One year after All This I Do For Glory, American avant-garde musician and composer Colin Stetson released two new works. He composed the soundtrack for horror film Hereditary (with Toni Collette and Anna Dowd, out via Milan Records) and the soundtrack for the tv show The First, out via New Deal/Record Collection. About The First, he says:

The music of “The First” is built on a foundation of stark and intimate qualities as exemplified by much of my solo saxophone repertoire, enhanced and expanded upon in every direction, from the epic orchestral character of horn and low brass fanfare, to the fragility and humanly intimate nature of muted solo piano. The breadth and scope of the overall narrative, comprised of these many real and extremely human stories of ambition, of love, and of grief and loss, has made it possible for me to fully explore such a multitude of aural approaches, resulting in a score which is as sonically and stylistically disparate as the personal stories of each of our characters, woven together by the common thread and themes of this grand shared purpose and of the sacrifices made by all in it’s service.

We had the pleasure to have a talk with him about the new releases, live shows, the relationship with his instrument, Johann Johannsson and more. Check it after the streaming of both soundtracks.

Let’s start from you recent works “Hereditary” and “The First”. Is it your first experiences with a soundtrack? What about both?

No, I’ve been scoring for about 7 years now, Hereditary was my 8th film, I think. Though yes, the First is my first television series.

You collaborate with different artists but there’s one collaboration that i was impressed more. It is the one with BadBadNotGood. What about it? Is there a chance of a collaborative album in the future?

Yeah, I love those guys and we had an amazing time in the studio coming up with those tracks. And yes, we immediately got to talking about how we’d love to do a while collaborative album, so I suppose we’ll see. Just depends on schedules, I suppose, which are so tough these days to wrangle.

Last year you also released self-titled album of your band EX-EYE. What is the most interesting thing you like of this project and how is different compared to your solo work?

Ex Eye is my favorite project, just an incredible group of colossal players and an opportunity for us to engage in some very serious extremity in sound and density. That it is also highly organized and methodically driven is such a key component, and makes it such a thrill to perform.

What attracts you the most about experimentation connected to your instrument? What is your way to give new shape to the sound and what is your idea of experimentation in art?

My path with my instruments has always been particularly focused on the physical, the relationship between myself my body and the instrument and the possibilities therein.  I’ve always found that working within clear parameters, in this case those being the use of no loops or effects or overdubs, it demands that you continually search the limitations and overcome previous boundaries in order to find the new music that’s laying in potential.

When I think to your music, it’s like listen to someone talking a new language which I don’t know but in some way I understand and I enjoy. I think, maybe I’m wrong, that saxophone languages are not always easy to be understood. Have you ever been scared of not to be understood at the beginning of your carreer and after? 

That’s not ever really been an issue for me. I always think that if you continue to refine your craft and to always engage with the music in an intentional way then your intention and the meaning you intend will come across.

Let’s Talk about live performances. How do you built your solo live shows compared to studio sessions? What about the visual part?

Visually speaking my solo shows are quite Spartan.  I’ve always tried to keep things very simple in this regard, low and minimal lighting, so that the simplicity of the performance and of the act of playing the horn is just presented as such. No frills.

You post a lot, on your socials, short videos and photos about nature. How nature affects your inspiration and how essential are images for composing music pieces? How important is the environment you live in for your music?

I think that environment is everything. The way that you engage in live and the space in which you engage is so absolutely paramount to everything that comes out of you, as it is the entirety of what goes in. I appreciate the spaciousness and the slowness of wild spaces, the fact that they can encourage a different perception in the passage and experience of time, that they can enhance a focus on the minutiae while still creating a sense of being in the macro, it’s all extremely important to me in life and in music.

I know that you are a huge fan of Johann Johannsson. How his music affected yours?

Johann was an idol of mine. I adore his music and was fortunate in his too short life to have worked with him and to call him a friend. His score for prisoners remains one of my favorite film scores, it is perfection, and that, and his work in general, had been profoundly inspiring for for me for many years.

What are the best release you appreciated recently?

I was just really enjoying my friend Tim Hecker’s new record, Konoyo.  I’ve always loved his music and am once again living digging into one of his offerings.