Talks with Omnimotion aka Stefan Lundaahl

 

Stefan Lundaahl

Visit Omnimotion's website


Stefan Lundaahl.....known for his deep emotional ambient music, was born in 1976 in Sweeden. Stefan started his spiraling musical journey at the age of 15 when he began playing the guitar, writing music and playing in bands. The passion for music resulted in a three year music gynmasium program where he played in various bands and wrote more and more music and also played guitar in a Metal band. After exploring various genres, Stefan finally discovered the gate to the dreamy infintie world of ambient music and began his Omnimotion project. Along with his passion for ambient music he was also attracted to the romantic classical era. And so, ended up in a two year classical composing program where he had learned to write for orchestral instruments, classical vocals, piano, string quartet and full orchestra.

By 1999 he released his first track, and in 2002 his very sucessful debut self titled album was released by the well-known US label Waveform. He went on releasing many tracks on different compilations around the globe and his music was also chosen to accompany dance performances choreographed by famous choreographer Moses Pendelton.

 

 

Dream Wide Awake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Wide Awake:
Ambient Visions Talks with....Stefan Lundaahl
2007 Ambient Visions


AV:  When was it that you realized that you were going to be more than just a listener of music but a creator/performer as well? 

SL:  I remember it well. I was 15 and wrote my first song for flute and guitar and got instant warm feedback. I got hooked and have been writing music ever since. 

AV:  What kinds of music did you start off playing when you started performing in bands and groups? 

SL:  Oh, it was a lot of exploration in various styles, constellations and bands. Everything from funk, through death metal, jazz, blues, classical guitar, fusion, hard rock, grunge and all the way to soul. 

AV:  Tell me about how you ran across ambient music for the first time and what kind of effect that had on your goals in regards to performing in bands. 

SL:  I found that I suddenly was drawn and very attracted to the more visual immersive type of music and expressing the dream state. My inner most longed for it. This soon resulted in the fact that I stopped playing in bands and instead started carrying my guitar all over to play. I started to build my own studio to get into the world of ambient music. 

AV:  I was also interested to read that you studied classical music formally for a couple of years. What kind of foundation did this give you when you started to write your own ambient music?   

SL:  I believe the form, how I structure a song, where I use climax is directly influenced by classical music. The instrumentation and the elements would not have been the same without studying classical music, I believe. Also, it gave me insight into the history of music and to feel humble and inspired of what has been written before our time. If you listen to 500 year old music by Palestrina you can hear amazing immortal work sent from above! We have so much to fall back upon nowadays. Regarding classical music, which is a wide name, I'm drawn to the classical romantic era and all sorts of beautiful tonal masterpieces. 

AV:  Do you see similarities between classical music and ambient music?   

SL:  Yes indeed, in general the attitude in the expression, the intimacy, the dream states the form and the structure. 

AV:  When you started to write ambient music were you immediately aiming to get it deal with a record label and get the music released on a CD? 

SL:  I started with the goal to just write lots of music and I also ended up with lots of music. One day my boss told me that I should set the goal to have the music released and so I did and then that also happened. I have since then realized the importance of setting goals. 

AV:  Do you work with real instruments in regards to the CD's that you release or is much of the music synthesized?  

SL:  Yes, I work more and more with real instruments. On my Dream Wide Awake album I have worked with several guest musicians and have used many acoustic instruments to shape what I earlier would have done with more synthesized elements or not at all. 

AV:  Tell me about the track that you released in 1999 and since you didn't release your debut CD until 2002 where this track first appeared.

SL:  The track is called Underdub and was a milestone to me and I still keep it close to heart. It was first released by Interchill Records back in 1999 and at that time I simply didn't have enough good tracks for an album. I had single tracks released here and there on compilation CDs till Waveform Records decided to release my debut album in 2002.  

AV:  When you are working on a single track that will be included on a compilation are you given instructions on what type of music they are looking for on this compilation or is the compositions left up to you? 

SL:  I often get compilation requests on already released tracks hence no instruction required, but for labels asking for unreleased music I used to ask what type of song they are looking for, so I didn't waste my time shaping the "wrong" type of tune so to speak. Normally the labels I work with are very easy going and open minded and accept what I send them.

AV:  How did you come up with the name Omnimotion for your projects?

SL:  I simply combined the words omni and motion and loved the name. Back then it had zero hits when searching the Internet so it was very easy to decide. 

AV:  Did the compilations that you contributed songs to gain you any exposure in the musical community and help you move your career to a new level?

SL:  Indeed! Compilations can be of great help to generate new compilations deals and album deals, reaching new listeners and new contacts.

AV:  Your debut release came out on theUS label Waveform records. How did you andForest first make contact with each other and when did the two of you decide that it would be good to release a CD by you on the Waveform label?

