Alex Scourfield, a friend and colleague of Daniel J.K. Hill, sits down to briefly ask questions about his enthralling, audacious, adventurous, debut album releasing April 22nd, 2017.
Q: So, what is The Third War? Why did you produce this album?
A: The Third War is not a typical, mainstream album. I consider myself to have an unconventional personality – so I like to embrace that in my music. Although concept albums tend not to be very popular they have indeed been produced and continue to be produced in the independent music scene. With this album, I wanted to use much of my interest in politics and social issues of, not only the present-day, but of the recent century to create an intriguing and adventurous story. Now, in order to call it a music album, it requires music. So, I wanted to treat this like an experimental soundtrack with tracks fitting for the concept of each chapter. Combining two of my passions for this concept album made it even more worthwhile.
Q: Why do you think it is the right time to release your debut album, The Third War?
A: Social media is a revolutionary aspect of consumerism (of course, it does come with many complications). When people want to explore new music, the internet is at the forefront of people’s minds compared to the traditional record store. The independent scene appears to be a booming scene with so many great composers online and so many fans who subscribe to these independent composers. The other advantage, as with The Third War, is that anybody can release music instantly and get it exposed. Regarding the context of the album, and again I think this has much to do with social media, people are more engaged in world issues. I think there is also a major issue with political biases – ideology is trumping freethought and reasonable thinking, for example. Many appear to be jumping on the “I am interested in politics train” for merely territorial and self-righteous motives rather than honest, serious discourse, which is something I connote in the story. Not only that, but now as I answer these questions in April 2017, it appears tension between dominant countries keeps rising.
Q: What are the musical influences and styles that are incorporated into this album?
A: Well, I like to create music by experimenting with different instruments and testing melodies, eventually combining subgenres to morph my own style. This is quite evident with some tracks on The Third War where my urban, synth-based and rhythmic influence is combined with classical, orchestral and Western styles. Some of my favourite modern composers have furthered my inspiration for the music in this album including Jesper Kyd (composer of the Hitman and Assassin’s Creed series), Jeremy Soule (composer for the Elder Scrolls games) and Adrian von Zeigler.
Q: What type of music were you composing before you decided to make this album?
A: I originally started composing in 2010, working with the underground hip hop and west coast rap scene. Due to my rather pessimistic concern with that part of the music industry, I decided to fully embrace my interest in orchestral and video game music.
Q: Why did you vastly change music genres when you made this album compared to your earlier work?
A: Like any industry, hip hop is crowded by competition, more so than video game music. Working with artists in the hip hop industry was not entirely joyful and there were definitely financial issues (someone not paying you for your work accompanied by egotistical phonies who thought they were the next 2pac). So, since I grew up on video games and its music, I decided to jump into an industry where clients value your work and an industry that is booming.
Q: So, what makes your album different to the other artist’s albums you are comparable to?
A: I suppose it is the narrative; the concept; the story that is relative to the experimental approach to the music – my free, carte blanche, no-strings-attached approach.
Q: What is your future in the music industry after The Third War is released?
A: I want to focus on video games primarily; working with music and sound design. However, I will continue to release compositions as I have always done, but will also prepare more complete concept albums and compilation albums for the future. I will also allocate more time writing about music, technology, video gaming and the very fun political/societal topics of contention, as it were.
Q: Final thoughts: when is your album out?
A: The Third War releases 22nd April 2017 via www.danieljkhill.com/the-third-war. It will be downloadable and embeddable from Bandcamp, CDBaby and a few other retailers initially, but will eventually be available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. I look forward to the release and the reviews from wonderful listeners.
Interview conducted by Alex Scourfield.