Wednesday, October 22, 2008
this week los angeles was lucky enough to have lazaro casanova make a stop for a night to play his distinct blend of minimal/techno/house at an amazing warehouse party. i snatched up the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain about the state of electronic music in america, why things are the way they are at the moment, and what hope we have of progressing past blog-haus music.
you get to hear feist's sealion turn into some sort of seamonster that's fit for a nightmare... hmm, coincidence? don't think so. just when you think that you're waking up to feist's sweet soothing voice, the music grabs you by the ear and drags you back down into the darkness of the music called technooooooo...
lazaro casanova - hell cab (nitemares feisty mix)
the original instrumental version of 'hell cab' will be hitting beatport before halloween on "idiot house." it will be included on the horror themed ep with music from boy bit 8 and acid jacks as well.
so have you ever been to europe? i don't recall you ever trekking over there.
no not yet. i was supposed to do a uk tour about a year ago. this was before my sound evolved into what it is now so i'm actually glad i didn't go then. at this point, i feel like i'm a lot more ready to take on europe and play some solid sets then i was a year ago.
that seems like the first place you should've gone considering your musical tastes and influences are way more european based.
funny cause a lot of my friends involved in this music scene say 'you just need to get over to europe'. it's a free for all and you can play whatever you want. europe is a beast. like berlin has its rich history in electronic music and the people are so open to all strains of music. it's something i've set my sights for and i think the way i'm gonna get there is thru my new production which is specifically catered for that audience.
why do you think the states are so far behind everyone when it comes to being receptive to electronic music and progressing their musical tastes. it's been taking the general american public about a year to catch on (and i'm judging this by attendance numbers at shows/parties/events) to the new influx of electronic producers happening in europe. it makes those artists have to work alot harder on their press/marketing over here.
i really blame it on the people that are the faces of these main cities. they aren't pushing the envelope and educating their consumers while being complacent with the way things are right now. they're not really thinking longterm and thinking about cashing in on the trends right now. like in miami you have mega clubs that are starting to book better acts, but it's not the right environment for them. the artists are looking for the deeper darker clubs that they feel more comfortable unleashing on as opposed to the bottle service crowd. there's no inbetween. i can't go with the big clubs because they want a certain sort of music…but now there's clubs like mansion that are booking steve lawler, nic fanciulli that are giving me a little glimmer of hope.
and why do you speculate that the music that we think is progressive is popular with the bottle service/shiny shirt crowd and not with blog readers or your average hipster party crowd? that seems backwards to me when the blog readers are supposed to be way ahead of the trends.
i think in the states there's a lot of things blurring into each other. you have franki chan playing with axwell and dj mehdi at the avalon. the vanguard in los angeles has been mixing genres, too. i don't know if they want to do the best of both worlds but it seems like they're trying to cash in on everything at once resulting in a clusterfuck of different types of people. it's sortof like an open format that's not always successful because there's no consistency helping to adapt their audience.
why is there not a fabric-esque type of club in los angeles or even anywhere in america? it's not for a lack of talent passing through, but it just seems that no one has capitalized on the opportunity and thrown down a monopoly on bringing quality music to the people.
well, on beatportal there was an article on how the techno scene is coming up in los angeles. damien lazarus is moving across the pond to be a resident at avalon. there's also the droidbehavior guys thorowing those types of real underground parties. as far as the states go, los angeles is progressing the most out of all the cities. it may not be happening fast, but it's finally happening.
i guess the hipster crowd isn't used to pure electronic/house/techno music here, i guess. and blog-haus is serving to be the baby formula getting them used to the solid food of electronic music.
blog-haus has become extremely trendy to the point where its becoming a household name with 14 and 15 year olds. these kids eventually grow up and evolve into other sorts of music. it could be seen as an introduction to get their feet wet, but it takes a while for their tastes to grow. and i'm not saying that what i'm doing is good taste or better than any other. that's all subjective. it is an introduction and a lot of people have moved on from electro to like fidget, dubstep, techno and it's all branching out.
so knowing that blog-haus and electro/distortion-y music has a pretty short shelf life left, where do you see the trend pendulum is swinging next in the states?
the deal with techno music in the past is that it had lost it's appeal and was so uniform. now, a lot of producers are putting the fun back in and paying attention to detail. it's about suspense throughout a track and becoming a thrill-ride for listeners. so maybe some form of techno is going to have a resurgeance.
