Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
My process of making music is a mixture of manipulating sounds from synths, instruments, effects and obscure records. A good amount starts from improvisation, re-editing and re-construction. When I let things flow, without thinking too much, is when the ideas come naturally.
Obviously all producers have their own tricks and secrets, but as someone who wants to start making beats what programs do you recommend? I myself try to keep it as simple as possible. Reason, Record, and Ableton Live.
What do you look for in a sample?
It really depends on what kind of song I want to make. For the most part my goal is to find open parts; Rhodes, drums, sounds that can be altered as an accompaniment to other samples and original composition.
I also have an attraction to music from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. Theirs a certain type of grittiness that just sounds right with my music.
As your records have progressed you seem to have gone from more Jazz-y samples to more dusty space sound. I like both, but when creating them do they take different mindsets/things you look for in samples?
Just a little experimentation in different sounds and melody. I came up on some fresh vintage & modern synths, took a piano class and starting writing. Unlike my previous works, the use of samples was not meant for the melodic content of most of the songs on this record.
What artists inspire you?
I can find inspiration from almost anything. Diversity in my record collection is what keeps me interested. I go through different phases that rotate in my headphones. Over the past month all I’ve been listening to is Dub Reggae, Oldies and Doo-wop music. Who knows what next month will be like. No matter how unrelated the music I choose to listen to is, somehow it influences me to make what I make.
You have been associated with a bunch of cool labels including Obey Records and AlphaPup, what has that been like. If I remember correctly you were putting stuff out with Obey right about when Shepard Fairey was blowing up, what was that like?
It’s definitely been a blessing to be in the Los Angeles area right now. There is so much talent, and synergy between the artists here. We’re generally all fans of each other, and the fact that everyone is so productive, it keeps everyone inspired.
You are about to release an album on Alpha pup records who have one of the best collections of beat makers in LA, how did you get involved with them? I thought that Nosaj Thing's Drift was last years best LA album, and looking ahead I think you and FlyLo are going to duke it out for that title this year.
Between Flylo and Nosaj, those are some huge shoes to fill. It’s really not about competition. Were all friends who bring our own flavor to the table working separately, but collectively in the larger scheme of things. That’s how LA works so well. There’s a mutual respect between the artists and no matter how large anyone gets, were all people on the grind.
I got involved with Alpha pup after a few shows at the Low End Theory. The Gaslamp Killer was the one who initially brought me on board, but after the first show, I became an instant regular. The more I played, the more I showed up, the more I became part of what was going on. Daddy Kev saw my progress as an artist and brought me on.
Lastly, I wanted to know about you restaurant. How did you get involved with it?
The Crosby was created from a diary of growing ideas that my friend Phil and I kept while we were working at a, now defunct, art gallery. When the spot went down, we had all the ideas ready, brought on our other partner Marc, and made it happen. The opportunity presented itself, we took it.
Are you there most days?
If I’m not on the road, I’m at the restaurant. It’s almost got a “Cheers,” vibe to it now. A lot of friends and family are always showing up. Its work, but it keeps me sane.
Are you involved in the Menu selection and stuff like that?
We have employee/management tastings, and give input. Other than that, we pretty much give free range to our kitchen staff. They always seem to surprise me with new ideas.
When I read that you were apart of it and held weekly live music events, I was surprised that so few artists did something like that. Do you think your restaurant has helped create an electronic music scene in OC?
I know LA has a strong electronic music scene, but Orange county is usually over looked. Electronic music has always been apart of OC, but it was generally confined to House, Electro, and Disco dance music. When it comes to “Low End” type future beats, LA beat makers & DJs, The Crosby is the only place it exists.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Paging Dr. Strangeloop…Strangeloop is the mad beat scientist of Brainfeeder. He goes beyond the normal beat/ambient work of Brainfeeder/La scene and pushes it even further into the ambient unknown.
How did you get into making music and how long have you been doing it? What can you recommend for people who want to get into making beats and other music? I have been trying to make music with garageband and have been frustrated with the controls. Do you have any programs you suggest?
Everything is music, I've always been into it in one way or another. Even modern physics is on that tip, the whole sha-bang is vibration, emanating into the infinite.
I think we're all making music all the time, neurological music, physiological music, we just have to tap into that and let it flow. I suggest moving away from a purely beat-centric view of the sonic universe, there is a whole universe beyond just beats.
Its not the tools you use, its how you use them. If you have a bucket and a stick, you can make some serious crazy stuff happen. hahaha.
What inspires your style of music? Your sound is pretty distinctly your own. While you can definitely hear the Brianfeeder/Low End Theory elements, your songs seem to be less inspired by Hip-Hop/Jazz. You seem to have a more experimental/noise/drum and bass style. Is that this is a fair description?
Philosophy inspires my music most fundamentally. I try to take everything in and just run with whatever I'm feeling. I do have a background in math-metal and noise-music, so your description makes sense ... and the first artists that got me excited about electronic music were Aphex Twin and Amon Tobin, some of which could loosely be describes as experimental jungle / drum and bass, so that was kind of my jumping off point.
