Star Voyage Interview

Audio Version of Interview:

Star Voyage is a musical project by Jordan Muse, self described as: “musical equations to solve matters of life and the universe. Musical scapes to relax and meditate to.” Mobius Drift is Star Voyage’s newest audial space venture, experimenting with minimalism and tension in addition to “exploring jazzy atmospheres”. The inspiration for this album involves “hurricanes that struck the southeastern coast of the US. The album was completed during Isaias, and initiated during Florence”. Welcome to the Mobius Drift.

Bandcamp:

https://starvoyage.bandcamp.com/releases

Youtube:

8BCW  

I already read a little bit of the backstory behind Mobius drift the album, would you like to expand on, like what you’ve written and I guess fill in any listeners. So those who haven’t read it.

Jordan  

It started out not as Mobius Drift.. it was named that about two years after after I commenced work on it, but it started out as a project called Progressions, which was a video EP, and it was more, you know, I was about to say upbeat, but up tempo, but kind of downtrodden, sort of just atmospheric movie music. And then when Hurricane Florence hit, it just kind of tweaked the music I was listening to at the time. I stopped listening to all the house and like, jungle that I had been listening to and was inspired by and started listening to more jazz. Just because I don’t know something about rain and jazz. It just works.

8BCW  

Yeah, so Bust is Jessica’s favorite track from the album, how did that come to be?

Jordan  

Bust had something of all of a wild journey to make its way on this album, I’ve been trying to track down the very first recording date of it. But it was for a separate project like not not Star Voyage. It was more rock oriented project that I had titled Worker 11811 based off of the character from the movie Metropolis.

Um, and so like Bust was really abrasive and that whole saxophone sound that kind of drives it was initially a very, very feedback-y guitar. So that was like a solo throughout the whole thing. And eventually, about a year or so before I’m really sitting down and working on Mobius Drift, I decided to reedit Bust. That’s the one that’s in that folder I shared with you earlier. Bust number two, where I changed the instrumentation around a lot slower slowed it down just a little bit to give it a rough, slightly harder edge kind of like Pixies did with Wave of Mutilation.

But then once I noticed the theme of Mobius drift and the whole jazz atmosphere thing I decided, you know, I can tweak this one more time. I retweaked a lot more than just one more time to really, you know, Hone that space and let that saxophone really breathe, but I’m very proud of it. And I’m glad that it’s already been singled out as a favorite.

8BCW  

It’s always a good feeling.

Jordan  

Yeah.

8BCW  

I feel a lot of tension and mystery with this album. What was the motivation kind of what were the Hurricanes? What would you like to explain what the motivation was behind this and I’m really sensing it in the songs like Missing Persons or Michael.

Jordan  

Um It was really just the whole vibe of it like my, my basement floor flooded. So like, the kind of like scent of that and that experience. Just kind of stuck with me for a while and like I’ve experienced flooding, to minor extents like that. And it’s like water damage, like on my comics and records and whatnot, but like no big deal compared to like those who live in like hurricane alley and you know, have their whole lives uprooted and I was just trying to like, I don’t know, channel, that sort of sensation. That’s why it’s not really positive sounding music for the most part. But I hope it’s not really depressing, either.

8BCW  

Right, Yeah, yeah, there’s this like, tension or maybe like, transition feeling that I’m getting from the album. 

Jordan

It was really just built on, you know, watching the weather, it’s like, the storm doesn’t just stay knocking you down the whole time. There’s patches of sunlight. There’s just like, the beautiful days in the middle and like, slow rain, faster rain, like, you just listen and observe. There’s, that’s where the tension came from.

8BCW  

This is sort of related. But I also noticed there’s a lot of space. I mean, you could call it minimalism. But there’s a lot of space in these compositions.Where does this preference come from? Like, is it more of like an underlying artistic theme in your work? Or is it more specific to that situation of being in the basement with the flooding and hurricanes and storms?

Jordan  

It was more specific to that situation. And the theme of the album took to the hurricane zone.

But it was also out of a desire to try a new start. I don’t know if my followers would really agree with this assessment. But I felt like my compositions were just too busy, especially that Progressions EP I was working on, it was just, it was all frantic. And I wanted to not so much like slow things down, but let the notes breathe. 

