Interview conducted by Jorge Munnshe

With her first album, "Fifth Dimension", Dolores Castro, a formerly unknown composer up to now, has caused a very good impression in the specialized music press. And not only because, unfortunately, there are few women making electronic music, but rather because she has proved to possess an admirable ease as a composer. This fact, together with her solid skill with the keyboards, provides her music with a great expressive strength.

"Fifth Dimension" (released on Dreaming / Musea Records, in France) can be labelled between the most symphonic paths of Ambient and the most electronic side of New Instrumental Music. The themes possess well-defined melodies, with a romantic air often dyed with a suggestive aura of mystery and melancholy touches. The rhythms, basically between Pop and Techno, contribute the taste of adventure in those tracks where they are fast, and reinforce the general approach in those pieces where they flow at half-speed. The palette of sounds is wealthy, sober, elegant and agile, with a predominance of majestic tones, warm electronics, and diaphanous ambiences. The piano leads several passages. The orchestrations and the arrangements are well done, and a careful task can be appreciated behind every element of sound.

How and when did you become interested in music? And can you comment on your vocation as a composer?

Music has always been present in my background. My grandfather used to play several instruments such as the piano, the violin, which he loved, the accordion, the guitar. I also used to listen to different types of electronic music thanks to my older brother. But my vocation to compose began since one day, when I was seven or eight years old, my father bought me a small electronic keyboard. With this instrument I used to spend hours inventing songs.

Do you consider yourself as linked to some given label or musical style?

I don't like to get labelled within any given style in electronic music. I believe that one must keep being innovative. The idea of merging different styles and thus achieving my own style is one of my future projects.

Do you feel that you have received musical influences that have somehow shaped the way for your style?

My influences range from techno music by such renowned bands as Depeche Mode or Yazoo, one of my favorites, to dance music with bands like Snap or even such artists as Robert Miles. Within ChillOut, people like Uranus attract my attention thanks to their delicate way of composing. Artists like Enya or Suzanne Ciani have touched me in the sweetness of their  compositions, which I seldom find in male comoposers. Yet, what I have really followed are soundtracks.  Such composers as James Horner, John Williams or Wojiech Kilar really impress me. I undoubtedly highlight  Vangelis, his electronic mergers within this world seem to me something wonderful- In this sense I also like JM Jarre or Mike Oldfield a lot within electronic new age music.

Which things inspire you when it comes to composing?

I don't get inspired by any given thing when I sit before my keyboard. If there are melancholy touches in my themes it is maybe due to the deep feelings that any problem we see and live in our society daily, or personal situations, arise in me. I can never predict or imagine what may cause me to experience any sensation when it comes to composing.

Which is the process you usually follow to compose and record a piece?

As time went by I have built a small homestudio. I listen to one of the endless samples I have available, whether it is rhythmic or not; I give it effects or distortions to achieve a different sound, one that I like, and then I start to compose the first tracks. I don't have a common technique for all of them, I sometimes start by setting a rhythmic basis and continue creating, or just the other way round, I introduce the rhythmic basis at the end. Yet, what is a common trait is the piano or some strings shaping them in their purest possible form, without distortions.

Tell us about your album "Fifth Dimension". Did you compose it in a given period of time or does it rather gather pieces which you created in different occasions? Do the titles of the themes reveal questions that inspired you when composing them?

"Fifth Dimension" was created more or less a year ago, when I could add new equipment to my homestudio. Only in the composition called "Peace" have I introduced a melody that I created twelve years ago. I give the titles at the end of each composition. providing a meaning for the feeling they cause in me when I finish them.

Although luckily the situation is changing, it looks as if there still are few women occupying prominent positions in the panorama of electronic music in general, and in that of Ambient, Space Sequencer Music and other related trends. Why is this presence so weak in your opinion?

I work in the computer world as an engineer and there  you can also notice this weak female presence. I believe that sometimes they don't access the electronic worlds due to an ignorance about it, or maybe they find it more attractive to compose with acoustic instruments. I hope that in the future this changes, we may see more composers before a keyboard.

Apart from the type of music you have shaped in  "Fifth Dimension", do you compose or have you created music with different orientations?

I have composed several music pieces, which I have partly recorded, whereas I commit to memory other pieces and keep playing them. I think that my preference for symphonic musics has shaped me, I have tried to get started. I have shaped a small  sample in the album with "ListenHearts".

Do you feel attracted to the electronic world mostly because of the ease it allows you to control ever detail in the process of musical creativity? Or do you prefer its capability to generate sounds outside  the range of acoustic instruments?

I value most the wide distortion you can get from a sound.Yet what is obvious is the fact that the electronic medium allows you to take control of all tha composition, you are the conductor.

Do you have any preferences as to synthesizers or software?

Right now, from my modest position I cannot give an opinion about the wide variety of professional material existing today. The album is basically recorded with  the Reason. I think it has a great versatility, especially when it comes to make masters like in the case of "Fifth Dimension".

Do you feel that your music reflects your personality, as if, in a way, you would express things about you, through it? Or do you rather feel it as a path where you invent musical stories?

I reflect all that surrounds me, everything that enters through my senses and causes emotions in me. I reckon something of me is affected when I compose and this comes to the surface and appears in my compositions.

Do you wish to add something else?

I want to thank you for the chance you offer me to make myself known to your readers with this interview, I believe you and your team make an excellent work.

Thanks to you, Dolores.

Dolores Castro's website:

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