What first drew you into music?
When I was real young I used to reverse engineer Dr. Dre beats under Eminem tracks with my dad. But I think the first time I really heard music was when I was freshman in high school the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsies— the live version that was recorded NYE 1969/70 at Fillmore East. The track Machine Gun really changed my life. (I personally think, that version on that set is the greatest rock song of all time, but that’s just me). That whole record really opened my eyes to music and what’s possible. Then later in high school I found Bassnectar and went to Basscenter IV at the DC Armory in 2011. The rest is history as they say.
Your track “Japanese Thriftstore” is absolutely amazing! How did you achieve such a great signature sound in such a short time? Also, what is your creative process like?
Wow! First let me say thank you! I really appreciate the love on that track, and that y’all are hearing and digging my sound, it really means more than words can express for me! It seems like its been a long time that I’ve been working to develop my sound, and there’s always new feelings I want to express, but yeah— after Bassnectar I got turned on to electronic music and the bass music culture, and ended up going to Dubspot in NYC and then UCSC’s Electronic Music Minor in California. If anything I would say my sound comes from choosing to make my own samples rather than using sample packs. My friends and I definitely prefer to make our own samples with synthesis or from recording our own instruments. That’s what we did for Japanese Thriftstore which is actually a collaboration with my friend Jordan (laPOSITIVE) and we literally made it in one day. (I sat on it for like a year after that and maybe went back to tighten up the mix, like two or three times). But the day we wrote it we challenged ourselves to make a track all from instruments we had around. We had drums, all kinds of different stringed instruments, horns. The only non recorded sound is the 808, but I synthesize my own 808s. I’ve been dialing in my own 808 patches in Ableton’s Operator for the past three or four years.
The track is an 808 with a turn around and those harp melody patterns. I laid down the 808 and Jordan played the harp part. I drove the production and chopped and spliced all the samples together to the way you hear now. The hats are sampled from tapping a metal shot glass. There’s a snare roll part we recorded from a snare, and all the reverbs are me just taking the sounds we have and recording super heavy spaced out reverb tails.
My creative process is a bit like an adventure. I kind of just dive in, start making sounds or recording sounds and build out as I go. I try to listen to what I think the Music herself wants, and follow accordingly. I’ve studied Jazz and I take my jazz chord knowledge and try to apply it in contemporary electronic music ways. I try to tune the song to a sound. So I might just make one or two good sounds and then make all the other sounds from different variations on those patches. Like a cell. I try to originate or germinate ideas from a small node, or cell (like the most base sound or patch), and let that go where it will. Multiplying upwards until I have a full tune.
Going over your Soundcloud we can tell you love experimenting with new sounds. Can you tell us more about your studio setup and some of your favorite plugins/instruments?
I do love experimenting with sound! I have a whole ambient set I’m working on as well, with no drums at all, that only a few of my close friends in the Santa Cruz area have ever even heard. This is an ironic question for me right now though because I’ll be honest with you! I don’t even have a studio right now! I through a huge party in the
Spring of 2019 and it was the party of the decade but I got evicted because of it, and have been traveling and playing with no home base since May of 2019! I can tell you my ideal studio that I dream of though: Genelec 5s, Aurotones, and Yahama HS7s. Universal Audio Apollo 16 to record all my friends, and a UA LA-2A Master Limiting Compressor. O! One Day! No lie I produce solely on a laptop and headphones right now— though this is not my preferred method of creation. Luckily, I have enough recorded samples inside my Ableton templates where I can still get that live flare even being solely “inside the box”. I gave my speakers to one of my friends who just started producing and I’ve been helping (shouts out Rose Jam!).
Your music sounds very organic and authentic. Do you play any real-life instruments?
I do! I play keys, trombone, bass, and sing. I record and make a lot of sounds from all of these instruments. One of my favorite sound design methods is to record my voice, throw different recordings of my voice into Ableton’s Sampler, then be able to play chords from my vocal tones. It makes these really beautiful and lush and full pad sounds.
What are your musical goals for the future?
I have a ridiculous list of goals, it really sometimes hurts, because I feel like I have all these ideas, and not enough ability to implement and execute them. My main musical goal is to go on tour, and really start playing more shows all around the country. I’ve played Philly, Denver, San Diego, and Santa Cruz. A dream of mine is to play LA and NYC, and the Bay. I’ve never even played the Bay and it’s like my backyard, but, I’ve been talking to the Wormhole boys, and maybe it will happen this year in 2020. Things that kind of come along nested inside this goal, is releasing my first album, tightening up my live set, both my bass set and my ambient sets. I’d honestly love to open for people like Russ Liquid, Thriftworks, or Charles The First. I feel like my sound would be a good accompaniment to those boys, and they are all musical influences of mine.
What are your goals for the coming months? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about?
My goals for this year and the upcoming months are to release The DripLyfe, Vol. 2 — as it is part of a three part series. I have the skeleton of the second volume all set, just have to tighten up a few more things and figure out the right time to release it. More important to me than that, however, is releasing my debut album. I have an album of like 10-12 tracks that are all ideas that I hashed out on my actual instruments, and are kind of this fusion of recorded music, and electronic wizardry. Where each tune starts from the instrumentals and morphs into this electronic throw down. I’ve been working on some of the songs on this album since 2016! These tunes are dear to me and how I personally view the “CrypticFlow” sound.
In addition, I’m in the works of starting my own label called psyberDust() [stylized like a Java code function, camel cased with inputs. That’s kind of a programming joke, for those who know. I do a bit of programming]. I have some really talented friends and music makers I hope to help get more exposure for this year, Rose Jam who I mentioned, JimmothyLeary, KushberryJelly. All of these homies make incredibly innovative and experimental music, and I hope to create a label that is remembered for how unique each musician on the label is. So yes! Please stay tuned for my debut album, psyberDust(music), and The DripLyfe Vol. 2 !!
Also I am pushing live very soon my own personal website which will have my blog, music, poetry and photography and I’m very excited to release this because I’ve been off and on working on my website since like 2017. It’s been a long time coming and I hope everyone will go check that out and stay up to date with me because I will be posting daily content and links and news to all the events I’ll be hosting, attending, or that I recommend, though may not actually be attending.
I also would like to just say thank you again! This interview really means a lot to me! Much Love!! <3
Connect With CrypticFlow: