Low End Theory and Alpha Pup Records Nobody has launched a new mix this year with the biggest source for mixtapes, DatPiff. Titled Spare Time Mixtape Vol 1, the compilation features unreleased beats, instrumentals and remixes sourced from 2008-2012. Bass heavy, futuristic beat work, the mix is best felt through a high fidelity system where the low end can really interact with the overtones. As a producer who has walked through every movement of the modern beat generation in it’s 15 year course or so, this collection highlights the influence Nobody has contained for years now. Ahead of his time doesn’t even begin to explain what this active LA based producer stands for and this is a nice lens into why Nobody has become respected by every producer touring the world. Download/stream the free mix below and check out one of the streaming tracks Nobody uploaded into his Soundcloud if you want to hear something before diving in full.
“Do That Trick (2010 Dub) | https://soundcloud.com/dj-nobody
Nobody’s remix of The Mars Volta’s “Ouroboros”
On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Los Angeles was given a special presentation of some of the best modern electronic and hip hop music at the always packed Low End Theory. Including Baths, Dauwd, Ta-Ku, Dark Time Sunshine, special guest Busdriver and all of the Low End residents (Nocando, GLK, D-Styles, Daddy Kev and DJ Nobody), the evening was filled with an entirely different atmosphere than usual. The connectivity power was activated right from the beginning and a deep sense of passion swept through the Low End audience with superb sets from everyone on the bill. As the official return of Baths to the Low End Theory, this Anticon artist has been canvasing the world with his musical craft and Low End Theory was a must stop event for this visionary. Everyone on the bill that night was in full stride with various projects, highlighting one very small pocket of the collective artistic momentum that is existing in the 2010′s.
Baths has been promoting material off his upcoming album scheduled to release with Anticon in May of this year and anticipation has been raised with the type of set he gave to the city of LA for Low End. London’s Dauwd is also in promotion of new material with the February release of a bass heavy and experimentally electro EP by the name of Heat Division (Pictures Music Records). The vibe of the room changed entirely for his set, defining why he has been creating the type of buzz there is around him. Ta-Ku is one of the hardest working individuals in modern producer culture, claiming a large body of networks that include Project: Mooncircle, Soulection, HW&W, Sunday Records, Mushroom Music and much more. Low End Theory is an evolving platform for many different producer types and Ta-Ku brought his unique presence to the night without flaw. He has the kind of presence and sonic type that fit seamlessly with the past foundations of some of the best sets at Low End. The moment he got on the Low End stage, you could just feel what was about to happen.
Dark Time Sunshine is on the last leg of their US tour with Void Pedal and Moodie Black and stopped by Low End Theory for this one off date. Members Onry Ozzborn and Zavala create a very progressive and unique type of hip hop that is mind blowing in lyrical form. The beats are full of color and life, with deviations to the norm that are starting to become the norm in hip hop. Experimentally driven, the music is large and taps into a completely new type of atmosphere for the genre. There set was yet another completely unique experience that was highlighted by the contagious good vibes that were in the crowd. Busdriver was a special guest for the evening and displayed his technical and creative prowess on the mic for LA.
Low End Theory became a very different experience on March 20th, 2013 then ever before and was a night we feel honored to have captured with the photo collection that is below. The residents of Low End Theory have constantly been sharpening their skills over the life span of Low Ends existence and it’s astonishing to see it all continue to elevate on the level it did this last week.
Baths, Ta-Ku, Dauwd & Dark Time Sunshine + All Residents
March 20, 2013 @ Low End Theory Los Angeles, CA
All photography by Oliver Walker
Tonight marks the beginning of Sound Mass, a new collaboration event between D-Styles and Pryvet Peepsho – also known together as The Alter Servers – held at the Grandstar Jazz Club in Los Angeles. Bringing together a very special range of DJ’s and musicians, this first night will be testing grounds for what both of the promoters have envisioned as becoming a premier location for the advancement of high levels skills through improvisation and collaboration. The premier slots for this debut Sound Mass are given to LA’s Computer Jay and legendary turntablist of the Beat Junkies, Rhettmatic. Long standing Ubiquity Records recording artist and native to California, Greyboy will also bring his turtablism and musicianship skills to the evening.
Inka One, Shiva and Haruto have all been making names for themselves in recent years and will be welcomed additions to the seasoned artists on this bill. The history of what D-Styles has created is enough to make me follow anything he is involved in and this is a night we really believe is going to spark a new sense of creativity and focus. It’s an event we hope has the power to define a new age of instrumentalists and collaborators who are bringing live beat culture back to the essence of hip hop. Below are soundclips from a few of the performers on the bill.
unity | music | cult.ure
Presented by The Alter Servers:
Low End Theory resident and member of the World Famous Beat Junkies, D-Styles & Pryvet Peepsho, the creator of TheFlyBall and member of Beautiful Kalimari.
