Hidden figure Skauss unveils the layers behind his latest 10-track piece of art ‘Whoami’.
The mysterious Skauss opens up for the very first time, unveiling the ideas behind his latest album ‘Whoami’ that took nearly a decade to perfect (and perfect, it is). As a hidden gem packed with a dark and dizzying mix of electronic soundscapes, we couldn’t resist getting to know the figure behind the mask further.
Welcome, Skauss! It’s great to finally meet you. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you! That’s not an easy question for someone trying to hide his identity!
So, Skauss encapsulates my lifelong pursuit of meaning, of the reasons why, of the never-ending quest for perfection and ultimately self-awareness. As an artist, I hide behind a mask, not as a marketing gimmick, but because the mask elevates me to a place where I can connect and work with concepts that go beyond my personal trivialities and restraints. I have assigned all my life’s artistic, higher, let’s say “spiritual” functions to the mask. So, to talk about Skauss is to talk about the mask. Well, not literally, but in case you are wondering it took me over a year to build and is covered in gold!
You recently released your debut album ‘Whoami’, what were some of your biggest inspirations behind this creation?
Love, hope, betrayal, death. Life itself. The songs on Whoami span a period of 10 years so it has been a true journey of self-discovery, hence the title. While searching for my identity each song went through its own saga of countless revisions. People I met, people I lost, places, things, emotions, dreams, everything would leave an impression on these songs. Even deciding which ones to release in the first place, out of a pool of 100 songs I have been working on these past 10 years, was hard and felt like self-sacrifice; when you spend so much time so closely attached to the same music you begin to attribute human-like properties to it.
These songs and the rest of the music I keep locked inside the drawer, are literally parts of my body and psyche; they have inspired me to become who I am, they have kept me going through tough situations, they have defined me more than I have defined them. It feels like an act of self-sacrifice releasing them to public scrutiny to be either exalted or diminished. Luckily the first has been happening so far, much to my relief!
How would you describe your sound in just one sentence?
Music for staring at the stars when everything else is falling apart.
We first met when you released ‘Father’ as your lead single, which we love for its hauntingly goose-bump inducing tone! What’s the story behind it?
Father started out a completely different song and went through many forms throughout the years, always retaining its religious connotations though. Despite being a (sometimes raging) atheist, I grew up a devout Christian and had remained one for the bigger part of my life. Father had always been an outlet for whatever remnants of religion were left in me. I was always bewildered by the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, of God sacrificing his own offspring, of how a father would knowingly send out his own child to die. Throughout the years and all the terrorist attacks, “Father” came to express this growing bewilderment at how it made no sense for a loving caressing god to force his own children into self-sacrifice. This multi-layering had gone into the final writing of Father.
Nowadays when I listen to it, it’s become a song about the guilt of knowingly bringing children into an unfair and cruel world. The religious undertones serve simply as an allegory for fathers who don’t give a damn about it.
What’s your favourite lyric you’ve written and why?
When things are tough, there’s one that always pops into my head. It’s the chorus of the 7th track off the album, ‘Sad Disco’: “Put your headphones on, and dance alone, it’s a party anywhere you want”. I hear this line connects with a lot of people too, which is good because, you know, it’s good advice. So, break the mould, put your headphones on and dance in the middle of the street without a care in the world.
What’s next in store for you? Can we expect any music videos?
I simultaneously released 2 albums, Whoami which I consider Skauss’ debut and a second album called “Sagittarius A*” which is available online but at a secret URL, so you have to find it!
So, coming up next should be the reveal for the 2nd album, provided someone finds it and decides to share it with the world. Until that happens, I’ll be shooting live performance videos for songs off Whoami, and also for some new songs, as I am slowly gearing up for the 3rd album, which will feature collaborations with other artists, something I will be actively pursuing in the coming months.
With regards to music videos, I’ve had a lot of false starts the past years while searching for my own “spiritual warriors”. Nowadays, while I am always on the lookout for creative people with fresh ideas for Skauss, I have an existing team of talented artists with whom we have formed a free to join art collective called VAVILON. We’re working on some rad stuff, and yes music videos for songs off Whoami are among them.
Where did you get the idea for your mysterious aesthetics?
I am heavily inspired by prehistory and ancient civilizations so there is always an element of that in my aesthetics, combined with my love for cyberpunk, dystopian fiction and unsolved mysteries.
Mystery makes it all the more interesting for me and gives me a recurring theme to build-upon and grow, on the road to the big, final revelation.
Who have been some of your biggest influences do date?
I remember my father buying me a poster of the Andromeda Galaxy when I was 8, Carl Sagan initiating me into the mysteries of the Cosmos and Vangelis Papathanasiou teaching me how to reach out for the stars through music. And of course, The Beatles.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
To pursue randomness in life. Experiment. Never fear failure, never ever settle for success.
And lastly, do you have any shows or appearances in the works?
Yes, but it’s a secret! Plus lots of invitations to be confirmed.