The latest Artist Spotlight edition see’s us profile Swiss electronic Producer Sonarpilot. Michael Moppert, the creative head behind Sonarpilot speaks exclusively to Sweet Music to discuss the recent album launch.

‘The Mirage Project’ is out now:

Hey, thanks for taking the time out. Please, explain who you are and your background.

Thanks for having me!

Well, I am an electronic musician and visual artist. I live in Switzerland and France. I publish my work under the name of my alter ego, Sonarpilot, and I run a recording label with my good friend and label manager Jonny Miller, an industry veteran who is based in London.

The Mirage Project is six soundtracks and fractal films. It is released on 12th December, the concept is fantastic. Where did the concept originate?!

After many years in the industry I was getting a bit tired. It felt increasingly frustrating to publish music into a market that became inundated with new releases that sounded like they were only created as quick, rather anonymous fodder for DJs. I wanted to do something else, not just another EP or album.

So, I decided to add a strong visual component to my productions. Together with an old friend of mine, Roger Mäder, a Swiss film producer, we began looking for visuals that might be interesting. That’s when we ran into fractals – the technology that gave us the tools to create these strange worlds that you see in The Mirage Project.

We dove into this amazing universe and pretty soon it was clear that we would find way more material than we needed for one soundtrack and movie.

In your career, where have you performed and where would you like to perform the music from the new project?

Actually, I am not a performing artist, and I don’t work as a DJ. My natural habitat is the studio. But there are places where I think the Mirage Project would work beautifully – two of them are in France: An old quarry in the South of France, just next to the medieval town of Les Baux, called Les Carrières de Lumières. Those are huge three storey high halls, cut into the mountain.

The other one is Bordeaux’s former submarine base, now the largest digital art center of the world. Both places have an otherworldly atmosphere – a mix between ancient ruins and some forbidden high-tech site – perfect for the Mirages.

The music has a strong ambience to it, but is also very techno-orientated in parts, what were the main influences?

I have tried to reflect the variety of music that I am listening to myself, ranging from early synth bands from back in the late 1970’s to very recent electronic music, plus a healthy dose of classical music. There is a house track, but there are also tracks with classical themes, one from a Debussy nocturne and another from a symphony by Shostakovich.

If you could work in the studio with any artist, who would it be and why?

Hands down – Brian Eno! He has such a wealth of experience, he has created wonderful music, worked with amazing people and is active in many other artforms. Other people would include Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), Simon Green (Bonobo), Nils Frahm or Jon Hopkins. They all make such interesting electronic music which does not follow popular trends

The year 2020 has been pretty crazy and something none of us could have expected, what lessons do you think the industry can learn?

Unfortunately, I guess the industry has learned that musicians will survive even if you take away their last income stream – live shows. Artists continued to release great music and sites like Spotify tried to squeeze them even more. 

But I guess it doesn’t help to complain. A few years ago, all 12’000 screenwriters in Hollywood went on a strike to fight for better wages. They are organized. Most musicians aren’t, and therefore we have no voice. It might be time to change that. It would be cool to have a powerful, global organization that fights for the rights of musicians in the electronic age.

Is there any new projects you have you eye on at the moment?

First, there is the release of the album which will keep us busy well into the next year.

Next, there is the idea to do “Mirage remixed” – a remix project based on the album. The tracks offer such a variety of material, we believe some of our friends would have great fun to do remixes.

And finally, we are thinking about a second season of The Mirage Project. The first six episodes created such positive feedback and we still have so many aspects of the fractal universe that we haven’t explored that it might be really interesting to continue this project.

As it is Christmas, what would be the perfect gift Sonarpilot could receive on Christmas Day?!

The end of Covid – and while we’re at it, peace on earth!

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