Sacrifice EP is out via Kraftek Music
Your new EP, Sacrifice is out now. Sonically, how do you feel it captures your growth as an artist?
I feel like this is the EP that is most representative of my sound as a producer, and also that this is my first “good,” distinctive, forward-thinking EP. I’ve been producing for about 5 years now, and this is the first EP that I have coming out where I really feel like I’ve done something that follows the rules and breaks them at the same time, which is what I’ve been working towards since I’ve started producing. It is wildly different than everything else I’ve released, and while I sometimes wish it was the only thing I have out, I really do think it demonstrates how far consistent hard work can take an artist. Music production is not an easy thing to learn, and it takes thousands of hours to reach mastery. This is my first release that demonstrates mastery and showcases my sonic fingerprint, so I am very excited about it.
The EP’s title track is paired with “Silicon Hex.” How are the two tracks related thematically? Did this play a role in their creation?
I made Silicon Hex first, before Sacrifice, and it was an idea that I had been playing with since I started producing. As far as thematically… I tend to create based on feeling more than anything else. With Sacrifice, I wrote the track first and then the vocal came to me out of thin air and the track was done. The emotions lead for me and tend to push me in the direction of a specific message or emotion that some part of me wants to share with the world. As far as these two tracks together, Sacrifice is my commentary on the sacrifices I have had to make in my pursuit of artistic greatness, while Silicon Hex is about pushing the envelope, exploring the unknown, and the feeling of new beginnings.
Were there specific emotions you wanted to capture with either track? Any you wanted listeners to feel while playing them?
On Sacrifice, I was leaning into this feeling of making sacrifices for the things we truly love, so that track is very personal to me. In Silicon Hex, I wanted to unnerve the listener. The synth work in Silicon Hex is some of the best I’ve ever done, and my intent with that is to give the listener chills with a clever message and unexpected, sudden sonic elements. My end goal, in general, is to make my listeners feel *something*; what they feel is up to them, but as long as they feel something, I feel that I’ve done my job.
“I’m excited to see how high I can get the vibration of Yuma by the end of my set, and look forward to sharing love with everyone dancing along with me.”
“Silicon Hex” makes a reference to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film with strong themes of enlightenment, new beginnings, and endings. Do you feel those are representative of your journey as an artist leading to this release?
Yes. That film is a favorite of mine, and I’ve been wanting to pay homage to it for a long time. Music production is a long, strange journey. When you start, you are trying to figure out how to learn by emulating everyone else. Then, once you get to a certain point (this was the 6000-hour mark for me), it becomes about leaving that behind and figuring out what you sound like and then chasing after that and building on a sonic experience or emotion that is unique to you as an artist. This EP is a big part of that journey to me. It is both an ending and a new beginning. It is me really finding my sound for the first time, and capturing parts of myself and my mind into my work to be shared with the world at large. These tracks are deeply emotional for me, and capture a lot of the feelings that I’ve felt so far as I’ve poured my entire life into becoming an artist: both the uncertainty of laying yourself and your work bare to be dissected by the world at large, and the certainty of knowing that this is the path you must walk, and that to do anything else causes physical pain. I’m at the point now where music is so deeply cathartic to me that I can’t help but do it, I have to create, and I feel like I can convey so much more sonically than through any other medium. This EP, for me, is about finding my voice and a way to speak to people that transcends linguistic barriers and communicates through feeling.
What does “Silicon Hex” mean? Why did you choose that title?
I actually didn’t choose that name; it was chosen by Pleasurekraft, and Kaveh’s explanation speaks further to his unique brand of creative genius: “Silicon Hex is just a more poetic way I thought of saying something has gone drastically awry with “the computer.” The term “hex” goes back to themes of witchcraft and spells and with silicon being the primary component of computer chips, I thought it was an interesting distillation of the ideas of a computer seemingly having a spell put on it where it acts in direct contradiction to its programming.” I didn’t have that explanation when I agreed to the name, he just sent it to me and I knew it was right!
Is the EP’s cover also a reference to Kubrick’s film? Were there other influences you tapped into during the creation of this release?
