Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview with Daniel D. Smith

I recently had the pleasure to interview (via e-mail) Daniel D. Smith, who is more known for his trippertronic projects Red Electric Rainbow, 70s Era Pink Floyd and Dead Pilots. Check out the previous post about Red Electric Rainbow free downloads and enjoy the read!

You have an impressive discography. How long does it take you to create an album? Does most of the stuff you create go online/to the tape or are the public releases just a tiny fraction of all the music you create?
It all depends. I recorded the LP for Aguirre in something like 2 nights. A lot of times I already have the music recorded, then I send it out to see if someone would be interested in putting it out. Or if I get a request from someone I usually have something lying around or something I started. I do put out a ton of music, but I really jam a lot and do not always feel the need to hit record. Sometimes I play around for fun and come up with a bit I really like and want to see how I can expand upon it, that’s when I like to hit record.

 Which one of your own albums you like the most? 
I really enjoyed the way the LP turned out. And I am into “Come And Melt Your Face Off” on Sacred Phrases. I have a release called “Shanghai Complex” that I really like because it was a huge departure for me. Voices, acoustic guitars, computer processing. I just released Night Visions and the title track is my favorite recording of mine.

 When you create music, do you have a detailed plan of what a track will sound like, or does it come “by itself” in the process of creating?
It all depends. There are some patches I can recreate at any time, on my Nord or on my modular synth. Those are starting points some times. Recently I have been using an electric piano and my analog sequencer to create dynamic sequences. I wanna make sure I get the notes perfect and have everything synced up. From there I connect the sequencer to my Nord and let things evolve sonically. Creating a patch for that is where it really starts. And even more recently I have started to make super minimal techno and more danceable music.
One of your latest projects is named “70s Era Pink Floyd”. Is this name just a nostalgia thing or are you making musical references to such synth Pink Floyd tracks as “On the Run” or “Welcome to the Machine”?
I actually have “On The Run” stored on my sequencer. I am a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but that is about as far as any connection goes musically. 70’s Era Pink Floyd is basically a more abstract project for me. Lets me run a bit more wild. The releases tend to be a bit more in the strange department. Noisy and hectic. It is exclusively for my growing obsession into the modular synthesizer world. 
The line-up of your Neon Marshmallow Fest was very impressive. First edition of the festival and already some big names, like Government Alpha or Burning Star Core. Was it hard to get all those people in one place for this event?
It was obscenely hard to organize this event. If I didn’t have Matt helping me, it wouldn’t have turned into what it did. He helped me bring it to the next level. The amount of money spent on this was more than I anticipated, so I took a huge risk. A HUGE RISK. But in the end, it was worth it to me. I wanted to do it, I did it. It happened and it was a great event. Matt and I are currently putting the finishing touches to the 2011 edition.
What equipment do you use? Is it just analog/digital synths or also a computer?
I use my Nord Lead 2 religiously with Red Electric Rainbow, as well as the Doepfer MAQ 16/3 sequencer. I have a Moog Little Phatty, a Korg Poly Six (poor guy), and I have had a Paia Proteus 1, a Siel Mono that never quite worked right. Not too mention the amount of modern digital keys I tried out. Right now I am on a huge modular synthesizer spurt. I went with the Eurorack format and I have a 9U case with about 12U worth of modules. I sold a ton of gear to help finance this habit. Guitars, amps, effects, some synthesizers. I sometimes use MAX/MSP, Reason, Abelton and some other programs, but I have not been using any of those for some time. I like MSP for making granular stuff.

Do you have a “dream label”, on which you would just LOVE to have your album released?
Nah, I am pretty chill. I do like Raster-Noton though, but it is only because I am going through this huge techno kick right now.

Apart from Neon Blossom label, you just started another label, Hyperdelic. Does it mean you moved from Neon Blossom to Hyperdelic, or is Hyperdelic just another label for other kind of music/artists?
Neon Blossom started at as a fundraiser label. Very DIY, very messy, etc. I wasn’t happy with the way some of the releases turned out. So I wanted to start fresh. Which I did. I am very happy with the way Hyperdelic turned out.  I put it a lot of work into the creative process of how I want it to look, sound and feel. So the overall result is something I want to continue doing. Neon Blossom is still going to be around and doing releases, but they will stay in the realm of the original purpose and aim of the label.

What’s your current musical obsession?
New Wave, Minimal Wave, Minimal Techno, EBM, Synth Pop, Acid House, rare 80’s gems etc. A lot of dance music. Sequencing, clockwork, monophonic analog jams. 808s etc.

No comments: