I want to make listeners feel like we are part of the same universe

By Tatiana Parkhomova

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Childlike optimism and deep melancholy meet in Haelium electronic beats. Based in Paris, Gabriel is a pianist and music producer who isn’t afraid to experiment with cinematic textures and dreamy electronica to achieve a new sound. Today, Haelium is here to talk about his latest EP, ‘Crying Dancefloor,’ and the inspirations behind his distinctive style. 

Your music is described as a fusion of cinematic textures, ethereal atmospheres, and punchy beats. How do you navigate between these elements when creating your sound?

As a pianist, I’ve always been fascinated by classical and cinematic music. I also love the punchy and textural aspect of electronic music, which is how I began blending them together.

What initially drew you to electronic music production, and how has your approach evolved since you started?

I was captivated by its endless possibilities for creating unique atmospheres. Initially, I tended to layer tracks and add numerous elements to a project. Nowadays, I strive for a more minimalist approach, focusing on fewer elements that I refine extensively.

Your influences include labels such as Warp, Brainfeeder, and Erased Tapes. How have these influences shaped your musical journey, and what elements do you incorporate from each label into your music?

Bonobo was one of my earliest electronic influences, mainly associated with Ninja Tune. I was moved by how he infused deep emotions into electronic music. Then, I discovered the atmospheric soundscapes of Boards of Canada and the experimental work of Flying Lotus. Later, Erased Tapes introduced me to the fusion of acoustic and electronic music by artists like Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds, along with Rival Consoles and Kiasmos, who deeply influenced my music.

Many artists find inspiration in their surroundings. How does being based in France and within its music scene influence your music, if at all?

While I’m influenced by artists from the UK, US and Germany, being based in France exposes me to unique influences. I’ve listened to many French Touch artists, and a new music scene with similar influences has emerged recently. Plus, Paris, the city of lights, may subtly influence my music with its romantic vibes.

Could you walk us through your creative process when starting a new track? Where do you typically begin, and how do you develop your initial ideas into a complete composition?

Starting a new track isn’t always the same process for me. Sometimes, I begin with piano chords, other times with drums, a melody, or textures. This diversity helps keep my ideas fresh. Previously, I’d create an 8-bar loop, add elements, perform a basic mix, and then arrange the track. Now, I focus on arranging before mixing to introduce more variations.

Your latest release, ‘Crying Dancefloor,’ seems to evoke contrasting emotions, such as euphoria, joy, nostalgia, and introspection. How did you approach blending these emotions throughout the project?

The concept for ‘Crying Dancefloor’ emerged during the COVID-19 lockdowns when we felt simultaneously alone and deeply connected to the world due to the global situation. The isolation and loneliness of that time inspired the contrasting emotions reflected in this EP.

As an artist, what message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from your music?

I want to share various emotions and hope that listeners can connect with them and feel like they’re part of this universe.

Are there any collaborations or projects on the horizon that you’re excited about?

Yes, I’m working on a new EP and several collaborations that will be released soon.

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