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We are counting down to the next “Disco Droppings Presents” at Kremwerk. I’ve got performing artist Goodwin here to talk about his musical shenanigans. A personal favorite from the Motor night, you can see his live Techno set this Thursday. It’s a pleasure to join forces..

 

DD So with music, you started out more experimental. What drew you to Techno?

G So the strange but true story of my musical progression is that I was actually really into electronic music in high school during the 90s “electronica” wave. I started out buying stuff related to the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, etc. and progressed to some amazing (and some totally crap) compilations that really opened my mind. From there I fell in as resident nerd in a group of much cooler kids who were DJing at my friend’s house and just getting deep on all kinds of shit. I found jungle/drum & bass pretty quickly after that, and amassed a decent collection of 12″s while working and was still living at home with my folks. But by the time I moved to Seattle I had gotten a lot more interested in punk and hardcore music. Mainly because as someone underage I could legitimately participate in it and it was really pro-youth empowerment. And those elements were really absent from the, at that point, heavily commercialized Bay Area rave scene, or at least my experience of it. By the time I got to Seattle that sort of naturally led me to start volunteering at The Vera Project, and from there helping my friends do experimental pop, noise, and free jazz shows. So at that point my musical education started all over again, which was fantastic.

A lot of factors drew me back to House and Techno as I got more and more into playing experimental music. A few of my peers had been making “noise” music that referenced a lot of stuff in the Chain Reaction and Raster-Noton universes and while I love that music, it wasn’t the exact territory I wanted to tread in. Around this time re-discovered a cache of mp3s on my hard drive of stuff like Mr. Fingers, Model 500, Ron Hood, Frankie Knuckles, and Phuture and it all really drew me in all over again. And from there, these funny coincidences kept happening that kind of drew me further and further into dance music again.

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DD I see I see. We’ve both been encouraged by Dave Segal over at The Stranger. Your Ramparts EP was described by him as “tonally and melodically advanced”, quite the compliment! What’s an influence that you would give that same description?

 

G A really foundational influence for me is Juan Atkins, especially the Model 500 stuff. I think of any major influence of “GOODWIN” that’s probably who pops into my head the most as someone that phrase would apply to. So many of his songs hit it home for me even after so many years of listening to them. On songs like “Night Drive” or “No UFOs” especially, it’s really the totality of those songs that strike me. For me, every element in those songs is a hook and that’s always been impressive to me. There’s so much craft there. Other folks that I can think of right now are probably artists like Fela Kuti, Meredith Monk, Talking Heads, Steve Reich, Kraftwerk, and Curtis Mayfield. For me an important part to GOODWIN is making music that’s rhythmically dense with lots of interlocking melodic parts, and I definitely think about those folks a lot in that context.

 

DD Love it. I first saw you play at the Motor night in Seattle. Kremwerk hosts, and that vibe is one of my favorites currently in the club. What do you enjoy most about Motor? For people unaware, maybe you could also give a quick summary of the monthly..

 

G For sure. MOTOR is a monthly club night and label based in Seattle that was founded by Sam Melancon in 2012 and is now run by Sam and a collective of folks. I can’t speak for Sam, really, but MOTOR more or less evolved out of a tendency in the last few years for artists with backgrounds in experimental or drone or psychedelic music to flirt with rhythms from house, techno, italo, and other dance musics. I think what I like the most about MOTOR is how broad its scope of music is, and just how deep of trippers the general audience is. It’s people who are fucking enthusiastic about good somewhat strange dance music. I have to give it up to Sam and crew for just making a space for folks to come in and play in Seattle and be well received and have shit be done right.

 

DD So, going into performing, what’s your live setup consist of?

G It’s been pretty consistent lately, though I just had my laptop take over sequencing and drum duties for my ailing MPC. But generally it’s MPC or laptop on drums and sequences and then a Roland TB-303 clone I built, a Volca Keys, a Yamaha TX81Z, and then lots of FX boxes, both pedal and rack. Mixing and EQ and FX routing plays a big role in my live sets because things like delays can help add that rhythmic density that I talked about that earlier and modulation FX add that cosmic element a bit.

DD Well I am very excited to have you at the next Disco Droppings Presents. Till then!

G Hey thank YOU, man.