Grand Star Jazz Club
943 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
A night of soul slaps, manipulated sounds and head nod/dance floor anthems from some of the best deejays/producers in LA. Also a live jam incorporating turntables and live electronics with The Alter Servers and ????. We strongly suggest that you arrive early not just only for the jam…….wait for it………it’s FREE from 10pm-11pm.
Computer Jay (Weird Science/Master Blazter)
Greyboy (Greyboy Allstars/Warchurch)
2 full bars/2 rooms and smoking patio
FREE from 10pm-11pm
$10 after 11pm
^ Rhettmatic “The Audition” Beat Junkie Sound 2001
^ Computer Jay “Distance” Ramp Recordings 2010
^ Greyboy “Land Of The Lost” Ubiquity Records 1995
Low End Theory has blessed the world with a brand new podcast release today, their first in many months! Reaching episode 23, this podcast features resident DJ and founder of Low End Theory The Gaslamp Killer and one of the men responsible behind the tables for the legendary Jurrasic 5, Cut Chemist. GLK fills up the first half of the mix with Cut Chemist taking the closing slot. Download link for the mp3 along with the iTunes Low End Theory Podcast subscription page below.
Episode 23: Gaslamp Killer and Cut Chemist
Download Link = episode23_gaslampkiller_cutchemist.mp3
The absolute best way to get our podcast is to SUBSCRIBE via iTunes:
Native to the most southern region of California, San Diego and now a resident of the fast paced everything goes territory of Los Angeles, The Gaslamp Killer has traveled across many regions of the world in the last decade or so through his music spreading a wealth of energy to the masses. He is a man of the people and his music stands for something very pure in the modern analog and digital age. I feel he represents one of the highest states of electric power through sound, a wave like strength that has been evident from his beginnings when he would knock needles off the turntables from rocking so hard and catch the needle and put it right back on the groove as if nothing had happened. If you have seen this turntablist, producer and musician live, you know how crazy and euphoric things can get and that energy has come full circle with his debut full length on Brainfeeder called Breakthrough. 17 tracks that run a little under 50 minutes, this is an album full of so many ideas, tones and colors that it becomes endless in representation. It shows a unique direction with experimentalism that can justly be describe as GLK’s sound. The inclusion of many producers and artists on the project gives the album the type of varied result that speaks of a language that goes far beyond just one individual.
As one of the most anticipated electronic and hip hop producer albums to come out this year, The Gaslamp Killer went the extra mile to create a body of work that we feel is a timeless piece of art, not just a beat album. I think of the Twilight Zone when I hear Breakthrough. The interludes, the style of drum breaks, the open ended spiritual states, psychotic flows of energy; there is a subtle relationship that exists between the acoustic and electronic domain all over the album that is superb. When most modern producers are cycling through a reminiscing sound from track to track, The Gaslamp Killer puts together a collage of songs, creating a fascinating sonic experience. I am reminded in many ways of how diverse an album like Electric Ladyland from Hendrix is, especially with a psychedelic backdrop, a matrix of exotic layers and a level of sophistication that brings it all together flawlessly.
Breakthrough has that gritty San Diego sound musicians like Tenshun, Gonjasufi and Psychopop have brought to the world for years. Everything is rooted in heavy states of contact with this album, especially when you hear the power of the bass, drums and melodic ideas through a hi def sound system. I have also listened to this album on multiple occasions with headphones and the stereo field created is incredible, showing how much detail was given to the position of each instrument inside of the mix. Sounds are constantly moving and panning in all directions while the heart of the drum, bass and other grounded elements stay centered and moving forward. It’s grafted in corridors of 3D movement and feels a Mati Klarwein piece. I recall the band The Mars Volta a great deal in terms of how alive the mix is.
Constructed over a large period of time and around touring in many places over the world, his residency at the ever expanding Low End Theory and his involvement with the Brainfeeder and Alpha Pup labels, Breakthrough begins with a psychedelia laced intro with no percussion that recalls the voice of the 70′s when experimentation was reaching new grounds with new technology and machinery. Sounds are colliding into one another from every directions in a processed field of ricochet vocal samples and sounds of every kind. Ending with a beautiful sample of a vocal group harmonizing over a band, the stage has been set for the first feature track of the record with Gonjasufi called “Veins”. The music is still devoid of percussion at this point, showing a beautiful layering of violin, synth and guitar with the unforgettable and unique vocal style of Gonjasufi. He has one of my favorite voices in the modern age and it’s with perfect affect that his appearance early in the album sets off things into a very deep spiritual state for the album. “Veins” has a very elegant feeling to it, setting the albums momentum up for one of the biggest and heaviest drum tracks I have heard in “Holy Mt Washington”. Featuring Computer Jay, the slow burning essence of the whistle and synth layering bleeds into the speakers with a dark beauty that molds itself over the monstrous drum and bass work. “Holy Mt Washington” hits into the speakers in an almost violent and assaulting manner with how big the bottom end sounds. “Father” is the first of a few interludes that break up the album into sections. Also centered around a collage esk psychedelia field of processed sounds, it’s another excursion into an altered world where sound takes on very different forms.
