We had the chance to do a little Q&A with our next Opus: Testing featured artist SlowPitchSound! Check it out:
MR: When did you start to make music with turntables? How have you developed or augmented your performing/improvising on turntables? What are some of the extended techniques you use?
SPS: I started making music with turntables in 2004 after DJing at bars and events for a number of years. I was losing interest in playing late night bar settings but was still fascinated with the turntable as a musical instrument. Around that time I discovered artists like Kid Koala, Birdy Nam Nam, John Cage and Christian Marklay. Their approach to using the turntable inspired me to use it in its entirety as a source of sound. Because I had been improvising through the art of turntablism and producing music for a while before that, improvising with other musicians wasn’t a far stretch for me. Some things I enjoy doing with my instrument are tapping the stylus with my finger for percussive sounds, placing the stylus on my finger and then rubbing it along the side of the turntable platter for deep thunderous bass… it’s pretty much a signature technique. I also really enjoy live sampling and looping. Because of my background in DJing my sense of rhythm is pretty good but at the same time I really enjoy sculpting sounds to create a bit of organized chaos.
MR: You describe your sound as “scifi-turntablism”. What inspires this label for your music?
SPS: I imagine strange new worlds when I’m creating a new piece of work. It’s kind of the reason I coined my style SciFi-Turntablism, part of it is because I’m a fan of science fiction films and the other part is from what happens when sounds are slowed down to a crawl, flipped, twisted and layered to create something hard to describe, in a sense once my sounds have been treated they become extraterrestrial. The many textures and almost liquid like compositions create a glimpse into another dimension.
MR: Is your music, or your thinking about arts in general, informed by afrofuturism?
SPS: Afrofuturism is such an interesting label. I sometimes wonder if I weren’t black and making the music I make then what would it be called. When artists like SunRa or George Clinton who are widely known now as afrofuturists were making music they didn’t call themselves afrofuturists. It was actually a label coined by a writer in 1993 named Mark Dery. Labels/genres are a tricky thing when it comes to being a creative person but sadly they’re kinda necessary in a way. sigh.
MR: You are originally from Grenada. There are countless musical connections between Toronto and various countries in the Caribbean, are you aware of musical directions in Grenada that connect with what you are doing?
SPS: There’s no connection but I think it would be interesting to explore in the future. Maybe scifi-calypso-turntablism lol.
MR: Tell us more about the Emoralis EP, and your own imaginings of travels in the universe?
SPS: Emoralis started off as a curiosity for snails. Their liquid alien type movements filmed up close with hand crafted backgrounds opened up a universe of ideas. The project with collaborator and life partner Vanese Smith made its way to being presented at top notch festivals including Images Festival in Toronto and Mutek in Montreal. Originally made as a live audio visual performance I was inspired to make an EP which included some re edited tracks from the live show as well as new ideas. It’s really an amazing ride around the universe.
MR: What is the weirdest or most unique sound you have ever incorporated into your music to date?
SPS: Rubbing a mic over my beard.
MR: What soundscapes inspire you most in your day to day? Do you have a favourite place/source (in the physical world or online) to seek out new ideas?
SPS: Nature, Industrial, Public spaces
MR: For those interested in pursuing turntablism and composition with turntable, are there any resources you would recommend?
SPS: http://offcentredj.com It’s where I teach 🙂
MR: You’ve worked with a lot of different musicians from many different genres and media. Can you name one of your favourite collaborators?
SPS: Really all too amazing to pick just one.
SlowPitchSound recommended listening and viewing
Christian Marclay mini documentary
Bobby McFerrin – Live in Montreal
Kid Koala – live – (Switzerland)
DJ KENTARO LIVE
otomo yoshihide Tokyo Experimental Performance
Birdy Nam Nam – Abbesses
DJ Krush – Kemuri
to name a few.
Check out SlowPitchSound’s website for more info! http://www.slowpitchsound.com/