Hello and congrats on being accepted into the 2012 Red Bull Music Academy.
Tell us about you and your music.
I love to create music that blends electronic and organic elements. I end up just throwing in whatever sounds I'm feeling at the time, be it a huge synth pad or a kalimba sample or a sax or some 808 kick... I think it's important to me not to think about genres and just go with what I'm feeling. The music I make is very collaborative. I invite friends in to create loops and overdubs and cut them up and mess with them until I find something I like. It's important to me to get outside input. If it's just me working, it sounds too much like... well, myself!
What attracted you to music and more specifically to your sound?
I've always equally enjoyed more guitar based and electronic based music since I was a teenager. In recent years I've been obsessed with old Turkish, Nigerian, Congolese music as well as some new Latin American sounds. Otherwise I've been mostly listening to what I describe as contemporary "bedroom electronic" producers. People who produce music at home or in a small studio, usually in a solitary way, with passion and without regard to genre. There is a lot of incredible dance music out there right now. As well as music that blends electronic and organic elements in a way that defies categorization. That's what has inspired me the most. I love sitting with ideas for a while and trying out a ton of sounds before finding something that fits. It might be a cut up violin part, a massive synth arpeggio or some old dulcimer sample. Whatever works!
Alot of artists are now slash artists and you have been describe as such (i.e. instrumentalist/DJ/producer/vocalist). Do you see yourself as more one than the rest?
I started out playing drums and still love doing that the most. However, sampling and cutting up old psych/turkish/afro records or making a synth patch on my Voyager is just as fun!
What's it like performing live in your hometown?
It's the one time I get nervous. Playing in front of 10 friends is way more stressful than 1000 strangers. However, if it goes well it's amazing. Toronto kids need to bust a move a little more though!
What do you hope to achieve with your musical projects?
I'd just like to make music with good friends whom I respect musically. There are so many ideas out there. I don't think I have all of them (or more than a few at all!), but I love to direct the music making process in a collaborative way and get loops and ideas from others and find out where they fit in any given track. I don't even know what type of music I like making the most. I'll probably never know. It's just fun to play with ideas I'm feeling at any given time and see where they go.
What made you apply to Red Bull Music Academy?
I have some good friends (Xavier Leon, Alistair Deverick) that attended in the past and encouraged me to do so as well. They are incredible musicians and I'm glad I took their advice. I'm mostly interested in being inspired by and working with others on ideas I have!
What do you know about New York?
I've chowed down on some tasty pizza and played a bunch of fun gigs there. I still don't know my way around but I'm happy to wonder and get lost. I'll probably do the same again.
Can you describe your reaction when you realized you were selected?
Very humbled and surprised. I'm too close to my music to have any perspective! So I'm excited to see others digging something I've sat in my room for hours/months/years with!
What are your musical must haves (equipment) when travelling?
I usually travel with my really compact DJ setup in case any DJ opportunities arise, or if I happen to book a DJ gig in between shows. Otherwise I just have my laptop and mess around with samples and synth patches in the van or on a plane. Actually I've started a lot of my favourite tracks on an airplane or airport gate.
Who can you not stop listening to at the moment?
John Talabot, Tony Allen (he's permanent on this list), Kenton Slash Demon, Jeri-Jeri, Todd Terje, Floating Points, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Jimmy Flamante, Actress, new Four Tet and Burial track, "Nang Presents The Array Volume 3" compilation
Describe your music in three words.
intentional, collaborative, congested