“Critic” has the traces of a shadow in its remnants, wobbling in and out with one of the oddest combinations of tones. It’s the kind of sound where the Middle East meets the illustrious Los Angeles beat scene. The other man on this track is Mophono, another artist who stretches limitations in the beat world. One of my favorite collaborations comes in the next track “Dead Vets”. Featuring San Diego native and drum extraordinaire MRR and multi-instrumentalist and composer Adrian Younge, the three create a song that rides out deep with some really beautiful layers that are tightly woven around the transfixing drum work. Lush organ statements and spaghetti western guitar fills dominate the melodic phrasing of the song. It’s a raw yet elegant song, something GLK captures so well with the perfect balance. The highly accomplished violinist and composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson has been all over the modern electronic scene doing session work for the best and GLK included him into his vision for Breakthrough like many of his colleagues have. Included on the single for the album “Flang Face”, the two come together for a menacing and dark approach to experimental beat music and sophisticated experimentation’s into the classical domain. Miguel Atwood Ferguson layers down prophetic lines on his violin while GLK layers massive drum breaks and synth lines that shape into every position possible.
The next interlude of Breakthrough comes in the track “Fuck”. This is a song that you have to hear to believe. It speaks of the humor and light hearted yet clever and intelligent nature of The Gaslamp Killer. Gonjasufi makes his second appearance on the record with the next track “Apparitions”. Using a large portion of a song from the late and great Ethiopian composer Mulatu Astatke sourced somewhere between the 60′s/70′s, the vintage and analog aura of the album comes to an apex in this song. GLK flips the track in the most subtle way with effects laced into the original Mulatu piece while Gonjasufi’s vocals sounds like a beacon of light that only prophets can put into a collected representation through sound. This track reminds me of the Sufi and a Killer album Gonjasufi and GLK worked on together and it’s a stand out track in GLK’s career. The album takes on a flight into an 8-bit space world with “Impulse” where Daedelus utilizes his sequencers over GLK’s psychotic production work. The music is cut up with a ton of transitions over the psychedelic chamber music the two seasoned producers created. The climax of energy at the end is incredible and is reminiscent to how GLK can flip the room inside and out during his live performances.
The music takes on a heavy experimental excursion of insanity in the piece “Peasants, Cripples and Retards”. Included is Brainfeeder artist SAMIYAM and the track sounds like synthesizers are being ripped a part before your ears. With a heavy dose of rhythm present, it has a crazy vibe that further cements the albums exotic and varied flow from track to track. “Meat Guilt” with RSI brings that heaviness on the drums and showers in a drifting canvas of synth and an overall muscular feel that pays homage to the hip hop foundations that birthed the producers roll in the art form. As the last interlude of the album,”Mother” is the most intriguing of the set. The musical backdrop is set in a 70′s French fusion state with the sample of a mother speaking about her child. The origin of this recording is for all I know unknown and is an incredible breathing point for the album. With the amount of heavy drum work presented, these resting points give the album an energy recharge.
“Nissim” is the song on the album that leaves me in awe on every listen. Named after his grandfather , this is one of the most sublime states of composition GLK has ever reached. There is a transferring of energy between the modern drum and production work of the LA beat scene and the mystic nature of the yiali tambur that is the main melody of the song. I picture looking at 50+ foot waves when I hear a song like this as it puts me into a deep meditative and reflective mood. It’s a relaxing and soothing piece and is the song I feel makes the record one of the most forward thinking electronic albums of the year. “Keep It Simple Stupid” with Shigeto has a omni presence in the bottom end, shooting out waves of sonic bliss on the top register that speaks of the Middle East again. The drum work is incredible, towering in 32nd notes with precision and fire that all break down at the drop of a dime with quick rolls. It’s an incredible feet accomplished with live electronic drum pads.
Dimlite, one of my favorite producers out right now, takes partnership with GLK in the piece “Seven Years of Bad Luck for Fun”. Another dark window of sound becomes evident in this track, with interlocking samples and synths that move in cycles. The mix is really alive on the song with the amount of panning that occurs. The break down and build up in the middle section of the song is one of my favorite moments on the album. This is modern sci-fi horror music that relies on tones of a sub world, the heart of the drum and thundering bass fills. The ending section is surprisingly beautiful and serene though. There is a lot more space used in this ending section than most of the song calls upon. The end of the album is near and the remaining six minutes are given to the GLK solo track “In The Dark…”. This is the song on the album that reminds of the voice of The Mars Volta. Highly metallic and psychedelic, this is a great ending to an album that stops at nothing to present a world of sounds unlike anything else. Gonjasufi makes a small vocal appearance and the rest of the music is given to the layering symphonic essence of the modern experimental electronica world GLK is helping to pave into genre form. Cello, deep swells of texturized synth, tightly woven drum work and dynamics for miles, this the type of ending I crave for albums to contain and leave the last note on. It had been awhile since I encountered an album where a nice portion of dead space leads the dedicated listener into a bonus section of music. That situation holds true with Breakthrough as the ending section reprises with a very special closing statement that is minimal, subdued and elegant in design but is emotionally as powerful as anything you can experience live from the man.