Yes, it is. This is, again, the creative genius of Kaveh (of Pleasurekraft), so I asked him for some insight on this. Here’s what Kaveh said: “The entire ethos of the Kraftek label since it’s rebrand in 2017 (including the various versions of the logo since) are all an homage to Kubrick’s 2001, as it’s one of my biggest inspirations in coining the term ‘Cosmic Techno.’ For this specific release, the animation really tells the story of the Monolith and makes a callback to the astronaut’s final transmission: “my god, it’s full of stars!” So, we animated the starfield in the monolith (which is a standard intro to all the Kraftek animations) to be moving vertically instead of rotating like the usual ones, and instead begin to rotate the monolith itself on its axis until it serves as the middle “I” in sacrifice. Not content with just the one aesthetic homage there, we also added a red dot above as not only a metaphorical drop of blood, a slightly abstract homage to the world’s origins dating back to antiquity and sacrifices requiring actual blood, but loved that the dot also doubled as HAL’s red “eye” from 2001, thus making the artwork a minimalist summary of the thematic contents of the music encapsulated within the EP. “
Sacrifice is your first release with Pleasurekraft’s imprint, Kraftek. How has joining for this release played a role in the creation of your new EP?
I reached out to Pleasurekraft when only Silicon Hex was completed, and he agreed to sign it after I made a small synth change. Once he committed to that, I made Sacrifice and he agreed to take that one too. I think where I was at emotionally as a producer at the time I was writing these tracks was a natural fit for the ethos of Kraftek, so the release came about fairly easily. I don’t create music specifically for an imprint; Kaveh and I have had discussions about this where we have agreed that it inhibits creativity, and how if a track works for a label like Kraftek, it just works. That’s what happened with this EP. I am very grateful to Pleasurekraft for signing these tracks, as I’ve been a big fan of the label for the last few years, and it was one of my main goals to release with Kraftek. I’ve been a big fan of what has been released on Kraftek and the ethos of the label as a whole for a while now, and it has been very exciting to have such a well-respected visionary artist as Pleasurekraft supporting my work.
Like many artists, you had to cancel showcases planned for SXSW, headlining sets, and more due to COVID-19 concerns — how have you had to adjust touring and festival plans for the year?
My touring schedule for this summer is essentially gone, which mega sucks, because this was my first real taste of touring. Everything has been pushed to Q3 and Q4, aside from my dates with Rezz at Brooklyn Mirage and Red Rocks (which as of now are continuing as planned). Unfortunately, COVID-19 has canceled the majority of 2020 dates, so we are now focusing on 2021, which sucks but is necessary to keep people safe and healthy. It has taught me a lot about patience (something I have always struggled with, for which I blame my ADHD), and I am grateful for any and all opportunities to grow as a person and an artist.
It couldn’t have been an easy decision to cancel the events you worked so hard to conceptualize. How have you coped while maintaining a positive outlook for the future?
Honestly, it depends on the day. Some days are fine, some days I have been super upset, and it really comes down to my practice of and ability to keep myself centered regardless of what is happening around me. Meditation helps a lot, and always reminds me that everything is temporary and the most important thing is keeping people safe and healthy. So I focus on that, and I’ve been using this time to create as much new music as I can.
I’m at the point now where music is so deeply cathartic to me that I can’t help but do it, I have to create, and I feel like I can convey so much more sonically than through any other medium.
Fans will get to hear your new EP in the incredible Yuma tent at Coachella this October. What are you most looking forward to during that set, experience, and weekend?
It will be my first time playing a festival and playing a stage that large, so honestly, I’m just excited to hear my work on speakers of that size and flow with the energy of a large crowd. I’m excited to see how high I can get the vibration of Yuma by the end of my set, and look forward to sharing love with everyone dancing along with me. I have a lot of new music to share already and will have even more by October that I can’t wait to share. I’ve also never been to Coachella, so I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about!
As you continue to make music, what are a few goals you’re working toward?
Obviously certain signings are a goal (including Kraftek, so thrilled to have joined Pleasurekraft’s roster), but more than anything else I strive to innovate and create music that is uniquely Sara. My goal has always been to have people be able to recognize my tracks in sets, even if they haven’t heard them before. I am largely focused on deepening my skill set even further to push the limits of what people are expecting to hear and to continue following the rules and breaking them at the same time.
Sara Landry’s Sacrifice EP is out now on Kraftek Music. Keep an eye on all future releases and tour dates here.