Interview: Federico Ágreda (Triangular Ascension)


Could you explain the concept behind Leviathan Device?

Basically, the Leviathan Device is a fictional device that is bound to cleanse the land from all crawling beings with the force of water. It basically represents a way of apocalypse but with a positive point of view – a way to accept change for the better. Another scream of the earth to wipe out all negative things upon which the society is based and things that are inherent to human nature, which is in part something that is pointed out in Thomas Hobbes “Leviathan” book. Although I didn’t really read it entirely, I found myself very interested in how it depicts the nature of mankind and modern society. And I chose water as an element for cleansing because that’s the element that requires life to develop, and I personally find that fascinating. I have always liked the sounds of water. The album retains a sense of continuity though because, like I said, it is apocalypse from an omniscient point of view – not from the typical hollywood “end of the world” point of view that should have everyone screaming and running because the world is coming down. It’s more like the personification of apocalypse, which in a certain way, is something that happens every day in our lives. Change is always there, and we always struggle too much because we can’t accept it, when we simply just should.

So why this concept?

Because I believe we’re at times of change. Somehow the human being as a member of our society has detached himself from those things that are essential. We forget how simple life could be; we are looking towards this so called “progress”. This is another reason why the Leviathan Device is a fictional device. By creating the image of a “high tech” device I wanted to depict the conglomeration of all mundane things. We are way too attached to them and that is why we’re condemned to suffer, because mundane things don’t last forever. The only thing that lasts forever is the present. That mystery that we simply cannot explain, called God by some. The name Leviathan and the figure of the pentagram were used because, although the judeo-christian mythos has lost so much credibility during the last century, it’s still the most recent form of mythology and religion. I personally believe it’s as true as Harry Potter, but then again it’s a way of expression and it exists for a reason, so I enjoy it like a work of art and simply give my own interpretations.

Was it difficult to create such a subtle and introspective work after so many years as a Drum & Bass artist?

Absolutely not. It actually happened very easily. Leviathan Device was composed in a week – well, at least the ‘skeleton’ of it – and I think it happened that way precisely because I was a bit saturated of the whole rave scene and the loud noises and stuff. It’s not like I hate that either, but let’s just say I can’t eat the same dish everyday. And this dish was kind of something I created for, how would you call it, “spiritual healing” maybe. I always need variety This is why being a drum and bass artist doesn’t limit me from composing dark ambient, or black metal, or even electro and trance. And who knows what else I could come up with in the future.

What triggered the decision to start the Triangular Ascension project?

It actually was the product of the “transformation” of an old project of mine called Intimus Universum.  This was one of my first projects and it was based off my first recordings, pitched down by hell knows how much octaves. But it was something I experimented with once, and my jaws dropped as the recordings became an entirely different universe. I was like 16 years old back then, and later I realised there was an actual genre called Dark Ambient which was even more crafted, and I was fascinated by the soundscapes you could create and how boundless it was to anything. I have been also a big fan of movie scores and effects, so it also relates. As for the personal concept behind it, Triangular Ascension is pretty much a soundtrack for your catharsis. That’s what I’m always thinking when I compose music for this project.

Does Triangular Ascension take you outside of your musical comfort zone?

Nah. On the contrary, it pretty much is more of my musical comfort zone than any other projects I’ve been involved with. Like I said, I just need always variety. Eating burgers every day will eventually make you get bored of it same way you would get bored of eating sushi every day. So I’d rather eat burgers, and then sushi, and then some grilled meat, and so on. I listen to so much music that I could name very few things that take me out of my musical comfort zone. There’s even commercial pop things that I can enjoy. I’ve always liked the music of, for instance, Michael Jackson. I also believe Justin Timberlake is good. I think what I dislike the most is hip hop and r&b. But then again I have also heard good artists in those genres, so it’s all a matter of taste.

How does the composition process differ between working as Triangular Ascension and working under, say, DJ Zardonic?

Each of them is just a different universe. The particular case of Triangular Ascension is that, basically, whatever sound I hear in my head can become an entirely different universe without being worried about things like, “okay, the bass is hitting at 60hz so that should be good, let’s slide down to 40hz, good”. I’m not even saying that I’m thinking only with the technical aspect of things when it comes to writing electronic music, but dance music is indeed limited by certain sound engineering factors that should come into play when you’re writing it. At least for real dance music. I am cool with the harder, rawer styles of drum and bass aswell, but I have seen how it turns a good bunch of people off when it’s not properly engineered. Unless you’re Atari Teenage Riot and you’re performing live. And that’s a completely different thing – it’s punk, not dance music. I do apply what I’ve learned from my engineering into Triangular Ascension aswell, but it’s more of a thing that comes out naturally, and not technically. It’s the sound of my true essence together with the very everything that is life and the environment as a whole.

Would you say that there’s an ideal listening environment for Triangular Ascension?

Well now that you ask it, I could think of many things. One could be a dark room with a candle. I know it sounds typical, but I’ve done it and it feels amazing. Just a single candle though – not 666 candles with blood and whores. That’s just vampire mumbo jumbo. Triangular Ascension is not evil, but it’s soothing music. That’s the first thing you need to have in mind. Another ideal listening environment would be anything that relates night and nature. Since Leviathan Device is very influenced by water, I guess I could suggest to go to the shore and take some nice subs and play it. But simply listen to the album anyway. The music will pretty much create an ideal environment out of whatever.

Has Triangular Ascension received any feedback from fans of your music under DJ Zardonic?

There’s actually a good bunch of people who seem to like it, but then again Dark Ambient seems to be more for the ‘connoiseurs’, so to call it. It’s too much of an elite within itself. I believe that should end, and I firmly believe it is the music of the future that will serve not only as a work of art, but as a medicine for the soul.

Do you have any plans to take Triangular Ascension into the live environment?

As much as I would love to do that, I’m not sure that will happen. But if it happens it would probably be something extraordinary. I’m pretty much a perfectionist, so if I’m going to play live things, I just don’t want to end up being up there with a laptop and a couple things making noise through a chain of effects with huge delays and reverbs. If I ever did that, it would maybe be something like Arcana or Sophia. Then again I’m not sure I have the time yet. But who knows. It is indeed a great idea.

What’s coming up in the imminent future?

Oh, I love that question because none of us has the right answer! But as for the plans regarding Triangular Ascension, I have written a second album for Cyclic Law that should be out next year, so hopefully this project will keep going for a long time.