…Before “Even Though We Sleep,” I had released several [works] that stretched over many years, most of these have been archived now, but at the time were part of the process of focusing my sound & learning along the way, working out which direction I wanted to go in. “Even Though We Sleep” was a change in direction & a focus on the sound & atmosphere I was trying to create…
Stray Theories AKA Micah Templeton-Wolfe is one of the most talented artists I have had the pleasure of discovering some years ago. Recently, I had a chance to speak with Micah about his recent emotive n5MD debut, “All That Was Lost,” which released 29 Jun 2018.
Micah’s work will always be special to me as his work [as Ocean Lost] was featured on the very first album review with a remix of Melorman’s exquisite intelligent electronic track, ‘Digital Twilight,’ over on the inspiring Sun Sea Sky music label. In a sense, Micah is part of the foundational roots of uplifting, emotive cinematic bliss my music blog hopes to cover indefinitely. As an avid fan of Micah’s work, the time, attention to detail, and detailed answers he provided to my questions are very meaningful and inspiring.
Interview: Stray Theories (Micah Templeton-Wolfe)
Ambiance Glitters: AG
Stray Theories: ST
AG: Hey Stray Theories, glad you could join me on the blog for an interview. How are you doing? Any recent hidden gem album discoveries to report?
ST: I am doing really well; this year has been really exciting & productive. Currently, I am writing new music for several projects & future releases + a few remixes.
Recently, I have been listening to:
- “For a Wandering Beam of Sun” by Solidarity Hymn;
- “Ascesa” by Chasing Dreams;
- “A Quiet Divide” by Rhian Sheehan;
- “Last Night We Became Swans” by The Summer Kills.
AG: Stray Theories, can you tell me a little bit about how you came to be in contact with the high-quality emotive electronic music label, otherwise known as n5MD?
ST: n5MD is a label that I have admired and followed for a long time. I was contacted after the release of my album “Those Who Remain,” and talked about the possibility of an album release in the future.
After some time, I completed the album “All That Was Lost,” which I very honoured to have released on n5MD. It has been an honour & privilege to work with Mike from n5MD on the release of the album and I’m excited about the future.
AG: Can you tell us about some of the other standout productions you have produced in the past? I count three albums besides your debut n5MD album, “All That Was Lost”.
ST: “Even Though We Sleep” (2012) is significant in that it represents a change of direction and a new start for the ‘Stray Theories’ project.
Before “Even Though We Sleep,” I had released several EPs, Demo Compilations, Live Recordings and some older albums, etc… that stretched over many years, most of these have been archived now, but at the time were part of the process of focusing my sound & learning along the way, working out which direction I wanted to go in. “Even Though We Sleep” was a change in direction & a focus on the sound & atmosphere I was trying to create.
AG: Do you have a definite favo[u]rite genre of music? If Ambient music is not your favorite genre of music, what are you currently enjoying the most?
ST: No particular favourite genre overall. I find myself looking for the same feeling no matter the genre, gravitating towards music that has a similar kind of emotive quality.
I listen to a really eclectic range of music, I love exploring & searching for unique sounds & sub-genres. Overall, I am really am really drawn to shoegaze & ambient-inspired sounds. Recently, I have been listening to artists like A Film in Colour, Jesu, The Summer Kills, Toe, Bugge Wesseltoft, Slowdive & Caspian.
AG: Is there a standout artist currently in Micah’s personal inspiration playlist?
AG: Favorite film or television show? Why?
ST: Favourite film.. among many, one that stands out is Blade Runner. I have always been a big sci-fi fan, and the incredible atmosphere, aesthetic & visuals combined with the amazing soundtrack (which was a huge inspiration) make it one of my favourites.
AG: What music label should more people know about besides n5MD?
ST: There are so many wonderful labels releasing beautiful music at the moment, it is really inspiring to see the how the ambient (and related genres) label/artist community is so strong. A couple of labels I follow & admire are:
- A Strangely Isolated Place
- Already Dead Tapes
- Hibernate Records
- rohs! Records
- sound in silence
- Sun Sea Sky Productions
- Unknown Tone Records
AG: What is the most underrated album, in your opinion? Does it mean anything special to you in terms of associated deep meaning?
ST: There is an incredible amount of amazing music hidden away online that deserves much more attention, hard to identify one, so below are 3 in particular that come to mind, all really special to me:
1. Snow Effects by and/or – A really beautiful blend of atmospheric ambient & glitch/IDM. I have loved this release for a long time, a real gem.
2. Sounds by Casilofi – I really love this album, it’s a beautiful warm mix of happy & nostalgic lo-fi post-rock & shimming soundscapes that make you smile.
3. Solace by Jakob – This one of my favourite post-rock albums by far, the atmosphere is perfect, it captures so many elements i love from delicate atmospheres to huge soaring crescendos. A masterpiece!
AG: Can you describe how it feels to have so many opportunities to remix works? (Reference: Silk Music Imprint Remixes). I certainly feel that the diversity of your remix works alone on the Silk Music label define your unique sound best.
ST: It is always an honour to be invited to work on a remix, i have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and it is always a great privilege to be able to re-interpret an artists work in the form of a remix. I really enjoy the challenge of building on an original, taking elements & reworking a song into a new shape.
AG: If someone were to ask you what your music sounds like what would be your response to that person? Does or did your answer change over time?
ST: I usually describe my music as cinematic, minimal, peaceful, melancholic & soundtrack inspired.
Yes, it has changed a lot in some ways, a long time ago at the start, it was more electronica influenced, with elements of chill-out, dub and other sub-genres, I was dabbling & experimenting with different genres for a while, but over time I was able to refine and focus my direction to reach the sound & feel I wanted to achieve.
AG: The names of your last two album seem to contradict each other (“We Never Left” (2014) and “All That Was Lost,” (2018)); can you explain the thought process to naming these albums?
ST: Sometimes the album or song name comes first, inspiring the music, other times the music inspires the title. A lot of my music is based on abstract ideas, moods & states.
“All That Was Lost” is a title that ties together the feel of the album, a personal story in a way. The album is full of moments that are aligned with my journey, experiences and inspirations – the title reflects on change and new beginnings.
“We Never Left” is little more abstract in meaning & concept, a feeling of hope & inspiration….
AG: Stray Theories, any comments before we wrap up the interview?
ST: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my music & kind words about the new album!
Thanks for joining me on the blog to pick your mind about your productions and the music scene in general and putting out your inspiring productions for the whole world to hear!
Support Stray Theories & n5MD by purchasing “All That Was Lost” via physical or digital on Bandcamp, or via n5MD’s Website. Special thanks to visionary Mike Cadoo from n5MD for being involved with this project.