Mochipet, Siren and T-dUb
|Venue||Arcata Theater Lounge|
|get transit directions for this event|
Rebel Bass Collective presents Mochipet, Siren and T-dUb Saturday, April 3, at Arcata Theatre Lounge, 1036 G St in Arcata. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Cost is $10 in advance and until 11 p.m. day of the show, $15 after 11 p.m. 21 and over.
The Journal's Bob Doran caught up with Mochipet (aka David Wang) in Miami where he was performing at the 25th annual Winter Music Conference, a big deal in the mushrooming electronica/dance music world.
Mochipet: They do it every year, it's an electronic or dance music conference/festival. They have a big party called Ultra and a bunch of other parties too...
Bob: You say it's electronic or dance music...
Electronic is broader, I guess it's more dance music.
Where do you fit in?
I'm all over the place actually.
It seems like electronica is split into so many styles, dubstep, drum ’n' bass, deep house and so on. I guess it's always been that way.
In the beginning it was just dance music, then more ambient experimental stuff. Dance music fractured into dubstep, breaks, fidget, electro-house, whatever you want to call it.
And you draw on all of the above?
Yeah, I kind of do a mix of everything. I think I have ADD musically. I can't really adhere to one thing too much.
How did you get into it?
I started when I got a computer when I started college. My father got me one. Then I started writing electronic music starting with Cakewalk, It was pretty rudimentary stuff, this was back in 2000, so the technology was like semi-minimal. There was very little RAM, very little memory, so you had to use minimal stuff to make a lot, whereas now it's pretty much limitless -- you can do whatever you want.
Can that be intimidating?
Yeah -- well not so much intimidating, it's more like sometimes as an artist you need boundaries. Creativity can be rampant.
When you went to college, were you studying music?
No, it was just something I did for fun. I played in bands in high school and I always liked music and art.
What kinds of bands were you in?
All kinds. I played in like a death metal band; I played in a funk band, like a jazz band. I played guitar, bass, a little bit of drums.
How did that transition to making music on a computer?
It's different. It's less real time. When you're playing an instrument, it's like you and the instrument at that moment. Whereas with electronic music, it's pretty much all nonlinear, so you can work on a specific part, put it together, then put another part together. You don't have to play all the parts at once. You're constructing something piece by piece as opposed to creating something on the fly.
How does it work when your music play live?
It's like being a DJ, I guess. I have a lot of pre-made parts in my computer that I can trigger; they fit together, you can stack them on each other, they fit together. It's like DJs, but with 20 different songs at once. Depending on the crowd, I'll go one way or another, each show is different.
On your MySpace it says, "Mochipet is working on the new record." It that always there, or are you talking about something specific?
I'm trying to finish up my next record. I think it's going to be called RAR Means I Love You in Dinosaur. It's an Internet thing. I'm trying to finish, but I've been busy doing remixes and shows. I hope to be done by June.
What's the process?
It really depends. It's different every time. The technology changes, I change. But basically at this stage it's about fleshing out ideas, figuring out which ideas work, putting stuff together and trying it out. You construct a song that way.
Is it a matter of hearing something in your head and figuring out how to replicate it electronically?
Yeah, but I also use acoustic instruments too sometimes, so I might write a guitar part and think about how it fits with something else. I'm always trying to do something a little bit different because I don't want to sound like everything else. My creative process is always about finding something I can put together that nobody else has put together before, or using things that nobody else has used before.
On one song I just use flamenco guitar with electronics, with a glitch beat, like Aphex Twin. It's a weird sort of contrast, something I've never heard before.
Did you get someone to play flamenco guitar or use samples?
In this case I played it myself. I did the parts separately because I'm not that great of a flamenco guitarist, but I can play little parts. I put them all together in the computer, then I found some samples of flamenco singing, put that on top and programmed the beats underneath it, did effects processing and weird stuff to it.
What do you have lined up for the rest of your stay in Miami?
I'm playing tomorrow night, that's the main show I was brought here for. It should be cool.
