Carlos Foster is an independent musician from Dublin. Working from his bedroom Carlos creates a variety of sounds using a blend of electronic and real instruments. His debut single ‘Biology’ was released on July 24th and is available on all major streaming platforms now.
How did your musical journey begin?
I started learning songs on my sisters’ keyboard when I was 12. Wanting to diversify I started producing using FL Studio a year later and began learning sound synthesis using virtual instruments and samplers And how to record, arrange and mix a song. Since then I’ve been recording and producing through FL while using Ableton Live for performance sets.
How would you describe yourself and your music?
I think one of the hardest things to ask a musician to do is describe themselves and their music. Whether it’s an issue with self-evaluation or just that the artist doesn’t really work within the confines of a particular style or genre. It can feel that you’re committing yourself to a description which can be quite limiting in terms of the fluidity a lot of artists would have. That being said I think people should be able to present themselves in a way that summarises their art for many reasons. Personally, I find my influences lie within early electronic music; (trip-hop, house, trance), mixed in with some folk, funk and RnB.
What equipment and software have you used?
I’ve relied heavily on software during my development. I use FL Studio for production and post. I use Ableton Live for live sets as I find the UI to be extremely intuitive for stuff on-the-fly. I mainly use MIDI keyboards and controllers to utilise the advantages of digital the digital realm. Despite this, I’ve used an array of ‘hard’ synths and I do see myself transitioning to incorporating these more often in the future. This is mainly due to the ease of use, just plug in, patch and play – without the need for much prep work.
What kind of evolution has occurred in your music?
I started producing house and trance tracks with the intent of DJing. Over the years I began thinking of ways to translate what’s done in the studio over to a stage where it can be performed with as little pre-arrangement as possible. In doing this I started to make use of guitar and my vocals and my sound started to develop. Although still very electronic and synthesised, I try to create either a balance or contrast between real instrumentation and ‘computer music’.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
Three events really stand out in terms of highlights. They would be my time spent in Mannheim collaborating with musicians from around the world; this was an eye-opener in seeing how seriously people took their craft and how determined they were in pursuing that in which they love doing. Second would have to be gigging with Lipton Village, we’ve played around Ireland and whether it’s the energy in the room or the hard work paying off there’s just nothing quite as satisfying. Lastly, my first solo gig would definitely be a highlight. It was my first big test in bringing everything I’ve created on my computer to a performance. I learnt so much from that experience and it’s become a mission to create a show that I can confidently bring to clubs and festivals.
How has the lockdown affected you?
As with everyone, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. Initially, it was really good for me, I tend to spend a lot of time alone and find I work better that way, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to get the head down without distractions. That was short-lived, however, and finances, relationships and generally looking after myself became a lot more demanding and while everyone’s life began to get tougher I found myself getting caught under pressure of everything and my creativity became completely blocked. As a result, the lockdown has thought me how to deal with these issues and how to keep pushing forward even when it seems futile. I believe your mindset corresponds with your ability to create and it’s something that needs to be nurtured. It has also taught what impossible expectations are and how hindering they can be to your art and self-confidence.
What was it like to release music over lockdown?
Being my first release and being able to share that with two very close friends and amazing musicians made it what it was. It was really nice to be able to finally share what we’ve created with the world and the response was phenomenal. Definitely gave me a lot of perspective and lessons in what to do/don’t. Luckily we had shot some footage before lockdown occurred and we were able to release the music video as well. I’d release again during the lockdown, mainly because it’s impossible to tell when things will be back to normal, however, I cannot wait to get back gigging where we can do proper launches and events.
What challenges have you faced as a musician?
There’s a lot of challenges, from mental health, financial, creative blocks and I think the majority of artists I know can relate to a lot of the stuff I’ve been through as a musician. I think the most challenging thing would be the uncertainty of whether going through all this is going to pay off. Knowing people that have been at it for years and they end up having to get a 9-5 to support themselves while family and other aspects of life eat into their freedom to create is really disheartening and illustrates how little of a percentage of people will find success in this industry. While my definition of success is to be able to support myself from my music consistently, even that can seem out of reach for most. That being said I take these doubtful thoughts and try to channel them into motivation to do it for the love of it. You can’t measure art by how successful it is.
What challenges do you think the music industry faces going forward?
I feel over the last few decades there has been a huge influx of people practising as musicians. It’s become such a saturated market that it’s no longer about how good you are and those who play the best might be overlooked by those who sell the best. Being an artist is becoming more like being an entrepreneur and we as artists must adapt to the ever-changing industry. I think venues specifically are taking a huge hit as a result of the pandemic, how this will play out in the future is really unpredictable.
What plans do you have going forward?
My plan at the minute is to maintain focus and produce as much as possible. Utilise that which is in abundance as opposed to falling short on what’s become unavailable to us. I’m lucky that I do most of my work on a laptop, so lockdown restrictions are only really restricting my collaboration work, so I’ll make use of this time as well as I can.
What hopes do you have for the industry in the future?
I hope to see the industry make a full recovery from this. That being the businesses and individuals, whether it’s a financial recovery or simply being back to their normal self. It’s sad to see so many businesses close down and such a decline in mental health and I believe it’s gonna be a steep hill upwards for when things begin going back to ‘normal’, I do, however, have high hopes and believe with the right support things will return to at least a semblance of what they once were.
Any final words?
Thank you for taking an interest in my art. We’re all in this together and the sooner we unite the better off we will all be. Everyone’s taking a hit and we all deserve to be heard. I’ve got a lot of amazing people in my life that has helped through these hard times and that doesn’t go unnoticed.