On November 23rd, up-and-comer Akuratyde released his debut album ‘Past Lives’ on Blu Mar Ten. And it’s got quite the story.
Life has been hard for the American producer, who lost three loved ones in the past two years. Using music as a way to cope, Akuratyde poured his soul and emotions into his productions. The result is ‘Past Lives’, an immersive LP full of atmospheric drum and bass, half-time and breakbeat. Let’s meet Akuratyde!
37 years of age is pretty late for a first album, congrats on pulling it off! What took you so long?
In a word: Confidence. I’ve been writing music for a long time but I never had the confidence to send it to any labels. I started Akuratyde in 2013 and I told myself that I needed to really give it a shot this time. I needed to put myself out there. It wasn’t easy, I worked hard to get where I am and I’m thankful to everyone who has assisted and supported me.
You mentioned losing three close people in less than two years. How was this period for you?
It was unquestionably one of the most difficult periods in my life. I’m still dealing with it, though to a lesser degree. Dealing with loss is a slow process, and music became a therapeutic tool for me. It provided another outlet for me emotionally and gave me opportunities for introspection.
Has this album brought you closer to music?
As the album progressed the songwriting process became looser and more natural. I learned to let go of certain hang-ups. A few years ago I would never have felt comfortable releasing something as different as”Find My Way”, or something as nakedly honest as “Letting Go”. I feel like I found my artistic voice with this album.
What have you learned about death through your experiences?
I’ve learned not to fear it as much, to try and be as present as possible and really enjoy moments. Past Lives is a reflection on my own life, but also life in a more general sense. It celebrates the highs and it follows feelings of anguish and sorrow. Ultimately it ends in a place of acceptance and hope.
Your atmospheres feel very alive. How would you describe your sound?
I think a lot of my music is on the edge of what would be considered drum and bass. It’s got a very organic quality. I try to balance synths and drum machines with elements which feel more natural. My guitar playing is one example, but it’s also in the atmospheric elements I use. I create a lot of field recordings and sounds using found objects. Those are all over the album: drums made from sticks and cookware, recordings of street noise, birds and waterfalls.
What’s the perfect setting to listen to Past Lives?
It’s such a personal record and everyone is going to interpret it differently. I prefer listening to it at home, but there are songs which sound great in the car, or on headphones as I walk around the city. I think it works in a lot of different settings!
What’s next from Akuratyde?
I wrote more material than what ended up on the finished album, so there are plans to release some of that next year. Beyond that, I’ve got some collaborations I need to finish up, and hopefully, I can start working toward a second album.
Thank you for your time!
The story of Akuratyde shows how strengthening bad experiences can be. Akuratyde managed to turn his terrible experiences into a new milestone: The release of his first album. From intense grief all the way towards acceptance and everything in between, it all comes together in ‘Past Lives’.
Check it out here.
A deeper look into Past Lives
Akuratyde explained the meaning behind each song for us down below. And let me tell you: Knowing the full story behind Past Lives makes it an incredible listen.
Come True (Feat. Monika)
Album opener Come True was actually the last song written for the album. It’s about the album itself, about dreams coming true.
Gloomy breakbeat track Without You was the first song written for the album. It’s a thoughtful reflection on losing a loved one and contemplating life.
Wonder, Love & Loss
Wonder, Love & Loss encompasses all of the themes of ‘Past Lives’. It’s about celebrating wonderment and love, but there’s a melancholic tone which runs throughout as well.
Find My Way
Written during a period when I was struggling to continue the album because I didn’t have a clear sense of direction. This song literally helped me Find My Way.
Into The Sea
Inspired by early Telefon Tel Aviv, the intricate sound of Into The Sea describes feeling helpless, but with a glimmer of hope.
The most conventional drum & bass track of the album. Lost Summer encompasses the ultimate rave philosophy. It’s about experiencing a joyous moment, and just living in that moment for a few seconds with no other thoughts or distractions.
November’s End is a very personal song. The title has two meanings: It was written for my father and mother-in-law, both of whom passed away at the end of November almost exactly 13 years apart. On a thematic level, it’s about how losing a loved one can feel like the end of the world.
The album title track Past Lives is about reflecting on life and loss. I’ve gone through so many changes that sometimes when I look back on moments, I feel like someone else lived them. Like I am living past lives. It’s also about contemplating the lives of those I’ve lost and coming to a better understanding of loss.
Complications was born of the desire to show my range and do something a bit darker. It’s about the complications we face in life, the struggles, and the frustration they create.
The Well (Feat. Conduct)
This was the easiest collaboration I’ve ever done. The Well came together effortlessly over the span of 3 or 4 days. The title comes from the idea that I was pulling from a well of emotions as I wrote this album.
As the closing track of Past Lives, Letting Go is about experiencing tremendous loss and grief and learning to let go of those feelings and come to a place of acceptance.