Sergio Levels: Dark and dreamy visuals with Generate

We recently caught up with electronic musician, and Generate fan, Sandro Petrillo or otherwise known as Sergio Levels. He shot an entire music video for his song Viaggio Di Notte in Generate and we wanted to asked him a bit more about his creative practice for visual imagery as well as its intersection with music.

How did you find out about Generate?

I kept seeing it pop up in a couple friend’s feeds, images popped up that were edited with “#generateapp” in the description and I was intrigued. I happened to love the output I was seeing so I looked further into it, grabbed the app and played around a bit . A chance conversation with a couple individuals at last summer’s Bass Coast Project put me in touch with two creators of the app…fancy that! Shortly after I started experimenting with the beta and within a short period of time I was an addict. 

What did you find appealing about the tool?

I love the step by step ability to record everything and anything around me and then further edit it when feeling creative, almost like the sampling I do with music production. It’s an amazing tool for creating awesome textures and movement and then further editing and creating new iterations of the material. I also love that It’s extremely easy to farm the creations into a small collection to use for other projects down the road. I’m fairly picky when it comes to visual matter and the various tools and filters allow me to create to my taste which is a HUGE plus in my books :)

How are you using it in your creative process?

As I mentioned I’m constantly ‘sampling’ the area around me, collecting source material to edit later on. I rarely use the app ‘Live’ to be honest. I find myself batch editing a bunch of material and then re-editing and so on. Once I have a good chunk of video content I dump it into a folder on my trusty laptop and then at that point I move it into Ableton. With the use of a couple Max4Live video plugins I’ve been able to Map a MIDI controller and use a small projector to add a visual element to my live performances. The M4L plugins create an almost ‘synthesized’ effect, one which is similar to many of Generate’s filters. Mega fun! Quite recently I’ve been collecting slow moving videos of some line drawings and throwing it into the above process, still fine tuning but the results have been interesting. 

What features do you like best?

As for filters, my favourite are; Swirl, Pulp, Sobel & Prism. The audio sensitivity feature is pretty amazing, it’s kind of like another hand doing awesome automations for me. Re-generating material as stated is probably one of the best ways that I’ve found in creating unique and interesting material, now if there was a way to loop small portions of videos and have them play continually that would just be the best thing ever!! 

What current or upcoming projects are you using it for?

I have an event here in Calgary on Feb 14th. It’s called Shapes and consists of a Live Set with live visuals as well as an Art Installation. It’s basically a huge amalgamation of a bunch of projects I’ve been working on for the past year or so. I’ll be creating some promo videos for the event as well as using the app to create the content for the visual side of the performance. Lot’s of work ahead, so excited to get at it!