Sometimes you email a bunch of questions to a DJ and they reply with a slim string of naked sentences, stripped of any character or real information. Other times you email a bunch of questions to a DJ and they excel themselves. To the point you wish you were having this conversation on the phone.
Such is the case with Concord Dawn. The Vienna-based Kiwi has given away his sixth album Air Crysalis for free this week. Yup, FREE. You can find it right here. We thought we’d send him some questions to find out why he’s made this rather magnanimous manoeuvre. Plus a few more… Just enough for him to share his enjoyment of Japanese contemporary literature, disdain for stress, love for the scene, and cynicism of certain players who’ve turned their hand to dubstep.
Firstly, big ups on a very heavy album! And thanks for giving it away for free! What inspired that decision?
“Thanks! Well drum & bass has been good to me over the years, so it’s time to give something back. I have got to travel to lots of awesome places and meet awesome people and eat awesome things so I’m hoping that these tunes are awesome enough to balance out my karma with the universe.”
How much time did the album take you from start to finish?
“I started some of the tunes last year and had been playing them out on tour. After spending the first few months of the year on tour in New Zealand, Australia and India I took a bit of a pause from gigs and have been finishing up the rest, with the odd gig here and there but nothing too stressful. I’m not big on stress to be honest.”
“It’s a book within the book 1Q84, the latest novel of Haruki Murakami. He’s been one of my favorite authors these last few years. I liked the concept of how that book comes about and the words fit together nicely, implying a rebirth as well as the obvious connection between air and sound and all that. I actually wanted to call the album Sex but I wasn’t allowed to. I believe there should be more of a connection and mutual inspiration between art, literature and music like there used to be back in the past, so it was nice to use that name as a reference point.”
This is your sixth album now, right? You must have some cool advice on the dark art of album magic for all our budding producer readers?
“It is indeed. Albums, like tunes, tend to write themselves after a a point I think. When you realise what you have, and what you need, you then begin to fill in the blanks from there. I tend to try and write more “musically” for LPs, as I think they should have a bit more permanence than a dancefloor 12″. And although there are of course similarities between tunes on the album I prefer LPs with diversity rather than the same tune rewritten over and over again.”
Give me your favourite moment from your album making history please…
“Every time you get a vocal sent, there is a nervousness when you first listen to it. It could suck. But then when you hear it and it all comes together it really is something magical! I’m lucky to work with some really talented Kiwis in terms of vocals, and there was no autotuning on the record. I’m trying to keep it real here!
And your least favourite moment…
“There is always that day when you wake up and wonder why you try and make music from the heart and soul when most people would rather listen to plastic poopy silly music. But good wine takes time and I would rather be doing it this way than making fizzy drinks for spotty teenagers hehehe. But there really aren’t so many bad moments really along the way, thankfully.”
So what’s new at Uprising?
“Not too much actually. I have an EP ready to go for after the LP but no plans to release anything from anyone else at this stage. If something comes along from another artist I’m passionate about, I will think about releasing it. But I’m not running a conveyer belt styled d&b factory over here. And it’s nice to get something and be able to release it quickly without too many other releases in the “queue” ahead of it too.”
Can we expect some major tour business to coincide with the album?
“I’m doing a couple of festivals in Europe and then touring New Zealand and Australia all through July and early August. I’m trying to pass through Canada on the way back. I have already done the US and India earlier this year but will try and get to America again before the year is done. I like to have months off here and there throughout the year to work on tunes and to freshen up both my ears and my sets. In September hopefully I will be able to slow things down a bit.”
And what can we expect after that?
“More tunes I guess! I’ll keep on keeping on and then keep on keeping on some more. I have started getting bookings in for the end of year already so I need to make sure I make time for the studio… that’s where all my toys are. And I love playing with my toys. Long term I’ll be in Europe for another few years and then moving back down to NZ to breed and make a start on all that adult business.”
“Well it just means I wont make dubstep in a desperate attempt to stay relevant with the tastes of 16 year old children (and I guess you need to know the Happy Days episode for that to make sense). I don’t see anything wrong with people “experimenting with other genres” but shitting out generic brostep is hardly experimenting now is it hehehe. There are producers like Klute, DBridge, Marcus Intalex etc who have made awesome music at other tempos/in other genres but there are also a lot of producers who seem to be more intent on bandwagon riding and making money rather than making music. I make music that I love, not for money… And I’m far too ugly to be a whore!”
Finally. You’ve got 30 seconds to big up everything I’ve failed to ask you about in this interview. Starting from NOW….
“Big up the producers, DJs, MCs and kids on the dancefloor keeping it real. Big ups to everyone listening to music with the ears and not their eyes. Big ups to everyone who goes to dance parties to dance with their friends rather than standing facing a DJ. And big ups to everyone who has helped or supported me over the years, I’m a lucky lucky bastard!”