Monomes, circuit-bent gadgets and just the right amount of romantic imagination: This is what Daedelus' music is made of. More than just a musician or master of bloops and bleeps, Daedelus, AKA Alfred Darlington, is an inventor of sounds. He recently spoke with Spinner about his latest album, the arduous process of finding decent food at SXSW and his top-secret new invention, codename: ARCHIMEDES.
How would you describe your sound?
I'd like to say, in a perfect world of things, that I make romantic music. Electronic music isn't usually associated with strong emotions, but that's what I aim for. I think genres should be an aspiration, not so much a condemnation.
This will be your second year performing at SXSW. What did you most enjoy about last year's conference and what are you looking forward to at SXSW 2011?
SXSW is like a many-headed hydra; there's pleasures and pains all around, every moment. Every band ever that you've ever wanted to see is pretty much playing a secret show next to you, and yet if you want to get a bowl of decent food, you will both pay and have to hike to the ends of the earth to find it. So, it has its barbs, but it's a very sweet-smelling rose overall. And Austin's an awesome city. Any excuse to be there for a few days is not bad.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new album, 'Bespoke,' which comes out in April?
It's a concentrated activity to bring a bit of liveliness into these electronics. Of course, there's some bleeps and bloops galore, but there's a lot more melody, a lot more instruments behind those melodies and voices that aren't necessarily there just to be some lyric; it's really there to be more textural in the tapestry of sounds. So, it's the least ambient record that maybe I've ever made. It has lots of sounds, but it is very textural, and it's supposed to have a distinct mood of being tailor-made and kind of handcrafted.
Who are you listening to right now?
There's a lot of bleeps and bloops that are very high up on my listening. There's a song by someone named Matthew David soon to be releasing on Brainfeeder. He makes incredible textured sound. There's another gentleman named Mono/Poly. And then you have people like FaltyDL in New York doing wonderful things for the Planet-Mu label. And then on the Ninja Tune label that I work with, there's a gentleman named Dorian Concept who has an EP coming out. Oh my god, it's just beautiful! And then on my label, my Magical Properties label, I'm releasing this guy LDFD, who's actually from Dallas. I'm hoping to have some moments with him in Texas and at the SXSW. You know, it's a wonderful time for music isn't it? It's like we're just awash in good sounds.
Is there anything you dislike about music right now?
It's one of those things where I could point toward certain things that I dislike in the current music scene, but the truth of the matter is that there's so much other stuff that we could focus on that's good. It's like, for all the Lady Gagas and all this cheesy pop music and really masticated music, there's so many thousands of musicians that are doing incredible things with no resources and no major labels. This could be from the Philippines, from Malaysia, from Australia, from Bulgaria. I guess my one complaint is there's too much.
What's your favorite studio toy to play with?
I am a sucker for good sounds, for sure, and I have a lot of circuit-bent stuff in the studio -- stuff that you put in some batteries, you turn it on and maybe it doesn't do anything. Maybe it just sits there just self-oscillates or something; it just creates a horrible distorted sound. You don't know what you're going to get when you turn it on, necessarily. But with just a little bit of coaxing and some limited musical knowledge, sometimes it just produces the most wondrous mess-up, and it can be genius! And you have to be there right away when it happens, and you have to record it just so, or else it's totally unusable, and it will never happen again, for sure. Those kind of chance operations really excite me, because it means that every time you walk in the studio, you could graze something, you can feel something possibly. It's a very rare thing to just be in a creative mode and have the wondrous sense of something happening.
The visual component of your 2011 tour is supposed to be pretty amazing, and rumor has it this involves a "top secret new invention codenamed ARCHIMEDES." Can you give us any tiny clues or vague ideas about this ARCHIMEDES, without giving it away?
Yeah, absolutely! Archimedes was quite famous for a kind of supposed battle where he focused a large number of polished shields from the army he was with to set ships on fire. So, I promise no fire, but perhaps some shines, mirrors ... perhaps, perhaps [laughs]. So, lots of mirrors, just tons of mirrors moving around, focusing light.
Catch Daedelus' SXSW Sets on Friday, March 18 at Mohawk (912 Red River) 1AM, and Saturday, March 19 at Beauty Bar (617 E 7th St.) 12AM.
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