On his newest album, Drown Out, Los Angeles-based electronic musician Daedelus channels feelings of sadness and regret into his creative process, drawing from the highly personal for inspiration. Prior to tomorrow's release of Drown Out we were able to meet up with Daedelus to learn more about how tragedy influenced the record, and the idea of redemption through sick beats (above).
A pioneering figure on the scene since his debut album Invention was released in 2002, Daedelus was responsible for the now-infamous LA/ SF/ Tokyo party series Low End Theory (among other projects). With his newest album, Daedelus, born Alfred Darlington, shifts his focus to death and departure, expanding his work to achieve broader emotional depth and resonance.
Drown Out's production is a unique blend of live instrumentation recorded on analog tape, modified in a pro-tools digital space. The push and pull between analog and digital were used to create a tension in the sound and convey the emotions of the album.
"The hardest thing about this record was being honest and truthful about certain things going on in my life. Suddenly it became a reality check. My wife’s stepmom passed, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, then Austin Peralta, the very talented musician [and collaborator], died within the same weekend. Someone I physically spoke to the day he passed, and we'd had an ongoing conversation. Literally a call back was supposed to happen. And then, that moment will distinctly never happen again."
"There’s an emotional moment that happened for me when I really felt like I wasn’t swimming anymore, I was drowning. And music was an outlet, music helped."
As part of his newest album, Daedelus also explores this deadzone of miscommunication through jagged beats, aural twists and turns, and a melding of man and machine that feels almost post-human.
Daedelus' use of samples also came from a desire to explore the limits of communication through coded language and other audio metaphor:
"A lot of it was just trying to figure out the different forms of expression. I was trying to speak without having my voice clearly there, because that’s what I felt. These songs are all about failed communication. The limits of communication."
"The record tumbled out of me. It didn’t form easily. It was a fidgety record. I would start with one track and get overwhelmed. So I’d put that aside and work on another track. So some of the tracks are trying to be happy, but are getting dragged down to these other places. You have to be kind of wrestling with the material, but again, the digital is so good about that, handling these tiny little moments."
"When you’ve done enough, when you’ve made enough records, music knows better than I ever will, communicates wider than I ever can. It’s really not me. I’m in the way of it if anything. I’m messing up its potential. The song itself, if you give it space, it will shape up to do something extraordinary."
Though the album has obvious somber tones, there's also a lightness to it, a direct result of its inspiration:
"The album is about California, but a part of California a lot of people don’t know. A foggy side of the state. It’s kind of a state where people go to retire, and to die. A place where they end up. It’s the dregs. But it’s still the golden state."
In honor of our behind the scenes video (above), The Creators Project is also giving away a pair of tickets for select upcoming Daedelus live shows. Find out more by clicking here.
For more on Daedelus you can visit his website.
All cinemagraphs courtesy of Mateo Gamlen and Jordan Kinley