SL:  Here's a great example of what a compilation can do.Forest heard my track Underdub from Interchill Record's Infinessence compilation and contacted them to license my track for Waveform Record's Voodoo Roux compilation. After that, I updatedForest with more songs and around spring 2002 he got interested in doing a full length album. About 7 month later my self titled debut Omnimotion was released on Waveform.

AV:  Is it different when you write the music for a whole CD instead of just contributing songs to a compilation? Do you approach the compositions or the choice of what to write differently when you are doing all the tracks and not just one? 

SL:  When I write a song, it is regardless of the concept but I aim to include it on the current upcoming album regardless if it will be released on a compilation earlier than an album.

I don't think about an album concept. Every song has its own story and piece of art and when I have a bunch of gems, the label and I label have the luxury to compile a journey out of the songs I create.

AV:  Were you happy with the finished CD that came out on Waveform? What kind of reactions did you receive from reviewers and from those who had caught a few of your tracks on compilations? 

SL:  Every song is like a diary, an expression of that current state of being. When a song or an album is released I'm already into a new journey of songs and it can take years before I fully listen to the tunes again, with fresh ears. I am always happy with a new release in my hands and of course it's a special feeling when it is full length. The feedback from listeners has been overwhelming and inspiring. Labels and reviewers in general loved it as well so I heard was good feedback. 

AV:  Your latest CD is called Dream Wide Awake and was released on the Aleph-Zero record label. That sounds like an interesting title. Is there a theme to the music that somehow connects with the title?

SL:  Omnimotion is very much about expressing dreams and dreams are great source of inspiration to me. My first album was branded as "Dreamy Scandinavian Designs". The Dream Wide Awake title is from the chorus in the track Wide Awake, lyrics by Krister Linder. We simply found that as a very suitable name. 

AV:  Is Dream Wide Awake a new direction for you or just an expansion on your debut release?

SL:  It is too early for me to reflect fully upon that and give a proper answer. It can be an expansion in terms of the way I work with instruments and vocals nowadays but it can also be a different direction without closing the door to the more of the deep chill that my Omnimotion album offers. No boundaries, Omnimotion is omni directional. 

AV:  How long have you been working on Dream Wide Awake?  Is that a normal length of time for you in between projects?

SL:  I've been writing, recording, shaping, mixing, going back and adding over a four year period and that is to me very long. But as I involved vocalists and guest musicians the amount of work increased big time compared with my first album. Even though I will continue working with live musicians my upcoming album should be finished much sooner than the four years that this one took.  

AV:  How involved are you as an artist in the mixing, recording and producing end of the music creation process?   

SL:  Normally I do all that. Mastering I always leave to the labels. Recently I've sent two tracks for others to mix in order to fit better into their compilations.

AV:  What kind of instrumentation shows up on Dream Wide Awake?

SL:  I've used auto harp, Celtic folk harp, acoustic and electric guitar, flutes, violin, accordion, upright bass, live drum kit and of course lots of voices!

AV:  I was reading the flyer for the CD and it talks about a spiritual dimension to the music on Dream Wide Awake. Was this something that you had in mind when you started the project?

SL:  I am a spiritual being and that can influence the expression and the attitude in the music but it is all natural, there is nothing that I have in mind or aim to achieve with my music. I basically just write what I want to hear and feel. 

AV:  Where is Omnimotion headed next in regards to the music that you'd like to create for your next project? 

SL:  I will continue working with various vocalists and guest musicians and use a lot of acoustic instruments and strive to shape songs without time stamps and to explore and express all the beauty life contains. Next on the agenda is to go toSan Francisco and write new songs with an amazing singer and hopefully several of these songs will be on my upcoming album.

AV:  How did you and Aleph-Zero hook up to have your second CD released on their label? What kind of involvement does the label have with your music? (Waveform or Aleph-Zero)

SL:  Aleph-Zero contacted me and was interested in my work, I love their releases so after sending them a CD we simply started to plan my full length release. Aleph-Zero worked very closely with me in the finishing process and selection of tracks and track order of Dream Wide Awake and gave me very useful feedback along the way. The guys behind Aleph-Zero are actually the artist Yaniv Shulman (check his brilliant Shulman albums) and DJ Shahar, both very precise about their quality opinions and they have extensive experience in this music scene. Yaniv also mastered the album. For my first album, Waveform was very involved the selection of tracks, the compiling process, the mastering and the lovely artwork. As most of the ambient dudes out there already know,Forest, the man behind Waveform is also the host and founder of the successful radio show, Musical Starstreams. This was of course of great help for the album.  

AV:  And finally are you happy with the musical path that you chose and the kind of music that you create? Do you ever find yourself wishing that you had chosen a different style of music to pursue? 

SL:  I couldn't be happier. There is so much to explore and so much freedom. I only write what I want to and I couldn't imagine a more inspiring and lovable musical path than I am on now.  It is an amazingly fascinating feeling walking the path of ambient music.