Are you expecting a lot of people?
Yeah. Seems like it. It's like sponsored so it's free, so a lot of people will come. Seems like people are excited -- It's kind of a glitch hop, which is what my last record was, it's like hip hop but electronicy and glitchy, noisy. It's the only show like that here since it's a fairly new thing.
What makes it like hip hop?
The beats. It's around 90 bpm usually with the hip hop beat, but with electronic sounds on top, maybe more sampled stuff like in hip hop.
So it's slower than house music...
House music is usually 120, then dance-electro stuff gets up around 130. Dubstep is really slow. It's like halftime, but it feels faster. It's like 70 bpm, but it feels like 140. There's a trend toward slower lately. I don't know why.
Maybe people just need to slow down...
The thing is, you can dance at the regular tempo, like 140 or you can do halftime, so you can either exert a lot of energy, or not very much. You have a choice.
What made you want to do what your doing?
I've always liked doing music. I don't know why, maybe because everyone told me I couldn't do it. I'm Chinese and I come from a very conservative family. My parents don't really know what I'm doing. They wonder like, 'When are you going to get a real job?'
You went to college and got a degree, right?
I did. And I got a job, and I hated it. I was like, 'I know what I don't like doing.' I thought I could work and do music as a hobby, but I'd get home from work and I would be so tired...
What was your job?
I was a web developer, so I spent all day looking at a computer. The last thing I wanted to do when I came home was look at a computer again. So I wasn't working on my music at all and that just made me really unhappy. I started wondering, what am I doing this for? Why am I doing something that doesn't make me happy? I was making pretty good money at the time -- it was during the dot-com thing -- so I figured I'd work and save some money until I could afford to stop working and just make music. That's what I did, and I've been doing it ever since. I was like, I'll keep going until I can't make it anymore, then I'll go back to the job.
You're making enough to keep going, paying your bills?
I'm doing pretty well actually.
Where are you on the electronic music food chain?
There's a lot of bigger names, but I'm definitely... I've been doing this for a while, since 2003, so I've been around and I've done a lot of different kinds of music. I guess over the years you put things out and people get to know you and they respect you. But I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be.
Based on what I'm seeing locally, it seems like the scene is growing exponentially.
There's so much music out there. Even though I'm not like doing amazing or anything, I'm happy that I'm able to do what I can. Right now everybody wants to make music; everybody wants to play...
It seems like the money side of the music business has gone haywire. I know you have the Daly City Records label, are you selling a lot of records?
People are buying albums. I haven't been at it that long, so I don't have the history to know what we might have sold before. People are downloading our music and paying for it. I don't try to keep people from distributing my music for free. If people want to give it out, it's fine. I figure if people are going to buy your music, they'll buy it. If they're not going to buy your music, they might as well just have it.
Are you mostly selling individual files on the Net? Do you still make CDs?
We make CDs sometimes and records too, but it's become a horrible business now. There's no money in selling records or CDs. That's gone downhill and the cost is so much. Even if you sell all your vinyl, it's hard to recoup your cost. You'll maybe come out with a couple hundred dollars profit, and that's after all the work, the stocking, the shipping, dealing with distributors. It's a nightmare. It's not worth it.
How do you sell your files?
There's iTunes and so many others. I have a distributor that handles all my digital distribution. They take care of all the paperwork and take a percentage. It's another nightmare with all the companies you have to deal with. We send them the release and they encode it and get it out to all the stores. There's one store in San Francisco, don't know if you know it, it's called Addictech. It's like an independent website where you can buy waves and high quality audio files. There's Addictech and Beatport where you can buy waves and they're pretty cool -- they have a core audience.
Have you heard about Bandcamp?
Yeah, Bandcamp -- I know lots of people that use that.
It's seems really good for DIY. They do all different file formats and you set the price yourself. I guess because it's still a startup, the artist gets almost all of the money.
Awesome. I think it's a matter of people finding your stuff on Bandcamp. It's like going to a store -- people go to a store they know to see what's new.