8BCW  

Yeah, yeah, I could see that like a paring away of a lot of things that maybe don’t.. maybe it can distract from the focus, because it does sound pretty focused. So that’s interesting. 

Jordan  

I was trying to be way more focused with it.

8BCW 

So we just heard the final version of Florence, how did Florence evolve? Would you like to talk about that?

Jordan  

Well, Florence, I want to say was either the third or fourth track that I was working on for that Progressions EP, that wasn’t an interlude. And as you heard in Florence, it took a more softer beat, but accompanied by congas, whereas the first one was more of a four on the floor driving house beat without the acoustic bass and with a little more like, snappy snare and then then the relaxed vibe of the album cut.

8BCW  

So the drums on your album Mobius Drift, they’re constantly evolving. And have very like experimental patterns. Is this something common? In all your work again? Or is this? Or is this just for this album to capture that? tension?

Jordan  

I’m gonna have to go with a yes and no. Because yes, I do try and be creative with my drum patterns. But the experimentation took, it took something of a break. Like, I experimented a lot in the beginning, particularly with Florence and Missing Persons. And, you know, I like, I like the setup, I was going with there, like the patterns, but then ultimately, the final drum sound didn’t involve much tweaking of the patterns themselves, but just that heavily reverberated and close, like, as if you were in a very small, tight space of a studio. I just wanted to, you know, have it all feel like, the drums are recorded in the same style.

8BCW

Yeah, same space, like a more dry, intimate feeling. 

Jordan  

Yeah, like you were in some smoky club. 

8BCW

I can get that from a lot of these tracks. 

Jordan  

I spent a lot of time you know, perfecting that sound. And then basically was just, you know, repeating the levels.

8BCW  

This kind of goes back to something that you already touched on. But if your album was a soundtrack to a movie, what would the plot be?

Jordan  

I want to say royalty, but I don’t think it really has to be. But really, the plot that I envisioned, pretty much from the start was of some person, be they significant or not having been kidnapped and just sort of, you know, getting a fresh take on their surroundings, like you have your bodyguards and whatever you like, chauffeuring you around and whatnot, it gives you a different perspective on things.

8BCW 

So, could you give an example of maybe some of the characters? I mean, you kind of touched on it, somebody who is royal and safe, you know, something in that boundary, going out of their comfort zone, unwillingly. Um, so what would a character or characters be like in this story?

Jordan  

Have you seen Dragon Ball?

8BCW  

I’ve seen episodes. I know that’s embarrassing. I haven’t seen enough.

Jordan  

Obviously, the the kidnap, he was named Pilaf because I just always done that little and so think of this kind of goofy guy who, you know, kind of has to rely on that sort of self deprecating humor and whatnot, when the luxury of being royalty, you know, isn’t available anymore.

8BCW  

To find some sort of sense of security, I guess. Or can you expand on that? 

Jordan  

I don’t know, he just acts goofy.

8BCW  

That kind of reminds me of, I guess, like, Toph from, you know, 

Jordan  

From Avatar. Yeah, she was very guarded, but, you know, embrace it. In this scenario, I would say Pilaf is embracing not being guarded. Like he was kidnapped but there wasn’t any malice there. Like they weren’t trying to hurt him or anything. They were just trying to show him the point of like, do you know how it feels to be a nobody?

8BCW  

You’ve told me in the past that you use fruity loops. Why do you prefer Fruity Loops as a program to make your music?

Jordan  

It’s just what I know. Like I’ve tried using other DAWs, but I just maybe it’s the learning curve, or I don’t know. But like I have Ableton and it’s nice, but for just generating like sounds in the DAW itself, I can do so much more in FL just because I’ve been using it for 15 years now.

8BCW  

So you’ve been using it for 15 years. That’s awesome. I was gonna ask, I know that I’ve used fruity loops. And I have to say that I think I was happier. In a lot of ways with the, the cohesion, the cohesive nature of the tracks that I get from that verse. Ableton, you know, I think that for me Ableton shows, I don’t know, more areas that I need work on more than Fruity Loops did for some reason. 

Jordan  

Yeah, I can see that. But like Ableton is definitely really, really used probably more useful than FL when you’re actually recording live instruments. 

