We had a little talking with Cristian Bergagna about the release of The Nightmare, his last album among other things.
Check out the interview.
Headphones For Robots: Who is Cristian Bergagna?
Cristian Bergagna: I’m a 28 years old guy from Córdoba, Argentina who started to making music inside Techno and House scene at 17/18 years and began to be more true to himself about his passion since 2013 when I decided to let my mind go, influenced by all the 70s and 80s horror films I’ve watched and loved so much and become an horrorsynth composer, well, the only one I knew from Argentina in that time. It was a hidden dream to compose for movies and this time, discovering synthwave and horrorsynth made my dream of playing with that, real and possible. I’ve worked with Nightcrawler from Spain, and being part of a Giallo homage compilation from the French blog “Synthspiria” which is awesome: “Memories of Giallo”. I have now three albums and one EP released.
HFR: What does horror mean to you? What are your main horror influences?
CB: Well, it is all about breaking parameters that are established in society for me. Not all movies have to be funny, or inspirational. There is a place where you can go, where everything is possible and evil as you want to try it, and never be hurt. It’s a way we have to experience things that we cannot go through in real life, only that in this time, we can control the environment and test our own limits.
Basically, horror means for me being different and finding beauty in places where only a few people can. It is playing with the forbidden.
My main influence not only on horror but musically is John Carpenter. I think there is no person in the world who can put a horror scene and blend it with an awesome tense tune that can complete the feeling for the person that is watching. I mean, the guy can scare you through images, and through sounds and obviously breaking all established parameters on the movies big scene where no one with a low budget could make a hit, and worst with horror. Well, there is John Carpenter again, breaking the rules.
John Carpenter, Cronenberg, even Clive Barker or Stephen King molded my head in a horror “way” haha. Then there is the “Italian” descendant part that came to me that obviously loves Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci but they come after when I’m almost an adult.
HFR: How do you think synthesizers relate to horror?
CB: There was always an experimentation about how to innovate in sounds. I think since the beginning of cinema when movies were all about music (remember there was no voice) so all the feelings needed to be translated into music and sensations through it. That experimentation, that “science” almost, came with a lot of good synthesis instruments. I think the Theremin is a pretty good example of how old it is, how scary it can sound and how practical it could be in a way of transmitting sensations. I’m not sure about the theory but the 70’s and 80’s were a lot about synthesizers, I think there was a cheapest way to put music to something (not big orchestras, etc) and you could work with awesome new sounds to generate chills.
Photo by Coral Aoki
HFR: Can you tell us about The Nightmare, your new EP? Does it tell a happy ending story?
CB: The Nightmare started as a project where I needed to make a lot of changes in my way of working with music. The songs’ structure, the search for a more characteristic sound that could be associated with me, etc. It was an awesome trip where each track needed so much study and time like I’ve never done before. Even with mixing and mastering, you can see how much I’ve changed haha.
It is about probably the most awkward thing in horror, and I think that our most scary moments in life are in Nightmares. Places where we cannot escape and the worst thing is: it is the result of our own mind.
The album description has a text from Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian writer) essay about nightmares and I think there is a pretty dark way of seeing it, and we all are afraid that it could be possibly true in some way. What if Nightmares are places where we go and they are the closest thing to what we call “hell”.
“The Nightmare” is a travel, to feelings and moments in we can be trapped in those “bad dreams”.
HFR: What is your approach on writing music? Which are the steps you make when songwriting?
CB: I prepare a good cup of coffee, sit in my studio, open Ableton and I start to play around with some plugins, sounds and melodies. I try to mold it like a deformable thing in order to get some “raw” material that can be worked on. It is all about the feeling, sometimes it could be more nostalgic, or evil, or “suspenseful”. According to what that generates in me, I start to build the “ambient” of the song, all the “furniture” if you want, like setting a scary room in which you will invite people you are gonna scare.
HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments?
CB: For now I use software and synthesiser emulators. I use Ableton Live as a DAW, Arturia Plugins, along with some of Native Instruments or u-he or the Korg digital and analog instruments. Sometimes I like to try new ones because I don’t have a “fixed structure” about that. In hardware my beloved Ableton Push and a generic piano controller, an electronic drum set and my Ibanez-150G guitar which I didn’t use in The Nightmare but I will soon again.
HFR: CB in a near future? Are there any shows coming up in 2018?
CB: There is a new album almost ready, not with release date but working on the idea that it is better than The Nightmare. For now “The Nightmare” is on Qrate for a vinyl pressing campaign and wishing it gets done because I’ve received too much love from all who listened to the album.
Probably not in 2018, but I’m working on about a trip to Europe and probably something would come out of that and I hope it could be done with some of the guys which are part of the genre.
HFR: Last words?
CB: Thank you so much for this, and loving the blog a lot. It is always gorgeous when people support independent artists and they are open minded to start listening to something that is scary, not only because it is scary haha, but because it is different and probably needs a chance.