We’re quite the fans of FaltyDL here at Data Transmission. So much so that when his album Hard Courage dropped back in 2013 we flew out from swinging London to Berlin just to attend the Ninja Tune affiliate’s album launch party. It was thus with considerable excitement that we received word that Mr. DL would be dropping a new album on us entitled In The Wild this Autumn. With the inimitable Drew Lustman then dropping into the Capital, we were never going to miss out on the opportunity to catch up with him for a quick chat. Cue a conversation that ranges from to poetry to climatic threesomes. Yes you read that last sentence correctly…
Firstly I need to ask you about the poetry; mainly because I have never seen such a small amount of text generate such an amount of interest in a release…
Yeah, having spoken to friends and colleagues who consider themselves poets despite having other jobs – poetry doesn’t tend to pay peoples bills – it caused quite a stir. So I wanted to ask you about the motivation for including it in the press release.
Cool. Well I think the first question has to be: is it good?
Well that’s hard to say with poetry being so subjective. I found it interesting as normally we only turn to poetry in times of crisis; funerals etc. so it was unusual to see it within that context.
Perhaps that sums up the album! Why I did it was because I hate traditional press releases. It’s like I don’t need to say for the fifth time that I remixed so and so or that particular record. I’d rather do something a bit more original although Actress sort of did a poem which was really cool and opened the door a bit. I’d had an idea about a poem for a long time because basically the way I articulate my feelings is through my music but even that has its limits so I looked at other ways of expressing myself – such as the videos that accompany my music and realized one avenue I hadn’t explored was words.
I wrote a song the other day with a set of lyrics that I want this singer to sing and that for me was great fun. I don’t think my output is the best thing ever or anything like that and it’s all very new to me which is why I think I’m enjoying it so much. I can experiment within this new framework. It’s funny as I have friends who are poets too, like actually published poets and I didn’t send it to any of them for fear that they were going to just eat it! So the reaction has been really cool. People keep asking me about it so I’m glad we went with it as I very nearly didn’t use it because a few people thought we needed something a bit more… tangible. Something else was written up but I was like “Nope!” and it stayed in.
Well we’re glad you did. You mentioned video as forming part of your artistic expression. Do you think artists have to offer something more than just music these days? Did this thinking enter your head when crafting your new album?
No. I wouldn’t say so as there is still so much room to grow within music that I wouldn’t want to think about any other void that needs to be filled as then I’d start to worry about the price of my music and whether it was worth the expense. I was recently speaking to a guy in an indie band in Brooklyn – and he said to me that he just couldn’t get into music that didn’t have vocals as it wasn’t tangible, which is the complete opposite of how I’ve always felt, having grown up always listening to instrumental music. From classical to jazz to electronic music to hip hop, instrumental music is something that I’ve always been comfortable as complete within itself. There are other artistic mediums that can add to it but they aren’t a necessity to make it something worthwhile.
Sure. I actually prefer listening to hip hop where the artists are performing in a language I can’t understand. It takes away the context and I can then selfishly put my own interpretation on the music.
Well that’s a funny thing. In the US, we’re really prideful of hip hop much in the same way you may find kids in London feel about grime. I must admit when I hear hip hop in Spanish or French I’m a bit like “What?” and whilst it’s probably the same stuff just in a different language it still feels a bit weird. It’s strange as I have friends in the UK and other countries who know way more about hip hop than I do, who have a huge library like knowledge of the genre but there is a certain understanding that they don’t and can’t ever have which I do. As I said it’s much in the same way I can’t ‘get’ grime in the way someone from inner city London does.
That’s an interesting point as I don’t think future genres will have these geographical identities. The internet now allows like minded individuals to connect regardless of location so perhaps that intangible connection to a specific scene will be something we see disappear in the future.
Let’s talk about your new album, ‘In The Wild’. You’ve also hooked up with British artist Chris Shen for a collaborative project of the same name. Can you tell us how this interesting collaboration came about?
It was on the suggestion of a guy here at Ninja Tune who had Chris doing the visuals for some parties he was throwing. Much like I wanted the poem instead of a traditional press release I wanted some weird sort of website that was there for you to discover but that might not have anything particularly tangible or accessible for you to uncover. It was a pretty nerdy little idea but it’s cool. It’s not like my last album Hard Courage where we had two lead singles, remixes, music videos and vinyl… I mean how do you put out a record these days?
Indeed. I never thought I’d embed a video from Pornhub onto the site! There were a lot of quirks in the build up to the album’s release. Were all the tracks complete before Chris came in or did he and his work have any sort of influence on their sound?
He came in after they were finished and we began discussing the ideas we’d each been having. We spoke about my feelings on the album and how my music was not only how I articulate my ideas to other people but also my shield, my protection from the world; a product I can stand behind. This changes on release as it enters the public domain and people can then interpret it in all sorts of different ways as they form their own deep personal relationships with it that have nothing to do with me anymore. If you buy this album and you love it and feel held by it and loved by it then you’re going to form this relationship with it that I’m not even aware of! I know that that happens as it happens to me with music and I want that to happen because then you’re really buying something. Anyway, we discussed how things change once things are released into the public and how they evolve in the wild and we felt that this was a good way of showing that. The sound accompanying the video is diegetic. It’s not natural, good quality so it for me neatly summarises the whole ‘In The Wild’ idea.
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