 

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- Jimi Jaxon

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Whatsup everybody, Jimi Jaxon here! Disco Droppings won’t be ending the year quietly. Got interviews on the way with some superb characters. Encouraging collaboration, elevated consciousness and the rebellious spirit. For those unaware, this site now hosts a monthly at Kremwerk, fittingly called “Disco Droppings Presents”. Now third Thursdays, I bring the energy of the site to the club, with varied attitude and quality as the unifying theme. Next week, you can see 3 brilliant Krissy Downing pieces alongside musical performances from Goodwin, WMD, Mascara, Greyspot and myself. Lightlinked will also be VJ’in. RSVP here

Today, we go deep into the subconscious with surrealist painter & musician, Krissy Downing. This is a first for site, and perfect timing I feel. And, jump..

DD Well I first heard about you through True Love Art Gallery in Seattle. I’ve been doing shows with them since opening night, and it’s truly one of my favorite places in the city. What was your experience like at the latest “Misfits & Mutants” opening? You have quite a few pieces there, of different feels and I was really intrigued.

KD True Love is the best (most professional? fancy?) place I’ve gotten to show my paintings since I moved here. I dig the whole atmosphere there. The people there are so nice, laid back, smart, cool. I feel like it was a major accomplishment landing that opportunity with them, and the opening was a lot of fun. A lot of my core group of pals didn’t make it for whatever reason, but I met a bunch of new friends.

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DD My favorite was called “Uprooted” I believe. What was the theme behind that one?

KD That’s a good question. I like to hear how others interpret my pieces, because my approach is so loose, almost subconscious. I literally just started painting the tree into him without thinking about it. It usually starts with looking at the composition and thinking very technically “where is there blank space?”, “what kind of lines do I need to add to change focus or add balance?”, and then random stuff like that happens :].

It’s very similar to how I write music.

Loose and improvisational.

DD I think this is an interesting mindset to bring onto Disco Droppings. More focused on the subconscious. Are you ever surprised at what comes out of you, when pulling from these dream like spaces?

KD Not really anymore. I’ve been at it so long that I just expect unusual things to materialize. I love it. Sometimes the stranger the better. I love feeling confident in just letting go and not succumbing to an inner critic…telling me that what I’m creating is too whacky. It’s very freeing.

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DD I bet:) So you started out drawing in this free form way as a child with your father. Did you later learn about Surrealism and see the connection?

KD Yes, it’s funny I didn’t even really make the connection with how I approach Surrealism until recently …basically until I was thinking of what to say to explain things for a video. I had never really tried to explain it before that. My art, writing and music have always been weird/absurd/surreal…I think just because of my sense of humor and a very strong desire (I’ve had since I was a baby) to rebel against conformity and to try to shed light on unusual perspectives. That’s a great question by the way. All these are great!

DD Thank you! I’ve had lots of practice:]].

From what I’ve researched, Surrealism points to Freud’s dream theories as a main emphasis. How much importance do you place on what comes up in your dreams?

KD When I was younger, I used to be able to control my dreams whenever I was at the point close to waking up. And I would conjure up these fascinating 3D images and just study them, …spin them around and examine their textures, colors, how they moved… And then when I did wake up I’d try to sketch them out (I was much worse at drawing back then so I couldn’t quite get the drawings to convey the dreams precisely). I think that helped motivate me to keep drawing as I was growing up. I really wanted to be able to show other people the super weird creatures objects and worlds I could see in my dreams.

I haven’t had the same ability for several years now, so I tend not to think about my dreams as much. But it was a big influence in shaping my whole art journey :]. 

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DD That’s fascinating! And lastly with music, what are some of your strongest inspirations?

KD This is going to be an odd answer. My strongest inspiration for pursuing music goes back to my innate rebellious nature. My family was very poor but my parents made sure I was always in a good school (which meant full of snobby wealthy kids and snobby teachers) And one day in 6th grade I was told outright by my orchestra teacher “You will never be as good as an Asian kid at the violin.” –OH MAN did that spark a fire in me. I spent every moment of free time practicing. We couldn’t afford lessons so I would use a tape recorder to record things off the TV (like the theme song to Masterpiece Theater, or the violin part from Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush”…heh) and then just practice and practice until I made my violin sound just like them! So that was my main inspiration. Some of my favorite musical influences are also kind of rebellious: Modest Mouse, Dresden Dolls, Cat Power, Rasputina… or just insanely brilliant: Dvorak, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Holst…Beatles, Metallica …Young the Giant

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- Jimi Jaxon

 

Yu.Yu.Hakusho.full.851951I can say that no other series has impacted me as greatly as Yu Yu Hakusho. I’m a little late to the party, but when I attach it’s fast and powerful. Since watching those 112 “Ghost Files”, written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, I think about some element daily. Whether it be the characters, or some theme reflected in my reality. I’m not gonna’ analyze it all right here, in case you haven’t watched the show, but there’s one connection I will give away.

