„Our minds are not calibrated for pure silence, so pure silence can be a real deal for humanity“
MOREGO ist das Solo-Projekt von Soundtüftler Morego Dimmer (aka Xerxes The Dark und Nyctalllz). Mit seiner Musik kreiert der iranische Elektro-Künstler aus Teheran fesselnde Klang- und Geräuschelandschaften, die in vielseitige und unglaublich spannende elektronische Sphären entführen.
Monopsychism (Iono Lounge) ist MOREGOS aktuelle Veröffentlichung mit variierenden Klängen und kräftigen Strukturen, die in langsame Rhythmen eingehüllt sind und ein einzigartiges Klanguniversum erschaffen. In unserem Interview teilt der Künstler mit uns seine Gedanken zum Thema Stille und spricht dabei über musikalische und visuelle Assoziationen und die Herangehensweise und Entstehung der aktuellen Veröffentlichung. Herzlichen Dank, MOREGO!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you grow up? Was there a particular experience or moment that made you start making music? When did you first fall in love with (electronic) sound?
I was born in the Iran-Iraq war era, and grew up in an average family. In fact, we were not rich and we experienced poverty for years. I remember that day I saw the electric guitar for the first time on a VHS tape and it was an “Europe – The Final Countdown” live show. Rapidly I became fascinated by the sound of the electric guitar, I asked my big bro: what the hell is that? My bro proudly replied: it’s an ELECTRIC GUITAR baby! I think I was around five, but it was a very effective moment for me, because I love that sound, that guy, that guitar, that music and that style …
Later in elementary school I was gifted a Casio Keyboard and that was the moment for me I fell in love again, but unfortunately after a while, the keyboard disappeared and I never knew why. I guess the family couldn’t pay for the instrument so they sent it back to the store! When I was around eleven, my hobby was to investigate the inside of electronic and even electric devices. Our old TV, lamp, radio and a broken cassette player forced me to learn about soldering and basic repairing. I was attracted to speakers and soundtracks, also my music listening became more and more serious. When I was in high school, I was a serious metalhead and I wanted to learn music and make my music. So, I went to a summer job and bought my first guitar with my own money. But I couldn’t buy guitar effects and amplifier, because my money was insufficient. So I was forced to learn electric guitar without distortion, but what the hell, what can I do? I wanted distortion, I wanted metal sounds.
One of my friends introduced me to a computer software that can simulate and generate guitar effects. That summer I received an old second hand Dell laptop from a family member, so I just forgot about school and all the shits out there and installed the software and spent nights and nights experimenting in a new world of digital effects beside a guitar in my hand. Soon I learned music production software like Cubase and FL studio beside Cool Edit (later became Adobe Audition) for audio editing, also I learned basic music theory and basic guitar lessons. Also I learned song writing software like Melodyne and Guitar pro. My learning pace was very fast, I was thirsty, passionate and crazy. My scores at high school gradually decreased but I was the top student there, so I sacrificed a couple of years just before the university entrance exam, to produce and release my music. Those years were tough enough to lead me to insomnia, depression, a short-term academic failure, loneliness and debating with family members. They were worried about my education, so later I became an engineer and they are no more worried.
What topics are you currently drawn to in your work?
Quality, creativity, variations, innovation, new ideas & new concepts are always welcome. Technical improvements are important to me. Learning new mixing tricks or even inventing a mixing trick is always considered. Sound designing in form of micro-glitching and rhythm decoration is my focus on Morego project. Also I always enjoy collaboration with other artists.
What are your thoughts about silence? What does silence mean to you? What do you associate with silence?
Pure silence is not easily accessible for humanity. What we define as silence is just relative. Like darkness and light, sound and silence are playing important roles in our daily life. We need silence for thinking and rest. Also we need it to contemplate, I believe our brains can receive the consciousness that is floating all over the world. Sometimes we receive it in our dreams like Einstein, and sometimes we receive and perceive and define the received consciousness as ideas and inspirations. For receiving these inspirations, we need quiet places and near empty minds. So, silence is very important for artists, scientists and all of the creative individuals. Silence is sacred too, it’s obvious in spiritual places. Buddha said silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened mind. And Rumi said let silence take you to the core of life. So, silence is like a personal portal, a gateway to higher consciousness and inner calmness.
How would you describe the visual aspect of silence?
It’s like a bubble in a liquid. Or a vacuum bubble in the fabric of space and time. On the other hand, in music notation, the silence symbol is called rest and a whole rest is like a line. In music production when you have a signal, the monitor (or oscilloscope) shows the soundwave with peaks and valleys like any other waveforms. When the music stops, the soundwave becomes a solid line. So I think a solid line can also represent silence, where there is no noise or notes.
How important is nature to you? What role does nature play in your life and in your art?
