7 Questions with Daedelus

Daedelus is the brainchild of Alfred Darlington, a classically and jazz-trained multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles. His diverse background includes stints in rock, ska and jazz bands and a constant push to invent and experiment. He’s collaborated Busdriver, Taz Arnold from Sa-Ra and most recently with his wife in the band The Long Lost. He is currently signed to the Ninja Tune label but has released material with a number of labels, including: Plug Research, Mush, Laboratory Instinct, Eastern Developments, Phthalo, Merck, Big Dada, Soul Jazz, Distill, Hefty, Bit Of Heaven, Temporary Whatever, Stones Throw, and Warp.

1. For those you might not know about Daedelus, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in music production.

I’m from a place of great hope in live instrumentation, dashed against reality, with limited skill at my chosen Double Bass and Bass Clarinet (at least in the cutthroat world of University jazz programs). So after soul searching what I really was after, I turned to the obvious obscure electronic record making route. This wasn’t an easy action of course, after years of collecting sounds and then feeling like time to put my own forth I tried just about every production method from (and forgive me this nerding out) trackers, D.A.W.s, hardware sequencers, softsynths, etc. and discovered an interest in tying together the limitless knots of jazz (especially the old stuff), electronics, HipHop, and inspirational other outerspace sounds

2. It seems like with folks like Dublab and Low End Theory making waves around LA, it seems like there’s something of a musical renaissance, especially on the electronic/DJ culture front. What do you see happening in LA right now?

A lot of open-ness, interest in collaboration, and a little bit of challenging each other to attempt out of the comfort zone. Oh and there is a sense of history, all the way back to Egyptian Lover and The World Famous Wrecking Crew and even further to the Central Avenue jazz scene of the 40s and 50s, thru the emcees and sounds that made LA an experimental capital and sometimes even commercially possible, see Dr.Dre, The Pharcyde, half of Postal Service and more just in the realm of electronic and dj culture.

3. How about your other side projects? What else are you involved with on the production side?

Happily I have a small part in returning to some of those live instruments mentioned earlier, that with a group called The Long Lost that will be seeing release later this year on Ninjatune. Also a new record from Adventure Time, a project with Frosty from Dublab, is almost done that will be thematically Space-y and full of guest artists. Hopefully lots of strange remixes for all and original production for equally strange emcees possibly.

4. You’ve got a new record coming out, “Love To Make Music To.” Could you tell me about the record and the connection with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair?

Oh just the intent to have less realism in the mixture of press releases and LP reality. Let’s have a healthy side of fantasy, conjure up a little cinematic vision and dream while awake, all of that fun perhaps. Oh and more steam punk! But I seriously digress. “Love To Make Music To” is perhaps my most modern record, with lots of inspiration from the early 90s (rather then much farther back in musical eras) so it made some sense to counter that with a tale of a different but strangely similar ’93…

5. What’s up with the Monome box? I’ve heard your name associated with it for some time.

Happily I’ve been operating those buttons for quite a little while. It’s is all the genius invention of another fellow, Brian Crabtree, I was surprisingly privy to an early version. Now it’s a few years of use, and it has become my main live operation and for all intents and purposes quite improvisable (if that is a word). Basically the Monome is an open source hardware box of many lights (I use two right now, one of 256 and one of 64) and by taking sample material and stretching them across these buttons I can dig into their interiors sort of, pushing and pulling them, making them anew for the moment we are all together. So basically a barrel of monkeys fun.

6. How about live dates? Where can folks catch you live?

There seems to be a fair amount of festival gigs this summer, mainly rumbling around Europe, but a few times also to touch down in the States and Canada, even some South America by the looks of it. I hope that people don’t get blurry eyed at the strange running around, it confuses me even sometimes.

7. What’s your top 5 right now?

Silly fives are for kids. I save my starry eyes for unknowns I receive on myspace and in cdrs at shows, there are all kinds of talented producers out there making beats in bedrooms. I’m always listening for those most of all…

Daedelus on Ninjatune

Daedelus – Fair Weather Friends