We recently sat down with Visaic, a young German-American composer and part of the Utpalasia family of artists, who has recently released his newest work, “The Corruption of Princes”.
Thanks for being with us today, Visaic! We’re excited about your new track and eager to learn a bit more about your process and inspiration.
First of all, how did you start out in music?
I’ve been composing seriously for about twelve years now. I started out playing the violin in elementary school, then graduated to the piano. I was introduced to digital audio workstations (DAWs) in the 9th grade by a friend. We’d just tweak away at the stock synthesizers in FL Studio after school.
What would you consider to be the major influences that have shaped your work?
Influences… that’s a tough one. My childhood home was filled with so much beautiful art and international music and our family was constantly traveling to an endless list of exotic places – Morocco, Oman, Egypt, China and more. That early exposure to different cultures really shaped how I approached sound design or the composition of a piece. It also encouraged me to never limit myself to a particular sonic or artistic palette.
How would you describe your style and how it has changed over the years?
I would simply categorize my music as “dramatic”. Stylistically it’s very loose, though recently I have started to lean more towards a fusion of baroque with modern electronic sounds.
I think a great many people would be surprised to learn that you also do all your own cover art for the songs. It seems to be as varied and rich as your music. What drew you to combine the two?
Well, I’ve been challenged with stuttering since childhood and speaking is still something I struggle with on a daily basis. So giving my thoughts life by marrying music and art has become a natural and complementary path of expression for me. Stuttering has, in some sense, propelled the diversity in my work, both aural and visual.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in the creation of your music?
I’ve always been something of a perfectionist. I’ve been able to tame that tendency more now than in the past, but it still bleeds into my work from time to time. For example, I struggle a lot with narrative. Every song is a story, and I want the music to create an inhabitable world for my listener; things like sound choice, mixing style, arrangement, and a dozen other things all come into play at the same time.
What do you hope to achieve with your compositions?
First and foremost my works serve to preserve my memories. Forgetting things is something I struggle with, and my music captures so much more than the thousands of photographs I have from those times. I just wish I could write faster. To me, it’s a constant race of memory vs. time.
What inspired you to compose The Corruption of Princes?
I’ve always loved Renaissance and Baroque art and how a lot of the works use religion to explain human morals and ethics. I thought it might be interesting to take that concept and translate it into a musical narrative.
Do you feel computers and digital tools have added or subtracted from the creative side of a composer’s work?
I think synthesizers and advancements in machine learning with mixing and mastering tools like Ozone have made the process of composing a lot faster. But I do feel that they’ve subtracted a certain “something” from the artist as an individual. We’re “programmers” now, not artists. It’s sad to think about, but I suppose for all intents and purposes the technology is here to stay. Might as well embrace it, right?
What can we expect from you in the future?
More music and art! The Corruption of Princes was the prologue to a much larger project which I’m hoping to have finished early next year.
Well, we wish you all the best and appreciate having had this chance to chat with you. We’re looking forward to the next exciting chapter of your work!
Learn more about Visaic at visaic.io
Refugees are often seen as a burden on society, however, we tend to ignore the multidimensionality of this issue. Refugees have a wealth of life experience, talents, skills, as well as resiliency. They can be, and are, contributors in so many areas. To ignore that potential is to bypass an opportunity to show our humanity, our compassion, and our desire for inclusivity. In short, the ‘refugee crises’ is, as this article states, more of a ‘crisis in response’. Come join us @1journeyfestival to share tales of hardship and joy, challenge and triumph. Witness some of the beauty and #culturaldiversity that refugees bring with them through the mediums of dance, music, food, and the arts. https://goo.gl/PdQis8
We turned 10 this month! It has been quite a journey, beginning with Nepal Dance School in 2007 and culminating in today’s Utpalasia. During that time we transformed ourselves and our programs, focusing more on public engagement and education while continuing to attract students interested in learning dance and music through classes and workshops. Our performances have always been geared to presenting Asian culture and heritage, particularly that of Nepal and Tibet, in order to bring recognition, foster appreciation, and continue preservation of these unique and incredibly beautiful art forms. Utpalasia is truly an unusual venture; we are woman-owned, boast of our own in-house composer and two choreographers, have a costume designer at the ready, and a tech guy to keep us running smoothly. Our thanks to them, and to all of you, for your suggestions and input, participation and enthusiasm, energy and devotion as we continue on our path into the future. We hope we will continue to surprise and delight you, the audience, in the years to come!
The women of Nepal are thronging Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu and their natal village homes to celebrate a unique festival which takes places each year in the month of Bhadau. Resplendent in their red saris, sindoor powder, glass bangles, and tilhari necklaces women sing and dance and perform cultural programs. The festival begins lasts for five days and includes prayer, fasting, puja, nightly vigils, and ritual bathing. You can see more here: https://goo.gl/pioa4W
Posted September 4, 2016. Filed under Festivals.
Red sari-clad women are thronging Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu today to celebrate Teej through prayer, offerings, music, and dance. Teej is the beautiful festival in which women pray and make offerings to Lord Shiva for the their husband’s longevity, prosperity, and happiness. For unmarried women, it is hoped that this worship will lead to a happy married life in the future. Pashupatinath opened at 3 am to accommodate approximately 900,000 women devotees offering homage to Shiva. On this day, men are banned from the temple. Women observe a rigid fast in which not even water is taken. The festival is the most important holiday for women, providing both a religious and social connection with their communities and families.
Senior dancer, Tasherit Sturm Dahal, will be performing the Vajrayogini dance, a charya nritya, or meditative Buddhist dance, as part of Kites of Asia, a free family program at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum this Saturday from 10:30-3 pm. The Vajrayogini is a rare and beautiful dance in which the qualities of a dakini, or spiritual muse, are personified and in which the dancer ‘becomes’ the being she portrays. Kites of Asia will also feature other dance and music performances by Utpalasia, along with workshops and activities for children of all ages. For more info, go to https://goo.gl/ga6Fj4.
Gather your family and friends and join us for Kites of Asia, a day of free family programs at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, including (of course!) amazing kites, Himalayan dance and music, performances, mask making, and more! Grab the kids for an unforgettable day of entertainment and discovery from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm. Utpalasia will be presenting folk, Buddhist, classical Indian, and Bollywood dances, followed by interactive workshops. Children will enjoy our coloring station, featuring Buddhist symbols, a demon mask and Vajrayogini crown. It’s all free, it’s all fun! Details at https://goo.gl/FMrwjr
Posted January 1, 2016. Filed under Announcements.
The New Year is off to a great start: We’re just thrilled to be announcing the debut release of our own artist-in-residence, Visaic, today. Check out his album and collection of singles on https://visaic.bandcamp.com/, https://soundcloud.com/visaic, and https://goo.gl/9hak6L and more. We happen to think his original cover art is pretty amazing too. Congrats, V!
Posted November 25, 2015. Filed under Announcements.
Wishing everyone a safe, bountiful, and happy Thanksgiving! From all of us at Utpalasia to you and your loved ones, thank you for your support and encouragement as we keep on sharing our Himalayan heritage through dance, music, and the arts.
Come and join us as we partner with Curry in a Hurry in Dumfries, Virginia to celebrate Tihar (Deepawali) on Saturday, November 14, 2015 from 6-8 pm. Bring your family and friends to hear traditional Himalayan music and see village folk dance while enjoying Newari specialties, such as choila, and other tempting Nepali and Indian dishes. Curry in a Hurry is located at 17173 Wayside Drive. For more information, please call 703-441-1110 or 703-346-5877.