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Queen of synth: Stellar OM Source

Queen of synth: Stellar OM Source
Highlights

Among a handful of synth musicians making a fun, feminised form of techno, Stellar OM Source – who is known as Christelle Gualdi when not making music...

Among a handful of synth musicians making a fun, feminised form of techno, Stellar OM Source – who is known as Christelle Gualdi when not making music – is an artist that manages to make music that sounds new and timeless at the same time. Red Bull Music brought down the French synthstress to Hyderabad over the weekend as part of three-city tour in India.

Excerpts:

Did you always want to be a musician?
No, that’s the strange thing. It’s almost as if music comes and goes out of my life but it never leaves me. It always has been this thing that I have never forced. I come from a musical family, and it has always been there. Every time I tell myself that I am not going to play something like this, then a thought pops into my head that I should play the piano or focus on soundtracks. I guess because music is more organic in my life, rather than chasing success through music, I don’t see music as a career. It just flows, like a journey. There’s a book called ‘Journey Without a Map’ by Gardner McKay, that is where I am at with music. If I was forced to do music, I may not have stuck with it. When there’s pressure, I stop.

What is the idea behind your stage name?
That has a long history! I wasn’t always known as Stellar OM Source. Stellar came from my name, Christelle. It was actually a nickname, of connecting two stars, higher conscience. OM Source came after a year of performing as Stellar. I was inspired by these long, guided meditation sessions held in a church. We would often repeat a word or a sentence and the end was always OM Source.

It stayed in my mind, and I had a moment of clarity that Stellar OM Source would actually be a good name. Then I started using it, and hated it after one year. I wondered if it really reflected what I was doing, I didn’t feel close to it. I tried to think of new names but there comes a point of no return, when you have released a couple of tracks and got some exposure. It’s constantly on my mind about whether I should have an alias – I have been making music under the same name for 10 years now, but the music has evolved. But I still feel some connection to it.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?
I was six when I started! Maybe within the genre that I play, you focus more on skills, you get more skilled. you learn your instruments more. I was playing double bass when I was younger, I could play in an orchestra, and you get better at those things. You also tend to get attracted towards genres that demand more dexterity from you. I was attracted to dance music because of sound systems. I wanted to play music in clubs where people would hear music really loud, close their eyes and experience their music physically. Those things merged with my skills getting better, and brought me to where I am today.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance, especially given your setup?
Actually, most of the time they open doors to things I hadn’t tried before. Over the years, I have improvised in multiple ways. I have done so many things that I know how to almost play around with that. I wouldn’t necessarily recreate that mistake which makes it repetitive. But you know what, people are totally forgiving. I remember one gig where the power went out, and came back and I had to start all over again.

That evening I just want to hide in my hotel room and not meet anyone but according to my audience, that was one of my best gigs. Over the years, you learn that what you thought were mistakes, people forget about it the next moment. You have to learn to relax. Playing live is a risk you take and the audience appreciates that you’re improvising.

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