“BAGS AREN’T ALLOWED IN THE VENUE”
a voice said behind me. Turning around, I caught a glimpse of the bouncer that evening making conversation with me – a walking pair of triceps, littered with poorly scribbled tattoos and adorned with a gray sleeveless shirt.
The night was already off to a great start.
The bag contained the recording equipment for the Daedelus interview we had scantily scheduled for that night – in reality, plans fell through in a cavalcade of poor communication and missed phone calls the week prior. The fault of which lay with lazy promoters and a sub-par writing staff comprising of me, me, and this fellow Derek refuses to fire, named me. A fifteen minute walk back to the parking garage, and one bagless trip later, I arrived back at Czar, the aptly named communist venue which would be the scene for Daedelus’ set later that night.
“Detachable lens cameras aren’t allowed” muscles haircut said, barely audible over the bass of one of the openers that night, Shlohmo. The red mist began to creep before he said solemnly “Forget it, just go in.”
The most difficult portion of the night was over. I settled in with Derek straddling the clearest view of the stage and let in what would be a memorable night as performed by Shlohmo, Tokimonsta, and eventually, Daedelus.
WHEN YOU FIRST MEET MR. DARLINGTON,
the man behind the act, a few things are apparent. One – he has a severe misunderstanding of the unspoken treaty most artists have with their fans, of not speaking with one another unless absolutely necessary, and defies it at every opportunity possible. Before the set, I was able to catch a word with him at his merch table, after a group of fans had gotten away with a few autographs and handshakes. “Sure, afterwards is fine” he said in regards to the ill-arranged interview now planned for after his set. Of which, he would finish by hopping off of the stage into the crowd, receiving hugs and trading smiles and pleasantries – an act I myself have never seen before.
Two – if the tortured artist stereotype has any chance of surviving in the future, musicians such as Mr. Darington are doing their best to eradicate it. It’s seldom you see someone perform with such fervency, let alone with a grin from ear to ear. As the monome manipulating marauder plucked and tore the melodies from his equipment for our enjoyment in his fifty-ish minute set, not once did the audience lull in their attention. Riding on the wake of the Ultra Festival that weekend, he was using the opportunity to do something a little out of the ordinary. And it felt special.
Set finished, words exchanged, and equipment began disassembling, and our time had come. As we walked out of the venue to begin our interview beside the sizable Magical Properties tour bus, something fitting happened.
It began to rain.
Daedelus: “I’m only here because of the grace of some people who listen to some pretty weird music. The fact is I’m a fan of music myself and if they’re a fan of my music, then we share something.”
The rain pattered, and the bus roared as he detailed what made him feel so close to the fans that he chummed with so easily.
Daedelus: “I also feel like I am that same person, who was going to shows and wanting to know what was happening on stage, just a few scant years ago. I’m still that guy, but…”
Daedelus: “Incredibly difficult.”
I pressed as to how hard it was to get started in the west coast during a formative time for electronic music.
Daedelus: “It only became possible because of some very generous people. The scene then in L.A previous to what’s been going on in the past five or six years was very cut off. It was modular – genre scenes, like drum n’ bass, dub, techno and house, and even hip-hop as well. Hip-hop, was a little blurrier a line, but very much its own. They all existed very separate from each other. Basically, unless you fit very cozy, and paid your dues, you didn’t exist to them; especially since I was making non-dance music – kind of odd flavors of hip-hop.”
The rained thickened, and we relocated once more to a cement awning against the side of Czar.
Daedelus: “It feels like the unity and the uplift of the scene happened because people were willing to come together, and willing to push, not just a sound so much, as each other. Pushing them both forward in terms of challenging each other to make better music. To make these platforms like low end theory, like dublab.com, that have become unifying forces for all kinds of sounds. And maybe it’s an attestment to where we’re at in terms of music culture or the internet or whatever; where kids are open to all kinds. They don’t see it as being different – it’s music. So when I was a younger person, it was very much like, I didn’t fit into easy categories, so I didn’t exist. Me and my friends were basically throwing shows ourselves, I was very much concerned with breakcore and jungle at the time, so we were flying in artists like Panacea and Current Value. And I was also taking part in these breakcore parties with DJ Scud, and a bunch of other really wonderful and exuberant artists. But, the greater L.A scene was really challenging. So, I just happened to meet these Dublab people eventually, and got involved with Dublab.com radio which is still going on to this day – still happening even after the bubble and everything.”
