Thursday, April 7, 2011
It's been a busy last few years for Alfred Darlington bka Daedelus. He's released singles, EPs, done some remixing, been on 2 North American tours and now has embarked on his 3rd such crisscrossing of the continent, this time taking with him 2 of the brightest stars, TOKiMONSTA & Shlohmo. As he readies to drop his new LP Bespoke on Ninja Tune, we caught up w/ Daedelus to speak on all things Magical Props, the new LP and more.
Bespoke is the 3rd release in about 1.5 yrs or so but this is a full length.
It's interesting. I've been releaseing EPs and singles and not full lengths. In this day in age a single some can run around the world. You have these producers that can make a single dance song, it crosses them over... but i've never been that type of guy. I've always been more into LPs. Then I will do singles in EPs, but they seem to have a little less weight. There's meat to them and hopefully people get into them as well, but I tend to be so thematic that it seems to me that an LP will have a little bit more bearing. it's been a little whilst since my last full length - in fact 2 yrs - so I think i'm due for one.
Is that a personal choice?? If you can have a LP vs 3 EPs, you rather have an LP??
I would personally. The LP format i still relevant in terms of people's listening habit. It's hard to steal ears for any real length of time. I'm concerned about people listening and getting something out of the listening experience and hopefully a revelation with he material. Singles provides these tastes and the LP format will hopefully bring it home.
Agreed. And Essentially present who Daedelus is.
Yes. And it's worth having an idea behind the record. I like to keep things very thematic - just as I did w/ Bespoke, and I think that gives a richness in detail that I hope I can get into as well.
Speaking of Bespoke, tell us about the theme and inspiration behind the record.
It's kind of multilayered thing. I do feel like I draw lots of inspiration from other art forms, one of them being fashion. Over the years now, i've been occupying a space w/ Victorian fashion. One of the elements that has always agreed with me is that most of the items and objects that come from that era were made by one person: they would get the cloths. dye the cloths, sew the cloths, measure the person.... The assembly line that came about during the industrial revolution took matters out of individual's hands. We could make things really fast but rarely were those things ever made to measure. Rarely were those things ever made to really fit. The arts are one of the few forms left of creation that keep that individual outlook through composition. If someone paints a picture, they pick the colors, they put them on the page. They may not make the canvas but they do almost everything else. The same goes with music. You make the music and then you go perform it. You're pretty much a self contained vehicle in that regards. i feel there's a connection between this Bespoke outlook, most of the clothes of the past, and the music that's now in current - that I appreciate. I wanted to celebrate that on record.
I feel like I did that by incorporating a lot of live elements, by incorporating vocalists that have specific kind of voices. people like Busdriver, Bilal, who have very individual sound and I wanted to incorporate that individuality. I hope that this record communicates that joy towards the creation.
Is this something that you've been tailoring for the least little whilst? Stitching this together slowly but surely??
Very slowly. This record took longer than most. Part of it was because of how special I wanted to be, and i wanted to the songs to have a real epic feel. Previous to this, my music touched on this @ moments but really was about intimate listening which I'm really into, but I wanted some of these songs to be triumphant. I've been making music for 10 yrs, now and I wanted to this record to be that thing. I miraculously still here. As a rapper, I might be done after 3 records. If I was a rock band, i would be lucky to have 4. To have 10 or 12 records - depending on how you want to count em - I feel very lucky, and blessed. This record is also kind of a celebration.
And Congrats. In this day in age where you can have a hit one year, and be forgotten the next, that's quite the accomplishment.
The hype machine really chews people up. it masticates artists, and doesn't want them to grow and flourish. I feel lucky that in Los Angeles, there are number of great musicians that are doing just that - flourishing, finding voices, pushing forward, not fitting into micro genres. Flylo, Tokimonsta, Baths, Low Limit, Matthewdavid, Nosaj Thing, they're producing really relevant work and they're pushing themselves as artists and i'm super proud to be part of that.
So speaking of LA, other than the fluoride, what's in the Los Angeles water that has made it such a Midi Mecca?
On my opinion, there's an aspect of competition to the city, but at the same time there's so much room to grow as an artists. The reason i feel that LA is flourishing now is that you have people like Marc McNeil @ Dublab (aka Frosty) who has created a space for people to play and perform and essentially mess around in the sandbox in a safe and encouraging environment. You also have people like Carlos Niño who has hosted programs and curated concerts for years, and has been an advocate for other kinds of outside music like free jazz and beats for ever - and if fact put me on my 1st show. people like that have been giving up their time so generously and the repercussion make for this strength, and the competitive aspect comes from environments like Low End Theory where it's extremely free environment in terms of sound - you never know what you're going to get. You may get psych rock, beats, dubstep, electro - not that new electro the [real] old electro -, you never know. You might get a Mr Oizo guesting or even a Thom Yorke, you never know. So as an up and coming musician, you inevitably are going to want to play there if you're interested or want to be involved in that world. There are certain things that push buttons @ that club: certain kinds of bass because of the sound system, certain kinds of highs, certain snippets and samples and you can literally see it going down when these kids have this exuberance for weirdness, and that's where the competition comes in cause you want to push the kids that much further, that much more into it. They'll just as crazy for a great jazz solo as they will for a wicked dubstep bassline. They're an amazing audience. As such, you want to do it justice and want to make sure that you're one of those names that's spoken of for weeks afterwards.
Is there an act in particular that your feel was spoken of for weeks afterwards?
