I had the wonderful chance to interview Discrete, a multi-faceted artist from Canada and considered by the blogosphere a producer and DJ on the rise. What caught my attention is not only the fact that his full-length album ‘The Midas Touch’ was nominated for the Juno Award but also his creativity on sampling the right tunes. I’m definitely a new fan of his art in every sense of the word. Discover more below and get into his music.
1 – What were you doing before becoming DJ Discrete?
2 – How did you develop your music style as a producer? How would you describe your current sound?
I would say my sound is much deeper now. They say the things you avoid in life the most are the things you need to embrace the most. I used to criticize Deep House music for being too easy to produce so I tried making it myself, that’s how ‘Mind and Body’ came about. I think when you’re young it’s more about trying to see and hear and experience as much as you can then experimenting with different aesthetics, sounds, etcetera. I would describe my music as sound collage. Old school, nearly vintage, with Dada influences.
3 – Juno Award nominated ‘The Midas Touch’ this year. Why do you think this production has surprised many people?
I was surprised to hear ‘The Midas Touch’ was nominated because I thought the Junos only supported big names. People may also be surprised to hear my sound do so well because it’s old school and right now a lot of people are trying to do something so radically different. Sometimes keeping it simple and rediscovering your roots can be a really invigorating way of creating new work.
4 – What was the idea or inspiration behind the name of your latest LP ‘In My Room’?
Being nominated for a Juno Award inspired me to make a second album. I don’t have a studio so the entire album was produced at home in my bachelor apartment. The album was meant to be an homage to the archetypal bedroom producer so I wanted to create something with as few tools as possible. I also don’t know how to read or write music which is partially why I use samples. I can’t afford microphones, synthesizers or expensive instruments anyways.
5 – What’s the most uplifting song from your new LP ‘In My Room’? Why?
Maybe the intro? Getting a call from DJ Sneak still blows my mind. I played a lot of his records when I was just learning how to DJ so I can’t believe he’s playing my tracks out now.
6 – How many interesting samples did you use?
I chose all of the samples because I found them interesting. Some samples are whole songs, they’re just so minimal they seem like samples. Some are just okay, in which case they are used to support the more interesting ones.
7 – Do you have any criticisms about electronic music production today?
There’s actually a lot of really interesting stuff going on in underground electronic music today, especially with art installations and Ambient music, Techno too. If I had any criticisms I guess it would be when Pop artists co-opt their concepts and appropriate their music into an electronic medium which usually ends up sounding phony and hokey. I love the pristine sound of Pop music but unfortunately some of these larger labels put tremendous pressure on their artists to pander towards focus groups and statistics. If you’re going to try to make music that sounds like House or Electronica, you should do your research first. My favourite Pop artists always know their underground Techno.
8 – I really like the aesthetics of your photos and album artworks. Are you a fan of fashion? Do you work with a brand image consultant?
I do not work with a brand image consultant. I like expressing myself through fashion but I’m not a fan of the industry, it’s just too elitist. I often use images of my artwork for my album covers. The painting I used for ‘In My Room’ is sixteen square feet, it took longer to make than the album itself.
9 – What are the best Deep House and Techno clubs in your homeland?
I don’t actually really like clubs. I find them too exclusive and seedy because of all the drugs. I’m curious about this conscious clubbing movement that’s going on but it’s too soon for me to say much about that. Toi Bar was my favorite place to go to on College Street, they had a great vibe and some great resident Tech House DJs. Circa had some interesting parties while it lasted but I don’t think Toronto was ready to host all these International DJs not everyone knew about. I wouldn’t suggest going to any arbitrary club just for the sake of dancing. If I do that, it’s at Bambi’s or The Beaver, but I typically only go out if there’s an artist playing I really admire. Otherwise there are some after-hours parties on Geary Avenue once in awhile but is not a club per se. Milk Glass Co. has some interesting art parties too. There was also an interesting lineup of noise artists performing at The Hearn Generating Station this summer at Unsound Festival which was really fun. It’s three times larger than the Tate Modern apparently.
10 – Do you plan to make new music or gigs?
I want to spend more time of fewer tracks which means I will be doing EP’s for a while. My friend Colin Greenfield is a brilliant director and is collaborating with me on a music video for the title track “In My Room’. He’s going to be famous one day.
I have a few prospective gigs coming up this year, Fun In The Murky on Bleep Radio in Hamilton, The Underground on CFRU 93.3 FM at University of Guelph, and VInyl Vaults in Toronto.
I also got the keys to a new studio today and have a few surprises up my sleeves with my art practice.