I had the pleasure of interviewing Jan Pastor ’20 from Warsaw, Poland, about his electronic musical composition for the class “Computer Music and The Arts.” In a music studio in Olin, I learned about his musical piece “Within Me,” which was performed February 14th in the Olin center. Here’s what I found out:
Fagundo: Why did you take this class?
Pastor: I took this class because I wanted to experiment with something creative. I like being able to create my own video and musical compositions. I have no experience in writing music, so I was intimidated by our first project.
Fagundo: Do you have a musical past?
Pastor: I have an unsuccessful musical past: I tried playing the piano, violin, guitar, and the recorder until the age of eleven. I never got good at anything, and quit too much. But, I think it is nice to have live instruments in compositions, so I might try something out again. This class makes me want to want to continue working with music.
Fagundo: Is your family musical?
Pastor: Yeah, I have a strong musical background in family. My grandfather was a well known violinist from Argentina, my uncle is a music professor at UCLA, and my mom is a ballet dancer. I’ve grown up surrounded by music and the arts.
Fagundo: Can you tell me about the assignment?
Pastor: We were assigned to compose any type of original piece. So basically, we could create anything that wasn’t sampled. We all used the program Logic, which is an upgrade from GarageBand. The lyrics I wrote are similar to a generic pop song about going through change, and my friend, Josie Blanchon, sang them really well.
Fagundo: Were you inspired by any artist or song?
Pastor: Yeah, actually I was inspired by Maddie Rogers, a young up-and-coming artist. I followed the structure and vibe of Dog Days. Since this is my first piece, I had to use elements from songs.
Fagundo: What was the most challenging?
Pastor: Making sure that every instrument was heard, which required a lot of complicated mixing. I read a lot of guides online to learn how to do it.
Fagundo: What instruments did you use?
Pastor: There are synths, a voice, an acoustic guitar, a bass, a piano, a tweed-picked electric guitar, and drums. I think the piano dominates throughout the chorus but every instrument has its fair share.
Fagundo: Was there any emotion you were trying to evoke?
Pastor: I wanted this idea that the song was moving somewhere. The concept was quite a lot of open space to sound more relaxed.
Fagundo: Do you think your music is different from popular music?
Pastor: Haha, no way! I just started so I am just trying to figure it out. It takes so many years to find what your sound is.
Fagundo: What do you think of modern electronic music?
Pastor: I like electronic music. I think you can do anything with it. You can make a song that either sounds really synthesized, or you can make a song that sounds really authentic. There is a lot of meaningless pop songs today, but I think those are just artists in popular industries that care more about fame than talent. I personally don’t like to measure what I listen to by what is popular.
Fagundo: Can you explain your music taste?
Pastor: I like the alternative genre. My favorite band is Radiohead. I think their best songs are “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” and the super sad song, “Motion Picture Soundtrack.”
Fagundo: Where do you get most of your music?
Pastor: I read a lot of pitchfork, an online music magazine. It’s easy to find new music on Spotify, too.
Fagundo: Are you going to take more music classes at Bates?
Pastor: I think so, I think it is important to have musical knowledge. It’s an awesome creative outlet.
Fagundo: If you could be any artist who would you be?
Pastor: Snoop Dogg, for sure. He is the chillest guy around. I recommend his song “Who Am I?”
For more of Pastor, you can listen to his friends and his radio show “The Late Show” 12:00 – 2:00 a.m on Tuesday mornings.