British multidisciplinary artist Theodore Ian Iagö, known as iagö, hails from the coastal village of Cley in East England. After four years on the DJ circuit, iagö’s releases garnered widespread acclaim, showcasing his talent across music, art, and design. His creative mission is to momentarily transport listeners to new realms, akin to the art that inspires him.
2024 marks a significant year for iagö, with the release of his new EP “The Chemical Wedding” today. Drawing on influences from design and a desire for a ‘total work’ approach that blends various art forms, iagö’s music is a fusion of techno beats and electrifying guitar riffs. Complementing his music are visual projects like the music video for “Chemical Wedding,” inspired by early sci-fi works, adding another layer to the narrative.
Graduating from Kingston School of Art in Graphic Design, iagö’s transition from DJing to creating immersive sonic experiences reflects his ambition for a more encompassing craft. His new EP delves into more transportive soundscapes, solidifying iagö’s status as a rising artist in the UK electronic scene.

In this conversation with iagö, we explore his journey blending music with visuals and various art forms, delve into the story behind his new EP, discuss his creative aspirations, and much more.

Could you share a bit about your background and journey into music?

As I’ve navigated through life I’ve come to a realisation that in some respect your path is set from the very moment you wake, you ushered into a period in your life of enhanced sensitivity, this premature youth undergoing natural selection, drawing upon aspects of life like osmosis; sounds, visuals, human interactions – some good, some bad – even if subconsciously.
You transcend into a period of self discovery and understanding, as you begin to navigate your own identity. A naive youth, seeking gratification at times maybe through an act of rebellion. Music though was always beside me, a gravitational pull in wanting to perform. I experimented with nothing to loose, different instruments, drums, piano, guitar and so on. I never truly mastered it.
I believe I was 13 or 14 at the same time when I began DJing, a case of CD’s with transcribed track titles and BPMs, I grew a fascination and commitment in trying to master the art. A few months past and I pursued the purchase of a cracked version of Reason 3, fifty pounds cash. A premature deal. It could have all ended there and then, the mere naivety of the scenario, thinking after my failed instrumental attempts I could comprehend music in the digital realm. Look at me now, full of sorrow and dispair…. A slave to my machines.

Tell me about your creative process, especially when it comes to combining various art forms like music, design, and visuals in your projects.

There’s a German term called ‘Gesamtkunswerk’, popularised by composer Richard Wagner, which means ‘a total work’. It describes a process in which different art forms are combined to create one singular whole. A concept I hold close to my practice.
I mention this because my work is consistently rooted within this conceptual framework; the process to construct a narrative in which I can begin to build a story through both sound and visuals. I need all parts to exist. Each one – whether a visual, sonic or design language, typography – acts as the catalyst for another.
At times it’s a very delicate procedure. You have a finite amount of time until your idea diminishes or the transferable energy dissipates. You have to be ready to implement. All of it is created with the desire to transport you, even momentarily, into a new space.
What’s the message I’m wanting to convey? Music is a construct of the curators energy, how they may be feeling at that given moment in time. Like a painter, you can see the pain or emotion through their strokes. Take Pierre Soulages or Mark Rothko, there’s an unexplainable energy within their works, they captured a certain moment or mood at that given time – it’s quite scary to think about it, it’s supernatural, a freeze-frame in time.

Your career has taken you from the DJ circuit to collaborations with greats such as Pharrell Williams and The Rolling Stones. How has this diverse journey influenced your approach to creating music and art?

It’s simply given me the opportunity to understand myself on a deeper level. I don’t mean that spiritually, just in terms of what I relate to or don’t. It’s allowed me to uncover what truly matters to me artistically. I believe in essence, the pursuit for true artistry is about infinite refinement; you navigate your way through life, redacting your work, until you hit a point where each element serves an integral part in the makeup of the piece.

“Last Ashes” and “Chemical Wedding” both showcase a blend of techno, electric guitar riffs, and percussive elements. What is your approach to sound design and how would you describe your personal sound identity?

