Kalya Scintilla Interview

Australian producer Kalya Scintilla has been winning praise wide and far with his mix of deep bass, stuttering beats and ancient sacred melodies delivered with an underlying current of psychedelic funk and whomp. 

With a number of EPs, compilation appearances and his latest album "Dance The Spiral Never Ending" all released in just a few short years, he is quickly becoming a name known for innovative psychedelic electronica. 

He recently took time out from his U.S touring schedule to sit down and answer a few questions for the PsyAmb blog. 

PsyAmb: Well, first let's get started at the beginning. How did you get into music production ? Did you come from a musical family ?

Kayla Scintilla: My parents have a great taste in music. They raised me and my siblings on Led Zepplin, Lionel Richie, and other great old rock, soul, and funk. 

I wasn't really into sport at school but I was into music so my friends and I would listen to mix tapes during school and jam out at each other houses on the weekends. We all took turns on drums, bass and guitar playing mostly metal and funk. 

When I left home and moved to the city I fell in love with going to nightclubs. It wasn't long before I had a pair of turntables and was rocking vinyl at house parties and clubs. I played House, Hip Hop, Funk, Breaks, Techno etc basically anything with serious groove. 

In 2005 I purchased my first computer to make beats but living in the city and having a 9-5 job meant that my focus was not as intense as I wanted it to be. In 2007 I went to my first outdoor psytrance festival, called a Doof in Australia. The experienced changed me deeply and I opened my being to a whole new world of frequency. 

The music from Zenon Records changed the way I perceived what was possible with sound and it wasn't too long before I had left my life in the city to pursue a life of music. My focus was psychedelic trance but about a year later the Kalya sound started to emerge as a result of me wanting to explore different realms.

PsyAmb: As far as electronic music production goes, there can be a quite a learning curve for newcomers. How did you personally learn all the software and sound synthesis there is that goes into making a KS track. Did you have any mentors in that regard ?
Kalya Scintilla: I started with a game on the PlayStation called 'Music'. It taught me how to arrange parts to make a song early on. Simple but effective. 

I also spent two years at audio engineering school, and while I would not recommend a diploma to someone who wants to make beats there were some classes on Logic that really helped. 

Doing frequency analysis 4 times a week for 2 years also helped greatly with learning how to hear and feel frequency. Start simple and don't go crazy getting all the synths possible, just choose a few and get to know them. Watch tutorials and read how others do it. 

Have an intention for your music - why do you want to make it? What do you want others to feel from it? What story are you intending to tell? Practice, practice, practice and above all is TRUST!

PsyAmb: Something I notice about your music is the overall tribal, earthy spirituality that is present - is this something that you seek out when producing music ?

Kalya Scintilla: Its just something that happened. Originally I wanted to make banging crushingly phat beats but they never came out that way. As I evolved I discovered a love for 'my' sound as it felt different. It continues to evolve. The next album is going to sound quite different to the last.

PsyAmb: Could you describe the process of making a KS track. Do you start with a melody, a bassline, a story etc ? I read an interesting interview with the Aligning Minds guys in which they mention the "selfless state" , a point in the production process where you are communing with a force greater than the sum of it parts. The idea of bass, melody and so on gives way to a spiritual experience. Would you agree with this - do you ever feel these mind states when producing new work ?

Kalya Scintilla: I fully agree! That state is something known so well by many who create, be it any form of art. I used to start with a beat and bassline and then jam from there. 

From early on I have used the power of intention. I have a concept or a story for a song. It started simple like say a color or thing and I would create a song that had the feeling or vibe of that thing. I have now evolved that concept to the point where the art I'm working on now can have a whole story written about the journey before I sit down in the studio to jam. 

Of course the story and morph and change and evolve and usually always does. But even before the intention I do the best to put my being into a state where it is going to be as open and clear as possible for the art to stream through. 

I eat well, I sleep well, I spend time in nature, and I exercise. I want to feel incredible when I get into the studio. For me, that is when the magic comes through.

PsyAmb: Your music is comprised of a fair amount of traditional sounding instruments such a didgeridoos, tablas, flutes and stringed instruments. Are these real live instruments you are recording or samples ? If they are real, I imagine you must get a lot of joy out of hearing them mix so well into the electronic elements ?

