Today Chilean talent Miraclis has stopped by to chat with us about his forthcoming album, music influences, and more.
Miraclis earned his stripes as a DJ under the name Max Clementi in his native Chile, as well as Spain after a stint at the Barcelona SAE Institute. Since receiving his first guitar from his parents when he was twelve, he has been performing and writing music. He was greatly influenced by the trip-hop, psychedelic rock, and synth wave genres of the 1980s and 1990s, listening to artists like Massive Attack, Tricky, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails. But he didn’t start working on what would become Origin Of Truth seriously until he had to relocate back to Pucón to care for his father during the pandemic.
Hello Miraclis, thank you for joining us today. How is the summer treating you?
Hi there, thank you for the interest in my music. Pleasure to meet you. Well, I live in Chile, in the southern hemisphere. I am sadly not enjoying all of the pleasures of summer, like you guys! Right now I’m based in Santiago, the capital of Chile. But the album was made at my improvised studio at Pucón, south of Chile, where I hope to go back as soon as I can. Winter has been really cold here this year, but my mind has been focused on the releases. I must admit I’m a summer guy, but I’ve been able to surf the cold and shitty weather with my music and the great acceptance and curiosity that has woken up in so many people. It’s been really crazy, and I’m so thankful for that.
Your forthcoming album will land on Crosstown Rebel’s sister label Secret Teachings. The whole LP is very profound and gloomy. Is there any particular message you want to send?
Yes, and for me it’s something almost surreal. I’ve been a huge fan of Crosstown Rebels’ music. Plus I have a great admiration for Damian, as a DJ, as a producer, as a person. The LP was made in the pandemic. I was going through hard times (like all of us did). It was so surreal. I used to work at a cultural centre as the house manager of it. But I got fired, unfortunately, for obvious reasons. It was shut for two years. So I decided to go to Pucón, where my father lives. There I have my own space, besides his house, which I adapted as my studio. But it’s a place that’s made for spending summer. Definitely not made for winter. I could feel the wind burst inside the studio. Spending winter there was all a challenge! Plus my father was a high risk person if he got the virus. So my social contact was, practically, none. This album was a way to communicate what I was feeling at that time. Through music. The album is very melancholic in some tracks, with a dark vibe in others, and maybe a bit more “optimistic” in some of them. I could say that it’s a kind of “transcription” of what was going through my mind at that time… My mood was very unstable and was changing all the time, I must say. And that, I think it’s perfectly reflected by the music. I’ve been a witness at some periods of my life, of what depression means. And undoubtedly, I passed at some point of the album’s creation, through it. That melancholy, those dark vibes, were created in stages in which I was really sad, lonely, confused… And with an absolute uncertainty of what life was going to be after all this situation. I was even unable to create my own lyrics, so I decided to look for free copyright dark poems from my favourite artists and fit them into the tracks. There wasn’t an initial idea with a concrete message in the beginning of producing this album. But I learned a lot in the making of it. For me, it has been a life changing experience, and I realised how powerful music is as a way to communicate. And maybe there will be people that vibe with my music, and with its melancholy. More than a sung message, there’s a musical message. For me it’s enough if they’re capable of vibing and feeling melodies, the guitar solos, if they transport with the atmospheres… If I want to give a message to people, after the making of this record, it would be more like a tip: to find the way to get over problems. I made this album on my own. But before doing it, I never thought I was capable of doing something this huge. I invite people to recognize your talents, polish them, work on them. And never, ever let something bring you down. Sometimes it’s hard… And you’ll not get over your problems or low vibes instantly. Work in your willpower!
As we are speaking, what is your musical background, and when did you start producing electronic music?
I received my first electric guitar when I was aged twelve. At that point I was listening to punk rock bands, and with schoolmates started doing “garage bands”. My first band was called “Sin Permiso” (in Spanish, which means “Without Permission” in English). That can give you an idea of the troublemaker, rebel teenagers we were at that time… After several school bands in which we participated at festivals, concerts, etc (I even played Roxette with the bass at a festival, and I loved it! haha), I felt it was the time for creating my own music. None of the bands in which I played at the time agreed in composing our own music. They just wanted to make covers of other bands. So, I had to quit these bands, and start my own musical career, on my own. In first place, I felt the need to be self- sufficient at the time of producing music. I had the luck of going to Barcelona and to study Audio Engineering at SAE Institute. At that stage I was just testing sounds. And it wasn’t until I finished the course, when I started finding the sounds that identified me as a musician. It was at this time that I introduced myself to the world of synths, effects, drum machines, and started analyzing them. For the first time I had this private “romance” with them, and could spend hours and even days learning to use them well. And those romances converted as pure love.