oh god, i hope. it's more about appreciating buildups and really developing a track to tell a story instead of just banging out people's eardrums...
it all needs to be done with taste and never overdone. if you had track after track with buildups it would probably get boring, too. i really appreciate djs like nic fanciulli because of his wide range of music. fanciulli is respected by the techno and house heads equally. as a dj you want to move people like a rollercoaster ride and don't have to stick to one genre.
then how are people reacting to your sets when they come in expecting a mstrkrft set. you're on a whole different level and probably catch alot of people off guard.
the past few sets have been accepted well. i've started out with harder techno and faster/darker bpms, but its translated well. it's a different sound and that results in 20% of people just not getting it and leaving. but i've had so many people come up and ask me about tracks. they're learning about new music and genres. and that 20% lost is getting replaced by new people discovering new music. so there's a pretty good circle of fans regenerating themselves.
so i read previously that you're trying to do more of a live show? is that still something you think you want to work towards?
as far as my dj sets go, i'm always wanting to take things a little bit further. when i was playing on 2 cdj's i was getting a little bored. it was something i'd done for so long and it became routine. so i'm working up for four cdjs to be hands-on thru the whole set. i just don't want to be staring up at the crowd with 2 minutes to burn between tracks and playing with the equilizers to kill time.
so your live set will be more about more equipment and not so much into live instruments?
well, you have to think practically. you don't want to make your life more difficult especially when youre traveling a lot. honestly, i'm over serato right now for the fact that i still need to set up a box here and there. i'd like to use cds all the time if i can. maybe go to traktor which complements the four-input setup really well.
oh ya i saw that richie hawtin utilizes the traktor setup for all the midi controllers...
ya, you saw the youtube video. richie was getting some shit over it because he 'had it on sync' but he becomes a different performer on a setup like that. in his own right, he's not preoccupied with beatmatching and chooses to work on effects instead.
people get so stuck on the technical mixing and forget that it's only 1/3 of the equation.
it's the whole package. you can ride four minute mixes if you wanted to, but if your track selection isn't there, it doesn't count. if you're not vibing on the crowd you could be playing the best set ever but it's not there because you're not transferring the energy to the crowd. a good dj set is more than only technical abilities or only song selection.
your influences for your newest project lately have been old horror movies. and your dirty bird remix was covered with animal noises. where do you see your sound developing?
i feel for the first time in my music career that i'm coming into my own. i have a sense of whats going on around me in the music world. i want to do what i do and be known for that. under my own name i'm gonna touch back into the roots of my heritage and got old salsa records from my mom. i love yoruba drums from africa. i've worked so much with synthesizers and distorted basslines in the past that i want the drums to do the talking for the change... pure drums. the darker nightmare stuff will be geared towards a 5 am drug crowd. i'm sampling shit off of old horror films. i'm actually beginning to distinguish between trends of eras of horror films. my third project is with jay you (the project is called animales) and is going to incorporate animal noises and tropical influences. i respect the dirtybird guys.
so given your distinct taste, whats your ideal label that you feel you fit best with to put out your future releases?
my personal stuff i'd love to have with ricardo villalobos and luciano at cadenza records. they do that spanish sound well because theyre chileans. for the other stuff, dirtybird would be great... there's not many good label in the states, though. one thing i'd love to do would be to start my own label. it's how you pioneer your own sound and build a fanbase.
that's why i wonder if you are barking up the wrong tree? being with mstrkrft is not a bad thing at all, but it's a different crowd expecting a specific sound.
the way i see that if you look at the dubsided crew you have switch, herve and jesse rose. jesse doesn't play dubsided stuff and is a bit more simple/minimal. in my opinion, mstrkrft were one of the first few people to notice what i was doing. i slowly weaned myself off of electro and went in my own direction. we're family at the end of the day, but i would love to be known as someone who does his own thing and still an integral part of this family that adds to the diversity. a lot of people in the techno world feel that you shouldn't be recognized unless you've paid your dues. dubfire from deep dish changed his sound and got shit for it. just the fact that he was in deep dish was dues enough, in my opinion. but he switched and has become a highlight of the techno scene. that's why i've been focusing so much on my productions.
Posted by Miss Toats at 9:47 PM