I’m crazy about nature, I love the sky, sea, jungle, desert, trees, animals, rivers, clouds, snow, rain and … I feel I’m alive when I’m in a jungle between trees, I feel I’m connected to every single atom in the universe. Nature and spending time in nature is very precious, but we must be very careful about nature and our planet, we are destroying it. And the destruction rate is just too fast! I personally try to use less energy and less water. I think climate change can destroy us sooner than we think. So everyone has to be careful. I witnessed how our jungles are destroyed and turned to damned villas. It’s terrible and heartbreaking…
When I was younger, I was an amateur photographer, and nature photography was very stunning for me, walking in the mist beside trees around a lake, where birds are singing and the wind is touching the face is impressive enough to inspire me to make new material. Looking at the vast sky, at night, where stars are shining is adorable and inspiring for composing a new opus. When I am in nature, I can replace shitty vibes with good vibes.
What is sound to you? What is the sound of silence /what does silence sound like?
Sounds are acoustic waves, made by vibration and defined by different frequencies and wavelengths. So, in physics, the sound is a form of energy. Each sound has a personality. Some of them are furious, some of them are creeping, and some of them are meaningless. And surely some of them are lovely, too! So, silence is the absence of sonic energy.
I love silence and I need it. If you contemplate in silence you can experience noises, voices, sounds and weird stuff, one source of inspiration for me is what I hear in deep silence and altered state of mind. If you try, you will realize that there is a real cosmic dark ambient /noise soundtrack playing out there in the universe! Your mind can receive it. Also studies show that our brain can generate sounds and voices in silence.
One cool experience about silence is a “Dead Room”. In music studios, when a room is acoustically dead, it means that the room contains great sound absorbing materials. So it takes just a few seconds for a guy to freak out in a dead room. Your heartbeat’s sound becomes horrifying, the breathing sounds like hell and you can even hear the blood flow in your brain… It’s crazy. Our minds are not calibrated for pure silence, so pure silence can be a real deal for humanity.
Which piece of music feels to you like silence turned into sound?
Well, some may refer to John Cage’s 4:33. But I think it was a show off to blow away the minds with a huge conflict: A pianist uses a stopwatch to measure three movements of silence instead of his/her fingers to play the instrument. The audience will listen to musical silence plus ambient sounds (not recorded ambient music, the real-time sounds that are generated by the audience or the environment). A physicist will say there is no such thing as “absolute” silence. Or deep silence only happens in space because sound waves cannot travel in vacuum. So there is no music that totally represents silence, but we can consider what kind of sounds we may hear in a sealed chamber, a dead room or in deep meditation, and based on my own experiences, I can refer to the middle part of “Echoes” from legendary Pink Floyd. You can experience what silence looks like on this opus, I recommend the original 23 minutes version of the song which was released on the “Meddle” album. It’s a unique guide to discover the inner sounds when we try to simulate silence.
What artistic influences, outside of music, have had a significant influence on how you approach your music?
Generally I care about other artistic fields, and I experience some of them, like graphic design, photography, drawing and poetry. Everything that attracts my attention can become precious to me. Actually there are too many favorites. I prefer Persian poets like Khayyam, Ferdowsi, Hafez and Rumi. Between painters I love Salvador Dali and Da Vinci. Movie directors like Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher and Tim Burton are my favorites. After all, I love Sci-fi series and movies and I think some of them affected my music directly.
On your recent album Monopsychism you interweave slow and fragile rhythms into calm and overwhelming atmospheres, especially in „Washing memories“ and the final track „Waking up in a parallel world“. How did the writing of these songs happen and how was the creation process?
Well, on “Washing memories” I tried to compose a song with a progressive approach yet keep everything minimal and emotional, and I added a melody on the final part. As the song’s name represents, it’s a musical catharsis. The vibe is more melancholic rather than calm. It’s the longest song on the album, and the longest song in the Morego discography. It’s about dealing with depression, loneliness and cancer.
“Waking up in a parallel world” is a mixture of organic and classical sounds like female chorus, piano, flute and cello with a hang drum. The vibe is somehow incomplete and uncertain and resonates with the cinematic visions. But this song also represents the ‘feelings after a catharsis’ achieved by the help of nature. As an outro, the song has refreshing vibes to comfort the listeners. The outro songs on Morego albums are generally different from the rest, for example on Solivagant the last song is fully generated by synthesizer and has no beats. Similarly on Astrophile, the final song is very heavy and dense while other songs are smooth and light. On Monopsychism, the final song had to be different so I decided to add more organic instruments and there are no glitches or decorative rhythmic elements.
What’s next for you? What do you wish for & what are you most looking forward to?
Currently I’m dealing with economic issues as we’ve been suffering from a very serious economic crisis in my country, so everything is affected by inflation. If I survive the economic crisis, I want to book some festivals overseas and make new music. I always have brilliant ideas in my mind that need time, budget and a proper place to flourish. Many ideas will automatically become “on hold” or “suspended in air” when you live in a country where music is generally assumed as illegal (or haram) / the country that doesn’t care about its contemporary art and culture. No one gives a damn about artists. Many of us are jobless and our bones are crushing under the pressure of the economic crisis. Many of us are hopeless, depressed and frightened. I just try to not lose myself in the middle of this nightmare, maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe we just try to manipulate ourselves with saying proverbs about hope and brighter days! But in the end, I wish peace to the world. I wish a better and brighter future for all of us.