Out Of Fuel: Ghost Notes
They are Out Of Fuel. Is it a comment on fossil resources? They don’t regenerate any time soon, btw. Or is it longhand for OOF?
Horror, aliens and random hardware are the circling entities in orbit here as you’ll read.
Hello Out Of Fuel, can you give us the intro to you and your very unique world?
Matti: We’re two guys living in Helsinki, Finland.
We’ve known each other for many years but only recently started writing music and we DJ together as a duo.
We try to write music we like without thinking too much about genre or even sub-genre definitions, but of course there are proven practices that we utilise a lot in our music.
Is your name a comment on the state of the planet/humanity: in other words about fuel consumption/waste?
You’re on a correct track that there are references in the name to the current state of our world on global scale, but at the same time you could think about the meaning on a personal level for an individual.
The name is intentionally a bit vague as we don’t want to give predigested answers, but leave room for interpretation. We try to carry the same ethos to our music.
To the subject of Ghost Notes: interesting things, and I know of rock bands that really subscribe to the usage of these because of dynamics… can you tell us the inspiration behind the title?
Matti & Otto: Ghost notes are what pretty much define the groove in breakbeats which are the backbone of drum’n’bass.
The name also reflects the eerie atmosphere that is present in the tracks as well.
‘Tension’ certain delivers on the title…
Otto: A lot of the atmosphere comes from me having a pretty rough year in 2015 which I channeled to music. I originally intended to make this a solo effort at 160 bpm.
It started some time ago when I had received some feedback from a friend of mine that all my drums sound the same, so I thought it might be a good idea to try something new rhythmically and also in terms of sound design.
I kinda got stuck with the tune and couldn’t progress past two minutes and just forgot about it, but then I showed it to Matti and we ended up lifting the bpm to 170 and then everything just came together in couple of sessions, and that’s when we found the vocal too.
It’s a sample from a science fiction film from ’60s.
Where and when – night or day – do you produce? What’s some things in the arsenal that you love using in production?
Otto: We share studio space with couple of friends and we’ve recently gathered some bits and bobs there. Sometimes we go separately and work on tracks or sounds by ourselves and then get together to the studio at a later point to finalise the arrangement and mix down the track.
Matti gets the creative juices flowing in the morning and works on new stuff during office hours if he’s got a day off, while my brain doesn’t really start up before 5PM, so I go to the studio in the evening or sometimes at night. Also, being stuck in the office in daytime kind of forces you to work on music in the evening or at night.
Matti: In terms of audio equipment and software we try to use anything and everything that we can get our hands on. It’s been a joy to work in a studio that’s shared with like-minded people so we get to try new stuff without having to buy everything ourselves and see what we can use in our productions.
I’m a big fan of Native Instruments’ plugins. Some of their effects are written by a Swedish company called Softube who have made the best Spring Reverb plugin there is and a free Saturation Knob plugin that you can pretty much have on any sound and it’ll work. Other plugin makers worth mentioning are D16, Sugar Bytes, u-he, TAL, iZotope, Variety Of Sound, Interruptor, Camel Audio (RIP) and Audio Damage.
We have some hardware synths, samplers and effects that we use in almost all of our tracks. It’s also amazing that there are now a lot of new affordable small hardware boxes that make interesting sounds so it’s not necessarily a huge investment any more to get a few to help you make better sounds and music.
The above mentioned are what we’ve found to be useful for us to create the sound we are after. You can find the hardware and software that works for you only through studying and experimentation.
Also remember to read the manual and learn the ins and outs of each piece of gear or plugin you purchase to get the most out of them.
I note your visual impact re cover. On the visual front what books, TV, games, films etc do you dig?
Otto: I guess my three all time favourite films would be Repo Man, Blade Runner and Pi; I also love kind of film noir styled films coming from Hong Kong and I like to watch science fiction in general, especially older stuff.
I haven’t been watching much tv shows lately, but Mr Robot and the Swedish series Real Humans and The Bridge have been outstanding experiences recently, and I always go back to Babylon 5.
Sometimes I just check out glitch art gifs and browse art blogs like butdoesitfloat.com.
Matti: I love horror movies.
The best thing about them is that they’re free from any genre limits so anything can and will happen. Usually the movies are heavy on visuals and sound design which inspire me a lot too. Also good for lifting samples. I don’t watch that many tv series as they require a lot of time investment. Some of my recent favourites have been Game Of Thrones, True Detective Season 1 and Stranger Things.
Twin Peaks is a series I watch from start to finish once a year.
Can you take us into ‘Ghosts’ and what inspired?
Matti & Otto: ‘Ghosts’ is a rare case where the working title of a track actually ended up being the actual title. It’s pretty sample heavy and a lot of the things are lifted from various science fiction movies.
We tried to go for a dark and moody atmosphere, but more in a psychological thriller kind of way than a horror slasher action film kind of way.
What tune is inspiring you?
Anything you want to add re the ep?
Matti & Otto: Shout out to Brian and Steph for letting us join the Translation family, Mark Kloud for the amazing artwork for the EP, Fanu for the mastering, constant feedback and support, Ville & Pekka at Forge Sound, all our friends and everyone who’s supported us and our work. Much love.
Also, flying saucers are really time machines.