I really feel Breakthrough is a masterpiece. It took me many encounters to come to understand the record but it hit me like a ton of bricks the deeper I became familiar with the subtle intricacies of how this album is put together. The Gaslamp Killer has been in the game for a long time and now he has come full circle with his first debut full length on Brainfeeder, Breakthrough.
All words and photography from Oliver Walker | http://olivermwalker.com/
Another hot august night another blistering evening of the best of the LA beat scene at Low End Theory. It was so hot at the airliner that Nocando was giving shout-outs to “that guy in the hoodie” and Nobody got a haircut, though on second thought maybe he didn’t want to compete with the other legendary afro coming to play that evening: Questlove was in the house. Before he got down to business Questlove mentioned the studio that was The Roots dressing room over on Fallon and that this was the kind of set he dreamed about. Throughout his extended set he proceeded to stack beats on beats on beats, letting some play through for only 15 seconds before cutting away just because of the sheer volume of drops he had to get through.
Low End new comer and team supreme member Colta picked up the evening after presidential nominee Daddy Kev, who treated us to an excellent set including a fresh transition from cover to original while keeping the emotion and beat. Usually X’s on the hands mean that someone is going to be having an epic 21st birthday sometime soon, but in the case of Cazal Organism he has only recently had his sweet 16. You wouldn’t know it from the way he handled the room though, playing through some well crafted joints and even getting on the mic for a little. Scoop Deville (from SD, get it?) began with a boom with some raw hip hop performed live, and Nobody was lights-out though it could have been the fresh hair.
Questlove’s announcement of an all-Beiber set brought some laughter, and he did bookend his set with a “Call Me Maybe,” but in between it was all business. In his short time with us, he premiered more beats then most mere mortals could ever hope to produce in their lifetime and as his vast record collection would indicate that did not even scratch the surface. I still have not seen Colta not wearing that raiders shirt, but I have seen Questlove.
Low End Theory
August 29, 2012
The Inland Empire’s Gypsy Mamba has just set his maiden voyage into the musical hemisphere this year. With a high velocity of mixtape and album output, a dj residency at the Beat Cinema and a recent performance at the legendary Low End Theory that surpassed anyones expectations, Gypsy Mamba has made himself in a very short time. Steeped into a bass heavy and experimentally driven approach to electronica and hip hop production, Gypsy Mamba is one of our favorite up and coming producers at SCV. Gypsy Mamba presented a mix release in our online radio series via Mixcloud earlier this year and has stopped at nothing to keep pushing out new material since.
We caught up with Gypsy Mamba shortly after his Low End gig this last week for this exclusive interview at Sound Colour Vibration. Also included below is the streaming new release from Gypsy Mamba for your listening enjoyment.
Q&A with Gypsy Mamba
Conducted by Erik Otis
Sound Colour Vibration: What’s up Gypsy Mamba, first wanted to thank you again for the exclusive mix you dropped with us and also for taking the time to answer these questions. You recently made your debut performance at the Low End Theory this last week. How was the experience and what has Low End Theory meant to you since you have been attending?
Gypsy Mamba: Thanks for supporting always, it’s greatly appreciated. Low End Theory to me is like the top of the beat scene mountain. I’ve been attending for about 4 – 5 years now. To play there and have a crowd reaction like I did was an epic experience to say the least. Big ups to Low End for an amazing night.
SCV: You released a brand new record I Keel You Owl with mastering from Nutrik. How would you describe this record and what type of direction did you set out on to make this record what it is?
GM: I can describe this record in 3 words: “ADULT DIAPERS REQUIRED” (laughs). This one has nothing but straight bangers. I wanted to set the bar of what my style consists of with “ikeelyouowl.” Crazy samples, manipulated chops n synths with hard pounding drums layed out in unorthodox ways.
SCV: When did you first start making music and who have been some of your biggest mentors.
GM: I started making music officially about roughly 2 years ago, if that… My mentors would have to be bands such as Boards of Canada, as well as Animal Collective. Because of the fact that they are so out there in their style I was really turned on to the uniqueness of the music. I knew this was my route when and if I ever started making music.
SCV: You are a resident DJ at the Beat Cinema, which is probably my favorite spot for live experimental electronic music outside of Low End. How did you link with Beat Cinema and what’s been some of your favorite moments there?
GM: One day I shot a beat to Smash Cartel on Facebook and I got a response almost immediately asking if I’d be down to play the patio one night. The rest is history (laughs). My best moments there were the first time I played which was basically my first official gig and it was with LOW LIMIT of LAZER SWORD. Also the night I played wit JONWAYNE and SAMIYAM; great nights. Almost every night is a great experience there but those stand out to me. Also when I played with DJ Nobody and DOT with Quarry, that night was bangers
SCV: Music is evolving at a very rapid pace and you are one of the newest to emerge from a very strong wave of artists in the beat world. Who are your favorite producers and what records really make you step back and feel the weight of what this generation is doing?
