From Girona, Spain Marcelo Schnock, better known by his stage name Olec Mün, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and poet who takes influence from various musical traditions and spiritual practices. On July 7th of this year, he released his third piano album, “While,” which is painstakingly designed to depict a rich and intimate emotional environment. These piano compositions, comprised of 8 stunning instrumental songs, are highly expressive and masterfully created, capturing the spirit of each emotion that inspired them. Olec Mün effortlessly mixes several musical traditions, infusing the album with a distinct sense of spirituality and depth, drawing on his study with teachers in Argentina and his journeys to India and North-Western Africa. One of the most striking features of “While” for me is Olec Mün’s ability to build soundscapes that represent the conflicting nature of emotions. Each track is a harmonic dance of shades of gray, leading you on an emotional trip that invites deep listening and introspection. The album helps us to enjoy a range of emotions, a condition that frequently violates the logical mind’s boundaries. This piqued my interest, so I arranged for an interview with Olec Mün from the other side of the globe to discover more about this album. The complete interview may be seen below, enjoy!
SONGWEB: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your 8-track album “While”? What themes or ideas did you explore in this project?
OLEC MÜN: There were many factors of inspiration behind this work. Firstly, I was in the middle of the countryside of Cataluña. We were in the middle of the pandemic and the relationship with my partner at that time was slowly drifting apart. My motivation was then to just go inside and find in music some kind of solace and peace. In the middle of this process, I realized I was visiting and expressing deep, profound, and complex emotions that were probably only possible to express through music. I then thought about this concept of “While”. This would be music to embrace and support, to serve as a vessel to go through these emotions. In this moment of the music industry where most people listen to music through streaming platforms designed by algorithms to have music as a background, I thought it would be interesting to make music to listen also while doing other stuff, but this stuff would be poetic action, such as “take flight”, “let go”, “face truth” and not a physical action such as “run” or “dance”. So there is a philosophical purpose behind this project, a kind of mission for music to come back to the front and not to serve as a mere background commodity. But also, not coming to the front as a protagonist but as a catalyst of life processes. I believe it is important to think about the function of music in our lives.
SONGWEB: What was your creative process like while working on “While”? How did you approach the songwriting and production aspects of the album?
OLEC MÜN: The main ideas were composed in the countryside, on an old and out-of-tune grand piano belonging to my neighbor. This was in the middle of the pandemic and we had moved out of the city to feel more free. There was no clear idea of how much long it would last so we took this decision of being able to walk freely and breathe clean air. Once everything cooled down I went back to the city and ended up composing the whole album on an incredible grand piano. At one moment I thought about adding more instruments or working on the sound from the production aspect as I had done with my previous piano albums, but I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could just record from the grand piano without any added effects or miscellanea. As it is with most of my music, the process of composing was not only musical but psychological, personal, and spiritual. While I was composing each piece I was getting in those emotions I had to go through. I believe music is my medicine and my therapy in many ways.
SONGWEB: Each track on “While” seems to have its unique atmosphere and sound. Can you walk us through the musical influences and genres that influenced the overall sound of the album?
OLEC MÜN: I don’t think each track has a unique atmosphere. I think the whole album has a similar sound and atmosphere. At least that is what I searched for. All tracks have something in common. There is a sense of contemplation, circularity, expansion, deepness, and paradox in all of them. At the time I was composing one of my great heroes of music, Ryūichi Sakamoto, was slowly leaving the physical world, so I had him very present and I sometimes felt his spirit and influence visiting me.
SONGWEB: Were there any specific challenges or hurdles you encountered during the making of “While”? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from those experiences?
OLEC MÜN: The main challenge was to compose on a grand piano. Before “While” all my compositions were made from and for vertical pianos, played with felt and very softly. On a grand piano, all the overtones and harmonics resonate as soon as you play a single note, and composing and playing such subtle music as the one I intended, almost all of it in the softest dynamic, was very challenging for me. The easiest way would have been to record on a vertical piano, but sometimes what motivates the artist is the difficulty and the challenge, and I followed that path, and I am happy I did it.
SONGWEB: In “While,” you’ve collaborated with several artists. How did these collaborations come about, and what was it like working with them? How did their contributions enhance the overall vision of the album?
OLEC MÜN: I did not collaborate with other musicians but I did collaborate with other kinds of artists. On one hand, Sara Sepulveda, a great painter from Spain living in Switzerland made the artwork. She painted especially a paint for each single released and for the cover. In addition, Florencia Volpe from Argentina made a short video for every single release. This was quite a challenge because my music is very abstract, so we did not want to suggest much through the image. She ended up making short videos which are ephemeral pieces of art that express so much yet poetically without suggesting a specific message. I always love to collaborate with artists from other disciplines and languages, such as Sara and Florencia, because they can offer a new perspective on my work.
SONGWEB: How do you feel “While” represents your growth and evolution as an artist? Are there any significant differences or progressions in your music compared to your previous works?
OLEC MÜN: I think that with “While” I found a new style within me. I understood that the music I had composed before had served a specific moment of my life and “While” is serving a new aspect of me. I am learning as an artist the challenging truth that lies behind impermanence. As soon as you find a new style, paradoxically, this same discovery invites you to go on changing and transforming. So everything we find in art, and maybe in life as a whole, is something to integrate but not to try to hold because it is like trying to hold sand or water with our hands. So now that “While” is finished I am curious as to what is waiting for me next.
SONGWEB: I’m sure your “While” album has received critical acclaim and positive reviews from both fans and music critics. How does it feel to receive such recognition for your work?
OLEC MÜN: The album was just released so the reviews are just starting to arrive. I love the messages from people that you can tell they listened carefully to the album and were touched by it. It is for them that I release the music I compose. Nowadays most people only listen to music as background music, so when someone takes the time to go through a specific music, allowing to be transformed by it, or only just spending an intimate moment, I appreciate it.
Throughout the album, you are taken on many figurative and spiritual journeys. The compositions stem from a feeling of poetry and transcendence, whether it’s the soundtrack of letting go, the sensation of crossing a desert, or the description of the process of growing up. The piano is a conduit for these feelings, taking you through vast and vivid musical worlds. While this is Olec Mün’s third piano album, it unambiguously shows his artistic progress and maturity. The austere and experimental aspects weaved within the songs offer further levels of curiosity, making this album an excellent pick for people looking for music to ponder and connect with on a deep level. Finally, “While” by Olec Mün is an album that has a strong emotional impact on its listeners. The beautifully produced piano works showcase Marcelo Schnock’s ability as a composer, while his knowledge of emotions and spirituality creates an environment of reflection and awe. This album is more than a musical experience; it is a catalyst to explore one’s inner self, making it ideal for periods of introspection and poetic thoughts. “While” exemplifies the power of music as a vehicle for conveying feelings and connection.
You can follow OLEC MÜN here for more information.