Ngly is the name behind one of the most successful electronic music artists hailing from South America in recent times. With a handful of releases in Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S., and also his first album ‘Cities Of Illusion’ out there, he became a major reference point for some of the most recent twists that electronic music has made to bend dance floors all around the globe. His live performance is something unique and intense, and his interviews are not that common. That’s why we are proud to present this recent conversation.
Cyclic Defrost: Hi there Ngly, please tell us where you are now, and how’s everything over there.
Right now I’m in Buenos Aires, and it’s pretty cold over here.
Cyclic Defrost: You’ve recently played in Japan, how was the experience?
It was really, really good. It’s my third time playing in Japan, and it’s always hallucinating. This time I spent a month there, and that gave me enough time to play several gigs.
Cyclic Defrost: I’ve heard that playing there feels quite special. Did you feel something similar? Do they have a different music reception over there?
It’s different, it’s true. Reception is different too, I couldn’t really figure out the cause. I speculate with the idea that we grow up in a cultural context that somehow exposes us to certain ways, and those forms, for example language, are conditioning of the way we perceive the world.
Cyclic Defrost: Now that it’s been some time since you came back from Berlin. Was it what you expected? Would you return there? What’s the best of being there? And the worst?
I tend to come back because of my friends. The best thing of it is that its comfortable, the worst are the tourists and the ‘techno’ scene being so ‘elite’. Berlin was my second home for a while, but it’s not an option when I’m thinking about where to move.
Cyclic Defrost: Which are your most memorable experiences performing live?
It depends, I’ve had many good ones. My first time in Japan was incredible. In Buenos Aires I had some good ones too, there was an event that we made 2 years ago, called Shelter, that was quite epic. Now I’m remembering one time in Rumania, in a renown club called Control, in Bucharest. That’s also among my favourites.
Cyclic Defrost: If you only had to choose it. Which would be the ideal context for an Ngly performance?
I would love to play my music in a virtual reality format, like Second Life, or some sort of video game. I didn’t check if it was done before by any band or artist. I’m fascinated with video games. It’s quite an elevated art, involving several people, and in some cases, the work of art is something that you can really experience.
Cyclic Defrost: How is your live setup nowadays, and how did it change throughout time?
My setup changes every time. It can be one thing today and a totally different one next week. Currently on my desk I’ve got a Pulse 2, a Digitone, Octatrack, Modor, SH 101, MC 202, a modular and several effects (Eventide Space, Strymon El Capistan and a Boss VT 1, here’s a pretty cool demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJRLWV7DIEk&t=73s
Cyclic Defrost: If you had to choose just 1 or 2 pieces of equipment?
I’m quite engaged with Elektron nowadays, with the Digitone, it’s very versatile and futurist.
Cyclic Defrost: Do you think that performing live with hardware is something more direct than using just software? Have you thought of a more minimalistic approach?
It is indeed different. It feels a bit more radical sometimes, but the music doesn’t get more radical just because of using hardware. As the matter in fact, I’m not really interested in hardware, it’s only useful and comfortable for me. I choose to use computers for some other things, like design or work on a DAW or use the Internet. I like to use them for music, but not for my performances, though I’ve done it before, I think something like 6 times in total. And regarding the minimalistic approach, of course. I’m always trying to make things lighter, to do more with less. But there are some things that even if I wanted to replace them because of their size, I can’t.
Cyclic Defrost: Does improvisation/randomness play a major role in your creative process?
Well, its important, it’s where the new things come out. The modular system opened my head to that a little bit, and also drugs did. Though I’m not very spontaneous, I consider that one of my weak points. Perhaps that’s why I take myself to a situation where my only choice is to improvise. It hurts a bit, I don’t really enjoy it, and makes me a little bit tense, though I’ve had some very good results. And I like to think of it as some sort of training.
Cyclic Defrost: Have you ever dreamed of a song and tried to make it afterwards?
Like RDJ? No, not yet.
Cyclic Defrost: What’s your opinion on making remixes? Do you think that working with hardware changes the concept of ‘remix’ and turns it into something closer to a rework? If you could choose, who would you remix?
It’s not something that I’m particularly interested in. And it’s not that I’m only working with hardware. I’ve done both things, remixes (a few) and reworks. I wouldn’t choose to remix someone, but I would like to do collaborations. I would love to work with Richard Fearless from Death In Vegas, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Also with Tomas Nochteff from Mueran Humanos, and with Chrome.
Cyclic Defrost: I know you’ve also got a trip hop/abstract influence. Are there any more works in the tone of ‘Some Relationships’? Have you thought of releasing these type of sounds more often?
I’ve got many influences, that’s true. I’m quite open (and at the same time, I’m not) to many artistic and music styles. I’ve thought of it, yes. And I’ve been releasing some of that stuff under the name Glyn. There are some things to come on that direction too.
Cyclic Defrost: Are you still thinking about a release by Sidney Reilly & The Reillys?
Of course. At the moment The Reillys are a bit disperse.
Cyclic Defrost: What was the hardest thing you had to overcome to dedicate to music?
Fear of failure.
Cyclic Defrost: And when did you get over it?
When I stopped caring.
Cyclic Defrost: Have you ever been through a lack of inspiration period? And if so, how to deal with that?
All the time. I’m quite quiet, a bit lazy. I’m trying to separate the obligations from the creative process. Sometimes I force myself and that turns quite frustrating. I’ve got a few theories, one day I’d love to publish some sort of frustrated artists manual, or something like that. I’ve got a few techniques, like not having a purpose before doing something, though that can be discouraging for some people. It’s a really good question, I’m fascinated by this subject.
Cyclic Defrost: What was the latest thing that blew your mind?
Chrome, a band from San Francisco.
Cyclic Defrost: And the latest great thing that you heard?
Cyclic Defrost: Plans for the near future?
Less than before.
You can find Ngly here.