GM: Damn, I have a hard time answering these kind of questions. ElOS’s new REMIX EP is really dope. It’s shown me the amount of talent out there right now and what they are all about I’ve been “wowed” by it. As far as artists, I’m fucking with most cats out there right now. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite because it’s a community and I’m proud to be a part of it. Regardless, there’s a lot of really amazing music out right now and I encourage all to research your local LA and IE producers. S/O to DIRTRAID.
SCV: I definitely love what Dirtraid is doing. How did the name Gypsy Mamba come about?
GM: I used to be part of a punk band that me and the homie Edgar Ramirez and Omar Romero started back in 2010-2011 and it was called “Snake Romance.” We never really went anywhere with it because we needed a drummer but we gave each other nick names that had to do with snakes. Gypsy Mamba came up for me because my parents are Romanian gypsies and it rolled off the tongue so that’s that (laughs). GYPSY MAMBA was born (laughs).
SCV: Now that you have played Low End, what are some new goals that you have set for yourself?
GM: I set out to do more gigs, get more buzz, use the Low End buzz to push my music and that will ultimately lead to doing festivals and bigger venues. The ultimate goal though is Coachella.
SCV: If I am not mistaken, you are an artist who has only released music digitally. When do you see yourself getting out printed releases?
GM: Im in the works right now to put out a cassette tape, a very aesthetically pleasing one at that. Multicolored cassettes with original GYPSY MAMBA art work on them. I might do like five different covers. I’ll release it myself if no one has picked me up by then (laughs). But I’m in the works, money talks in the physical release realm.
SCV: Passion is always an element to an artist that is immediately felt or in some cases not present depending on their purpose with music. Did this world choose you and passion is endless or do you struggle with keeping the creative fire lit at times?
GM: Passion runs through me just as fast as the blood that pumps me alive. I make a new track almost every day and place ‘em in the folder. I can honestly say I have enough tracks to put out three more EP’s and by then I’ll be ready with a whole new arsenal. And yes, I struggle sometimes. What artist doesn’t have a personal life as well? Struggle to me comes from personal life struggles that inflict on the creative time.
SCV: What’s the most rewarding parts to making music for you and when did you start to look at music as something you wanted to base your career on?
GM: The most rewarding thing is that people are supporting. It’s a great motivator to provide to people who are looking for a certain sound. I only started looking at music as a career option when I started getting the Low End Theory buzz. I feel now that I played Low End, it’s definitely a possibility.
SCV: What are the some of the experiences you have had where you felt your highest state of connection with the sounds you were producing?
GM: I’ve had moments while making music where my emotional state changes. I could have a really shitty day and pump out some mega tune that makes me feel like……man I need to be mad more often (laughs) but sometimes some tracks make me feel unsatisfied. Hence I never finish ‘em (laughs). I don’t know man. All my shit is fueled by vivid emotions.
SCV: For anyone out there who is starting out with their music, what type of advice can you give them?
GM: Find your niche and do you. I can’t give you any advice that will bring out your own creativity except for be true to yourself.
SCV: Thanks for your time Gypsy Mamba, really love what you are doing with sound and we wish you the best of luck in your persuit to gain more exposure in the world.
GM: Thank you for always supporting my music I really appreciate it mang. GYPSY!
Welcome to your evil, Turkish nightmare.
But it’s the sort of nightmare you don’t really want to wake up from because it’s just so damn fascinating. Fuzzy, skittle beats layer themselves over future fold hell fire bleeps made by what sounds like an evil android losing his goddamn mind inside of a video game arcade all the while a pack of psychedelic L.S.D. drenched Turkish musicians follow his ass around and… yeah.
It’s an incredible single release with an equally refreshing alternative take (for the infamous and growing to be legendary Low End Theory Club). Something so refreshing that you’ve gotta’ ask yourself, “what the hell is up with 2012 and beats, huh?” Some of the finest beats are being put out this year, O.G. compilations layered around brilliance and originality.
“Flange Face” features virtuoso Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on strings, layering intricate almost future Jefferson’s Bollywood strings over the mad scientists evil monster.
“Seven Years of Bad Luck for Fun” features Dimlite. Gaslamp and Dimlite go in deeper into the nightmare odyssey bringing out cyborg hip-hop like never before. Seriously, this track slays and rapes entire continents with one single listen.
If “Flange Face” and “Seven Years of Bad Luck for Fun” are merely the tip of the iceberg on The Mother Fucking Gaslamp Killer’s new record, then I think we are all in for an epic grimy dirt hop delight that will definitely top lists all across the board for 2012 and beyond.
The Gaslamp Killer is a self-taught producer and DJ originally from San Diego and now a resident of Los Angeles who embodies the spirit and raw power of our generation. Over the past decade William “The Gaslamp Killer” Bensussen has released over a dozen mixes, EP’s, and other produced materials, as well as relentless world touring. The amount of dedication alongside GLK has given him the opportunity to move in motion with the entire world, whether inside the studio or on a stage. Gaslamp’s comrades, his friends who complete the Low End Theory and Brainfeeder rosters are artists whom never cease to lose sight of the truth inside of electronic music. Then across the pond is the talented array of hundreds of artists that GLK shares bills with, giving his communication around the globe and the networks that exist with it answers leading to results in music that are endless.
