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Cliffdiver p3

Andrew Jernigan, also known as Cliffdiver, talks about how he started in ambient music, and he talks about some of the effects used on his songs…

READERSVOICE.COM: How did you create the soft, scratchy distant conversation sounding effects on Fire in the Dunes?

CLIFFDIVER: A lot of people have asked me about this. There’s an Australian fellow named Dmitri who is an Information Technologist and runs a successful youtube channel called MassageASMR where he has lots of different works including ASMR, positive affirmations, etc. I was really moved by this particular piece of positive affirmations and asked Dmitri’s permission to manipulate he and his colleague’s voices and use the audio in the track and thankfully he agreed!

RV: Much of your music sounds like a synthesiser with beautiful floating music, but I was surprised to learn that A Familiar Place with Nobody I Know was guitar based and didn’t use synthesiser. Did you start out as a guitar player?

CD: Yes – I’m 32 years old and my Dad gave me an Ibanez Roadster II for my 10th birthday and I was hooked. In my teenage years I started getting fascinated by guitar effects and collecting some pedals. I particularly liked the pedal setups that made the guitar sound unlike a guitar. That passion for manipulating the instrument carried into some of my early ambient music compositions where I’m using effects to make the guitar sound …like a synth, haha!

RV: How did you discover ambience and how did you start creating it?

CD: The first ambient records I totally fell in with were Music for Airports and The Plateux of Mirror by Brian Eno (& Harold Budd). I remember riding in a car with a friend who was particularly moved by what he called “the sadness” of music like this and he played some of this Eno stuff. And also Stars of the Lid. We were traveling from Georgia to Florida and I remember looking out of the car window and just felt a type of energy inside me that I didn’t know was there. The sun was setting and we were on some empty southern back-highways and I just remember feeling like the music was the soundtrack to the moment we were experiencing and it was powerful.

A couple years after getting into the guitar I was already recording all kinds of stuff. I I loved metal, punk, grunge, alternative music so I was recording riffs and demos for my bands but I’d also just spend entire days in my room creating and recording solo music that was instrumental and mostly ambient. I was probably 14 or 15 when I began doing this and I absolutely loved the process of complete immersion in a piece of music. Even though I knew I wasn’t going to share those early ideas with anyone…the catharsis that it provided for me to reverberate my own sadness, hopes, dreams, fantasies with my instruments was empowering. It was like a therapy and it still is.

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