Time as an ally for Cristian Subirà
Barcelona-based Cristian Subirà has come to direct his musical career by mostly taking an observer’s perspective. He’s gone by a number of monikers, such as Summer Recreation Camp, Cosmic D’Alessandro, Nubian Deli, and Quanta, as a means of stepping behind the scenes and detaching preconceptions to his identity.
In 2018, he released his first album ‘Modified Perspectives’ as Jason Kolàr on Stroom. While it may seem like yet another new moniker, the name seemed to have stuck, as Jason Kolàr reappeared on Dauw three years later with not just one but two albums ‘Loops & Pieces’ and ‘Liquid Rhythm.’
We caught up with Cristian to learn more about his evolving musical journey, and time—perhaps his greatest companion.
Why Jason Kolàr?
I stumbled upon an interview with a real estate agent named Jason Kolar. He looked like an average American, who is really anonymous in a certain way, and that fitted perfectly to this idea of having a moniker. The idea of running away from the ego of an artist.
When you make music or art that is meaningful to people, I think it puts them in a position of power because they know something about you, but you don’t know anything about them.
I’ve done a lot of different things involving music, and I’ve always found it interesting to be on different sides. I’ve run a radio and organized shows, but I have also been a musician playing at a venue or on tour. Depending on what you do, people would treat you differently. I think it’s interesting to have these many perspectives of the same situation. It gives you more empathy and respect for the people you work with.
Do you pick which moniker would fit best with a release?
When I start making a piece and it doesn’t fit with the moniker I’m using at a certain moment, I just make up something new. I like the idea of keeping things very different. People also really enjoy finding new things.
How has your music making evolved over the years?
The music I’m making, especially in the last five years, is based on this idea of making something that is very minimal. Something that is very simple. Something that is not overproduced.
I went to Atonal in Berlin a few years ago and mostly everything was just so histrionic, crazy, loud, and effective. I’m going the other way around. I want to have as little as possible to make a song. If I can make a piece with four tracks, then why use 25?
Do you think you have already found your sound?
I’m still searching, but I’m at a point where I feel satisfied with the sound I am creating. I take more time now as well to make music. I’m also taking more pauses to just listen to what I’m doing and embrace the silence. I think silence is very important in music. It’s something I already knew, but I realized it maybe more over the years.
One of the themes that keep coming back in your work is time. Why is that important for you?
Time and repetition are very important concepts to me. When you’re listening to something repetitive, maybe the piece remains static, but you’re changing while you’re listening to it.
I also always think a lot about my time on Earth. I want to use my time in a meaningful way. I like being on a train just to stare out of the window and look at the countryside. I like how repetitive nature is.
What makes you want to pick up your gear and start working on an album?
I often make new music when there’s a need for it. I don’t rush making new music or finding new labels. If the time is right, the opportunities will present themselves. There were a couple of years between ‘Modified Perspectives’ and ‘Loops & Pieces.’ But that’s how it works for me, I consider time as an ally.
The spark to start making new music often comes from playing live. When I have a presentation show for a release, I don’t want to just strictly play music from that release. I like creating new music for it. The end of one process often marks the start of a new process. Rehearsing for a show also always gives me new ideas and new directions to explore.
What’s the concept behind your latest album Liquid Rhythm?
People often tell me that my music is great to put on while working. I don’t relate my music to being productive. Ambient music is, by definition, background music. But if you just stop and listen, there’s so much more to it. It’s like listening to the flow of the river or the sea. It’s greatly enjoyable but not while you’re having a phone call. That’s the idea of Liquid Rhythm. It’s just like water escaping from your hands. It’s something fluid. I suppose it has something to do with being born and raised in a city that has the sea nearby.
Where does your inspiration flow from?
The music I make always seems to be a mirror of my emotional state.
When I was younger, I remember making music that is fast, noisy, and angry. Music has always been like therapy to me. It’s like a conductor of my emotions, from frustration and sadness to nostalgia and hope.
The music that I’m making now is very calm, as I have also been very calm. I just calmed myself down over the years. I think listening to ambient music for many years, even when it wasn’t as popular as it is right now, has helped me a lot in finding something to be emotionally connected to.
It sounds very New Age-y what I’m saying, right? (laughs)