Q+A: 5 minutes with Kisnou
Weaving narrative, Italian producer Kisnou has released the first single from his upcoming EP The Untold Story Of The Rainmaker EP. Titled ‘The Last Memory of Me’, the song is the first chapter of a journey, the EP’s 5-part overarching concept: the protagonist, a boy, searches for the girl for whom he once cared. She has mysteriously vanished. Where did she go? Why did she leave? These are the burning questions the producer has yet to answer. We will have to wait until the 9th of June, the EP release date, to resolve them. While we wait, we interviewed Kisnou to unearth his personal story:
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I make music to tell stories and allow people to imagine worlds through my songs. Every song I make is a new story, a short adventure – that’s why I often add ambient sounds, field recordings, and poems (as I did in my latest album) that create the right atmosphere every time. My music is not something to passively listen to, as I often say. It is something that calls for active listening, closing your eyes and letting your mind wander for a few minutes. Just like music was for me, I hope that my songs will be a shelter for those who are lost.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
I think the sound is what triggers my ideas. In fact, I always find inspiration just by listening to music or samples. However, I feel like sound and idea are almost the same to me, since a good sound can often be an idea itself even if it’s just a single note. Even if it is just a texture with no melodic content.
I’m still growing, so I don’t think I have a specific method to develop a song. Sometimes I go for something specific, some other times I go for the “trial and error” way until I get something I like.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
This EP was entirely made by me except for the poems, which were written and read by Jessie Summerhayes.
What’s on your current playlist?
I’m usually scouting for new sounds, hidden below the mainstream tip of the iceberg. I am always seeking hidden gems. My favourite artists in my playlist are Koda, Owsey, Sorrow, Lorn, and Pensees. Lorn in particular just became one of my favourites while the others have been for a long time now.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I have never played live.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I’m always experimenting, and I hope I will have more time to focus on just the production of music. I’m often using granular synthesis (even if it’s quite complicated sometimes), and I often resample my own sounds. Sometimes turning a midi file into printed audio can give you some surprising effects.
Sometimes it’s a great idea to make a very complex chord, turn it into a pad by adding a lot of reverb, and then resampling it to use it as a texture to then build your own progression on top of it.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
I usually divide my day into sections. The morning is usually for the production phase. I get all my ideas out of my brain: this allows my creative juices to flow without thinking about what else I have to do during the day. After waking up, I usually feel quite creative.
After a lunch break, I usually spend the afternoon working on my priorities. Those can include mixing/mastering, writing lyrics, and working on existing projects.
The evening is usually for more lightweight work or simply for listening to music. Sometimes, if I am very inspired by something, or perhaps I made a really cool idea in the morning, I will keep producing until I go to bed. I’m not a night owl, so I almost never stay up late.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I think that there hasn’t been a specific moment, but I believe that the artist who inspired me to make my own music was Koda, I truly loved (and love) his music.
However, I only realized after some time that making music allowed me to be free and create entire worlds just with sounds.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
I don’t play live at the moment.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
I think I would say IMANU. I mean, he is so good that he is growing so fast. So probably he is not even to be considered an ’emerging’ artist. However, he’s pretty new to the electronic scene, and I really respect and like his work. Also, he often shows breakdown videos of his songs, which is something that makes me feel so much respect towards that artist.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
I think it’s a multitude of elements. My girlfriend is a great inspiration to me. She often sends me songs to listen to and can give me great feedback on my songs. For example, my latest single “Shadow’s Call” was inspired by an original idea she shared with me.
I think I’m also inspired by just music that I love. I just need to listen to something I like or to something new that sounds interesting to me to feel the inspiration growing.
However, it’s not always that easy. Sometimes I struggle a lot with creativity, so I think it’s important to always have different ways to draw inspiration from.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
When it comes to gear, I have a pretty minimal setup. It includes a windows PC and a Mac, a Prophet XL (which by the way cannot be found in the market anymore unless it’s used since Sequential stopped producing the XL version), a Novation 37 MKIII, and my newest addition, the Microcosm pedal.
This is all the hardware I have, but when it comes to software, I have a lot of plugins.
I’ll just name my favourites, dividing them into instruments and effects: for the instruments, I would say: Pigments, Sublab, and Tapes.01 by Phonoloop.
For the effects, I would say Valhalla, Soundtoys, Harmonics Saturation by Softube, duck by Devious Machines, and Insight 2.
Any side projects you’re working on?
At the moment, I don’t have any side projects.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I think that since I entered the industry, I have definitely improved at mixing, and I can even master my own songs now, which is something that I didn’t even know existed years ago.
I have also refined my taste. I’m listening to more original and unique music. I look for that and when I find it, it is very rewarding for me.
The only thing I miss from my first years of music production is the complete freedom of doing and creating what I like without worrying too much about the technique.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
My new EP The Untold Story of the Rainmaker will release this year from January to May: it is a new challenge for me since it unites music and poetry all in one.
I have been working on it since 2020, so I am very happy to finally release it.
After the EP, I will release a song with the electronic label New Dawn (following the same path of Sine Ira, one of my most appreciated songs, which was released with the same guys a few years ago), and then I will probably release all the other songs that are ready to be released, one of them with the singer WILDES.
Famous last words?
I like a particular saying that goes ‘Keep on keeping on!’, and the first time I heard this was in the game Death Stranding by Hideo Kojima.
Listen to ‘The Last Memory of Me’ below:
Image credit: Vito Pepe