There is a noticeable amount of guitar riffs in your album, how many instruments do you play,
and what are they?
Oh, yes. It’s part of the identity of the album. I wanted to pick up these analog instruments I used to play at young ages that were getting rusty (as well as my technique at the time of playing them), and mix them all together with my new electronic instruments and tools… I play guitar, bass, drums, and I also sing. (With studies at a prestigious institute here in Chile in this last discipline). I am sympathetic with percussion in general. And I play different kind of synthesizers: Monophonics, Polyphonics… And also use some Audio Units that emulate synth models with great results. I’m not sure the number of how many they are… Sometimes I just pick them up and start playing them… I don’t consider myself as a virtuous at any instrument. I just know the “basics… And with this I mean that I don’t even know how to read a music sheet… I do all just by ear…
Starting with ‘Sonnet’ and ending with ‘Trapped’ every element in your production is well-crafted and perfectly-polished. What is your studio equipment, do you use digital synths as well?
As I said before, yes, I do use digital synths. But in all cases I work their sound very well with other plugins, such as Waves, among others. Waves plugins have always been a fundamental part of my compositions and getting the final result. My studio equipment, which I used in the making of the album is: Adam A7 audio monitors, Polk Audio Sub Bass (this one is for home theater systems, but it’s the one I could afford at the time of buying one, and for me it works just fine! haha), Motu Ultralite MK2 audio interface, Rode NT-1 condenser mic, Shure SM 58 dynamic mic, Technics RP-DJ1200 headphones, Moog SUB37 synthesizer, Access Virus TI synthesizer, Roland Juno JU-06A Boutique synth, M-Audio Oxygen Midi controller, Native Instruments Maschine MK3, Gibson Les Paul Gothic guitar, Fender Precision Blacktop series bass, Epiphone J-200 acoustic guitar, Marshall Valvestate 65R guitar amplifier (my oldest friend of all the studio), Orange Crush 100W Bass amplifier, TC Helicon Voicelive Play pedal effect for the voice, Eventide Space Reverb Pedal, MXR bass distortion pedal, Electro Harmonix Bass Mono Synth Pedal, Seymour Duncan Twin Tube distortion pedal for the guitar, plus the Waves plugins mentioned before, as well Arturia plugins (some of them are incredible, specially the one that emulates the Yamaha CS-80 synth), Spectrasonics plugins and finally some Soundtoys plugins (love the Crystallizer and the Pan-man!).
How do you decide when a track is “finished”?
When it makes me feel satisfied, musically talking, as in terms of sounding, dynamics, etc. When I’m able to get a feeling in it. Sometimes I am quite a perfectionist. But lately I’ve learned that it’s better for me to listen to certain progressions with the pass of time in my creations. I used to be looking for every single, and little detail in tracks… But no one is born being a musical producer. It takes time to be a good one. And in these kind of compositions, using all these kind of different elements, specially…
Nowadays, there is so much information on the internet regarding music production. How do you identify good and bad advice?
Firstly, of whom comes the advice. Is it a prestigious, long trajectory producer? That’s when it first gets my attention. But with all the access to new tools and technologies, there are some not well known guys that also have good advice. I think that music production courses nowadays can give tips to anyone – such as, dynamics, music theory, etc. However, a lot of people could spend a whole eternity looking for their sound. I would look for tips from the correct people. Try them in your tools, and see if you get the sound in which you feel more identified. For me it’s all about that! When looking for your identity… don’t try to sound the same as other artists… You may have inspirations, influences and stuff. But for me it’s always finding THAT thing that identifies you.
Finally, what’s next for Miraclis for the rest of this year? Will there be any live shows, collaborations, or remixes?
At the moment, we’re got the second single from the album coming ‘Scienter’. It will be out on July 15, with incredible and interesting remixes from Ivan Smagghe + Cross. And I must mention the breathtaking video clip that will also be launched by this date, directed by the Colombian great film director, Santiago Posada and his team. Here we had a great collaboration between both parts, and the result is just incredible.
Finally, we have the release of long awaited album! “Origin of Truth” which will be out on July 29! Here you’ll find the long play album with all it’s tracks! About shows and the rest, there will be surprises soon! Stay tuned…
Thank you for a nice chat, we are excited for your upcoming album!
Much love to all! Max.