I'll check out Addictech...
They're a San Francisco company; they do a lot of music from the Burning Man side. A lot of breaks and dubstep and glitch hop. I think they've built a niche.
What's the Burning Man style now?
Right now it's very dubstep, a lot of dubstep. Before it was a lot of breaks, and before that it was psy-trance, but that evolved into breaks and slower breaks and glitch hop. Now it's all dubstep, because dubstep's taking over everything right now.
Can you define dubstep?
It's a UK style that came out of garage, which is kind of like two-step. After drum ’n' bass, people started to make funkier, less dark stuff -- garage and two-step -- and out of that people started slowing things down and mixing it with dub.
I know dub style electronica has been around for a long time. Years ago, a local DJ (Dub Cowboy) had a record shop (Release Records) selling mostly vinyl and new electronica. I've always been a fan of Jamaican dub and the British stuff by Mad Professor, so I got some CDs that were labeled dub. It was primarily electro-dance music, but it had some elements to connect with what I know of dub: echo, etc.
That's where the tempo stems from. Dub music is really slow and uses a lot of reverb, so they were accentuating that making this spacey kind of music. That's where the beat, the slowness in tempo came from, and from that people in the UK evolved it into music for dancing and partying. There's not much dub left in dubstep, they've kind of taken out all the elements and made it more like dance music. Originally dubstep was a lot more sparse. Hyperdub was an early message forum -- people started posting that kind of stuff, music that was more dubby, less dancey or clubby. That grew into a little niche thing, and from that people started adding big bass lines. That's where dubstep is today.
Do you have any idea what you'll do when you come up here?
I don't know. I'm always changing things up.
The show's put on by Rebel Bass Collective, so I assume bass will be in there.
There's definitely going to be a lot of bass. I know they're bring out a lot of sound for it, and there's going to be good visuals.
The show is in Arcata Theatre Lounge, an old movie theater, so there's this big screen behind you. Have you been up to Humboldt before?
No I haven't. I've heard it's beautiful. I'm looking forward to hanging out.
I should let you get back to the wild world of Miami. But I have one more question: What is a Mochipet?
I don't know. I just made it up one day.
Mochi is a kind of food, right?
It's a Japanese dessert, a rice thing that they use to make a lot of different things. It's not that sweet, just the natural sweetness of the rice. They pound it until it's like a paste. I guess Mochipet is kind of malleable; it's squishy so you can shape it however you want.
And that describes the music?
In a way it does. I don't know why, but it does. People are like, 'Oh Mochipet, that makes sense.'
Rebel Bass Collective MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rebelbasscollective
Live drums, heavy synths, groove and energy are the foundation that Brandon Hale AKA Siren builds on. Hailing from Oregon and now settled in San Francisco, Siren is another new west coast find that has been making his distinctive mark on mid-tempo break-beats and dub-step. With a background of metal influences and playing piano, saxophone, drums in punk, ska and metal bands, Siren brings both melody and unforgiving edge to his productions. Already making headway with touring the ‘bass’ scenes of the US west. His forthcoming release on Muti-Music ‘Spawn’ is clearly the first of many releases to come. Expect bass that hits you in the gut, raw and pounding lead riffs and some epic instrumental accompaniments, truly made for ‘large’ environments or the most urban of cellars.
DJ T-dUb’s music career started in the early 90’s with a microphone, a mixer, keyboards and a drum machine. After a few years of making hip hop and trip hop beats he began mixing vinyl, starting with happy hardcore and jungle and moving into drum & bass, house, and breaks. His move from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe further evolved his musical style into something unique and ever changing. Over the past few years, T-dUb has played all over the west coast with both local and international DJ’s. He has collaborated with and been inspired by artists such as David Starfire, Ill Gates, and Micah J. Wanting to utilize his knowledge of sound, lighting, and production, T-dUb created Tahoe Breakz in 2006. Tahoe Breakz events take the crowd on a musical journey complete with light, sound, and most recently – video.