We pressed on. I mention the divide between genres and how when asked about the kind of music you listen to, the answer “Electronic” can mean many things. He continued,
Daedelus: “You still find people who like dubstep for instance and they don’t know what it is, but they know how it makes them feel, and they’ll ask for it. For instance, Shlohmo, who played tonight: he was making this beautiful, lush, textural music. And yet, at the same time, people call that post-dubstep. Nothing to do with dubstep, not even two-step, or origins of UK bass culture. It’s just pretty. It’s pretty music.”
Derek, behind the camera at this point, questioned Alfred
BRASKY: “We spoke to him earlier, and he classified himself as making “things to dance to.”
Daedelus: “I think he meant sex.”
Daedelus: “He’s been on my radar. I used to drop some of his songs in my sets. He’s just a powerful young voice, and I really do believe children are our future“
Daedelus: “He’s very talented, so I crushed his hopes by taking him on tour to show him…”
Gesturing with open arms, Darlington highlighted the lavish lifestyle he was currently embracing, at three in the morning, draped uncomfortably in wet clothes in one of the most un-memorable cities on the face of the Earth – Tampa. Courtesy, however, is not something we at Brasky are good at, so we kept going.
Daedelus: “Tonight, I felt like I was able to take twenty minutes, and just build, build, build to get to something.”
he continued commenting on the difference between performing at a huge event like Ultra, and a smaller show that night at Czar.
Daedelus: “I really appreciated the audience, because I wasn’t sure people were coming along. I’m used to not having visuals like that. I’m used to people responding to immediacy.”
Daedelus: “You don’t sign up for this job if you don’t like touring. Honestly, I learn about my music and other music and culture in general by touring, and I get to steal views of the world I never would have normally. I go to countries I can’t even pronounce, and I’m grateful for that opportunity to butcher other people’s languages. I get so enriched by this process, I can’t imagine not touring, although I can maybe imagine touring a little bit less. Wales is my favorite country; I’ve both toured there musically, and spent my honeymoon with my wife there.”
We asked about the new album.
Daedelus: “It’s called Bespoke. It’s very much concerned with two things – this idea that things should be made by people who make things for people. I know that sounds like a confusing statement, but really, there are so few things these days that are made with someone in mind. To fit someone, to suit someone. The second thing this record is about is fashion, this innate communication that fashion has, like music has. It communicates so much, yet you wear it so passively. And music in culture nowadays is that. It’s like a soundtrack. It says so much about who you are – like, “I listen to these three bands!” And it’s the entirety of your existence. It’s the same thing as fashion – you wear this, we can be friends, or you wear that, and I don’t know you.”
The topic strayed into Mr. Darlington’s notoriously unique attire.
Daedelus: “I enjoy Victorian fashion, and I know it sets me aside from other performers, and that gives me certain freedoms. I can do certain things other performers can’t do because people wouldn’t have a set of references. And at the same time, you see press people going “Is it a gimmick? Is there a story? We don’t understand you, you’re weird. We’re not going to touch you.” A composer, a performer, an inventor. That’s what I really want to be, and the Victorian era, was the ultimate age of invention. You went from the horse and carriage, to the automobile.”
I particularly agreed with him on this, that the late 19th century was a time of unbridled invention and wonder, and possibly the most important years to the experiment we call ourselves.
Daedelus: “This isn’t the simple jump of one technological leap; this is several generational changes in the blink of an eye. We went from shouting at someone, to the telegraph. From steam power, to the internal combustion engine. There was a specific thing about the fashion I enjoy, which is Beau Brummell who kind of made it fashionable. He was in the military and wore military attire -
he then gestured to what he was wearing
Daedelus: “and this is attire of the 1830s. The tailcoat was to keep the mud off of you while you rid your horse, and the sleeves were a certain length so you could still wield a sword, and everything had its place. He popularized it outside of the war, because he treated everything like art. Everything he did was artful, and I like to take that approach to my music. I don’t just have a kick drum there because it’s supposed to be there, it’s because I want it to be. I would hope people hear the detail in my music.”