8BCW  

Yeah, I know that that’s maybe its most popular use is just using it live. And yeah, for live performance. So are there any VSTs or like, so either instruments or plugins effects that you lean on or any production tricks that you find either, like particularly inspiring or pleasing? So is there anything that maybe right now has been maybe a focus of yours?

Jordan  

The VST side of things, I don’t currently use a whole lot that isn’t packaged with FL just because my computer’s a little old. And it struggles a lot of the time when I try and set up a new one. But in terms of like the kits that I do usually use all the Roland drum machines like, particularly the 808, 909, but I do use the 707 ever, every now and again.

On that token, I also use the Linn drum kit because I’m such a big fan of Prince. So I gotta, uh, but in terms of like the since I have a tendency to gravitate towards the GMS as it’s called in there, as well as, um, there’s the Harmer and harm less that I use a little bit. What’s the name of it? Sakura. Which has a lot of really well, well made string sounds.

8BCW  

Uh, do you. So usually you kind of slightly tweak sounds that you already like, and you don’t tend to build up sounds from, you know, individual oscillators kind of? Is that? Is that the vibe I get?

Jordan  

Yeah? Yeah, for the most part, in terms of what you know, I release in, like, the songs that I finish. Like, I try to keep them similarly themed and use similar instruments, but I do experiment a lot. I have a whole bunch of demos that you know, take me out of my comfort zone.

8BCW  

Yes, it’s good to hear because, uh, you know, a lot of my you know, artists that had listened to a lot, they use very like, like stock tones a lot that I think that some people are afraid to, to use

for not really a good reason, because sometimes they sound really good. And I have a tendency to like, go the way of creating all my own tones, but then it’s like, some of them just really don’t work out because I’m not a professional sound engineer. So, um, you know, I think that using

the provided tones or like tweaking those tones can help you just focus on composition and like the song is a hole in the field. So that’s that’s good to hear

8BCW

Gloomy Daze, that may be my favorite from the album. I’m still still picking favorites, you know, favorites are a thing that always shift, but I get a lot of nostalgic feelings especially with that introduction you know, phrase or mood, you know, melodic phrase, I get it, you know, I get a lot of feels from it. Tell me about that track.

Jordan  

You know, I think you actually had a direct influence on that track. It was very Brian Wilson kind of vibe I was going for with that, like, you know, Pet Sounds Smile sessions. And it was, um, it was composed towards the tail end like I composed virtually… I composed everything except for red ribbon at that point. And like, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, because like the whole kind of chime-y sort of like it’s kind of like a mantra. I wasn’t really sure it fit until I started compiling. Really recompiling the album over the summer. I just thought it was a good ender. And it was fighting… it was dueling with Junk for that spot. And then I eventually settled on, you know what Gloomy Daze can fade right into… can fade right in.

8BCW  

Yeah, it’s interesting you say that because I feel like it not only fits the album but it kind of gives a nice contrast to apply the other tracks. 

Jordan  

Yeah, it sounded like a good culmination to me.

8BCW  

Tell me about Sleeping Thru It.

Jordan  

Well, thematically Sleeping Thru It is the song. Where Pilaf is kidnapped. He’s straight up, sleeping through the whole ordeal. Little privileged Prince. So like yeah, it’s just his smugglers smuggling him out of the castle and into the desert being really just none the wiser about what’s going on.

8BCW  

I really enjoy the the story element behind it how how do you connect these with like the musical elements in the in the song

Jordan  

I was going for a much different approach than the album ended up being realized as I was going to split it up into a light half and a dark half. So like, ultimately, it all ended up being jazz jazz inspired, but uh, initially, I thought like tracks like Michael and Sleeping Through It and eventually Slick, were going to take on more of like a metal overtone, I was trying to go for a more abrasive feel for what was going to be the latter half of the album. So I experimented a little with a lot of extra distortion, and most of which I ended up deleting. But it was really when I decided that it fit into this story concept that I was still developing that it became Sleeping Thru It.

8BCW  

The idea of a light and dark concept that kind of reminds me of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Did that have any association in your mind when you were thinking of that concept?

Jordan  

Absolutely. Yes.

