through videos or listen to other music until inspiration hits. sometimes I just play the piano until something comes up, sometimes I make drones. I don’t really have a “Typical” day in the studio. Since my studio space is in my home I’m able to come and go as I please. 

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”? 

Yeah, I was in school, for Accounting actually, and I had missed an exam around Christmas break. By that time I was already heavily into creating music under other aliases, and instead of figuring out when I was going to reschedule my exam, I just thought I might as well try music and didn’t go back. 

Any emerging artists on your radar? 

Voga, who’s on track 6 of the album, and Bedroom, who makes great guitar-based ambient music.

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

Stories, reading. Something about it that really gets my mind going is hearing a score that doesn’t exist, that’s probably the main one.

Any side projects you’re working on?  

A couple actually. Chantal (Who actively collaborates with me on vocals) and I are starting a little acoustic project, as well as me and The Last Dinosaur. A couple of other side projects are in the works but nothing definitive yet. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This album, maybe a small single at the very end of the year, lots of music videos. Nothing too much from now on, honestly.

Famous Last

I don’t think so!

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