Duo Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad are the masterminds behind the oft-adored electronic project Carbon Based Lifeforms.
Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden circa 1996, the pair has managed to enrapture an audience who wants expansive cinematic electronica that stays true to it's roots. If you mention the very best ambient groups still working today, there is an excellent chance that their long running project will be a part of the conversation.
The group has recently began to release their catalog on vinyl, the perfect prelude to get the energy swirling for their upcoming album. They have also been kind enough to do an exclusive mix for the readers of Inside the Rift as a complimentary piece for the interview.
Having been a fan of their work since hearing the titular track from Hydroponic Garden years ago, it was truly a joy to get this opportunity.
Prox: Your production name is pretty self-explanatory on the surface but from a spiritual and symbolic perspective, why did you choose Carbon Based Lifeforms?
CBL: Before CBL we had a band called Notch and the title of the project’s second demo album was Carbon Based Lifeforms; So it was the obvious choice when we started making ambient music. The name fit well with our underlying themes of the combination of biology and technology, also it alludes to a lot of sci-fi concepts.
Prox: With the recent resurgence of vinyl, what do you think this means for electronic music from a quality and marketing standpoint? Do you think it brings back some of the intimacy lost in the digital age of music consumption?
CBL: It certainly brings back a lost feeling of something physical you can touch and look at. The designs really shine in the bigger format, compared to cd's etc.
Thanks to the revival, our albums were released on vinyl which we doubt they would have been otherwise. It sure means a lot to our fans and collectors, though we do prefer streaming for it's convenience.
Prox: I saw on Facebook that you are toying around with ideas for the new album’s cover. Could you give us an idea of what it could look like?
CBL: Initially the theme was forests and goblins sort of, but as the tracks progressed they tended to go more towards a lofi/abandoned high-tech direction so we wanted the design to use more industrial imagery. It follows the design of the previous ones but with a few updates and a new color theme of course. Rusty red with blue distortions for a fresh look and to follow the lofi, worn out and rusty technology.
Prox: What can we expect from your new release? How did your older projects contribute to this one as a whole? Is there an album from your catalogue that it is most similar to?
CBL: After we did Twentythree we felt it was time to go back to the older sound and we aimed to combine the sounds and feel of the first three albums in a way.
So we can't select a previous album it sounds like really. We’re really pleased with the result and we feel it's a very strong album.
Prox: As far as scope goes, how ambitious is this new project when compared to what you two would consider your best work?
CBL: We probably spent way more time on each individual track for this one than any of the previous albums, partly due to the fact that it's almost entirely done with hardware instruments as opposed to the older tracks which used a lot of software synthesizers. A few tracks were more or less rewritten several times and we threw away more ideas than ever before.
From our first session, a weekend where we came up with 8 ideas and 5 of them were good ones. Only one of them survived the whole way and that one was actually finished last. Over two years from start to finished.
Prox: Tell us something about yourselves that we may not know that influences your work.
CBL: Our work process basically consists of one of us starting out on a small embryo of a track, if we both like the embryo we start working on it and expanding it step by step, so usually the inspiration comes when we try out different ideas on a track together.
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
CBL: The pub!
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
CBL: Play around with your tools as much as you can, it’s really essential to know them, otherwise you’ll just be struggling with stupid things in the workflow. Don't be afraid to spend a lot of time getting to know your craft.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
CBL: We’re just happy to have finished the new album and we're really looking forward to playing the new tracks live this summer. As for new projects, we'll lay low for a while and just enjoy our free time.
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