There’s a fighting technique in Yu Yu called The Spirit Gun. It takes spiritual energy and concentrates it into the user’s hand. Powered up, it’s blasted through one’s finger tips. I think about all my thoughts and actions as having spiritual energy. My spirit gun represents this condensed fire, including all my efforts over the years as an artist. I visualize shooting this energy out into the universe, and honing my craft for greater impact. This series has encouraged me to take this power seriously, aiming to use it for the greatest good.

To uplift and challenge humanity, encouraging the evolution of consciousness.

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- Jimi Jaxon 

 

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Let’s jump straight into the Souled Out debut album that’s become a wonderful part of my life. If you need to catch up on Jhené, head back to my Soul Master feature.

 

Through the Sailing Souls mixtape, the Sail Out EP and now Souled Out we’ve been able to clearly see the world through her lens. There’s this intimate relationship that I along with her massive group of admirers have developed . I am uplifted by her energy, and think of her not just as a distinct artist, but a spiritual guide.

Leading up to the album’s release, the first preview came in the form of “To Love & Die (feat. Cocaine 80’s)”. Compared to everything I’ve heard from her up to now, this one really comes out swinging. The beat is the most hard hitting and punchy production on the lp. And in keeping with her style, the lyrical concept is emotionally gripping to say the least.

 

I remember being in a lonely place when I bought Souled Out at Seattle’s Everyday Music. I got back into my car, popped that CD in and went on a ride. By the time the second track started, “W.A.Y.S.”, I couldn’t help but cry a bit. She just released these bottled emotions I was holding, and it all felt wonderfully therapeutic. It was a reminder of the power of music, to convey feelings and journey inward and out.

 

 

Rarely do I read features on artists and think, “these people really understand this artist and created something that matches their vision”. Look no further than her recent features in Complex and Vibe Vixen. They really speak for themselves.

So yeah, this is medicine. Let it in.

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- Jimi Jaxon

 

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To start off, I’ll say that Porter Robinson’s ‘Worlds’ show was one of the best I’ve ever seen! It was in the same room and on the same stage that I saw Daft Punk in 2007, when my interest in electronic music first started. Being there got me on a path to be an artist myself, start this site and eventually do this interview present day. I saw and felt some similar things, both shows representing originality, top-notch stage/light productions, emotional depth, perfect cohesion and the ability to create different versions/edits of their songs, new and old. 

So rare that I can speak with someone whose had a hand in bringing such a memorable show to life.  They just recently wrapped up a massive U.S. tour, and are now preparing for the final shows in South Lake Tahoe (California), London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Luxembourg and Australia. Cheers to every person involved in this tour, both mentioned and not. And of course, thanks to Porter Robinson for crafting this beautiful album. Now, onto my conversation with ‘Worlds’ VJ and show collaborator, Ghostdad..

 

DD Hey man! So kool to have you on Disco Droppings a second time. Onto even more massive things!

GD Thanks man glad to be back!

DD In the first part of the ‘Worlds’ live tour documentary, Porter mentioned the two of you spending four straight days in one place, figuring out how to execute this live visual show. Did your own experiences and inspirations come through in this collaboration? You worked alongside each other in 2012 as well, and I’m curious about your fingerprint on this next level..

GD Those four straight days were spent editing the show. The content itself was developed over a much longer process and involved many artists. All the illustrated animation you see in the show was directed by Invisible Light Network who are also in NY. There was recently a great write up about their process in Animation World Network. I met up with Elliot at ILN a few times while his team was at work, and also made a batch of visuals for the show. I had been playing around with 3D stuff using Blender and Photoshop, and Porter was really feeling the low poly vintage 3D vibe, so a lot of what I made was in that zone and added a nice contrast to the 2D animation. Porter was back and forth with all of us through that process before I collected all the footage and brought it down to North Carolina for the fabled four day editing session.

