Patricia Johnson

Music News, Reviews, and Interviews

Interview: Mastermind Savant Reminds Us Music is Art

EDM naysayers beware: Twenty-six-year-old Aleksander Vinter from Norway, known as Savant, is here to remind us that electronic music is indeed an art form that provides us with endless possibilities for creative expression. At an age when most of us were still playing with bugs and Legos, four-year-old Savant was discovering electronic music by playing around with the drum machine and synthesizer on his grandad’s organ. He says that at this point he realized:

“You can create an animal out of nothing, and this animal is sound. It’s creating life, and I was really excited when I started creating life at 4 or 5 years old, playing keys and making drum loops on my keyboard.”

If Savant’s music is an animal, it’s certainly not one we’ve seen before – it’s a mythical creature with multiple heads and numerous personalities. While he generally gravitates towards dubstep and electro house, Savant’s tracks jump from one genre to another as if he is telling a whirlwind story. He borrows from glitch hop and drum n bass, even adding in string instruments and video game samples (one of his most consistent themes). He explains,

“I grew up really distorted and tormented and I’m just reflecting my life through my music. It’s very eclectic, it’s very intense, and it’s very layered – and it’s always two emotions at the same time. It’s sad and it’s happy; it’s angry and it’s ecstatic. It’s this contrast, this extreme juxtaposition in my music that comes from just listening and loving everything and not being afraid.”

His latest album, Cult, was released earlier this month on SectionZ Records. The inspiration for this album was twofold: first, to show his love for his crazy, cult-like fans, and second, to release his emotions after a troubling tour of the US. Going from his home country of Norway to North America was a shock as Savant encountered poverty, egotism, and the commercial music industry.

“All of my albums are like diaries reflecting my current position emotionally and in the world … My emotions were so bad after coming home from the US tour, I just had to get that out. And this is just reflecting my pain and anger over what I felt in the States.”

Cult is Savant’s seventh release in a mere 18 months. His ability to produce music so rapidly stems from his Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and repetitive patterns of behavior. Because of this condition, he needs an outlet for his constant stream of thoughts and emotions. It’s not that his goal is to work as fast as he can; rather, he has so many emotions inside of him that he needs to release them through his art. Producing music is such a compulsion for him that it often comes before eating and sleeping, and he says that he pushes himself to his physical limits.

“I go through a lot of emotional and physical distress making music. But that’s how you get the intense art, too, when you sacrifice yourself a bit for it.”

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Savant has no plans to scale it back in the near future. For the remainder of this year, he aims to release two additional albums with over 15 tracks on each – a remarkable feat for most, but nothing out of the ordinary for Savant. In 2014, he hopes to expand his reach to films and video games, and overall experiment with the number of different areas he can reach with his music.

“I’m trying to do as much in every possible direction as I can because I feel I have the capacity to do it, and why sit on my ass and try to pretend I don’t have that capacity when I do? I believe in myself, that’s really important when you do this stuff.”

Savant’s fans can be sure that they will never have to wait long for new material, and that each track will be an honest glimpse into his psyche. In addition to the two albums he plans to release by the end of this year is a collaborative track with BT, one of his own musical inspirations. Meanwhile, catch him performing live in his trademark customized Guy Fawkes mask.

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