Text and Interview: Alec Coiro
Images Courtesy of Serafim and Terrorbird
Serafim is a man whose hometown is listed solely as “mountains,” and he journeys back up them for the creating of his latest album She Swims, which will be released December 9th on Hush Hush Records. The recording features Serafim’s collaborations with a number of haunting and operatic female vocalists, including his sister Angeliki. The album itself lulls you into the comfort of ambient electronics only to pleasantly surprise you with what one might call well-crafted acoustic jazz.
As a musician, Serafim can seemingly do as he pleases, which makes the album as a whole an interesting listen. It’s also intensely relaxing, as Serafim’s primary interest is clearly not in showing off his chops but capturing the feeling and mood of the nature that ensconced him during the recording process. And while the album as a whole is an experience worth having, checking out Ravelin’s exclusive advance preview of “Dragonflies” is definitely not too bad either.
I understand the recording process for “She Swims” involved your return to your hometown in Greece? What was that like? Did you take inspiration from the experience of returning?
I spent half of the whole processing in my hometown village of Corinth as I wanted to record in specific places, surrounded by the mountains and sea that I used to visit as a child, in order to create the exact soundscapes I had in mind. I’ve also recorded some of the acoustic instruments and vocals in nature, as I wanted to get the right space and warmth in my sound. This entire experience was unique: there were both fun and magical moments at the same time.
Your rich and varied use of acoustic instruments sets you apart from other solo artists in your genre. As a solo artist, what are the challenges of mixing electronic and acoustic instruments?
I must say that I see sound everywhere around me, in every person, object, etc . Merging a variety of sounds that differ in quality and warmth has always been the most interesting field for me.
How does your work on your albums differ from your more commercial composition work?
I like the idea of experimenting a lot, so all of my albums are different. I mean it’s still me in them, but a different me each time. In this new album I’ve explored new forms of synthesis and focused on the recording process using analog synths, electronics, pianos and collaborating with various musicians that I admire. I’ve always had a thing for cinematic music, you can sense that in my sound. Cinema makes you dream, and that’s what I’m attempting to do with She Swims.
Can you tell us a little about your collaboration with your sister?
I’ve been working with my sister since my first album and then I’ve been composing for her video installations too. In 2015 our collaboration became more solid with our new project ”Ocean Hope” and our first debut EP Chamber Dreams was released last year, also on Hush Hush Records.
Do you have a listener in mind when you compose and record? And if so, where do you imagine that person to be when they’re listening?
When I am composing, I most certainly have a battle of melodies in my mind. If there was someone or something in mind, that would be my two daughters dancing to my music, making funny improvisations.