Antherius Talks About “Distant Christmas”

Today, we are speaking with Antherius. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music? 

I’ve always been fond of music, all kinds but mostly Pop.  When I was in grade school my parents bought me a Hammond Organ, and I banged away on that (and the occasional piano outside of home), playing mostly by ear.  In my adult life I learned how to break composite things including machines, circuits, software applications, etc. into their fundamental (more simpler) parts, and decomposing music is no different (e.g. discern out the unique instruments and notes in a recording).  I could hear that arrangements were really nothing more than a clever collection of notes and sounds that complimented each other when played together, and I told myself “I think I can compose and arrange musical works” —  then started applying baby-step efforts to achieve that.  For me, it took latter-day technologies including inexpensive synthesizers and sophisticated sequencing software to enable my creative goal.

You have just released a seasonal album Distant Christmas; what was the writing/creative and recording process for the album like? 

Well, it is certainly challenging to work on Christmas music outside of the holiday season (especially during the Houston’s hot summer months), so this project took me several years to complete.  The process of building a recording is cumulative, that is you start with simple passages, and add instruments (it’s somewhat analogous to creating a great dinner in the kitchen, LOL) – and at key point in this multi-track process, the “magic” occurs when everything seemingly blends itself into a smoother and more sophisticated recording, almost attaining a life of its own.  The efforts to reach this final mix is the long pole in the process – after that the refinement and final mastering steps in the recording are more procedural and iterative (engineering creative as opposed to composition/arrangement creative).

The album art is fascinating; what significance does the hand/design hold for you?  How does Distant Christmas differ from your previous music? What sort of things are a hold-over from earlier recordings? 

The image on the cover is a photo I took of the belfry of the Methodist Church I’ve belonged to for many years in Houston.  A little image manipulation to layer some motion effects (to accentuate the bell itself), along with the stars and sparkles provided by another designer that helped me along created that image.  Insofar as my prior work, the compositions of those early albums were original works, where all but one track in the Distant Christmas album are cover songs, mostly traditionals.  The title track of the album (also called “Distant Christmas”) is an original composition.  The arrangements and instrumentation are similar to my other songs, namely a mix of string sections, modern bass guitars, ambient textures and New Age sound effects.  The album has three upbeat tracks that have percussion instruments added.

How supportive is the Houston music scene in furthering your career (e.g. radio stations, magazine, venues)? 

I’m just a studio/recording artist, not performing live or working with any bands at the moment.  I feel somewhat removed from the general music scene of the city, which is something I need to spend more time with.  I have a few friends in aspects of the music industry, some performers, some mixing engineers, and I have routine meet ups with them to audition tracks and brainstorm ideas for all of the moving parts.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)? 

The studio setup for single-artist folks like myself has evolved tremendously in the past two decades.  In the 1980’s, my setup was primarily that of analog equipment and tape recorders.  Today, my setup is a couple of racks with my favorite tone generators from Yamaha and Roland, along with some effects processors; although, the most significant hardware is a high-powered Windows PC with sequencing software from SONAR and audio editing tools from Adobe.  I have several favorite “soft-synths” that plug into SONAR, namely Omnisphere and Addictive Drums.  Everything from composition to final mastering is executed by yours truly in that environment.

Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance? 

For me, there have been many, many influences – Moby, Enya, ELO, the Moody Blues, 2002 … although the most pivotal artist for me was discovering Chris Spheeris back in the 1990’s, seemingly a solo performer and composing New Age recordings.  If my work could somehow influence or find some favor from one or more of my musical influencers (or even that of another artist), well that would be a bigger stroke for me than actually performing with them.

Which sort of social media website have you had the best successes with? What about these online services are different from the traditional face to face meeting and performances that musicians utilize? 

Of course, I leverage social media sites including FB, Twitter, to get the word out, and to further develop a fanbase, although I could be better at it.  My extended team is helping me here.  On the interaction front, I prefer F2F; however, newer technologies including email, WebEx meetings, texting, and yes, even voice calls work when in-person meetings are difficult.

What should listeners expect from your music in the future? How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?

Everyone should expect me to continue to crank out songs, and for the quality of my work to improve along the way.  Samples of my work can be previewed at SoundCloud, Spotify, and ReverbNation.  The Antherius YouTube site has a couple music videos as well, and I hope to add more there in the coming years.  The best site to follow me on would be FB (facebook.com/antheriusmusic) as it points to all other sites.

What does the rest of 2017 hold for your music and tour date wise? 

The balance of 2017 will find me completing more covers of favorite instrumental hits from the 1960’s and 1970’s, which will be released as singles as they are completed.  There are several original compositions in various stages of development as well for a future album.  There are no plans for touring in the coming year.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers? 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you, I’ve enjoyed it and truly hope this was found interesting by all.  Final thoughts?  Well, my mantra on life in general is to exist in reality, listen more than you speak, laugh often, push your boundaries, believe in God, and to find peace.

 

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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