There have been a number of people who really made their make. I think Baths in a way was a good performer and people didn't know what his story was, but he did a residency @ Low End Theory - which was unheard of - and did a few weeks in a row. But i literally saw some of the tougher looking cats openly giving him love and joy. I'm not saying that it's that surprising as his music has all the energy and everything but they gave him props in a way that was so telling. It was really something special. In that regards, i really feel like he had a breakthrough performance.
Also feel like Jon Wayne as well. He's been embraced so much by the scene. He himself was just one of those kids who was there week after week. And then when he came out with his sounds, people wanted it to be them, they wanted his sound to be part of their voice.
[Daedelus trips of a sleeping TOKiMONSTA on tour bus]
You've been around 10 yrs, and have been very fortunate and successful doing this sound. But there's been an evident surge in popularity recently esp in the last 2-3 yrs with things like Low End Theory as a catalyst. As a torchbearer, You must have a particular perspective. what's it been like seeing this scene develop so far?
I'm a fan. And I do carry a torch for it. I'm a little too old to totally be embraced by those kids, which is totally fine. I dip in to some territory that may not be very natural for that environment. people seem to appreciate it, but it's not THE thing. that's part of my role in this whole thing, to bring a little something else, a little more samba than the typical Low End Theory guy would play. The people doing the most exciting things don't ever fit in to easy categories.
Thought you mentioned that you may play more samba than the typical Low End Theory guest, or @ least dip into territories unnatural to some of these kids, do you feel like you are being discovered a whole new generation of listeners??
Absolutely. I've been actually playing a lot more festivals and raves than ever before. Partially because my live sound has changed to being a lot more danceable, and then also teenagers are exploring, seeing what's out there in bass music in general, and ultimately the scene itself is being appreciated more by those promoters. As such i've been playing a lot more raves and festivals and these kids are really up for it.
So these are these new audiences who are used to being fed sugar. We talked about new vs old electro. That new electro is mostly just candy: jacked rhythms, 4/4, loud and in your face. But a lot of kids want more of an emotional release. I sure hope so. I'm gambling my entire life for that kind of thing and it seems there's a capacity for other rhythms, other tempos now.
Let's talk Magical Properties. We know it's a label with releases on the schedule, but it's also the name of the tour which you're currently taking across North America for the 3rd time. Is this a brand you're creating??
It is more of a feel. The label aspect is there more to show off young artists who are due credit and maybe don't have a voice w/ other labels, people who need to be heard - that's the aim of the label.
And it's kinda like the same basic idea w/ the live aspect, but two folds: trying to present evenings that are interesting and varied in music, but also a comfortable environment to perform and express themselves.
This is something that we hope to build into an experience that people are open to. It happens @ Low End Theory, it happens @ Change The Beat, it happens @ Hoya Hoya. Why not take it on the road and bring it to the people, to cities that have never experienced it, who are forced to maybe capture it via internet feeds. To experience it live is much more powerful.
So as the 3rd edition of Magical Properties tour, tell us why you chose TOKiMONSTA + Shlohmo this time around?
They're both fantastic. They both create sounds that defy expectations. With Shlohmo, listen to Shlomoshun and listen to Places. Both totally different yet totally him - beautiful, melodic and mellow. yet it all works in his world and he's created that kind of space.
And TOKi's show been on fire. From her 90s R&B accapella's to some crazy dubstep madness that's screwd and chopped, bringing a perspective that is all uniquely her own.
Gaslamp [Killer] was amazing on the last tour and Nosaj is super consistent, and i'm happy that i'm able to continue that legacy on this trip.
And basing on what's happened in the last year and change, are we going to see another tour in the fall of 2011??
I don't know yet. I want everything to be special. Don't want it to be roped or expected. So I'm waiting to see. Just like with the label, I'm not in any rush to push out artists. I have a few ppl on deck that are really talented and deserved to be heard, but I want to make sure that the press and the whole thing that surrounds them is perfect. Same with the touring idea: if it ain't right, I'm not going to do it. It's all about it being as right as right.
Speaking of the label side of things, the current release is My Dry Wet Mess. What else is happening??
The 1st act on Magical Properties was Jogger. The current release is My Dry Wet Mess - from Italy, now based in Barcelona. Next will be LDFD, a producer from Texas and 4th in line will be Galapagoose from Melbourne Australia, so we're spreading our wings, far and wide.
What happened to Jogger? Not heard from them since the 1st Magical Properties tour.
They released and amazing video for Nephecide which was well received around the world, but since then they have both been working on separate projects. Amir Yaghmai has been working on many projects, notably touring w/ Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jonathan [Laroquette] has been working on a very successful podcast called Uhh Yeah Dude and it's in TV development.
In closing I like to ask this question: what are five acts that are in your current play list - regardless of genre??
The new Matthewdavid EP + LP
The New LDFD
The new Dorian Concept
Bespoke drops on Ninja Tune April 11th, world wide. And to spice it all up, enjoy a download - a remix of the lead track Tailor Made, remixed by dynamic duo, demons w/ the digital Sepalcure - all courtesy of the ppl @ FADER.
Daedelus f. Milosh "Tailor Made (Sepalcure Remix)" by The FADER
You can catch The Magical Properties 3 in a city near you. The remaining dates are as follows:
April 7th Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel
April 9th Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
April 13th Denver, CO @ Cervantes
April 14th Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
April 16th Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 19th San Francisco, CA @ Som Bar
April 18th Arcata, CA @ Humbrews
April 20th Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
April 21st Portland, OR @ Branx
April 23rd Pomona, CA @ The Glasshouse