Terra Incognita creates audio tracks that have a driven percussive beat. At times the drums have an almost tribal feel that provide a real counterpart to electronic synth melodies and sequences. The Sub0 Soundtrack comes in at almost an hour in length and showcases the artist’s talent to great effect. Terra Incognita describes his approach in the following excerpt from his interview:
The music I am creating as Terra Incognita is very groove based. I aim for hypnotic rhythms that play with the listener’s mind. I am also very much obsessed with the texture of the sound, if I am honest I am more obsessed with the sound of records than the actual structure of the songs. The texture of a track resonates with something deep inside of me and this is the thing I am always grasping to reach when I am creating. That feeling within as I harmonise with whatever I am creating. The overall sound I would say is hopefully hypnotic, rhythmical and atmospheric.Terra Incognita – Interview March 2022
The artist, alongside his fellow musician Leif Wyn on Singular are part of a vanguard of musicians who clearly see the benefits of NFTs and the blockchain. CAN sincerely hope that musicians can benefit from NFTs as the conventional music industry clearly doesn’t treat artists with the respect they deserve in terms of royalties or indeed ‘streaming’ royalties that pay less than 1 cent per play!
Name or alias
Social media links and website profiles
Twitter – @terraincUK
Instagram – @Terra_incognita_uk
Singular – https://singular.rmrk.app/collections/5e18f2acddf1f3951e-50CGI
Bandcamp – https://terraincuk.bandcamp.com/music
What is your background as a musician in general?
I have been involved in music most of my life. Around 1997 I got my first set of turntables and started DJing, mostly making mixtapes for my friends as I was around 13 years old then. By the age of 16 I picked up the guitar and started songwriting, becoming the singer in a band. I continued to write and perform right through into my 20s. Over that period of time I started to drift back towards electronic music through my interest in acts like the Prodigy and everything else that was crossing indie music with electronica at the time. This inspired me to start learning more about electronic music production.
After being made redundant from my day job at 26 years old I decided to enrol on a Sound Production course at college full time, the one I actually teach on now. During this period I found myself drawn back into club and rave culture in quite a big way, this totally developed my knowledge of electronic music and also involved me back in DJing again. I found myself leaving the band elements behind altogether and becoming an electronic music producer. Over the years I have worked under many different aliases producing and releasing Techno, House and Ambient music. I started the Terra Incognita project at the beginning of 2020 when I found myself really inspired by the deeper elements of hypnotic rhythmical techno. I have loved the focus on rhythm and texture, creating atmospheres and worlds of sound. The focus since then has been to keep on developing that sound and myself as an artist.
What is your overall process in generating music?
I feel as if I never really worked out what my approach and process was to making music until around 4 years ago. I am not someone who can sit down at the piano and create a piece or hear an idea in my head then turn it into reality. That said, a lot of what I do is performed live in the studio. Spending a few years learning my craft within ambient music actually developed my overall creative process. I learned that using the software, synths and controllers as an instrument rather than just a place to arrange things was where I was actually at my best. I feel as if I work best when I am in a two-way communication process with the instruments and software.
I tend to set up processes with instruments, effects, step sequencers or midi information, map this to controllers then perform. Whatever is happening in the box and coming from the speakers inspires whatever my next move is, but on my best days i enter a state of flow. I also feel that the music and sound are out with us but we must reach out to find the pieces and bring them together in this process of two way communication, shape them in a way that we connect with deeper inside and become at harmony with. Once I feel as if I have something that is close to potential, I jam it out live recording it to audio. I feel that this is the best way to commit to an idea, it can always then be edited, arranged or even resampled after that. I often then build drums around it or track more instruments over the top. Recording long ideas can often dictate the arrangement of the track, saving a lot of headache later on on how to arrange a simple 4 or 8 bar loop. Working this way I feel captures moments in time, I believe that the type of music I make, be it Techno or Ambient, is just moments in time. Especially when used in the context of a DJ set.
How would you describe your music in your own words?
The music I am creating as Terra Incognita is very groove based. I aim for hypnotic rhythms that play with the listener’s mind. I am also very much obsessed with the texture of the sound, if I am honest I am more obsessed with the sound of records than the actual structure of the songs. The texture of a track resonates with something deep inside of me and this is the thing I am always grasping to reach when I am creating. That feeling within as I harmonise with whatever I am creating. The overall sound I would say is hopefully hypnotic, rhythmical and atmospheric.
Favourite artists / influences?
I have influences from many areas of music as my tastes are infinitely wide. From the electronic music world I would list Burial, Moderat, Plastikman, Exium, Temudo. From other areas of music I would say Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Kanye West, Oasis, 2Pac, Denzel Curry are some of my all time favourite artists.
How did you discover the new blockchain world of Crypto Art and NFTs in general?
I really fell into this space by accident at first. My good friend Leif Wyn and I were approached about doing the music for the sub0 conference last year. That music was received extremely well at the event. Off the back of it we learned a little about the potential of NFTs, minted the mixes and dropped them on Singular. The rest is history really. Around the same time we immersed ourselves in the Dotsama and NFT community on Twitter and started to interact with many like minded individuals, that is how we found the rest of the folks within the space.
What are the biggest challenges for musicians in the NFT space?
I think one of the biggest challenges within the space is keeping up with things. They move so fast. A few days away from social media can leave you behind. I also think the entry level of knowledge required, of crypto, wallets, blockchain, everything that comes with it and the long winded processes all contribute to putting many artists off at the moment. It still seems like a different world altogether. I often feel like a different character just between Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is where everything plays out and it feels like an ecosystem all of its own. If you are not immersed in that community regularly you are unlikely to survive as an artist within the space. Another thing that could be seen as a challenge is finding an audience outside of your own ecosystem if you are focusing your attention on being an NFT based artist. For that reason I still keep a foot in the outside world, releasing material through the traditional methods. I have recently set up my own label that straddles the divide between the NFT space and the traditional model, I aim long term to help some artists make the step over.
What are the some of the biggest opportunites for musicians in the NFT space?
First and foremost I think the biggest one is to actually make some decent revenue on your artwork, something that has been so difficult for so long. I have done better in the past 6 months in the NFT community financially than I did in the past 10 years of the traditional model. I am so thankful that people are willing to support me in what I do and also contribute their money in the process. This can let artists experiment and take control of their own journey and artwork. The NFT space is also a place to develop community and collaborate with like minded artists. I have met so many new friends from all over the world who are open minded and supportive, inspired to collaborate and help each other. That is awesome. Within the Dotsama community, all the musicians have come together to form the Chaos Collective, this project has been a great opportunity to bring everyone together in support of each other’s talents and help each other grow within the space. The debut release of the collective has also been a massive success on Singular so it seems that the community is also ready to support such ventures, this is all positive.
Anything you’d like to say that this form hasn’t covered?
I would just like to say that I am grateful to be here and be a part of something that is still just in it’s infancy. I feel blessed and thankful for all of those who have supported my work, reached out to me or replied when I reached out to them. I am excited to see how things grow and where everything goes next.