Kalya Scintilla: Its a mixture of both. I use many sampled instruments and arrange with midi using programs like East West Play and Kontakt. My intention for using these sounds other than my love for them is that these traditional instruments have a deep connection to our past and resonate in our cellular memory. Perhaps you were once incarnated in a tribe that played a particular drum. That sound back in that age resonated with the cells of your being and that resonance was imprinted into your blood and DNA so that when you hear it today even though you might not remember being in that tribe you feel a familiar feeling, you can describe it but its there.

PsyAmb: Has living in Australia and the aboriginal culture and it's dreamtime stories had any influence on your music ?

Kalya Scintilla: Definitely. It was through a series of powerful dreams that I decided to pick up the Didgeridoo. The indigenous culture of Australia is so ancient and fascinating.

PsyAmb: Ott says he makes use of random objects in his music such as sampling the sound of slapping a leather sofa. Have you ever used any unusual instruments or sound sources before ?

Kalya Scintilla: Sure. I have been carrying a Zoom recorder on my travels and recording lots of nature and 'random' sounds.

PsyAmb: A popular meme this past year has been the idea of 432Hz music and how all modern music has been corrupted by the Illuminati leaving us with a generation of people for whom their minds have been sucked of any remaining spiritual connection to the universe. UK legends System 7 have always been big on the idea of using alpha/beta waves to enhance a person's listening experience. Have you done any research in that area ? Fundamental spiritual or mind altering sounds that is.

Kalya Scintilla: As healing through music has always been an intention for my journey and art I have done a lot of research in that realm. I started to write music in 432Hz 2 years ago and have made most of my music that way since. 

I did come across stories of the Illuminati and other fear based perspectives that I do not dismiss, but for me the proof was in the result. I could 'feel' the difference and so could others. 

I have since met people who have tuned instruments to 432 for over 15 years and psychics with clairvoyant abilities that say they see color in the sound being much richer. 

I like to look at it like this: When sounds come out of two speakers they interact and create geometry like looking through a kaleidoscope. These geometries interact with our cells and align our water molecules accordingly. 

When you turn a kaleidoscope slightly you get a dramatic change in the pattern you see. So when we try different tunings and intonations we get different patterns. Some people's cells and water will resonate with one way and others will resonate with another. 

Our ability to open to 'healing' frequencies is dependent on our ability to resonate with the geometry of the sound in our cells and energy bodies. If healing is defined as restoring health (which is a state of being free from illness or injury) then we would want to use frequencies that promote cellular harmony. 

Harsh, abrasive, chaotic sounds have their place and can also be used in ways to access different states of being. Sound is so much more powerful that most people realize. When a producer sits in the studio and crafts a song they are adding their energetic imprint to that piece of art, like a soul signature. When Trent Rezor from Nine Inch Nails was singing his early works you could feel the despair, pain, and trauma and those who listen to it and are in a similar place can relate and feel a connection. 

The sound of the human voice has the most potential to heal because it carries the entire energetic makeup of the soul/being who is using it added to that the intention and frequency of that which they are transmitting. There is so much more to a song than what our ears perceive.

PsyAmb: Could you describe your current studio setup ? How often do you get in there producing music ?

Kalya Scintilla: I just assembled a new studio space. The room is treated with a little pro acoustic foam and some home made acoustic treatment. The walls are painted with warm rich color. Salt lamps to keep the positive ions from the electrical equipment. Dynaudio monitors. Novation 49 key midi controller. Laptop and flatscreen monitor. All the rest is in the box: Logic 9, Audio Instruments, Vst's, plugins… ect My 4 favorite soft synths would have to be Alchemy, Zebra2, Massive and Albino3.

PsyAmb: How important is the visual side of your art ? Do you put a lot of thought into album artwork, your stage persona etc ?

Kalya Scintilla: There is already a world of visuals in the music ... just close your eyes. I have been collaborating with my fiancé this year. She offers ritual theater performance. I love collaboration with performers and visual artists that share a similar intention and vision and plan on doing it a lot more in the future.

PsyAmb: Your current US tour is your second / third time to play in the US I believe. How are you enjoying things this time around. How do the US audiences react to your music ? Is there any difference to the feeling you get when playing at home in Australia ?

Kalya Scintilla: In Australia the scene has been more trance focused, but more and more people are opening them selves up to other expressions of music and movement. 

