Interviews

Daedelus Talks of Technology and Touring with Trebel

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Daedelus is an LA- based electronic musician who constantly pushes the boundaries of sound and live performance. Currently he’s on the road with the band Kneebody, headlining under the collaborative name, Kneedelus. Trebel sat down with Daedelus to discuss his creative muses and what’s to be expected for this year’s tour.

 

Trebel Music: I wanted to start by asking about your time studying double bass at USC? How did that inspire who you are today?
Daedelus: Double Bass is a physically imposing instrument. I was so intoxicated by this that I missed questioning why I was attending school in the first place. Certainly learning music theory has been useful, but in the end it wasn’t that instrument that I made my life in. Crazy how one door closing can open another…

TM: I’m sure a lot of student musicians around the country can relate to your experience. So, how did you transition from upright bass, a very traditional acoustic instrument, to electronic instruments like the Monome?
D
: I’d say the difference isn’t so great. Certainly the Monome (OSC rather than MIDI) needs electronics to function, but the performance of is quite physical; it doesn’t do anything until you’ve pressed. However since it can recreate any sound by sample or synthesis it does diverge from the strings of a bass, and this possibility is what attracted me to augment. I appreciate those who play more than 4 strings, searching for wider sonic range, but it wasn’t for me. I think the form of an instrument dictates not only sound but attitude, and I needed something very askew to make new sounds on if that makes sense?

TM: It absolutely does! Speaking of the Monome, it seems to be one of the most plain looking instruments until you actually try to play it. How did you go about taming the beast and when did you realize that this would be your primary instrument to perform with? What sets it apart from other controllers?
D: That lack of markings not only on the outside of the Monome, but in the coding as well. It’s very streamlined, very blank canvas. Amazing that there are so many grid controllers now, whereas when the Monome was developed by Brian Crabtree in 2003 there was really nothing like it. I could get into the code that mires many of the offering from large companies, but it’s not important. All of these controllers are just possibilities and we are in an explosive period of new performing options because of it.

TM: It really is one of a kind and such a defining part of your performance. Now, There is a huge scene in LA, especially with the music you produce. What do you think about that scene and where it’s heading? How does this influence you?
D: LA is teeming with talent! Just to think that you can have so many known producers living in this mix, and then a vigorous underground beneath where new and exciting sounds are being experimented. Thankfully I feel like everyone is still searching, and it pushes all the boats to rise with the tide.

TM: That’s a great way to look at it. It seems like there is a lot to be heard from that area. So, you’re also known as a bit of a tech head. I’ve caught your Ted Talks and they were really inspiring. How does technology and the studio influence your music and your work flow?
D: It’s all in service of sound, which itself is to my mind the most direct form of communication. Non-lingual, appealing to the lizard-brain and superego alike. Technology is just another canvas perhaps to put brushes thick with paint on. All my rambling talks online are trying to express my wonder in the little bit I’ve stumbled upon or discovered myself in the utter alchemy of music. As for the studio I think the previously mentioned attitude of the form makes the functioning outcome. I’ve a messy space full of unfulfilled instruments, lots of potential energy, awaiting. Probably my productions are a bit too much like this.

TM: There is a post floating around on Reddit that you may or may not be aware of. It’s a picture of you in an airport waiting for your flight to board on your Macbook, dressed in your very unique, distinguishable style. The caption is “Modern Amish? Or Hipster God?” Any thoughts on that?
D:
Oh my yes. That was a weird day both to have been photo’d (after a long night performing in SF) and then weirder when it got up-voted to #1 photo on Reddit later. It’s funny that as a musician you try to put out music into the world, to get attention and gain more ears, but perhaps it’s a photo of you living that has casts the longest shadow… My only takeaway from this experience was that amongst the very opinionated vitriol of the internet there are some people who understand personal style and their spirited defense of our freedom to express ourselves was humbling and inspiring. Because of them I feel emboldened to wear exactly what I want no matter the up-votes.

TM: That’s an awesome story. I can’t believe they just snuck up on you like that! Now, you’ve made a huge staple in the evolution of electronic music and sampling. What do you look for in a useable sample to utilize for your music?
D: It can be anything if it’s in service of the song. Pick a sample with too much weight (too known, too sonically “completed”) and you are suddenly making a mash-up rather than your own composition. So the sound needs to play nice with others, be able to be in a chorus of others so to speak.

TM: That is very valuable advice for other electronic composers. Speaking on your original music, Light Brigade is one of my favorite records that you’ve produced and I’ve noticed an enormous transition to your current project Kneedelus. What inspired the transition?
D: Jazz truly. The Light Brigade, like most albums, was made alone in a room starring into a screen trying to pull a needle out of a haystack. Kneedelus was mostly made in a studio with those amazing musicians of Kneebody and the material created was like a haystack of needles that needed to be winnowed down to a few sharp pieces. I’m so excited to perform the material made live with them upcoming.

TM: Your listeners are excited to hear! Can you talk a little bit more about the collaboration with the band Kneebody or Kneedelus as you guys are calling it? How did it come to fruition and what is your role in the group?
D: The same reasoning that had me switching from Bass to Monome has propelled my interest in further pushing sound and performance possibilities. Kneebody are incredible improvisors and to sit in with them has been humbling and mind expanding. I’m learning so much about sound by swimming in it night after night. I’m there to also shake their foundations, introducing elements of electronics and genres that wouldn’t normally be performed in dusty jazz rooms. It’s be an awesome synthesis thus far.

TM: Wow, interesting how it all connects. I’m excited to catch Kneedelus’ show in Philly on March 12th at Johnny Brenda’s with Ape School opening up for you. What expectations do you have for this tour?
D: Really skies the limit. Willing audiences are in for crazy nights, and Philly has been so kind in the past, but it’s been too long. Thankfully Ape School is insane enough that we might just be putting the pieces of the audience back together after them! Very excited.

Stay updated with Daedelus’ new projects and tour on his website Like him on Facebook and Soundcloud. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram@daedelus

About Jake Varrone

Jake Varrone is a writer, music producer, and guitar player based out of Philadelphia, PA. He attends the University of the Arts('16) and studies Music Business Entrepreneurship and Technology.

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