Get to Know a Musician: Alek Sandar
Alek Sandar is part Singer, Music Producer, Songwriter and Model. Originally from Sofia, Bulgaria Alek is now based in New York and Berlin. His music is a unique mix of club, pop, dub step combined with world folklore elements. SongFreaks recently had the pleasure of talking to Alek about his various careers, his colorful shows and his recent entry into the music industry as a solo act.
SongFreaks: You’re a producer, singer, songwriter and model. Is there anything you can’t do?
It’s all one thing to me. Being a performing artist involves photo shoots just like it would for a model. It’s all the same thing to me. Modeling and music don’t contradict each other; there are a lot of ways in which they are similar. The same can be said for music production and performing, they too are very similar. It all falls under one umbrella for me, the umbrella of the Music Label and creative house I co-founded with Jonathan Wuermeling: Splendid Sounds Records..
SongFreaks: I agree, it reminds of playing various instrument or with speaking various languages. The more languages you speak or the more instruments you play the easier it is to learn another one. You also find ways in which the different instruments are much more similar than you may have thought.
SongFreaks: Your shows on stage are quite the spectacle; they involve neon lights, extravagant costumes, fire and are very provocative. What is the purpose behind your decadent performances?
While the music is at the core of my shows they are also a chance to display the artistic aspect of my music. It is a full audio visual spectacle. I think we are in an era where people want to participate and create things with the artist they are seeing. We want more interaction today; people don’t sit around and watch TV all day anymore. We are more involved with one another through devices like Facebook where participation is easy, and that’s a huge part of my shows. The audience is given glow sticks or they can enter a giant dress worn by one of the performers as what happened in my recent show at the New Music Seminar in New York. We had a dress in which 60 people could fit in. Overall it makes people feel connected and an important part of the show.
SongFreaks: You studied International Business Management in Berlin. Were your studies beneficial to your musical career?
Definitely, it was a great experience, you have to be your own manager these days, especially when you are based in three different countries like I am. The program helped me to understand international structures and relations; it is good knowledge to have.
SongFreaks: Many articles I read today say that the current state of the music industry doesn’t allow for artists to take a break, an artist must always be pumping out new material in order to stay relevant. Do you agree with this?
I don’t think that is the only way to do it. You don’t just have to release new songs to be popular. Rather I think you should always have to reinvent yourself whether it is through a remix of one of your videos or a new collaboration. Just always find something new, something that changes you.
SongFreaks: You’re originally from Bulgaria. In 2007 you moved to Berlin, and now you spend a lot of your time In New York. Has each country and city had a profound impact on your music and changed it or put it in a new direction that you did not expect?
New York has had the most profound impact. The biggest thing it did was that it made me more confident in myself and my music. New York has made me able to find myself and show off my extreme personalities. And Berlin was good too because it allowed me to move into a dance direction musically.
SongFreaks: Were you ever concerned that your homeland of Bulgaria would not be as receptive and open-minded to your music as people in New York and Berlin would be?
At first that was a big concern; that they would not receive me well back home. But during my most recent visit I was interviewed on all the national TV and radio channels which I think alone shows that they were accepting. As well the interviews all went very well. It was a chance to show Bulgaria some Avant-garde art that isn’t very prominent there. Bulgaria is a country of controversy and paradox, but somehow it worked. The only problem is that my single "Creature In Me" didn’t gain enough radio play as it is not commercial enough for them.
SongFreaks: You have been called by national media in your homeland the "Bulgarian Lady Gaga", not a fan of this comparison?
They see something edgy and extreme from the states and try and compare it to me. While it is a huge honor to be compared to her I personally don’t see the similarities. Lady Gaga does way more commercial stuff than I do. She is a big name and does commercially more extreme Avant-garde things. But for the national media back home it is so interesting to them that a Bulgarian has made it into that scene.
SongFreaks: Your big single is called the "Creature in Me" that features lines like "What you see is not me". Thus is it fair to say that the song is about the conflict between your outside appearance as it is seen by others vs. your true inner self that may not come out much?
I really like your interpretation; I think it is close to how I see the song. It is about showing to others how you really are, between the good and the evil, the creature that you pretended to be v. the one inside you. You will notice too that at the end of the music video the model and I are naked. It is meant to portray a rebirth and show that all humans were born honest and good people despite how different or unique we are today. We have to accept all unique and different people out there and we must stand up for them.
SongFreaks: So I have to ask, what is the creature in you?
The creatures in me is human, a unique and different human.
SongFreaks: Final question, New York or Berlin?
Hahahaha New York, definitely New York
You can check out Alek Sandar’s singles, fashion, and produced songs on his Facebook page here or his official site here, or on iTunes here. As well his brand new new dub step version of "Creature In Me":