Electronic musician and psychiatric nurse Ian Hartley, carves therapeutic melodic equilibrium between sanity and insanity. This is his story.

"The whole stigma against the mentally ill means that people suffer in silence for such a long time because they can't go to a doctor and say 'I feel I'm going mad.' You do that and you end up being admitted to a unit in hospital somewhere. They are still completely normal, they're not sub-human or anything. It's just maybe, in their own lives, their histories, it all came too soon."

"Creativity is therapeutic - absolutely, totally. Where life seems to get narrower, this is escapism. You get pissed off and you can get stuck into the music. Sometimes it can make you even more stressed out if it doesn't go anywhere. Usually though, just out of the blue, something will turn up, it will just happen. Then it's great. That's the best thing. When there's all this stuff building in your head, it's just nice to let those ideas and emotions out."

"A lot of the time I don't know why I'm doing it or where it's coming from. I don't consciously try and write a song for any specific environment, but there is a space for what I'm doing, I think. It doesn't sound like anyone else, though there is a familiarity to it. People need to sit down and listen to it though, as it's not immediately forceful and grabbing."

"First of all it was me and my brother playing together with two guitars and no extras. Even in punk music without a drum kit it was difficult, so my brother persuaded me to buy a drum machine. The whole Acid House thing came to Aberdeen a bit later than where it hit everybody else. I got into the techno stuff at the beginning of the '90s. Then my brother moved down from Aberdeen to attend university, which meant I could only use the drum machine for one month every four. So I moved down to Edinburgh."

"I still use the one drum machine, a Roland R5. It's pretty basic and it's falling apart, but within the last twelve months I've steadily built up tracks... I'm writing, not necessarily for the album though, just writing. I'll make a couple of tracks around an idea. Then when that's done, I'll look to do something else. It's all centred around the same kind of sound. With the limited equipment, that's the only way to work. I just find, I feel as though I haven't really started yet. I've a better idea now of the kind of sound I want than I did a year ago but it's not healthy to know exactly what sound you want. You've got to keep going, changing. The overall sound is quite melancholy, quite emotional. I suppose there's something that I'm trying to convey but I'm not sure what it is."

copyright reserved Desmond K. Hill