Interview with Music producer Drosophila
“Drosophila” is a genus of flies, useful in genetic experiments for their ability to rapidly proliferate. The Drosophila music project aspires to be a similarly productive conduit of experimentation, mutating workflows and musical idioms.
Who were your first musical influences that you can remember? Who inspired you to start producing music?
I started making electronic music just prior to the turn of the millennium and was really influenced by various breaks comps that were out around that time. Future Primitive Sound Collective’s Urban Revolutions made a big impression. El-P’s debut solo album was huge as well. It felt like the artists were building an entire world through sound. In electronica, I gravitated toward artists like Prefuse 73, Telefon Tel Aviv, Slicker. Groove Mag was a vital window onto a wider world of electronic music for me, as well.
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
The goal is always to transport the listener. To do that, I shoot for the constant progressive movement and rich sonic detail to consider a finished track successful. Then again, finishing anything is a success unto itself.
What does your current software/hardware setup currently consist of?
I work entirely in-the-box using common commercial tools (Ableton Live, NI Razor, FXpansion plugins), with a couple of homebrew contraptions in NI Reaktor. A lot of my tracks incorporate found sound elements recorded on an abused Zoom H4n. I seek out non-standard ways to generate note or control signal sequences. Here are a few that I’m using lately:
Iannix: Draw networks and let chaotic sound ensue. Free.
MidiMorph: A simple MIDI plugin for interpolation between 2 clips in Ableton Live. Free.
Modulat: Make Ableton Live into a modular rig. A paid tool, but super high value, given how powerful it is and the fantastic level of support from the developer.
ml.star: A set of machine learning patches for Max MSP. Definitely not free, given that you need Max to run them. I have only recently started playing with these, but am enjoying the markov.ml patch.
Outside of music, what inspires you?
My day job involves studying how people interact with healthcare technology. There are always some “big picture” philosophical questions in that work: for example, how does technology impact human agency? Or, how does technology change social relationships? Those are common questions to ask in electronic music, as well. I am fascinated by how those issues appear similar or different when viewed from the perspective of the arts vs. institutional management.
Travel is creatively freeing, as well.
What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?
I’m the stereotypical bedroom producer who doesn’t promote their own work (or promotes it very poorly). Maybe I would be better off if I invested more in my relationships to the internet and social media. But I would rather spend time making music.
As a performer or as a member of the audience, what single show has been the most memorable for you?
I saw Melt Banana absolutely devastate a crappy beer bar in the U.S. Midwest in the late 1990s and the show fundamentally rearranged my brain. It started me on a path exploring certain avenues of noise and experimental music.
Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?
I’m loving the output from SVBKVLT’s roster.
Please suggest an album for us to listen to.
For its sound design and vocal performances, I was stunned by 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini’s Harmistice.
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I have multiple techno and experimental works in progress. Check back!
Famous last words?
Readers with more experimental tastes might like my pathworks EP that was released last year via Sweden’s Lamour Records. They can find it here: https://drosophila.bandcamp.com/album/pathworks-ep
Follow Drosophila online