SCV phoned Gaslamp Killer early this year and discussed matters of history, present-day, and of course events/projects in the future. We discussed gear, thoughts about his travels of the world, the importance of the drum, mentors, his five most anticipated albums of the year and many more topics in the time we had with GLK. The Gaslamp Killer is a very intelligent and insightful human being, an artist who’s grasping more technical abilities to realize his musical visions as time progresses and someone who brings people together in euphoric ways. With his first official full length in the works, this is an interview we are very happy to bring to Sound Colour Vibration.
SCV interview with The Gaslamp Killer
*conducted by Pouya G. Asadi
SCV: First wanted to start off talking about the power of percussion and specifically, the drumset, along with how many different emotions it can put us through as listeners. I was introduced to your work 5 years ago while waiting in line at a concert at the Ventura theater and was thrilled to hear a producer who tracks his own drum beats. Why is drumming is so important to you?
GLK: The drum… I think the drum is probably the first music that was ever created in the world. I think the heart beating is like a drum. The ultimate rhythm of the world is coming from the drum. I believe that we are driven by rhythm and emotion. [With] our bodies being made up of so much water, I feel like the rhythm of the ocean and the rhythm of the drum is very similar. I just think the rhythm section, of any song, that’s what gets people right away. For me, if the drums are bangin’, I’m immediately intrigued and I want to listen deeper right away.
SCV: You have an enormous amount of touring coming up, and it’s something you’re used to. Has the process of touring become a bit therapeutic at times?
GLK: For me, I don’t partake in any drugs or alcohol and have not for 4 months. I am trying to continue to do so for a while. I’m focused on feeling energy from the audience and I’m addicted to that high and I want to share my music with as many people as I can, perform for as many people as I can. I find that that’s what makes me most happiest in the world; is creating music and playing it for people. Being able to play my friends’ music for large crowds and stuff like that. It’s what moves me, it’s what drives me. That’s what I enjoy the most, that’s what gets me going.
SCV: Sometimes while traveling, culture clash freaks people out, does the culture clash inspire and intrigue you as you tour across the world?
GLK: Yeah, it does every time. I find that young people are pretty much the same all over the world. Everybody goes to shows to escape. Everybody goes to hear music to try to catch some kind of spirit and be free from their stress and their worry and their day to day issues and their humanity. The reason why I go out to hear music is because we don’t have tribal ceremonies anymore where everybody gets together and a band will lead a community into a trance. We don’t have that anymore but human beings are constantly looking for that peace inside them. They’re constantly looking for that togetherness. They’re constantly looking to go into trance with their community and find freedom in their spirit and their mind without having to be locked in their body that has to go to work everyday and has to deal with the dramas of boys and girls and relationships, and has to go through all this stupid bullshit. We just want to be let free from that and everybody’s trying to get that from going out and myself included. I find that it’s a much needed escape and that our generation, our culture, doesn’t have that. We don’t have that tribal society where that happens anymore and I think that’s a integral part of humanity and being a human being in general. Like wanting to escape your body and be free. That’s how people used to do it, and it’s been lost in recent times. But I believe that is what drives people who generally are broke and can’t even afford a movie ticket, they would rather pay to go to a show and break free in a show. That’s where they want to spend their money even if they’re are hella broke they still wait in line and pay for Low End Theory because they want to be a part of that and I think all of us as human beings need that.
SCV: I wanted to talk about your live show, I notice that it’s almost like a creative lecture, what I mean is you’re basically showing your peers what’s hot and fresh in terms of new music while teaching them new things. Have you learned a lot through similar process with all the brilliant different label-heads [Andy Votel of Finders Keepers/Twisted Nerve, Daddy Kev of Alpha Pup] that you meet and collaborate with?
GLK: I find them more as friends more than label heads. Daddy Kev, Alpha Pup or no Alpha Pup, I found a lot of guidance in Kev and a lot of knowledge in Daddy Kev and definitely mentoring me in every way imaginable. He knows more about me than a lot of people. He knows as much about me as my own parents do. He definitely mentored me as well as Brandy Flower from HIT+RUN crew. Brandy Flower is my art director and he’s always got good advice for me and always knows what to say. He lives his life on the edge for life, and he’s always coming out ahead, and he’s always sharp and he’s always giving 100%. Same as Kev, they barely sleep. They devote their lives to their community and they do it so well and I find a lot of knowledge and a lot of guidance from those two. I try to teach the kids when I’m on stage. I try to educate, not just entertain. I’m not just their just to play whatever makes them happy and I’m not just there to jump around and act crazy or play whatever they want to hear. I’m there to play music I believe in and if I’m feeling it, than perform with that same enthusiasm that I have for sharing the music.
SCV: How is your new full length album coming along?
