“Inspiring people to think that music is magic is really important. So they don’t think that it’s just ‘copy, paste, loops’ and become a super DJ overnight, ‘cause it’s not.”
Aleksander Vinter is scooched to the edge of his seat in the lobby of the W Hotel in Hollywood, gesticulating wildly, his eyes bright and wide with possibility. He talks fast and is constantly following the ends of his sentences into new trains of thoughts.
Actually, that’s pretty much the way the Norway native and new West Hollywood resident does everything, including produce electronic music.
Vinter has been known under several aliases, but currently he’s using the name Savant, a nod to savant syndrome, which he has been diagnosed with along with Asperger’s. He’ll be the first to admit that his diagnoses mean that he’s not the best at dealing at people. But they also make him special.
“If you have something that separates you from everybody else, no matter what that is, you should emphasize that,” he says. His conditions give him the power to learn quickly and thus work quickly. In the past three years alone, he’s released 12 full albums, all with upwards of 15 intricately crafted tracks each.
Most recently, these projects include Zion, a Middle Eastern influenced album that mixes Hebrew and Arabic instrumentation, Bulgarian chanting and dubstep basslines, and Invasion, a more commercial-sounding, 8-bit-inspired album that he's currently releasing track by track on SoundCloud. When it's finished, Invasion will be released on Bandcamp with different versions of all the tracks, most likely for free or under a “pay what you want” pricing scheme.
Vinter is clearly not one to take breaks between albums or stick with one style for very long. People are so amazed by his speed and precision in music, in fact, that they oftentimes don’t believe he’s for real.
“The first thing that goes through people’s heads is quantity over quality, ‘cause that’s just human nature, right? Two plus two equals four. But this is a really weird equation,” Vinter says. “It’s hard to get people’s respect, that’s the only thing about it.”
Future Music magazine documented Vinter in the studio and within minutes, he proved himself to be unconventionally brilliant. His production work happens fast because once he learns a tool on his software, recalling it becomes a mere matter of muscle memory.
But working fast doesn’t mean he loses the soul of the music. He has high expectations for both himself and his creations.
“When I’m working on a track, it’s equally important that it has a name, identity, and a purpose in the world without me… it’s muscle memory, but it’s a lot of fast combination and calculating on how emotions work and how you want to trigger them in a song.”
Above all, though, Vinter sees music as an artform — the highest artform. “Music is my lord. Music is my religion,” he claims.
But although he produces across many genres of electronic music, he doesn’t listen to mainstream EDM.
“It’s a bit like genes,” he explains, “The best thing for genes in general is to move around. If your genes mix with a different culture or race, that will actually heighten the ability of that shit growing and being strong and adaptable. So I’m thinking, what would serve music?”
Vinter wants to break what he sees as the formula for electronic music. For him, it’s about striving to put out better and better tracks and learning as much as he can about his craft. While he acknowledges an appreciation for the business side of the industry, it’s clear that Vinter is in it for his obsession, his art, not for money. He also likes showmanship, doing moonwalking routines at his gigs and wearing masks while he performs to give the audience more than just an overly enthusiastic pressing of the “play” button.
“How the hell do you get people’s attention?” he asks. “What if it’s me? What if I’m the interesting person and the way I make music is the interesting part? Not the music itself maybe, but how I make it.”
Vinter also wants to challenge other artists to do as much as they can with the tools available to them — to go insane with possibility and make something epic. He knows that as the software gets more sophisticated, it will be exceedingly easier to slap a song together, the way amateur photographers can now throw a filter on an Instagram photo instead of taking the time to learn Photoshop. He doesn’t want that to become the norm.
“Hopefully I was the crowbar in the cog wheel before it spun out of control,” he muses. “People can go, ‘Oh, music is more than copy, paste.’ It’s actually sitting there and feeling and pouring your heart out… It’s gonna leave you hating yourself, and pulling your hair out, and doubting yourself.”
Seeing him talk about it, we get the sense that if anyone can do it, it’ll be him.