So my role kind of shifted from creating content to edit mode. We ended up making some new things too that week from existing material or as transition pieces. Our goal of cutting all the visuals to music ahead of time, was to do something that was super tight and related directly to the beat or sometimes individual instruments in the live mix. We wanted to emphasize things with tighter cuts to the beat rather than fades or transitions. Luckily this goes in line with how I like to perform visuals. I think Porter and I share the goal of wanting to catch the viewers attention unapologetically. There’s something inherently dazzling about video that lines up with a song, but we both like it when it really hits you in the face and doesn’t leave your senses to interpret the timing or the mood. That way you can just chill out and feel it completely.

 

DD What is the feeling like this time around? Compared to the “Language Tour”?

GD We’re very proud of this show. Ben Coker also had a tremendous role in preproduction. He designed everything you see on stage including the clear table Porter performs on. His sleepless nights came in Vancouver when we put the rig together for the first time and he really got into the nitty gritty of programming the lights.

We were proud of the Language tour as well, and that gave us a chance to try different things. On that tour Porter could change up his DJ set, and we could try different things with the visuals and lighting and see how our styles all fit together. But for the Worlds tour Porter had a very solid vision of what he wanted his music to LOOK like, and that gave us a chance to think about how we could best present that vision live ahead of time.

So we’re intensely proud of Worlds as a touring production and very thankful for everyone who helped put it together. We worked with a bigger crew on this one and it wouldn’t have been as consistent a presentation of an amazing show without a solid team to see it through.

DD As I’ve taken in everything surrounding ‘Worlds’, it’s given me new insight into the reality I find myself in and am creating. These fictional universes have given me fresh eyes to see what’s out there. How has all this translated for you?

GD Sometimes I think about all the places we’ve been these past few years and how those can inspire fictional landscapes. Like the coastline in Australia or the highway that takes you into Hong Kong. We’ve seen some really beautiful places in both a natural and urban setting. Tokyo of course another amazing place just to be immersed in even for a day. Some of the stuff I make is collage based and uses photos so I like to think about how I can relate fictional landscapes to places I’ve been. It’s a nice way to remember.

DD For days and days after the Seattle show, I had lyrics and melodies swirling around in my head. You spend more time with this imagery and music than most, do you find your mind superimposing these environments into your day to day travels? Having your vision glitch out in a way?

GD By the end of this tour I knew every frame of the show. I could probably hear a song from the album now and see what’s on the screens in my head at that exact moment. I’m also way too used to being in dark theaters all day. Staring at the screens every night definitely leaves some of the images burned into my eyes. I’ll have to spend some time in the daylight and see if anything does glitch out in my vision. Could be interesting!

DD Any especially special moments on tour so far?

GD San Francisco was a really big show. 7000 people showed up and were all totally feeling it top to bottom. That was a definite morale boost early on in the tour. The Aragon in Chicago also stands out as a really cool show just because of the history in that theater. Old theaters always have sort of a spooky magical feel and in that one we took a tour of the catwalks above the ceiling and got to check out the old pipe organ that still plays from the balcony. And finally the 9:30 club in DC was an incredible show. DC is an awesome town for live music, in part because the 9:30 Club has always placed emphasis on keeping their venue all ages and making it really comfortable for concertgoers. That kind of puts the focus on the show a little more I think. The crowd there was singing every song.

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*Concept pictures credit to ILN on Tumblr

*Transparent gifs provided by Ghostdad on Tumblr

DD I watched this behind the scenes documentary about Blade Runner. Ridley Scott would play the soundtrack to the cast and crew during filming to help immerse everyone further. Is there anything similar to that for the crew/yourself as you travel all over?

GD Soundcheck before the doors opened was a good daily ritual on this tour. It was Ben and I’s chance to make sure the show was working and in synch and also make any changes we wanted for that day. Porter would also come out and watch the show, or sometimes just chill on stage and work out some new synth parts. It was a good chance to make sure everyone was on the same page before showtime.

DD And how was that opening DJ set you did for one of the shows?

GD Oh yah that DJ set was fun!  I didn’t really plan it out so I was sort of playing random jams. People seemed to dig it though so maybe I should do some more! I used to DJ a lot but have been more into production and the visual thing the last couple of years.

DD Any last words? Seriously wish you all the best with the remainder of the tour and beyond. You’re doing reallllly superb things Ryan.

GD We’re looking forward to some good shows in Europe and Australia! I’ve also got some other projects I’m working on for the new year including music from my band WIN WIN and a new website that will showcase the visual work I’ve done with several artists these past few years. So stay tuned for that!

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porterrobinson.com

- Jimi Jaxon

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