GLK: I’m thinking about 70% done which is great for me. I have been playing new songs from the record for people. At my shows, I’ve been playing some of the stuff and it’s coming together pretty well. I got Daedelus, Dimlite, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mofongo, Gonjasufi and a lot of other guests. It’s shaping up nicely. Little by little, I’ve been working on this for many years. My EP’s, I kind of just threw out there because they were burning a whole through in brain and I felt like they needed to be released to the world. But this has been something I have taken my time on and I’m still working on it and I’m still really devoted to the idea of having the first album be exactly how I have envisioned it for this many years instead of trying to rush against time.
SCV: What kind of stuff will you play at the upcoming Low End Theory Stage at Cypress Hill’s Up In Smoke Fest and the other shows coming up?
GLK: I don’t know, it depends on what kind of crowd I have. That’s another thing, I kind of choose who I’m going to play my own material to very wisely. I can tell the difference between true Gaslamp Killer fans and just some people who want to get crazy. I can tell the difference between them. People who just want to get crazy, generally don’t want to hear music that’s all about the head. They want to hear music that’s also about the body, which is fine with me because I have tons of both. But if someone asked me to come play an art show it would be way different than somebody who would ask me to play a concert which would be way different than somebody who asked me to play in a small dance club where everybody’s sweating their ass off, dancing. I don’t try to cater but I always try to direct it and change my set accordingly but not to cater per say, more to interact with the audience on many levels and I’m always trying to flip it up for myself too. It just helps me keep it original.
SCV: SCV has talked to a lot of gearheads in the past, are there any new toys that you have been messing with onstage or in the studio?
GLK: Well my OP-1 has been a good friend to me. Teenage Engineering: OP-1. That’s definitely a fine tool for both recording and performing. That’s my newest piece of gear that I’ve been using a hell of a lot. It’s this new keyboard. I also have the Korg MS2000, and the [Moog] Little Phatty, and the Univox [miniKORG], and the Virus TI, and uhhhhh.. a few other things that I’m gonna let remain nameless that I used all over the new album.
SCV: Last year when my colleagues and I were listening to some Prefuse 73 records we noticed your name in the liner notes of Everything is Ampexian? Do you collaborate a lot with Guillermo?
GLK: It was a minute there when I was on tour with him and I was drumming and playing drums a lot during sound check. I’d come up during his show and his drummer would leave and I would get on the drums for the finale. Basically, he asked me, “Send me some of those drums if you have any studio recorded sessions.” So I just sent him some of my drumming and he made a song with it. We never actually got in the studio together, it was always just like we admired each other’s work and he asked me to jump on and I said “yeah.”
SCV: Are there any films or books that you have seen the past year that have really affected you and your perception of art?
GLK: I reread Jack Keruoac “On The Road” and I also reread another book called “Acid Dreams” and I’ve been kind of trying to go into the past with literature, not just music, to try and find inspiration. I find a lot of inspiration from the 60′s and I find a lot of inspiration coming from the beatnik generation, which is also my mother’s generation, my father’s generation. The Americans in the 60′s experienced so much change, in the late 50′s through the late 60′s.They experienced so much change and it just reminds me how important it is to go outside of yourself as much as you can. Killing the ego was something that a lot of people were about back then and people just wanted to just exist. We didn’t choose to be born and we can’t really kill ourselves gracefully, there’s no real good way to do that. So you kind of just have to live and instead of always chasing my goals and my dreams and my aspirations, I just want to be. I just want to simply exist as a human being and I’ve been trying to get back to that as much as I can. It’s really hard though because I have a lot of ambition and a lot of drive and I have a lot of need to go further and go harder and be better but sometimes, you know, I just want to be a human being and all of us deserve that. That has a lot to do with “On The Road”, just going out, hitchhiking and experiencing the world. Acid Dreams is all about the 60′s and LSD and the CIA and how America changed and how LSD changed the whole world. More than the drug, I’m interested in the social change that it created and the way the people of that time tried to kill the ego. That’s the type of stuff that intrigues me and that’s what I find inspiration from as well musically.
SCV: Besides your new album what are your top 5 most anticipated releases of 2012?
GLK: That’s tough. I think, definitely top two are EPROM and Flying Lotus. EPROM’s album is fucking next level, Flying Lotus’s album is next level. They both definitely set the bar really, really high. Gonjasufi and his wife have a new project, it’s called Black Hail Mary and it’s one of the most goosebumps-evoking records I have ever heard. So those are my top three. Niki Randa who’s all over Flying Lotus’s records, she has a group called the Triangle Method. Their record is really, really heavy and I don’t even know if that’s going to come out this year, that might come out next year, but that’s definitely like wow, incredible. I think Computer Jay’s new record is also going to be really, really heavy. I’ve already been listening to a lot of Computer Jay’s new record and it’s so fucking dope. It’s so original and he’s mixing so much of this modern funk vibe that he got while creating Master Blaster with Dam-Funk. He’s got this modern funk vibe up in it a lot more. He always had a funky vibe but now you can hear he’s comfortable. He understands, like alright, this is my sound and you can hear that in the record and it’s fucking amazing. I’m really, really looking forward to Computer Jay’s record dropping. Everything Dimlite has been playing me and everything Mophono has been playing me. I don’t know if Dimlite will put out another record because he just dropped that one at the end of the year. Mophono from San Francisco, Mophono’s new record is fucking incredible as well. Really, really, really, really good. So yeah, EPROM, Flying Lotus, Gonjasufi, Computer Jay, Mophono, Triangle Method. It’s crazy because I hadn’t even thought about that but you helped me narrow it down now, I’m glad we did this.
