Your excellent new single is the Chloe curated ‘Lumiere Noire 03‘ (out now on Kill The DJ) and is co-produced with Theus Mago aka Mateo Gonzalez. How did you team up with Mateo and can you tell us about the Chloe connection plus Kill The DJ?
I was on tour in Mexico last June. When in Mexico City I was told my gig was cancelled due to “Ley Seca”, also known as Dry Law, which is when the Mexican government shuts down all bars and clubs for voting purposes. There were several other djs in the city at the time that were also gig-less, so it ignited an impromptu “illegal” house party set up by some of the local heroes. The party was dubbed LEY SECA–the roster included Mijo, Sanfuentes, Andre VIII, Max Schmitt, Watty, Samsi, Soni Ceron, Bufi a.k.a. Theus Mago, and Myself. Each DJ got to play 30 mins– it was streamed live and the party was packed. Mateo and I connected there and met up at his studio a few days later, and Dog is Calling you took shape. I continued my tour and returned a few weeks later to perform my makeup gig, which was a Rockets party booked with Chloé. Her and I kept in contact and I sent her some mixes, along with Dog Is Calling You. She loved it and asked if we wanted to release it on her Lumeire Noir series. Of course we wanted to, Kill The DJ was a perfect fit for this sound. So we got back in the studio and worked on the creating the EP. It’s been super cool, sometimes when things happen out of your control good things come of it. So heres to Ley Seca.
Can you walk us through the creative process between you and Mateo for this EP?
I feel Mateo and I have a unique flow when we are in the studio together. There is never any ego, we typically agree on each other’s ideas, and consistently have a creative balance. Mateo is absolutely amazing with beat/percussion. He starts a track with drums, sketches a bassline, then I integrate synth sounds and vocals. We work on the arrangements, atmosphere sounds, and the mix together. It feels good when ideas happen organically and you both just get it.
Where did the title for the track, ‘Dog Is Calling You’ come from?
It’s not as mysterious as it may sound, but it is quite endearing. The back story is that Mateo and his wife Pamela call each other Dog as a nickname. I was in the studio recording some vocals and Mateo was out of the room. I saw his phone ringing and it said “Dog” is calling – so I naturally in the microphone started saying Dog is calling you, call her back. We liked it and it worked.
I grew up immersed in music, my parents were a big influence on my development as a musician. My dad had an amazing record collection and my mom took me to several rock/new wave concerts at a young age. I was lucky to have young liberal parents, considering I grew up in Utah. When I was 17 I joined a noise band called The Static Cult, which is when my passion for analog and the electronic sound began. I played on a Korg Poly 800, a 303, and we even had a space echo. We wore gas masks when performing live– it was definitely an acquired taste. We put out an EP only available on cassette called Tardive Dyskinesia, and that’s where it all began.
How would you describe your studio set-up? Do you have a favourite instrument or piece of software?
I’m in the midst of building a studio and sound therapy lab in Joshua Tree. In the meantime with me being on the road as much as I am I have been utilizing other studios, I just recorded a remix in a shed turned studio on a nursery in Utah and made my last track in a house in the mountains in Northern California, I’ve worked in studios from Cologne to Barcelona to Paris. Playing out of different spaces brings different results and gives me ideas for what I want my studio to be like. It’s great. I’m finally feeling confident about producing in Abelton on the road and I love it. I have a few favorite things like the TAL baseline 101 some cool pedals and effects like Strynmon Time Line and the Eventide H9. I like to sound design and mess around with basic sounds then manipulate them to my liking, especially with my vocals.
Tell us about your involvement with Ghostly International?
When I was running my music magazine RE:UP we did a cover story on Ghostly. Shortly thereafter I started working with them on various events and projects. This was in 2006, back when they were still finding their business direction as a label. I continued to manage and assist in multiple departments, i.e. organizing international showcases, artist brand collaboration, online store reconstruction, and several other fun things such as doing art shows, boat parties, and whatever else we could come up with. I also managed tours for Matthew Dear and other artists on the label. It’s great to see how far Ghostly has come and I’m really proud to be a part of it. After 6 years of working with the label I decided to focus back on myself and pursue my passion in being a full-time artist.
So many – David Bowie, Talking Heads, Prince, Pink Floyd, Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Sonic Youth, Concrete Blonde, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Kate Bush … I mean I could go on forever.
From your perspective what do you think of the increasing dominance of Festivals compared to the past when it was more about resident DJ’s / Undergrounds?
I’ve always believed that electronic music and the culture surrounding it is ever evolving and the progression of it is key. However I also feel that keeping the underground authentic is vital for the true experience and appreciation of it. But due to several factors like it’s growing popularity, legalities and djs turning this once rare passion into a lucrative career while demanding higher fees and playing to larger crowds it is unavoidable for the scene to be coveted. So throwing large festivals to sustain the industry that it revolves around is important in both aspects to find a balance. I believe in achieving this we need to respect the origin yet foster the future.
I have some exciting things coming up, Moderna Y Theus Mago will soon announce a South American tour for this summer. I will get in the studio again with Theus Mago to finish some tracks we started, as well as working on a new project with amazing producer and fellow Lumiere Noire alumn. Markus Gibb, he and I will play together in Australia for a few dates in August. In the fall Moderna Y Theus Mago will to go back on tour to Europe. During my down time I will be organizing ‘The Hawkeye Project’ which is an off grid artist compound with a studio and sound therapy lab that will be built on property in Joshua Tree, CA that I am co-developing with eco architect Cameron Sinclair. So I have quite a full year ahead, But I’m really looking forward to working on the new projects and collaborating with some of my favorite humans. I never forget how fortunate I am to be able to live my passion.