Kromagon performs as part of Earth Frequency Festival at Ivory's Rock (SE QLD).
Kromagon is the progressive-psychedelic side project of electronic producer Nikroma, and he'll be stopping by Australia in February.
Before he brings the prod-psych vibes to Earth Frequency, we chat with Nikroma about the Kromagon project, new music and what to expect from him at EFF 2019.
How does Kromagon differ to the work you produce as Nikroma? Nikroma focuses on the lower BPM side of the Zenon sound, ranging from 120-130. Some would refer to it as psy-tech, especially during its beginning which was around 2008.
Also, Nikroma tends to offer a more eclectic mood; for example, a track may be deep, night-time style tech while another may be more playful and created for the daytime. On the other hand, Kromagon is one path: dark, serious, and driving, from 134-142 BPM.
Why separate the two? When you hear the two projects, it's clear they are different. Of course, being that they are both signed to Zenon Records there are some similarities.
But Kromagon is very much compartmentalised into the true 'dark prog' genre; whereas Nikroma can fit into a techno/ house warehouse party. Separating them has given me more flexibility and direction when I'm creating new music.
You hit the big 3-0 at the end of 2018, congratulations; what did you do on your first day as an 'adult’? Worked on music, what else?! That being said, yes I am finally an adult, which means you should expect both of my projects to really take off.
As I get older, I'm feeling time is speeding up, and that makes me want to take my career more seriously. You can expect the tutorials/ teaching to become a more integral part of my life and tours. Time to go full throttle.
How did you enjoy the 'Ravings Of A Madman' tour last year? Wow, what an incredible year 2018 was! The 'Ravings Of A Madman' tour was one of the biggest tours I've done taking me throughout North America, South America, Central America, Europe, and Australia.
I've had many incredible experiences and dancefloors, too many to explain with one paragraph. But the biggest inspiration was meeting all the diehard Kromagon and Nikroma fans along the way.
Many travelled great distances just to catch my performance and that's something that never really crossed my mind before. Hearing how they were moved after listening to my album or me play live is extremely rewarding, and is a big reason why I want to continue my projects.
I really owe a lot to my fans, so I try and make it a point to connect with them on a natural and human level as much as possible. That being said, 2019 is starting out to be bigger, with my already packed Australian tour back to back with my growing European tour this [northern hemisphere] summer.
What new music have you been working on, and when might we get to hear it? After finishing 'Ravings Of A Madman', my initial idea was to focus on a new Nikroma album. But there are many unfinished Kromagon tracks that were runners up to be on the album, so lately I've been focusing more on getting those off my plate.
Of course, I have the same struggles that all producers have which is that there are many potential tracks with some really good parts in them, but deciding what to put my energy into given the small window of time I have in my studio is a tough call. In August, I'm going to be taking fewer gigs in order to complete a new release.
So it looks like the world will see either an EP or another full-length album by the end of 2019, but be sure to catch my sets throughout the year to hear some of these works in progress.
What do you have planned for your set at Earth Frequency Festival? I do plan to play at least three new tracks. In order to make that happen Im going to reorganise my live set so It should be a relatively new experience for many people who have already seen my performance. You can also expect to hear almost every track from my Ravings Album intertwined throughout the set!
How do Australian EDM crowds stack up against those in other countries you've played? The Aussie crowd has always been one of my all time favourite people to play for. Not only do I know many people out there but the dancefloor seems to appreciate and 'get' the music.
Also being on the Aussie dancefloor is hands-down one of the most fun dancefloors out there. I've found there is a lot more pure music lovers, as opposed to the States where everyone cares what each other is wearing.
Also, the Zenonesque style has had a long-time history in the country and some consider it the origin of dark prog, so it's really an honour to return for another tour. I'm very excited to see you all.
You also make a lot of your samples available for other producers to use; what have been some of the most interesting or unlikely uses of your samples that you've heard? I've heard my samples in all kinds of music. I've not only shared my resources, but also taught all different sort of producers, for example hip hjop artists, house music artists, and a handful of singer-songwriters; most of them end up using my samples and presets in their work.
So yeah, I think the most unlikely and interesting thing is that teaching and creating samples/ presets has really opened up a huge client base for me and I’m really blown away by the amount of artists I've had the opportunity to meet and help in the last few years. I never thought that would happen.
What is your long-term vision for Kromagon? My goal for Kromagon has always been to have an outlet to express myself from the heart, and not let trends or 'what's hot' affect me. Over time, I've found that listeners can feel when the music is pure, which in turn leads to more support for the project.
I foresee Kromagon sharing the stage with some of the bigger, more fashionable artists like Ace Ventura, Astrix etc. and to become a staple in the EDM world. It's my duty to bring the darkness to the masses. Ultimately, I hope the Kromagon project will pave the way for new artists who share the same vision.
How do you stay creatively motivated in EDM? Listening to other styles of music is what inspires me. You will rarely hear anything with a dance beat in my headphones, and if you do it's 10+ years old.
In the last decade I’ve started to hear a lot of the same copycat sort of sounds and arrangements in EDM. Immediately when I notice that sort of thing it kind of turns me off. I feel that electronic music should be about innovation and experimentation, so I feel I need to keep my head outside of the culture as much as possible in order to bring something new to the table.
What does the rest of 2019 hold for Kromagon/ Nikroma? New music, new branding, new samples/ presets, and more importantly travelling to new parts of the world to share it. Also, the first sets of 'HypoKroma' (Hypogeo+Kromagon) will be unleashed, so prepare yourselves.
Kromagon plays Earth Frequency Festival, which takes place at Ivory’s Rock (SE QLD) 15-18 February.