If I've done my job right, the music should defy labels and descriptions, though I love trying to describe really obtuse music for fun : "Its kind of like IDM-ey experimental drill and bass, with some dubstep influences, avant-noise pop, touches of abstract musique concrete .... " hahaha, you can get lost in that stuff and stop actually fully listening to the music.
Your first official release, Are We Lost Mammals of an Approaching Transcendental Epoch?, is over 17 minutes long. Do you find making long songs easier than making short songs? The song has definite sections/movements, were these created individually and then placed together or was the song composed roughly chronologically?
The whole thing was created in three days, chronologically. Its kind of a conceptual record, not because I was trying to express a specific concept, but because something conceptual kind of arose out of it. I can see myself almost learning to make music the way I want to over the course of the album, it starts very naively and ends in what I feel is a more refined series of crescendoes.
It is still probably the most experimental thing I've ever made, and in part was about dealing with a lot of psychedelic trauma and overwhelm. The title, the style, the length, it all points to kind of overload of ideas and questions about our place in the Universe, and the future of our species on this planet. It is an expression of this, existential frustration, confusion, revelatory insights ... all put into a cannon and shot into space.
When is your new record coming out and what can we expect from it? Are the songs posted on your myspace page songs from the new album or are they something else?
I have a lot of projects coming out this year, but I can't yet be too specific about release dates and what-not, I've got to lock it all down first. I'm going to release a media-package of my science-fiction film 2010, a short / free breakcore album on SoSimple records called Self = Self^2 + Other, a series of remixes for Are We Lost Mammals ...featuring Shlohmo and Seven Saturdays, an ambient EP called Balance created with my friend Timeboy, and a full-length LP on Brainfeeder that I'm almost done with called Easy Listening for our Future Children. Some songs from these releases are on MySpace, but most have not been put out there yet.
You are an accomplished artist, how did you get into visual art? Do things that inspire your music also inspire your art or are they somewhat separate? I have heard that you will be doing Flylo's visuals at Coachella is this true? If it is true, what can we expect from the show?
To me its all patterns and philosophy. Visual art, sound, I'm still dealing with fundamentally the same desires, ideas, etc. I am semi-synaesthetic, and can very easily visualize music, and vice-versa. I think this is also a sense we can learn as a culture, and it should be taught in school.
I will be performing with FlyLo for Coachella, and you can expect some new shit. We will be utilizing some of the visuals works I've made for him in the past year, but we will be pushing it up a notch and adding a lot of new material, maybe some more of the music-responsive elements he has been innovating, maybe some more narrative elements as well. Should be fun :D
Thank you for talking to me!
Strangeloop will be preforming Tonight (3/28) in LA at Brainfeeder with Kode 9, Kutmah, Jeremiah Jae and Teebs.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Dash Jacket are the kind of band I wished for when I was in high school. They play loud cool music. Dash Jacket feature distinct melodies buried beneath a loving coat of reverb and grime. Check out the interview below.
Where you guys from in Orange County? I am from a bitchy little gated community outside of Mission Viejo.
Thomas Lucero: I live in Ladera Ranch, a bitchy little ungated community that's technically part of Mission Viejo. All the houses look the same and the weather's always nice; kind of a paradise, but also kinda dull. I spent some time in Humboldt, about 800 miles from Orange County, and came to appreciate what we have here though.
Matthew Towles: I live in Foothill Ranch, a tiny master-planned community that is technically part of Lake Forest. All the houses look the same and the weather is always very nice. Like Thom said, very paradisiacal, but at times very dull. I've always loved it here, and i can't really think of somewhere else i'd like to live, really. Maybe closer to the beach. (By the way, Coto de Caza has long been a bane of my existence, but it's also filled with super nice houses and a lot of my friends that live there have super nice houses which are fun to run around in.)
What do you think of the Orange County scene? Talking to Tan Dollar they said that the scene is slowly becoming more than just straight edge hardcore.
TL: Yeah, I think there's always been stuff that wasn't Straight Edge Hardcore, there was just nowhere to play it. But now with Acrobatics Everyday and Revolutionary Poor, who put together awesome shows in Irvine and Fullerton, and venues like the Avalon and the Crosby, there's actually an outlet for good music. All kinds of variety too; there's the garagey 60s inspired stuff (Audacity, AM, Cosmonauts, Charlie and the Moonhearts) and there's experimental stuff that goes down at UCI (Tan Dollar, Wonder Wheel, Italic Indian), and there's Revolutionary Poor bands like Canyons and Horse-Fed Buffalo (both of whom are totally different from each other), and there's Tomorrow's Tulips, who have a Velvets/Vaselines 80s indie pop vibe going. The Orange County "scene" is actually a bunch of smaller scenes, and it's all amazing.
