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“I feel like a sonic historian as much as a producer” Invictus Hi-Fi interview

Invictus Hi-Fi makes experimental, esoteric and electronic tracks which demand your attention and perception.

His new album The Vanishing is a seven-track release with the latest single The Last Broadcast out now. The album lands in May and explores theme of memory, isolation, illusion and loss, with experimental electronica, ambient, drone, folk and more combining to create something evocative, engrossing and truly unique.

With The Last Broadcast out now we caught up with him for a chat.

How did your history with music begin?

I’ve been making music since I was a kid, and it’s been part of my life constantly since then. I feel like with IHF I’ve finally mastered creating something new and unique though. 

Your new album “The Vanishing” delves into themes of memory, isolation, illusion, and loss. Can you share a specific cultural memory or idea that inspired a track on this album?

The Winter Underground was inspired by how the ideas and imagery of the Soviet Union were illusionary in nature, essentially gaslighting a nation for decades. 

That idea informed the dreamlike nature of the track, and you’ll hear that in how the main theme in the first section evolves and changes – as well as the end section with its manipulated footage of famous speeches from that era. 

I made a short promo for the track using generative AI video to capture that feeling too. The video hallucinations AI generates are fascinating and express that illusionary concept I’m emphasising in the track. 

Your work combines experimental electronica with elements of ambient, drone, and folk. How do you balance these diverse genres to create a cohesive sound?

I don’t really make music with genres in mind as I feel that would be restrictive, so I’m not sure I am balancing them.  I think what you hear in the tracks is an amalgamation of sounds that I like, which are admittedly often drawn from those genres.

Documentary films from the 20th century serve as one of your inspirations. Could you discuss how a particular documentary influenced a track or the album as a whole?

Adam Curtis is a huge inspiration on me and it’s fair to say the way he uses music to soundtrack his narrative has some formative influence on what I’ve done in the studio. 

That was probably more the case with my first album ‘The Market Deities’ than with ‘The Vanishing’ though, as some of the ideas about money and technology were certainly guided by ‘The Century of Self’ and ‘All Watched Over by Machine of a Loving Grace’. 

“The Vanishing” addresses ideas slowly fading from our cultural consciousness. Is there a piece of technology or a scientific concept explored on the album that you find particularly poignant?

Ever since I learned that his son’s book was the inspiration behind Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ I’ve been fascinated by the story of Wilhelm Reich – the German scientist who inspired the track’ Serious Weathermaker’.

While we’ll probably never know whether there is any credence to his theories, including the ability to use his ‘orgone’ technology to control the weather, the idea that he was such a threat to the US Government that he was eventually arrested is a compelling one. The story is a tragic one though too as Reich died shortly after his arrest. 

How do you craft your tracks to engage listeners in active listening and deep interpretation?

Honestly, I think my approach is to make music that I find powerful and interesting with confidence that others might too. 

A fair bit research goes into the ideas I’m exploring, be that reading or watching documentaries, and I hope that gives the tracks a depth and richness for listeners who really want to explore them and the ideas behind them. 

In that sense I almost feel like a kind of sonic historian as much as a producer, helping preserve ideas that might vanish over time – which is of course reflected in the title of the album. 

Considering your eclectic sources of inspiration, from Steve Reich to Brian Eno, how do you navigate the challenge of integrating these influences while maintaining your unique sound?

Well, those are artists who create unique music themselves so their influence here is in part to perpetuate that quest for originality – and to inspire it in other artists too. I’m also incredibly judgemental as far as my own tracks are concerned and so if something ends up sounding too derivative then it’s going to get deleted! 

The album title “The Vanishing” suggests impermanence and disappearance. How do you hope this theme resonates with listeners in today’s rapidly changing world?

Given it was created during the pandemic, it’s inevitable that the great sense of loss from that time is reflected somewhat in the album and I’m sure listeners will sense that. I think that some sense of cultural loss is inevitable but likely not a conscious experience. My hope is that ‘The Vanishing’ can help listeners tap into and comprehend that. 

As someone who pushes sonic boundaries, what’s the most unconventional sound or recording technique you used on “The Vanishing,” and how did it contribute to the album’s narrative?

If you check out my Instagram see some examples of the kind of the complex and often bizarre modular synth and FX setups I used when recording the album. The modular approach really prompts experimentation and exploration and there’s certainly quite a lot of sounds on the album that could only have been made using that kind of set up – and so in that sense the albums narrative is entirely dependent on that tech. 

To keep pushing those boundaries I have a studio rule that if any piece of kit ends up becoming too dominant it gets sold on. That was the case with the Dreadbox Abyss synth which is probably the most defining sound on ‘The Vanishing’ and the Moog DFAM which I used extensively on ‘The Market Deities’. 

What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?

Not sure I’ve ever received any good advice! 

However, I think that finally realising that placing expectations on your audience to hear and feel your music the same way you do is ultimately self-defeating has been the single most liberating revelation I’ve had.

What should we be keeping an eye out from you in the coming months?

‘The Vanishing’ is out on the 3rd May and following that I’ll hopefully do another set of live performance streams from the studio in the following months.  After that it’s back to working on new music including the next album, which should be out next year. 

Looking forward, how do you see your music evolving, and are there any new directions or projects you’re particularly excited about?

The next album is already progressing well and, following two very conceptual albums, this one is going to be more to the point – and quite a lot more ‘digital’ sounding compared to very organic and often acoustic sound world of ‘The Vanishing’.

The Last Broadcast is out now on ARKLIVE

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