The Red Bull Music Academy application drive is upon us. Until July 27th, the artistically and musically inclined will have their say, and chance to submit their 15 page application and pray to be accepted in what I can describe as the only program of it's kind world wide: the Red Bull Music Academy. A quasi music retreat where artists are simply asked to be just that, artists.
The list of grads of this prestigious program have gone to become some household names. Too many to mentioned, but enough to play very close attention to.
In the next month, I'll be profiling and speaking to a handful of those grads who were performing @ the Red Bull Music Academy stage @ Sonar 2009 in Barcelona.
1st in line is shooting star Dorian Concept. This Austrian Krusher of Korg keys has been on a meteoric rise ever since late 2007. With his swinging tempos, and masterful melodies, he has muscled his way to the top of this beat music scene like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, all whilst we watched his fingers race up and down the microKorg, maneuvering with the grace and dexterity of a Gerhard Berger.
92bpm sat down with Dorian Concept, the day before his big show @ Sonar 2009.
It's been a touch of a meteoric rise, wouldn't you say? How did things get started?
the 1st exposure that I got, was pretty much Benji B, who played one my tracks on his Deviation show. But also, how that happened was Paul [The Clonious] from the Red Bull Music Academy in Toronto (2007) who gave Benji B a CD with 10 of my tracks. There was no tracklist, but Benji was mostly playing this track called The Fucking Formula and continued playing tracks over the course of 2-3 months.
Ppl hit me up. Another person was Shifty from Domu's label, TrebleO. They were starting to do digital releases. So we did this thing called the treblo beat tape and and I gave them four tracks which included Fort Teen. So between that Digital Release, and getting the exposure from Benji and Gilles [Perterson], that all kinda got the ball rolling.
You mentioned Paul M aka The Clonious who's a good friend of yours. Are you cats child hood friends?? Did you meet through music circles??
It was more a school thing actually. We went to a bilingual school together where he had classes in ENG and GER. We both had interest in hip hop back then @ 15-16yr of age... We started to buy vinyl, Paul was DJin, and we started to play around w/ software programs together. But we just go back. I've know him from like 8-9 yrs now. We both shared the same interests in music, but we were always together on a frienship level.
Hip hop was an early music influence. What were some of your 1st memories when it came to hip hop??
I really started to get into hip hop when I stopped playing the piano @ 13 and @ the time, I got into this east and west coast thing w/ Biggie and Tupac. I liked the whole groove of it with the MCs, but what really got me into it musically was SoundBombing 2 and some of the early Rawkus stuff that came out. Hi Tek, Beat Junkies, Babu, Pete Rock.... DJ Spinna was someone that I used to follow as well, and loved that track The Rock.
Yeah, Soundbombing 2 was nuts. Did you ever hear SB 1?? A pretty rare record.
Yea... I think I just downloaded it.
No doubt, I remember lending it to my old falt mate. Ay yo... xxxx, if you're out there, hit me back. ;)
But you mentioned paying the piano as a kid. My 1st introduction to Dorian Concept was this infamous YouTube of you on a Micro Korg which was sent to me by [Lord] Jay Scarlett where - for our purposes - I'll say you were freaking it. What kind of buzz did that generate for you?
That happened in parallel to all the music actually. It was nice to see that youtube video getting around but I never thought it would get to 300k views.
But parallel to all the music, it was a good way of spreading the keyboard stuff that I do and that i actually come from playing the piano. In all of my tracks, I like to keep that live element. I was also good because ppl got interested in how I do this thing live, and some were daring enough to book me like Joe from Baller's [Social Club]. They were the 1st ones to get me over for a show, and the Monday Jazz guys as well. Those 2 were the 1st ones to say "Yeah dude, let's get you over here". So the YT and the music seemed to have worked well together.
You then had some releases on a compilation and a 12" correct?? Maximum Minimliztion EP??
Yea, that last 12" came out on an Austrian label Affine Records that a friend of mine ran. I always knew that I was going drop a 12" and He had the platform for it so we just released it.
So then that eventually led to the latest release on Kindred Spirits, When Planets Explode. Where's that title from??
it's really titled after an album track that I felt was the most indicative of what I do. I love the fact that the hype came form the beat music scene and that I get love from the hip hop side, but on the other hand, I also insisted that I show that I do alot of different stuff and can get into a very ambient sound, and that I'm a pretty musical artist who's got some range.
I've listened to all your releases, ranging from something like Fort Teen wish is straight beat banger to the more recent work that sounds much more ambient and intricate in the melodies as you just mentioned. Being a trained pianist, do you find yourself challenged in the sense that you might want to create much more complex melodies??
I took lessons when I was younger, and listened to tons of Jazz and the @ the age of 15 taught myself more jazz theory and all the melodies came that way. My thing has always been being able to put out a club song that you want to listened to nice and loud, but also to be able to create more complex work with more details in the mix which you would listen to 10 times and hear something new every time.
So what, to this present time would you say is a track you've been the proudest of??
I would say Yorktown Recreation from the Maximized 12".
It's a funk take on a hip hop groove and has a certain track flow that I love. The flow remains whilst there's a pile of variations. That's always interested me. It keeps steady whilst the music still shifts.
Where do you see this beat music going??
There are a lot of ppl being put into this genre, doing this music. I think it's great as more and more great musicians are having their own take on this instrumental hip hop, even though it's not even hip hop anymore @ times and more experimental, working @ that tempo. I see this growing as more ppl are appreciating this form of music and you can see the impact it's having.
And speaking of future, what's in store for Dorian Concept in the next 6-12 months??
I've been gigging alot so I want to start to cut down on all the dates so I can begin working on music again. I'm going to release a 12" again on the Affine Records. These 2 tracks are def my weird take on club music. 1 in particular will be this track called Trilingual Dance Sexperience which has been making good rounds.
I'm also going to work on new stuff and new angles. As with many of the guys that are being put into this new genre, we don't want to be labeled as the guy who just does this and does that and we are flipping our style to show the other sides of what we do. Ultimately, I want to see what it all sounds like when I'm just having fun...
And since we're on the topic of fun, when I go back and watch that youtube of yours, it just seems like you're having such a blast playing. Is that what we can expect from your live show?
No doubt. That's mostly what it comes down to. It all revolves around me playing a nice basic groove on the Korg by messing with melodic and harmonic elements. I just love being able to put a smile on ppl's face by playing with these high pitches and also keeping it comedic @ times with the sound that it delivers.
What music are you checking for right now, like if I were to flip through your iPod what would I find??
Really looking fwd to more of the Africa HiTek stuff (Mark Pritchard & Steve Spacek). Also listening to older experimental stuff like Metamatic.
As Dorian Concept mentioned, he's got a release out very soon on Affine Records. Pls make sure you hit them up for more deets. In closing, i'll leave you with Dorian Concept's live set from Sonar 2009, the day after this interview. Barring none, his set was possibly the highlight of the Red Bull Music Academy stage.