Behind the Track

Behind the Track: Zean Farence Diaz

23rd March 2018

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What was the inspiration/is there a story behind your track?

The first song (or part) is called ‘T-Centralen’, which is the name of Stockholm’s biggest underground station (T is for ‘Tunnelbana’, the Swedish word for the underground/subway. If you translate the name to English, it’s literally ‘The Underground Central’). Since the station is at the heart of Stockholm, there are so many joyful, but emotional events I remember there. Unfortunately, the song is about the racism and discrimination I’ve been encountering throughout my life, especially when I was young and didn’t understand why my parents were so offended by racial slurs. Looking back at those memories, I wish I had the guts to stand up for my family and friends.

The second song (or as I mentioned earlier, part) is ‘Näckrosen’; the name of another underground station. This song is about sorrow; how I’m struggling to accept my best friend’s passing; an inner anger building up the more I think about the pain she went through and my search for a spiritual emancipation. ‘Näckrosen’ means ‘water lily’, and the station’s art is one of the most beautiful for me. It reminds me so much of my dear friend.

T-Centralen and Näckrosen are both stations on Stockholm’s Blue Line, so there’s a connection there in both the songs and in reality.

What did your process involve?

My songwriting started as small poems which I started writing at the age of 15; poems I wrote as a way of getting rid of anxieties. After my first term at BIMM, I went back to Stockholm to visit my family and friends, and during my stay, I decided to go on a search for inspiration. I went to T-Centralen to look at the station’s art, and after writing down interesting observations on my phone and viewing the Blue Line stations, I concluded I was going to go home and start producing songs and experimenting with my musical knowledge.

Once I examined the things I’d written on my phone, melodies and different binaural sounds started coming into my head. Since the stations T-Centralen and Näckrosen gave me the strongest emotions and ideas, it was easy for me to write and produce those two songs (or parts).

One huge inspiration of these synth-influenced songs is the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. The way he captured the city where Harrison Ford’s character lived is not only beyond legendary, but also exactly what I wanted to do with Stockholm: capturing my emotions with sound – binaural storytelling.

Do you have a favourite line/section of the song?

‘Didn’t know that I was considered different, ‘til I saw my mum’s reaction to the N word’. I sing that line in T-Centralen. It’s one of the more heavier lines I’ve written, but in times like these I feel I have to. It seems that people haven’t learned after all; people are still judged based on their skin colour and not for their actions.

‘I hope you remember when we talked about our dreams. Well I’m living mine, but you ain’t living yours’ is a line that appears in Näckrosen. I just wish that my friend was still alive and could become a great photographer or painter. She deserved so much better; so many people do.

Can you describe your sound in three words?

Ambient, dynamic and Prince 0+>

What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?

The creativity you’re able to enhance. I’ve met so many people who’ve helped me become a more understanding musician and a better guitar player. You’re able to take a step closer each week to your goals. I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely not slowing down.

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Artwork by Axel Nyroos

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Author

Sarah-Louise Burns

After studying Ba(Hons) Photography, Sarah has worked in Social Media Marketing since 2013 - she's now part of the BIMM Social Media Team, and is photographer for the Who, What, Why series.