We had the good fortune of connecting with Tristan de Liege and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tristan, what matters most to you?
In life the most important value, that in my opinion really determines the direction of one’s career and life is the dedication to fully harnessing and releasing our creative potential. What I mean by this is a constant process of integrating and developing knowledge about ourselves and our domain of work in order to achieve a constant state of growth and increasing competence. I think this applies to any field; and in fact my inspiration for understanding the importance of creativity this way comes in large part from learning about how great entrepreneurs, scientists, innovators, etc. lived their lives.

For me, this is something I pursue through music, and that means constantly pushing myself to explore and understand new genres and styles, new collaborations with different perspectives, and of course finding better ways of sharing my music and making it more sustainable. And within that journey, finding principles or integrations of what makes music effective at recreating emotional experience, which is ultimately the goal of my music (and I would argue, music in general).

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A lot of my art is about texture, which is to say that I’m constantly trying to create moments that are rich in layers and timbres. I always want my tracks to offer one the experience of entering another world, place, or time, which is also why I tend to use a wide range of instruments, field recordings, and sound design. Another aspect to my work is that I’m often experimenting with method to understand how best to channel my subconscious, since this is a huge part of making any art, including music. For instance, I have some work that is very deliberately and slowly composed, according to a (somewhat) grand view of the overall statement or narrative. I have other work that is much more improvised and loosely composed, where the mood/statement comes out organically over time through the development of the piece.

I couldn’t really say which project I’m most proud of, since I’m proud of different projects for different reasons, but my Thoma project holds a very special place for me. The idea behind that project is to make an album in a short space, about a month, wherever I or Benjamin Hill (the other artist in Thoma) happen to be living. We work from improvised sessions with synths and samples, and eventually bring in recordings from local musicians. The short time frame often gives these projects a very unique energy and underlying chaos which I really love. Obviously, it’s also somewhat intense and making an album in one month is not always possible (we had a couple of failed sessions over the years, though usually even then something useful comes out of it eventually). The main challenge of finishing it is really overcome by division of labor, properly ordering one’s tasks and what one is trying to do during the editing phase, but also importantly about just letting the tracks be what they want to be. Sometimes that means letting tracks go even if you put a lot of work into them already.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in pursuing music is not to compare oneself to others. There’s no competition in art, there’s only collaboration and inspiration. Anyone only concerned with being more popular or recognized than others isn’t really engaged in art at that point, or at least not from a mindset that I think could be called creative. The advantage of letting go of that mindset is that it enables one to see all the musicians around you as potential values because everyone can be someone you can learn from or potentially collaborate with.

The other thing, and one thing I hope comes through in my work and trajectory, is the importance of not giving into self-doubt. To make art you need to do what you can now with the materials at hand, and work from there. Of course there is a place for criticism, but the process of growth is a process of trial and creative failure and continually finishing and sharing work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ernest E Debs park – Griffith Park is obviously great but this park is lesser known and somewhat underrated, I think it offers a beautiful perspective on the mountains and you can see downtown from it as well.

Griffith Observatory – That being said, the Observatory is an amazing place and the architecture inside it is all Art Deco, which I love.

Maru – The coffee here is just exceptional and worth the long wait.

Arroyo Seco – one of my favorite places to bike ride in the city, the views are amazing and there are all these beautiful old trees everywhere, really special place.

Sam First – this jazz bar has a somewhat tricky location to get to near LAX but the lineups are always fantastic and the interior design is impeccable.

NeueHouse – There are often interesting events here but even aside from that the art deco interior is wonderful.

Mignon – A lovely little wine bar in downtown that’s easy to miss but worth a visit.

Kinship Yoga – my favorite yoga studio in the city, the space is perfect and the community and teachers are all really great.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of the books that changed my live forever was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Unfortunately I think she’s often greatly misunderstood or mischaracterized, and often people focus too much on her political views (without understanding her broader philosophy). What inspired me about that book is that it showed in a dramatic and powerful way the importance of relying on one’s individual judgment in one’s work. (whether artistic or otherwise). The protagonist Howard Roark is someone who throughout the novel ambitiously and consistently pursues his vision of architecture despite a culture of conformism and compromise. Obviously, in most of our lives the concretes are not as dramatic as in Roark’s, but I think it’s essential to hold one’s work to the same standard that he does, as a matter of integrity as important as the integrity of one’s mind and body. This means knowing (or striving to know) what your purpose is, what your standards are, and what is possible to you in your work, and then pursuing it with unwavering commitment.

Website: tristandeliege.com

Instagram: tristandeliegemusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tristandeliege

Other: Thoma instagram: @thomamusic Holy Volcano instagram: @holyvolcano

Image Credits
Christian Sorensen Hansen Adrian Elliot Bryce Delbridge

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.