'Attending my first punk concert in Montreal and listening to cross-genres like EBM (Electronic Body Music) helped widen my understanding of music. Dancing has been crucial in my musical journey and always served as a connection point between me and the music. ´
Born and raised in the small industrial town of Eskilstuna, Sweden, with Finnish parents, gredeson is an artist whose music reflects the diverse genres and styles that he has encountered throughout his life. With a synesthetic approach to music-making, gredeson sees music as closely connected with spatiality, creating shapes and colours that enhance his understanding of music in a unique way.
Since founding the artist collective "whalewhale," gredeson has committed himself to technicality, storytelling, and exploring the boundaries of music. With a focus on early trance, hard techno, and groovy house music, gredeson aims to create fun and danceable music that connects with his audience. With a growing interest in the history of different music genres and a commitment to learning more technical skills, gredeson is a visionary artist whose work is constantly evolving.
In this interview for NCOUNTERS, we delve into gredeson's journey, inspiration, and creative process. From attending punk concerts in Montreal to discovering the origins of Techno in Detroit, gredeson has always been curious and open-minded about music. His unique perspectives come in part from his experiences as a member of the queer community, subtly adding a depth to his music that is significant. With a synesthetic approach to music-making and a commitment to technicality and storytelling, gredeson has solidified his style of music since moving to Berlin, where he finds himself at home amongst a diverse and thriving arts scene. We explore the turning points in his musical journey, his source of inspiration, and how he balances making music for introspective reasons while connecting with his audience.
Kubi Ozturk: Hello gredeson. It is pleasure to have you on board! It is been a bit delayed although we have been talking about it for long. I want to start the interview with our regular question: Which city did you grow up in? How did you form your early musical aesthetics, who influenced you to explore musical processes, and how did it evolve? What does gredeson mean?
gredeson: I grew up in Eskilstuna, a small industrial town in Sweden, with Finnish parents. Music was not a significant part of my life during my early years, as I found everything around me uninteresting and uninspiring. However, my musical taste evolved over time, and several factors contributed to its formation. Living in Sweden, France, Germany, and Canada exposed me to various genres and styles of music, which helped broaden my musical aesthetics.
It was the people around me who played a more significant role in shaping my music taste. I was introduced to new styles of music that sparked my curiosity and led me to spend countless hours researching, listening, and dancing. For example, attending my first punk concert in Montreal and listening to cross-genres like EBM (Electronic Body Music) helped widen my understanding of music. Dancing has been crucial in my musical journey and always served as a connection point between me and the music. I am constantly looking to learn more about different genres and styles of music, and I never think that my exploration of music will end.
Regarding my artist name, gredeson, it is a fabricated name that my family took to assimilate into Swedish society. My mother and her brother pushed for the family to change their Finnish family name to something with a more Swedish vibe. Less than ten of my relatives share this name, including my father, who also had a Finnish family name before marriage. To me, gredeson represents fabrication, a new story.
I know your passion for music closely. But, still I would like to ask if there are turning points in your musical journey?
Visiting Detroit and learning about the origins of Techno marked a significant turning point in my musical journey. Discovering the foundations of electronic music in black culture and its connections to Jazz and Disco was a profound and eye-opening experience. I even had the chance to connect with the inspiring UR (Underground Resistance) crew. Lately, I've developed a growing interest in the history of different music genres and have made a commitment to learning more technical skills this year.
Moving to Berlin was another pivotal moment for me. It was here that I was able to solidify my style of music, drawing inspiration from the dynamic dancefloors, diverse styles, people, and spatial settings.
I founded an artist collective called "whalewhale" when I was living in Montreal, Canada. Our aim was to blend music with writing, video, art, design, and any other creative medium we could dream up. We hosted an event in an old bank vault that attracted 400 attendees on our first night, and we released a philosophical book about clouds that captured our vision. Our collective eventually evolved into a music podcast series on SoundCloud, which has been inactive for some time.
´ For me, synesthesia manifests as shapes and colours that I see in music. Specifically, I only see shapes in music that have a certain type of spatiality to them. Music has always been closely connected with spatiality in my mind, and I've only recently come to understand this aspect of myself. ´
What does music mean to you? Why have you chosen this way to integrate with it?
As an engineer, I tend to think in terms of systems and processes, applying my analytical skills to frameworks and settings. Interestingly, spatiality is a recurring theme in my work. I have synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon where stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second pathway. For me, synesthesia manifests as shapes and colours that I see in music. Specifically, I only see shapes in music that have a certain type of spatiality to them. Music has always been closely connected with spatiality in my mind, and I've only recently come to understand this aspect of myself.
Overall, my synesthesia is a useful tool that helps me understand music in a unique way.
´ It's funny because I feel like I am creating music for myself to look back on when I am 70+, but at the same time, I only create when I have something to do it for.`
What is the source of inspiration for you? How do you locate your art and artistic perspective? How do you find the balance between making music for introspective reasons and communicating with others?
Since the creation of "whalewhale," I have continuously worked on music in some way or another. I am curious about how deep I can go, what stories I can tell, and how good I can become technically. Because I believe in the importance of technicality, the conceptual idea itself, and the story told.
It's funny because I feel like I am creating music for myself to look back on when I am 70+, but at the same time, I only create when I have something to do it for. Currently, I am working on my storytelling and technical skills to get even better.
What are the main themes of your mixes?
The main themes of my mixes are changing, but early trance and hard techno are two things I tend to go back to. Dub techno, horse-riding trance, and everything that moves my body also catch my attention. I want to play fun and danceable music because dancing is important to me, and I want to give the audience something they can let go to.
I also have a thing for groovy house music that you just can't stop moving to.
Editor: Kubi Ozturk
Photo layouts: Can Hatunoglu
NCOUNTERS, Berlin (2023)