Deepsky - the In Silico Tour
by Sean Meddel
Since their debut in 1999, Deepsky have become a favorite for the Atlanta crowd. Lunar Magazine catches up with Scott and Jason during the duo's recent stop for the In Silico album tour at the Tabernacle.
Scott: It was written over the course of 2 years and there were many different inspirations for each song. I think perhaps the next album will be leaning more towards a concept, so perhaps there will be a focal point in which is solely inspired.
Jason: Technology has made this album possible. Not simply because we use computers to write our music, but also because a great deal of our lives revolves around technology. Scott and I both worked in the IT field for years before leaving our day jobs to write music, so you could say that tech not only helps us make music, it helped us purchase the tools to make music as well.
Lunar: What do you think you bring to this kind of music, beyond your sheer artistic abilities and expressions? This answer could be just to EDM, or to music (broadly) in general?
Scott: I'd like to think that Deepsky is bringing good electronic music to an audience that appreciates it, and furthermore to an audience that hasn't heard a lot of electronic music to begin with. I've heard numerous times from people that "I wasn't really into electronic music before I heard your stuff" and it's always pleasant to know that we've brought another person over to the dark side (haha).
Jason: : To further what Scott said, I think we're also bridging a few gaps in the scene. I've heard D&B fans say "I wasn't really into trance" before I heard your stuff… the same goes for techno & hardcore fans too. Obviously we can't make everyone happy, but it's nice to know that at least some people from all different types of scenes are able to find something they enjoy in our music.
Lunar: Along that same lines, what do Deepsky offer this industry (as opposed to the scene) that is different than other groups?
Scott: We're trying to break the mold of "The DJ is GOD." I think there are a lot of talented DJs in the industry, but I think that it's time for the producers to get out there and perform more. I mean after all, it's because of producers that DJ's have a job to begin with.
Jason: Well, for one thing we're American. There aren't many other American producers out there who do what we do, and even fewer who actually take the show on the road. Even fewer do that with any sort of consistency. I also think that we've focused a lot on writing music instead of just turning out drum tracks with a couple pads and a bassline, which is where a lot of music seems to be going these days. We're trying to straddle a delicate line-maintaining our appeal to the party crowd while branching out into a few divergent styles.
Lunar: I know what my favorite song is on the album ["View from A Stairway"], and I'm certain you guys have them too. However, I'm curious about what was the -best part- in the journey of turning out this album? And furthermore, what was the most memorable (good/bad) part of this album?
Scott: The best part for me (albeit a technical difficulty) was the transition we made from MIDI to audio in the middle of songwriting. This was the catalyst for the crystal clear production you hear on the album. It set things back a bit, as we had to go back and convert all of the songs that had been done in MIDI, but in the end it was well worth it. It also took us awhile to sort out our label situation. A lot of this music would have been out ages ago, but as we all know, legal protocol often overrides punctuality.
Jason: : The switch from MIDI to audio was by far the best thing. I was reluctant at first, but anyone who's familiar with our older recordings will be able to tell immediately that it rocketed the quality of our production to new heights. The most memorable part of the album was getting stuck in London over 9/11. We were there mastering the record-we were actually scheduled to master on the 11th, luckily it was pushed back because I don't think either of us would have been able to handle that. We ended up being stranded there for five days because international flights were halted. Toni Halliday from Curve and Alan Moulder took us in and put us up for a few days. In spite of the terrible tragedy we were able to make the best of it, thanks entirely to their generosity
Lunar: And maybe this question is a little mundane, what are some of the odder/more unique samples on the album (where do we find them, in case they are lost to TurboSound or it's so subtle, it requires some pointing out) and how was it created/sampled, etc?
Scott: : There are a ton of sounds that come from a plethora of sources. Some come from movies, some from sample cds, some we made ourselves, and so on and so forth. Jason and I actually went out one day with a stereo microphone and a battery powered DAT player and rode the subway around while recording everything. We got some interesting sounds that way.
Jason: That's a difficult question to answer, there's so many samples from so many sources. As Scott said many of our samples begin their life as raw audio from sample CDs. Then we proceed to mangle and reshape them with our effects processors, and usually they end up sounding only remotely like the original. We also make a lot of sounds ourselves. I think one of the things that doesn't come across so well on large systems are the guitar drones in the first half of Until the End of the World that track sounds very different when you can listen to it in a controlled environment and pay close attention to the way the textures work with each other.
Lunar: Who (else) would like you to collaborate with, in the future? And why?
Scott: : We're already talking with Marc Mitchell (Sunday Club, Human Movement) about working on the next album with us. We'd also like to work with Toni Halliday from Curve, and Ryeland Allison. Marc turned out an AMAZING remix of "View From A Stairway" (due out March 5th on vinyl). Toni has been doing great vocal work for over a decade and Ryeland is perhaps the most underrated super producer in the US.
Jason: Y: In addition to the above, I'd like to have Jai Uttal, the vocalist on Cosmic Dancer, down to do a little original work with us. There's also a couple of guys up in Wisconsin who go by P, B & J who are outstanding producers and musicians. We've talked with them a bit about having them drop by for a track or two on the next album.
Lunar: Most of your fans in Atlanta have seen what the Deepsky stage presence can be, but what are you guys like in studio mode? Care to talk about the process or lack thereof a bit?
Scott: Moody and introspective mostly. When I'm in music mode, I can't be bothered. I often work better alone. Jason and I have separate studios that we collaborate from via the internet mostly. I'll be working on a song and need a certain sound. I'll email Jason asking him for what I'm thinking of and about 2 hours later, 10 sounds will pop up in my email. I'll chose one of those usually
Jason: We'll work on a track and come to a point where we have divergent opinions… then we'll both get irritated, argue a bit, and then 10 minutes later it's all a big joke and we end up splitting the difference and compromising. We abuse the hell out of each other but it's all in good fun. It's worked well for us for over 10 years!
Lunar: What is your favorite food, and does it influence your music? What about colors, does it play any role in your music?! ie. the very Barbara Walter-esque what color would you be and why? Haha.
Scott: : Indian. Jason and I try to find the best Indian restaurants wherever we travel. The only thing Indian food influences is our chins. (haha) Colors, hmmm. I like silver, and no I wouldn't say that it plays a role in the music. The studio walls are yellow though… and well, ok that doesn't really matter either.
Jason: Indian by far, and I can't think of any direct influence on our music but who knows what that cheesy Bollywood music does to your subconscious mind! As far as colors go, I like most dark colors, blue and red especially. Muted tones… nothing super bright or obnoxious.
Lunar: And finally, where do you guys do in LA, if you go out/when you go out? Does that add to the music? (Don't worry, no stalkers here)
Scott: : We've been doing this for 10 years + now. When we're home from our shows the last thing I want to do is go out clubbing again. So we go out for coffee and chat, or go see movies… or have loft parties (I live in a 2000 sq ft. loft in downtown LA - perfect for loft parties)
Jason: : True, we really don't go out on a regular basis. It's nice to take a break and chill when we've got one of those rare weekends to ourselves at home. When we do go out clubbing, though, it's usually to Spundae or Giant.
Lunar: Thank you for your time.
The album is available at Tower, HMV and Wherehouse Music around town. Or by clicking on the CD cover above
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