MT: When I was in high school that crappy "hardcore" music was all the rage (really it was just screamo sung by rich kids with lame hair). And I would guess that stuff is still around at places like Chain Reaction (and I guess they played it a lot at the now-defunct The Alley), but i never really saw it as "straight-edge" even if they "were" or whatever. I would definitely say the scene is more than just hardcore, but to be honest that stuff is so distant from what Orange County means to us that it hardly seems relevant at all. The Orange County scene is so much more than the pop-punk and the pop/rock that it's known for. There's a lot of crap, but there's so much that's pure gold. Like Thom said, the scene is made up of a lot of little scenes, though it is certainly much larger than that, with all of the "scenes" mixing and mingling all of the time. The Revolutionary Poor (run mostly by our good friend Jeremy Leasure (of Canyons) and our friend Renjit, among others) is great and necessary and perfect, and Acrobatics Everyday is easily one of, if not the best thing for music coming in and out of Orange County. I think the OC scene is extremely fertile and extremely exciting. Places like The Crosby in Santa Ana, Trashpretty Vintage in Laguna Beach, The Santa Fe Cafe at the Fullerton Train Station, and Burger Records in Fullerton--places that are offering themselves up as venues for local bands even though they wouldn't normally host music shows--they are so great and so important for the whole scene. There is too much stuff to mention, but yea everyone is great: tomorrow's tulips from Costa Mesa, Tan Dollar from Irvine, Wonder Wheel from all around town, our friends Airborne Age from Mission Viejo, Canyons from Fullerton, Cosmonauts from Fullerton, Little Desert, The Light Rays, hiv, The Muddly Flowers, etc.; there are just too many to count. These bands are all total ace! Everyone should listen to these bands (and see them play) as soon as possible!
When I listen to Dash Jackets I hear punk roots, did you guys ever play in a straight ahead punk band?
TL: If we ever played any straight ahead punk, it was on our earliest recordings (our first cd album "Some Songs"), but even then we chose melody over aggression. Amusingly enough, our last band (the earthenware yawn) was basically folk pop, heavy on vocal harmonies and reverby lead guitar and fingerpicking. But we also ended every show with 10 minutes of pure noise, and during the last couple months of our existance our shows were more and more raucous and fast-paced all the way through. When we started this band, we were in the mood to do away with melody and just be loud as fuck and crazy at shows, but the melodicism and atmospheric tendencies from what we did before are starting to creep back in.
MT: There have always been punk roots in our music, if not musically than certainly in terms or intent and outlook. When we started Dash Jacket, we were writing music that was in direct opposition to what we had been playing before. A lot of noise on the first album was added simply to be loud and alienating, and to parody the "lo-fi" noise business the "indie" world was so fascinated with at the time. We were definitely writing "punk" music in the beginning (or at least i was), but, like Thom said, melodicism has always been there. I think our early, early shows playing to a handful of people were pretty punkish, though I would be careful in using the word "punk" to describe the actual music. One man's Black Flag is another man's Softies.
Do you find inspiration in the Southern california experimental scene (the smell/No Age/LA, wavves/San Diego)?
TL: The Smell was definitely a big influence, in the beginning for sure. In High School, when the only places to go to shows in Orange County were hardcore venues, the Smell was a real eye-opener. There was an unprecidented sense of freedom there; it seemed like you could do anything you wanted if you somehow got a show there. So it was always a goal of mine to play there, and I made the drive up to LA whenever I could to see random shows there. But it's gotten so popular, and it's pretty hard to get a show there. So I think we're actually more influenced now by the bands we've become friends with and the people who put on the shows we play.
MT: Yea definitely. My high school was pretty close to Chain Reaction and it was the only all-ages place around for a while, so it was pretty much all we knew. I always hated the music that was being played there and so when we discovered the Smell it was this bastion of hope, and it was something new. It represented complete freedom--thrashspazz played next to drone played next to Lavender Diamond. You could do anything you wanted! I assume this is how things were in a lot of places, not just L.A., but it was new to us and definitely had an impact. However now i would say we're more influenced by the bands we play with and the people we're around. We don't really need to go all the way L.A. anymore to go to a great show or see a great art exhibit or hang out with rad people. I wish i knew a lot more about the S.D. scene, but i don't, yet.
I saw that you listed No Age on your myspace and have played the smell, have you ever meet those guys?
TL: Well we haven't played the Smell yet, we're playing there for the first time in July. We haven't personally met anyone in that scene, I've said "Thanks for putting on these shows, man" to Jim before, and I introduced myself to Dean of No Age at a show in San Francisco and gave him some of our cds about a year ago, but we've never hung out or had any sort of lengthy conversations. They all seem like cool people though, it'd be cool to be friends with them, haha..
MT: Yea, we're playing the Smell in July on our summer tour with Tan Dollar and Weed Diamond (from Denver, CO). We're super stoked on that. I've met them all at various times and various places. Randy Randall is an especially rad dude. I've only spoken to them all breifly, though. Lots of people that help out at the Smell are all super cool too. But yea No Age is boss and Dean and Randy are great. I'm sure it'd be sick to see a movie with them or something.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This video is amazing. It was online for free on Pitchfork a couple weeks ago. It features original beats from Daedelus, Ras G, Nobody, and J Rocc. I highly recommend getting this flick.