I love Smashing Pumpkins. Mellon Collie used to be my favorite. And actually, I would say it fits pretty well in the dichotomy of Adore is my favorite album by Smashing Pumpkins. And, you know, Mellon Collie is my second favorite with Machina trying to butt in for position two as well. But I guess that’s position three. So really? Yeah, I envisioned it as Mellon Collie, but I visualized it more as the contrast between Adore and Machina

8BCW  

In Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness, I do like how somehow pumpkins are able to take these very different sounds. And these contrasts and blend them with like, you know, soft piano ballads and screaming and you know, with highly distorted layered guitars. So, I feel like those contrasts are similar. In some respects, within like, themes in your album. Obviously, they’re very different albums

Jordan

Yeah, yeah. But I still took a lot of cues from, from Mellon Collie in particular, especially with, you know, the layering of the guitars and everything. I experimented a lot with that. And I ended up deleting a lot of lot of layers, but I still kept a lot and when I was folding everything down, and I was I was considering doing it all in mono, but ultimately, I did some unique stereo separation, or at least unique compared to how I’ve usually managed that which I’ve had a lot more spacey panning and then the kind of stricter focus I put on this where throughout the channels, they’re all on the same side. 

8BCW  

You mentioned, sorry, you mentioned layering and there was a mention of Pet Sounds. Um, I do get, you know, minimalism and Pet Sounds are very not the same thing. But it is interesting how there are plenty of minimalistic elements in this album, while having that, that layered because I know Brian Wilson had this big emphasis on he just loved combining two different instruments together and making a third instrument. And I got that same sort of idea with a lot of your main melodic phrases were doubled with two totally different instruments. So it gave like this weird surreal third instrument that doesn’t exist. 

Jordan  

Yeah, and that was very intentional. I like to layer guitar with a horn you know, bass with all the organ. There’s a lot of organ undertones here and a lot of random string bits, lots of random horns.

8BCW  

I definitely noticed a lot of organ and I didn’t know if I mean, again, these are, you know, everyone’s influences are all over the place but I know Prince is a big influence of yours. Did that go into the decision to have it more organ forward? Or was that some other kind of influence? Because I wouldn’t I wouldn’t say Prince is organ forward, but he definitely has it as part of or had it a part of his important part of his music. 

Jordan

Oh, yeah, for sure. And yeah about that’s really why I lean on the organ and other keyboard sounds so much, but in the context of this album, it was it was rooted more in Roy Ayers the vibraphonist. And I did use vibraphone in Florence, and I think I tried to use it in some other songs, but I don’t really remember if I kept it in any other but he also employed a lot of organ. 

8BCW

Can you fill me in on who he is?

Jordan

Roy Ayers, and Roy Ayers Ubiquity? He led an extensive career from the late 60s. started out doing like Bebop, or Jazz like that and moved into the funk jazz soul trifecta. 

8BCW  

I have somebody to look up now because I have never heard his name, or if I have it just went in one ear out the other. So that sounds interesting. Now that we’ve kind of covered a Mobius drift as a whole album, what can we expect from Star Voyage on the horizon?

Jordan  

I am working on album seven right now. I have a pretty clear idea of what it could end up being. But I know me. And I know that I could be like 90% of the way done with the project. And spend years fine tuning it and end up releasing like who knows what before then.

8BCW  

Yeah, make it make it until it’s something you want to release.

Jordan  

It takes all it takes a long time for me. Even when a few of something is like thematically complete. I’ll still spend months or sometimes years just reorganizing it and rebalancing levels. And just like you know, throwing like more recent tracks into the mix and see if it can grow into another direction. But I also want to release things slightly quicker than I have. So I may try to stop overthinking.

8BCW  

That’s always the key. It’s unattainable.

Jordan  

But there’s no lack of there’s no lack of demos to work with right now.

8BCW  

Well, that’s good to hear. And I know that we will all be looking forward to the next voyage in the Star Voyage.

Jordan

I appreciate that. 

8BCW

So thank you for talking to me today. And yeah, we’ll be looking out for the next track.

Jordan  

Thank you for this

If you would like to hear more interviews like this, or if you are an artist yourself and would like to be interviewed, make sure to leave a comment below.

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