Interview: Five minutes with Solstis
Electronic producers Solstis have just released their latest EP, As The Sun Hits via Lowly Palace. The two started their musical journey together 10 years ago and have collected over 25 million plays across streaming platforms as a result of their hard work during those years. Those 10 years have also seen them play at top-tier festivals such as Backwoods, SXSW, Spring Awakening and Reaction NYE as well as winning the Electric Forest’s Discovery Project.
Beginning in a rock band together, Solstis went on to focus on early electronic dance music before finding their feet in the emerging future bass movement. Weighing up their love for performing together as a live band against their passion for electronic music has lead them into the world of electronic indie, bringing the two almost full circle.
Following this musical evolution, we decided to sit down and learn more about Solstis as they share the deeply personal nature of music as well as some of their creative processes.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
It is our escape from reality. We both picked up guitar when we were kids and started playing music together as a way to express ourselves, but playing music became more and more important as we grew older and dealt with hardships. We both have been through a lot of mental health related stuff and music was always a way out of our own heads.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It goes both ways, at times inspiration comes randomly and one of us can hear an entire track in our heads. Other times we just search samples and sounds until we find a sound we like and then write off of it.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes, but very rarely. For the most part, we keep it within the group but with the number of talented friends we have, we end up collaborating every so often.
What’s on your current playlist?
We have a Spotify playlist that we will be updating frequently. Currently, we are listening to Twenty One Pilots, Joji, DIIV, Men I trust, Phantogram, Beach House
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
From the few shows we have played together we tend to keep things ominous and let the music take its full effect. As we play more shows we want to eventually have huge stage production and a full visual set.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
We listen to a lot of music outside of the electronic world, from 90s shoegaze to current alternative, and use aspects of it in a more electronic sense. We love layering synths with distorted guitar chords and there can never be too much reverb.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
On days that we don’t already have an idea, we drink a little bit and start jamming together until a progression or melody is born. Some days we move through a lot of projects and try to make progress on unfinished tracks. Other days we just jam the whole time and record hours of guitar takes, keyboard lines and random vocals. In general its a great time.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
We both recall feeling this when we first picked up guitar and started jamming together. We were 11 or 12 years old and became obsessed with the idea of being in a band and performing in front of people.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Alcohol, Water, phone
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Floor Cry (please work with us), Ford, Ardency, Disorder, A Beacon School,
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Listening to specific genres of music we aren’t too familiar with and pacing around the room is something that usually works. Other times, just going grocery shopping has gotten things going for some reason.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Our gear is pretty extensive and we use any of the following when producing or playing live sets: 2 Akai APC40 MK2s, an MPK49, a Komplete Kontrol S49, a couple guitars both electric and acoustic, a drum pad, Native Instruments Maschine, and a couple Scarlett interfaces. On the software side of things we use Ableton live and frequently use the following plugins: Sylenth1, Serum, Guitar Rig, and Kontakt
Any side projects you’re working on?
Yes, but none that have gone public yet.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Spent 5 years learning production on FL studios through trial and error and then switched to Ableton and relearned everything in one month. We also started using more real instruments in our music and in a way came full circle back to our band days by deciding to do live shows and go a more indie route recently. It finally feels like we’re making stuff that is purely us and everything we love about music.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
We have a new EP about to drop and it is our best and most unique work yet. Aside from that, we have a ton of music we are sitting on and finishing up including a lot more stuff with vocals. In general, we plan on continuing to push the boundaries of our sound and see how far it goes.
Famous last words?
Life’s a garden, dig it.