Sunday, 16 November 2014

Secret Circuit Interview

1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

Hi there you all! I've been making music for a long time. I started out by being in noise bands and making home recordings in high school and art school. It was all about fun really but I was obsessed. Eventually, I joined a shoegaze band called Medicine and we got signed to Creation records, we toured around the US and Europe so that was my first exposure to making music seriously.

2) Could you run us through your studio set up and do you have any particular pieces of hardware or plug in's that you use again and again?

I would say that I have a fairly decent collection of analog synths and classic drum machines. As for the equipment I use the most, that would probably be the ARP 2600, the Pro One, the Juno 60, the Jupiter 6, the Korg MS20, the 808, 909, and 303. These would be mostly for the studio. I don't really feel comfortable dragging those things around anymore for live shows so I use samplers and newer synths and drum machines for that scenario.

3) You have a new album 'Cosmic Vibrations' released on Emotional Response due out on the 17th of November. What can listeners expect from the new material?

This collection was put together by Emotional Response as a companion to 'Tropical Psychedelics'. Where the concept once again was compiling from older recordings. I'm making music all of the time so there is so much music back there to go through. Even going back one year is daunting. I feel this new one works really well. It's a good listen and I might say its a tad darker in tone. At the same time it feels easy like you can listen to it multiple times and it won't drive you crazy. There's melody to grab but also mood and there's also some deep sections for diving.

4) You released a number of albums under your own steam before your debut release 'Tropical Psychedelics' on Emotional Response in 2012. Was this a compilation of your previous work?

Yes. We had talked about doing that record for a long time before it actually happened. It came together perfectly and Emotional Response has kept delivering other great music so it's a really nice label to be involved with.

5) This was followed a year later by 'Tactile Galactics' on the Beats In Space label. Does this material differ in any way, shape or form to the Emotional Response releases?

'Tactile Galactics' comes all from a same headspace mode. All the tracks were done in a fairly small block of time and I was really into this concept of the tracks being blended in different ways in a DJ setting so they are almost all the same tempo. I was working in a house music template but my own version of that. I was trying to infuse human touch in there yet still be a drum machine lined excursion. As if a psych prog band were jamming over some house rhythms. Actually that's kind of what it sounds like to me...

6) There's a growing number of vinyl enthusiasts straying away from the digital media. Between 2009 and 2012 you released a trio of mix compilations Cosmic Capers, Cosmic Vapours and Cosmic Papers on another retro format … cassette. What was the thought process behind that?

That's true, but at the same time I was a very early adapter of bandcamp. I remember when there were only like 100 bands on there so I was definitely on that early on. I found it perfect to put up all these experiments and older unreleased things and I love the immediacy of it. I might put a new record up there tonight! I think it did a lot for me at a certain time because people anywhere could access my music. It was great to do.

That said, I would also say that vinyl is my favorite medium. It looks, feels, and sounds the best of all. As far as the tapes, a few years back, my friend Cali Dewitt asked me to put out a tape on his label Teenage Teardrops. He told me that all the kids were listening to tapes again and I said let's do it. Turned out to be ahead of the curve there too. I was really modeling those off the Baldelli Cosmic tapes from Italy. Those things were doing my head in at the time and it was a perfect medium for that exploration, a non stop DJ mix through the cosmic filter.

7) You've done a fair few re-mixes in recent years. Do you have any particular favourites and are there anymore in the pipeline?

I'm not sure if it's my favorite but the Peter Tosh 'Legalize it' remix was a crazy one to do. I felt like I had to really add my own flavor to it without totally destroying the original. It's almost blasphemy to remix that track but I wasn't going to say no! I felt that I also had to get the studio really cloudy for that one. I was thinking to myself, "what if Lee Perry had an 808? What would that sound like?" and that was my way of diving in... The Museum Of Love remix I'm also very proud of, but in reality I really dig them all. I get really into remixing because of the collage element involved.

8) Do you take the Secret Ciruit show on the road? If so where can people catch a show?

I mostly play in LA but I do get out there. I just played some shows in Europe with Panda Bear and that felt really good to do. When I play live I really like to blend everything together in a kind of collage kind of like the cosmic cassettes. I look at it as if I'm remixing my stuff live on stage and blending them to make this sort of soup based music. Like adding a bit of parsley from one track and Onion from another. The rhythm would be the meat and potatoes. Sometimes I like to just stretch the drums out or take some kind of drum solo and I can equate that to dropping a bag of potatoes down a long flight of stairs. Add some synths and vocals and voila!!!


No comments: