Before we get started: I would like to introduce myself (Vykoda) as a new staff writer for the blog. The vivid emotions from my first eargasm (Prodigy - Fat of the Land - circa '97) have kept me utterly addicted and involved in the ever-growing EDM scene from that moment on. Seeing our scene come so far has really made me proud of what I always knew was possible. We are the movement, the future of music. I'm very excited to join the Electronic Eargasm team, and will be contributing regularly. If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.
Photo by Brian Baeza
Summer is in full effect in our Los Angeles superbia... School is out, the heat is cranked and the masses are in search for those epic parties found only during this time of year.
I'm walking up to the mid-evil looking threshold housing tonight's Low End Theory, a Los Angeles hot spot nestled in a place called the Airliner. I can't help but recall how in the past few years this weekly event has taken the world by storm with it's groundbreaking music and unique feel. "One of the best things to happen to the L.A. music scene since the Troubadour opened in 1957" --Re:Up Magazine.
As I approach the door and go for the handle, some cosmic circumstance only a reporter would receive occurs; the door flies open almost knocking me over, with none other than David Wexler (Dr. Strangeloop) himself.
After a brief exchange, he asks me to help him unload one last armful of gear from his car for tonight's show. Wexler is casually dressed. His sharp eyebrows compliment his wild fro well. It makes you wonder what type of beat scientist he is: mad or madder. I'm eager to start picking his mind, but within moments it is apparent that he has no problem revealing himself candidly, he in fact has a wit well beyond his years, with a youthful eagerness to share his visions with others. We dodge a few cars and make it to the upstairs patio.
Check out the Electronic Eargasm video of the night!
Video / Editing by Oliver Young
E.E. -- First off, thank you for taking the time to talk with us at Electronic Eargasm.
S.L. -- Ya, this is awesome. Thank you so much.
E.E. -- The kickoff event to your first album tour is moments away. How do you feel?
S.L. -- I feel really good! First of all, I love the people I'm going on tour with (Teebs, Shlohmo and Timeboy are on the tour. Tonight's guest is Lorn, with residents Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev and MC Nocando holding up the Low End. Big up's to every one of these guys. If you aren't familiar... these guys are big stuff). I feel like we share a similar sensibility even though we are not working in the same exact genre's. You know, fuck genre's! There's some sort of shared enthusiasm between all of us, and I really just respect all of the musicians on tour.
E.E. -- You come from quite a Hollywood lineage (His grandfather being two-time Academy Award winner and Hollywood heavyweight, Haskell Wexler; and father Jeff Wexler, a sound-mixer in the Hollywood scene since the 70's with a British Academy Award and numerous American Academy Award nominations). Did this influence you early on?
S.L. -- Definitely. I had lots of opportunities to be more of a part of Hollywood. I could probably be working with George Lucas, over at Lucas Films, but I Just had this feeling that I had some purpose that wasn't within the normal cinema confines. I felt really frustrated working as an editor, which I did for a couple of years. Working in film, I realized there was something bugging me about the whole thing. So basically, I kind-of abandoned it. I mean, I still make films, but I like to turn film into something more of a live thing where I can actually embody what I'm doing. I like to make films that don't have rules, because we have grown up with a whole bunch of films that are made with fucking hundreds of millions of dollars, which have a basic narrative structure. And that's whats marketable, I enjoy those films too, but there's a whole other kind of cinema that is possible now, and it's coming out. I mean, I know a lot of other artists that are also on that tip. To me it's just more interesting. Its more interesting to spend my time with free cinema, live cinema.
So the whole 2010 thing was really me trying to just go for that and show people what live cinema can be like. Where you can go to a film, even in a theater like the Downtown Independent, but instead of a person that just clicks a play button, its a live person with a live film (see: Ann Arbor Film Festival). Someone is up there kind of conducting the film. Its a VJ eccentric film so its not necessarily linear. There's a narrative but its a narrative with a pulse. It's changing over time, it's a living narrative.
E.E. -- Wild concept. You started producing at age 14. What type of gear did you start with?
S.L. -- (chuckles) Wow! You did your homework. I was working with Avid and Final Cut Pro.
E.E. -- So you were into film before audio?
S.L. -- I was actually making music at the same time as well, in Pro Tools. So I have been making electronic music since I was 14, but my emphasis used to be metal and noise music actually. I don't listen to Metal anymore because there is a lot of electronic music that has replaced that for me. But I used to love just playing math metal. Really insane guitar licks and stuff. Electronic music was really just on the side. It was something I was interested in, I just experimented with all sorts of sounds. Things like recording tin cans and then take it in the studio and cut them up. So I've been working with both audio and visual stuff for a long time.
Photo by Brian Beaza
E.E. -- What is your setup for this tour? Is it different from your usual?
S.L. -- Ya, I mean, its relatively new in that its the whole audio-visual thing together. I got pretty well known as a VJ (no kidding, check Strangeloop at COACHELLA '09) over the past couple of years and I felt like I did almost everything I'd want to as a VJ. Which is kind of cool to say. There is still tons of territory, but I really felt like I hit a good stride with it and there was a point where I was like "OK, what can I do that can incorporate all these other aspects of my life and bring it into the live experience?". And I realized, "you know, I make music too, and I make the visuals, so how can I make some sort of live experience that has all these aspects of my life together?". This tour is a good step toward putting these two aspects together.
E.E. -- You've been prodded by Flying Lotus and teamed up with his Cosmogramma album artist Leigh J. Mc Closkey to put 2010 out. What were some of the most major undertakings you had during the project? It seems like Lotus was your catalyst. Like you were always making music, but you didn't want to go forward and actually do this?
S.L. -- Honestly, ya. I had been keeping all of these songs to myself; and really a lot of my art to myself. I was just hoarding all of this stuff and you can see it in my artwork, where my drawings became these big meshes of information. It was all this stuff confined to a single frame. So Lotus, back in our days at San Francisco's Academy of Art, even before he took on the alias, used to play my music all the time while we played video games and smoked. He really dug it. He'd say things to me at the time like "we are definitely going to release this somehow". At the time it really didn't make any sense though. It was like OK: so we will release it, but how are we going to do that? And then it was a year and a half later when Brainfeeder (Flying Lotus' own label) was put together, and it really made sense. It seemed like the perfect venue for really weird music.
E.E. -- That was in '08?
S.L. -- Ya. Right around there. I always had these hesitancies because I felt like it had no cultural context. I was doing it for myself. It was almost like therapy to work through all of these ideas. And suddenly, with Brainfeeder, Low End Theory, Alphapup and all of this great stuff coming together in L.A., it all made sense. So thats how it all happened. I'm eternally grateful to Flying Lotus for supporting me on all those levels; and helping get my music, and my vision out there.
E.E. -- You and Steve (Flying Lotus) were just featured in a cover page article in the L.A. Weekly last month "Flying Lotus Rising".
S.L. -- Oh ya! Dopest article!
E.E. -- It seems you two are on a rocket to international stardom.
S.L. -- (chuckles)
E.E. -- How do you feel about that?
S.L. -- I feel humbled. I'm just excited that there are people interested. It's not just me or Steve though, there's just such a cataclysmic convergence of sound and art in L.A. right now. It's obvious now that the whole world is paying attention to it. (BBC Radio 1 host Mary Anne Hobbs on Strangeloop's 2010) I always said to myself that if I had a bigger platform to show my art, that I really wanted to put the most meaning into it that I could. Bring my best self, my best ideas to the table. So Im just trying to do that day-to-day.
E.E. -- The L.A. Electronic scene has really exploded into mainstream in a few short years. Do you think this is a good thing overall? Where do you see the direction going with all of this?
Photo by Brian Beaza
Photo by Brian Beaza
S.L. -- I remember Pure Filth when it was kicking into gear in L.A. a year and a half or two years ago. It was at some of the dingiest locations in town, like a block from skid row, at these dismal, awful venues. But I loved it, and I know everyone else loved that feel of being a part of something new emerging in L.A., which was that whole LA brand of dubstep. Then a year later, there were all these people copying Purefilth, but leaning towards these big pop-step / bro-step shows. I saw it go from that to a year later being these big popstep shows. Where the sound had been really picked apart. The producers had heard the (dubstep) sound and said "OK, its got this bass, its got this... so we'll just do that same thing and repeat that over and over". We saw the underground become mainstream.
E.E. -- It's a little tough seeing the newborn baby go out and...
S.L. -- Oh ya. That same fucking thing happened in the UK way before here, but we saw that scene explode in L.A. as well. I still love a lot of really grimy dubstep, but there's a part of me that was just like, "Whats next, how can we go deeper than that?", because all new things get codified in the mainstream lexicon.
E.E. -- They find the formula and..
S.L. -- (finishing my sentence) ...they keep doing it. It's a fucking virus really. A cultural virus... what the mainstream does. It is very interesting -not really bad or good- but there is a viral aspect to these things. When something cool happens, its like it gets turned into the most dumbed-down version and sent across the globe. But what I see that is great about the L.A. scene and many global music scenes emerging, is there's a resilience with post-genre music. Where it's not about genre. It's about authentic expression of the artist. When you listen to "Cosmogramma" its like, what the fuck genre is that? You could say it's ten different genre's but to me its a post-genre album and it's just authentically Steve's voice. You could copy little traits of it, but..
E.E. -- It's his fingerprint.
S.L. -- Exactly. That's what my favorite musicians are always searching for.
E.E. -- 5 favorite tracks or albums right now?
S.L. -- 1. Hot Boxing the Cockpit - Shlohmo
I love this track. It really showcases him as a producer. Phenomenal.
2. Systems/Layers - The Rachels
I don't think this album is new, but I just found it and love it.
3. Cosmogramma - Flying Lotus
I definitely have this on repeat all the time.
4. Tomorrow - Lorn
I was so stoked to be able to do the video for this. Its one of those productions where I try to learn from it when I listen.
5. Solaris Soundtrack - Cliff Martinez
I've listened to this every night for the past 2 years. To me, its one of the most brilliant pieces of music ever perfected.
E.E. --When was your first Electronic Eargasm?
S.L. -- Come to Daddy - Aphex Twin when I was 14. That made me want to make electronic music. It was just so beyond anything at the time. I remember watching TV and that came on and all i could say was "oh my god". That was my first Eargasm I think (chuckles). But I've had many after...
**Buy his album 2010 HERE before copies run out!**
Check out more epic Photo's of the night by Brian Baeza
Big props to Oliver Young for his Videography and Editing of the night