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The exquisite producer will drink the new wine.

Daedelus : Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]

Read part 1 of the interview


Prefix Magazine:
I think it's even easier to forget now that these bands aren't as famous, because of the Internet. You can go online and think that Blueberry Boat was the most important release of last year, but really most people have never heard of Fiery Furnaces. At the same time, the Internet makes people like you and Hirway so reachable, because you have e-mail and MySpace and Friendster. And you guys respond a lot of the time.

Daedelus :
We're also human. I mean, there is a certain point where some artists start to believe their own press release. But I'm really thankful that everyone I know in this music game is so nice.
I mean, you take someone like Jimmy (Tamborello of Dntel), who is in a lot of ways a superstar right now. He's amazing, his music is amazing, and he just couldn't be a nicer guy. And I think it is a testament to L.A. Maybe it's something in the water, or maybe most people are like that, maybe I'm just working from my own experience being here. You can even take someone like Scott. Scott can be a really wonderful guy. He's really hard to get in touch with nowadays because he's all over the world, but he's pretty human. It's funny when you take a caricature of these hip-hop artists and stuff, but they're far removed from reality.
It's crazy when people blow off shows and interviews and stuff. We're in a very difficult time in a way -- there's a lot of important questions that people have to deal with right now. It's crazy because a lot of those questions do have to do with exclusivity. The exclusivity of denying certain people music because of economic reasons, denying certain people access to shows because of (age) or playing in New York at a venue that doesn't have a dance license. So between those questions, you have to be open, there are too many ways that this thing can fail.
I know a lot of people who used to be really snooty about online music magazines because they're so abundant, but it's great. I'm able to connect with so many people that can't spend five dollars to buy a stupid print magazine that maybe only has two or three good articles in it. And online, people have access to years' and years' worth of great reviews. I mean, your role is so much more important. And the other thing about this is that, here's this technology -- anyone can go on P2P and this is my radio. It's the best thing that ever happened to me, because someone can download my records and get a taste for it. Maybe they need to buy the actual record to see my artwork, but they'll come to my shows, and it just worked out so well.

So you're totally for it.

Daedelus :
I mean, buy the stuff you like, too. If you're feeling guilty, go onto iTunes and buy the stuff. But that's part of the gift of the Internet. You can take the most obscure thing and talk about how crushingly amazing it is, and now you have the ability to listen to it. The Internet is really where you get people turned on to music. You take something like Rolling Stone, they're not a trusted voice anymore. There aren't any magazines that are trusted voices any more as far as I'm concerned.
One thing that I'm annoyed with, and yet also very interested in, is this music blog trend where people are doing their own reviews. They are super horrible in that they could totally have no knowledge of music and have an impact. Which is great, because the average person should have their say in things. But this blog creates a pedestal of being in a writing position.

I think reviewers, whether it is on a blog or in a magazine, come at it from two different perspectives. There are the people who are in it to really just tell people about good music, like "Hey, check this cool thing out." And then there are the people who write something good and have something interesting to say about the music, whether you love it or hate it.

Daedelus :
And I think the second way is the best way to go. I mean, I know it is very difficult to do this commercially, but I love it when the person's personality and the record and the sense of how the two mix come through in the review. I want someone to tell me how it moved them personally.
And so often it's more like all they have to go on is this press kit and the record. The record might be boring and the press kit might be badly written, and all (the reviewers) are basically doing is trying to clean up the mess of a label. You have writers saying, "Okay, this press release is saying nothing, and what am I supposed to do with this music?" And then you end up with stuff like Vice reviews, which are the worst thing ever for music, because they have nothing to do with the music and nothing to do with the writer. And this is the death of music. People talk about selling fewer CDs and stuff, but this is it -- when the music isn't even worth talking about and it's just about themselves and their image.

Do you read a lot of reviews of your stuff?

Daedelus :
It's essential. I don't pay it that much mind, but I read everything I can find about my stuff. Because my music is in that certain position where in some regards it is a musician's record. It's for other musicians to appreciate certain things: "Oh, shit, he sampled this," or "Oh, shit, on the turn of a phrase he changed tempo out of nowhere." And maybe for another listener who doesn't care about that stuff, they would say, "Why did he just do that?" But maybe for someone else, it's a great moment.
So I'm not concerned about making it for everybody in the general sense. I just want to do something amazing for maybe that one person. But in that context, you can lose people, so reading what people say about it really keeps me grounded. Once it leaves your hands it isn't your music anymore, and I like seeing what people say about my stuff online. Because I see things written that I would never ever get out of my own song, but people get crazy things out of it.

Do you feel like something similar is going on when you send something to an artist to have them remix it?

Daedelus :
In this case, yeah. There were some general complications that I throw into things. Like, I told people that this record was called Exquisite Corpse. Without telling people what the title meant, a lot of people got an idea of death out of it. I was being kind of explicit about that. I was saying this is a record about loss. But to me, it was more of a record about the loss of hip-hop. Because I'm not connecting with modern hip-hop, because modern hip-hop is no more. It's transmogrified into this pop thing.

You've already weighed in on one big producer argument of the millennium with downloading. What do you think of that other controversial Internet development: the mash-up?

Daedelus :
They're the worst thing in the world and the best thing in the world. Mostly, I can't stand them, because sampling is a totally valid art form and the mash-up is ruining all of that. Because, in a way, a mash-up is taking the best qualities of sampling -- the ability to totally morph something into something else and have its own life -- and ruining that by tying it down to its context. It takes this thing that could be free and amazing. And it makes it like a joke. And it is so hard for a mash-up to escape being a joke.

I like the clever ones that work in an invigorating sort of way.

Daedelus :
But here's what I'm saying, though. Take a mash-up like Coldcut did to "Paid in Full." The best remix of all time. People know the remix better than people know the original. That is a mash-up. But it totally transcends the genre. That was a major moment in musical history. But now people aren't doing anything with this new technology. Maybe it's the thing where the first major breakthrough in any musical technology is porn. So maybe this mash-up stuff is our porn.

I think even hip-hop had that, even if hip-hop's porn was great. I mean, "Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" is amazing, but it's essentially just like, "See what I can do?" Whereas something like Endtroducing comes along and it is really art.

Daedelus :
Yeah, that's true. We have to be vigilant against that stuff though, because as we're all laughing at it, we sort of destroying a certain amount of culture. You take someone like Prince, who's been mashed up quite a bit. And it makes sense, 'cause his music is amazing. But why can't we just celebrate his music, or even watch a deejay mix this together in context. Because with a mash-up you are just saying, "This is wicked clever." And you can hear it for a little while and then it's gone and here comes the next weird mash-up. I think that's what you have to avoid.

Daedelus - The exquisite producer will drink the new wine. Ondi Timoner What's not to Dig!?

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