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Q&A with Pagan synthwave producer Das Mörtal

Cristobal Cortes, more famously known as Das Mörtal is a synthwave musician. He released his latest single ‘The void’ in celebration of the Pagan event Imbolc on 31 January 2020. Cristobal music is inspired by german techno, horror and sci-fi movie soundtracks for his distinct sound. The musician has scored music for horror films titled Naissance d’un Zombie and Deadcon.

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Dreadful Electro

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into music?

Just always enjoy playing on synths. Then random playing became more constructed and sequenced until I started making actual tracks, and since then it's always been trying random stuff when I'm bored and have some free time. Those sessions eventually evolve into songs.

 Do you have any unconventional or special rituals to mentally prepare for the creative process of creating new music?

 Mostly consists of making aggressive tones or noises on synths for two hours. It helps to get in the mood, and cleanses my ears so I can start to compose without any major influence.

Name your favourite movie scores that you’re constantly referencing inspiration from in your music, and why? 

Halloween III: Season of the Witch, as It's just so simple and pure. It doesn't try to be orchestral. Now that the 80's sound is trending, there are a lot of scores that try to make it sound like 80's synths, but then they mix it with real orchestral strings and stuff, which misses the whole point. The reason a good amount of scores in the 80's were synth base was because they just didn't have the budget to pay a whole orchestra. That's what made those low budget scores so iconic. The raw sound they have.

When you compose and produce tracks, do you make music for yourself or do you make it with others in mind?

Really just make it for myself. I try to make something that I got in my head, but since I have very little academic musical knowledge, it always sounds like a mutant form from what I originally had in mind. I guess that gives it its own personality. Then keep working on it until I'm happy with it.

What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?

Prophet 5 synth.

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

Less gear and more single computer-based. I still have some gear around, but ultimately they're used more for coming up with ideas. Once those ideas get more concrete, I shift on a computer only because it's easier to manage it all.

Three favorite tracks of all time?

Aphex Twin - IZ-US
Boards of Canada - Pete Standing Alone
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence

What inspires you outside of music?

Films, especially when it's a visual feast.

What is the best or strangest reaction you've had to your music this far?

All of them I guess. Honestly, I'm surprised people actually listen to my stuff since it's all made on a laptop in the corner of my room and I make music for myself. So hearing any feedback on it is always a surprise.

What, in your opinion would be the perfect genre fusion?

New Romantic House.

Do you consider the Internet and social media as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

It's really important nowadays since that's how people keep tabs on artists they like. That's how I learn when somebody I enjoy releases some new stuff. But my relationship with it has faded the older I got. It feels very time consuming but it's important to the fans, so I gotta keep it fresh from time to time.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or releases in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Two tours are coming up with DANCE WITH THE DEAD. One in Europe and a North American one. I will be dropping singles to promote the future album and it will be featured on the Streets Of Rage 4 soundtrack.

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