For Antwerp-based producer Oval Angle, less is more

Oval Angle’s slow-paced and uncluttered electronic music is rooted in a back-to-basic approach that sees the Antwerp-based producer and visual artist employ the most simplistic of tools, and the least amount of samples, and getting the most out of them. His is a less-is-more approach to music-making, which is precisely what makes it so refreshing.

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How would you describe your music? Where does it have its roots? 

I grew up listening to a lot of electronic music, which slowly shifted to more experimental and folk-music. I would describe my music as an experiment in sound, not really polished and simplistic, kind of naïve, electronic music.

How did you first get into music? When was the first time you started making music? 

I grew up watching a lot of music videos on TV. I remember Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet”, turns out I was four years old at the time which is kind of funny because I still really like what she’s doing. I remember in 2005 I really started looking for music that wasn’t broadcasted widely and I started listening to more experimental things too. Around that time I got a copy of Fruity Loops and started playing around with it, in the living room of my parents’ house.

How does your work as a visual artist, and your work as a musician, follow the same path? 

In both mediums I use very basic tools and try to use their full potential. I think it’s not so much about what you’re using, but what you’re able to make out of it. With the music, I’m trying to create a context for the visual part and right now I’m looking for ways to develop that further on than just designing the artwork for the releases. I think music and art are very closely related to each other and it’s interesting to be able to combine the two.

Can you talk to us about your recording process?

I really have no musical background other than just listening a lot to it, so everything I do is by ear and feeling. I can’t read notes, which I try to use to my advantage. Working only digital makes it quite challenging actually, because you don’t get any unexpected errors which can really add something to a song. So I’m trying to find those by not using too much of all the tools offered and trying to work with recorded samples as much as I can.

What do you find the most challenging when recording music? 

I have a habit of using a small amount of samples and experiment with those until I get something I’m pleased with, which can take a long time. It’s very easy nowadays to get a big library of samples and create any sound you like, but limiting myself to just a few is a real challenge.

Do you have any habit, good or bad, when in the studio? 

Because I always work in my flat it’s hard to focus on one thing, I get distracted very easily.

What do your parents think about your music? 

I gave my father my first tape but I think he never really listened to it.

What’s your favourite debut album by another band? 

There are a few artists that made an incredible first record and then either vanished or had a hard time releasing a second. “Trans-Millenia Consort” by Pauline Anna Ström for example is released in 1982 and still now I don’t know anyone doing something similar. It adds to the mystery that she’s apparently blind and started making music to express her vision. It’s been re-issued on tape recently but sold out very quickly.

What’s the first band t-shirt you ever bought?

I went to see Daft Punk in Amsterdam on their Alive 2007-tour when I was 16. I was a big fan at the time and bought the touring shirt, which I still have in my closet but probably won’t see daylight ever again.

What’s the first album you ever bought?

“Backstreet’s Back” by the Backstreet Boys, no comment!

Can you recommend a Belgian band we should be following / listening to? 

Miaux. She released some things on Ultra Eczema, and she makes very nice instrumental compositions where she takes away all things unnecessary and uses her keyboard for the most soothing melodies.

What’s next for you in terms of releases, concerts, etc…

There’s some plans for a vinyl release, a new tape (probably will take a year at least) and my first performance is planned end of May in Antwerp.

Oval Angle’s last album, Talk of Sculptures, was released as a gold-sparkled cassette, on Look Back & Laugh in November 2015.

ovalangle.bandcamp.com