SCV: SCV noticed that Low End Theory are gearing up for another showcases in Japan, how is that coming along this year?
GLK: Unfortunately, I can’t be with them but I can tell you it’s going to be the best Low End Theory Japan yet. Even though I’m not going to be there, I can already tell you, the way they are putting it together is so incredible and so on point and so impressive. It’s going to be the best Low End Theory Japan ever, than the next one in June will be equally as impressive. Then the next one in September will be equally impressive and there’s a lot of really good details that I’m not going to be the spoiler to. I’m just going to let the Japanese people enjoy that.
The Gaslamp Killer – ‘When I’m In Awe’ feat. Gonjasufi via Brainfeeder
On the evening of February 29th, 2012, Low End Theory came together for yet another out of this world set of artists on the bill. Brainfeeder’s Jeremiah Jae, Alpha Pup’s Dot and Warp’s Gonjasufi, you have three of the best modern experimental electronic labels coming together under the spirit and energy of the Low End Theory family. Daddy Kev, D-Styles, Nocando, DJ Nobody and The Gaslamp Killer are always presenting something new with the old and a drastic shift in every nights presentation. You never know what you will get but you always get something worthwhile and memorable. On this particular February evening, the opening sets of Daddy Kev and D-Styles brought back a very reminiscent feeling of the past, with deep cuts in the passage of raw hip hop and electronic music. D-Styles is one of the few turntablist and dj’s who actively pursues that area of his craft during the Low End Theory nights, always dicing in scratches that slide over his signature experimental voyages through wax in the most seamless ways. Sometimes you don’t even realize he is manipulating sound with vinyl until you see what he is doing. DJ Nobody always brings a level of excitement to the crowd when his sets start and this night was no different. DJ Nobody has a bag of goods in his selections for each Low End Theory night that might be the most unpredictable out of anyone from the Low End Theory crew. Deep bass heavy psych songs to music that is in the top 40, DJ Nobody assured the crowd that the experience would be getting heavy very quickly with the headliners on the bill from how heavy his own set was. The bar was raised very high at this point. One thing you can expect with Low End Theory is anyone headlining can expect the bar to be set very high before anyone outside of the residents have even graced the stage.
Dot, Jeremiah Jae and Gonjasufi stretched the limitations of music on this February Wednesday evening and bridged 3 major electronic labels all under one roof (Warp, Brainfeeder and Alpha Pup). Each artist had their own energy and wave length of existence that they pulled from to make the night one of the most abstract and beautiful. Gonjasufi felt like the apex with The Gaslamp Killer and himself sharing the stage, bringing the crowd to a funneled connected grid of energy with the way he was controlling the crowd and his own impulsive behaviors. It is truly inspiring to watch Gonjasufi become engulfed inside of the music and the freedom that transpires outward was endless in visual representation during his set. Gonjasufi has a power and presence on stage that you could tell affected everyone right away. The charismatic nature of his being really embodied itself int his Low End set as you could really feel every word he was singing and saying. Jeremiah Jae has this really heavy, fat and dusty vinyl sound that presented some of the most soulful yet raw music for the Low End night. Lyrically, he has a very unique style that transcends normality and pushed itself into a region nobody else on the bill could tap into besides Nocando. Wordplay that moved around like a hypnotic dream swirled in the most abstract soundscapes, there is flight to his rhymes that push it much past the suspect musings of most mc’s out today. In terms of production, there is an intricate balance between atonal sounds and a very smooth bass and drum section on most of his songs, where melodic ideas cross the two mediums and shift in scope during the set. Dot, the opener of the three and who was celebrating the release of her new EP with Alpha Pup might have been the most shocking out of the three, thundering in bass tones that glided into the tiniest crevices of the Airliner, home to the Low End Theory Los Angeles nights. With lush tones and a muscular divergence, Dot’s music was some of the most vicious and wild music of the night. Daddy Kev, Nocando, D-Styles, Nobody and The Gaslamp Killer have aligned together to bridge so many styles of modern music with electronics at the connecting points and it feels like every week gets better and better.
Low End Theory is preparing another exclusive tour of Japan very soon along with a new San Francisco first Saturdays of the month residency. We are very happy to present a window into the the foundations of this world with the Los Angeles Low End Theory experience by our head photographer Oliver Walker.
All photography by Oliver Walker
‘Artichoke’ by Dot from the EP “Calliope” on Alpha Pup Records