The most important thing to me was having a sound which I could live by and equally be identified by. I’m certainly drawn to darker sounds, but I wouldn’t say I’m a dark person, it’s more of a feeling that I’m drawn to. It’s really a balancing act between the darker and at times maybe violent sounds, paired with the equally more emotive or romantic palette – it’s like why people enjoy watching thrillers, it’s not because you have a psychotic personality but there’s an attraction to this unsettling nature.
On the technical side, my computer has become integral to how I write music, it acts as the central workstation, in which my outboard units, my synthesisers and processors are rooted back into. There’s a performative aspect to the way I write, encapsulating an energy and emotion, embracing any imperfections as and when they arise, the small increments of details, the finite noises as the sound wave is transferred out of one synth into the outboard processor and back into the digital realm. These imperfections are what give character or life to a recording. There’s certain artists and records which really play into this notion, think about Alan Vega and Martin Rev for Suicide, the 77’ album or Nine Inch Nail’s Downward Spiral, to the likes of Brian Eno’s Apollo.

On “Chemical Wedding” you collaborated with other highly talented artists on both video and sound. What was it like for you guys to work together, the dynamics and creative processes that shaped this project?

I worked together with a close friend and collaborator, Dom Sesto. Our backgrounds between design and photography help contribute how we may approach a specific concept or medium. It’s a key contributing factor which surrounds this notion of a ‘total work’. Rarely do we have conflicting views, our visual language is extremely aligned. It’s refreshing.
It’s such an integral part of any working relationship, you want to ensure you can limit any internal friction, ensuring noting interferes with the process and the possibility of the final outcome. I’m an extremely detail-oriented person. A perfectionist at times, pushing the extremities of infinite detail and accuracy.

“Chemical Wedding” seems to have a strong sonic and visual narrative. Let’s dive into the inspiration, themes, and meaning portrayed in the video and sound.

‘Chemical Wedding’ acts as a testament to my love for the early works of Philip K. Dick, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and sci-fi writers like George Lucas. This was the catalyst to ‘The Chemical Wedding’, the birth of the project as a whole, a reference to the first sci-fi novel written in 1616.
This really acted as the foundation I wanted to immerse myself in, wanting to depict a sonic landscape that portrayed this harsh underbelly and, at times, a dark romanticism. Growing up I never consumed much sci-fi but I was constantly infatuated by the future; “Where will we end up in 20, 50 years?” I’d think. In some cases, though, with sci-fi, it’s set within the future but there’s a juxtaposition with the past. Yes, they are technically advanced but at times culturally behind.
The track’s video equally plays an important role in the concept, echoing the five thematic stages outlined in the book. To many it may resemble a biblical allegory, or an attempt to express the timeless facets of the lived human experience.

How do your previous two releases, “Last Ashes” and “Chemical Wedding,” tie into the broader concept of your new EP?

The book is split into five thematic stages, depicting the symbolic representation of birth, survival and death, life being represented as a circle because it’s a constant loop. The idea that the end of one’s existence is not necessarily the end of life altogether.
There are some darker chapters, some light and joyous, some romantic and euphoric. There’s such a breath of language and human emotion, which was partly the reason I was drawn to it, it’s at that cross section I want to operate.
I really aimed to push the narrative and this notion as far as I could, with the aim to transport the listener into another world. It’s my sonic interpretation with each track portraying a different story and setting a different pace within the consistent confines of the sonic language ‘Chemical Wedding’ being the first part I recorded, it really acted as that pivotal moment in the story, almost this crescendo in which the plot shifts.

With the EP being a significant milestone in your career, what other themes, influences, or personal experiences have shaped this body of work?

You know, I had doubts, but the concept and visuals made a lasting impression and at moments directed me.
This project specifically is likely the most I have been influenced by a concept musically. Of course, I have been influenced by visuals, but this was very much rooted within a conceptual framework; the idea to develop a narrative in which I can begin to conduct a story through sound.
I’m constantly searching, looking for new sonics or visual languages, exploring new techniques. The possibilities are endless.

Looking ahead to this year, what are your goals and aspirations for your music, art, and overall creative journey?

I want to keep myself in a place where it remains challenging. In my mind, how can I reinvent and push the boundaries, both socially and visually. I’ve more recently been thinking further about the spatiality of music and finding new ways to communicate physical space through sound.
I like the idea of each project becoming purer and more refined, who knows I may end up voiding all association with technology. There’s something so beautiful about limiting limitation.

Music video of “Chemical Wedding” by iagö ft. Tommy Saint

photography DOM SESTO