In the US the size of the population lends itself to a bigger scene with bigger dance floors and more support on all levels. For me its all about the container. If a crew or promoter sets up a 'temple' for dance and expression the energy is much more potent than just putting a big stage and a big rig together. Some of the more intimate shows are my favorite, be them in the US or Australia.

PsyAmb: Your touring has seen you play along side Kaminanda and Bird Of Prey/Birds Of Paradise. How do guys all get along ? Do you take time out to talk about music production with each other, potential remixes etc ?

Kalya Scintilla: We are all good buddies. We are stoked on each others unique expression and potential. We do talk business but mostly its laughs, loves and lighthearted witty banter.

PsyAmb: Can you share a particularly memorable story from the road with us?

Kalya Scintilla: I played in Israel in 2012 during a missile strike. 2 rockets went over the gathering. But in the face of such intense energy almost 10,000 people came and danced in their hearts!!! It was such a beautiful experience. The energy was so powerful that day. Nothing could have infiltrated that force-field of love.

PsyAmb: What would be your ideal gig ?

Kalya Scintilla: A dance floor deep in nature, geometrically gridded with crystals. The utmost intention put into the layout of the decor, art, visuals, lights and structure. A humble stage. A sacred geometry sound system. A ceremony of intention at the start to bring all beings into resonance with the intention and journey. Everyone dancing barefoot to feel their connect to the mother.

PsyAmb: Do audiences dance to your style of music or is more of a contemplative listening experience ?

Kalya Scintilla: Its all about movement be it, physical, emotions, energy, or thoughts. Mostly they get the funk down!!!
PsyAmb: You have been involved in remixing a number of prominent artists within the psychedelic music scene. How do you approach remixing as opposed to producing your own tracks ? How important is it for you to keep the feel of the original track ?

Kalya Scintilla: I love to keep a little of the feel of the original while creating a reinterpretation that is quite different.

PsyAmb : Speaking of remixes - that remix of Red Hot Chill Peppers you did ... what other non-electronic artists do you enjoy listening to these days ?

Kalya Scintilla: Lately I have been listening to a lot of world music, dub, some heavier rock like Sevendust and Incubus, and funk… always funk.

PsyAmb: Can you tell us about your latest release "Dance The Spiral Never Ending" . What was the intention behind the music, where did you draw inspiration from ? Where did the name come from ?

Kalya Scintilla: Dance the Spiral came from many intentions. It is a collection of songs that I wrote over a 2 year period. The name came from a native American prayer.

PsyAmb: Come to think of it, what about your name ? Kalya Scintilla ?

Kalya Scintilla: Kalya is a Romanian gypsy word that is used for yesterday and tomorrow (other time). Scintilla is a spark or flash.

PsyAmb: I have a good 3 hours or more of KS tracks in my computer which I have actually played back to back while working on some artwork once. Apart from being perfect music to draw to, I noticed that all your music flows so well together, even if played on shuffle. 

In my mind I would say this must means that your music has not changed much since your earliest tracks. However if I compare your early work from "Beginnings" to "Dance The Spiral.." I do hear quite a difference. So I'm curious as to why when I play you music over an extended length of time it all seems to meld into one vision ? Perhaps it gets back to that "selfless state" thing again ?

Kalya Scintilla: Interesting. I guess because it has all come through the filter of my 'self' it contains that encoding and vibration. Where I have change greatly over the last 6 years my overall intention for why I create has not really changed. Perhaps that has something to do with it?

PsyAmb: Where is KS headed in the future ? What can listeners expect ?

Kalya Scintilla: A new album in the works - a story of epic proportions. Visions for an EP and an album beyond that. A collaboration with my fiancee on a project that she intends to launch this coming year. The music for that will be deep ambient chill music. I'm also looking forward to creation some new trance for my Merkaba project too.


Thanks to Kalya for sharing a few thoughts with us. I'm really looking forward to hearing where his new album goes. What I think we can all be sure of is that no matter which corner of the universe he decides to fly to on the next release, it will have the unmistakable Kalya production quality and atmospheres we have come to expect from this brilliant young producer.

Kalya Scintilla on the web :

Posted on 17.12.13 by PsyAmb TAG : | 4 Comments ( ADD NEW COMMENT )


woodzee said... @ 18 December, 2013

Great interview

Anonymous said... @ 09 July, 2014

Great interview!

Anonymous said... @ 08 August, 2014

so is it kalya or kayla

Anonymous said... @ 17 January, 2017

It's Kalya

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