Interview with Dustin Craig

Vito Camarretta, The Vibes, 11 janvier 2004

Ad un anno dalla pubblicazione di We Remain Faded (produzione interessante e acclamata dalla critica - nonostante la modestia del suo artefice - sotto l’ombrello del suo progetto idm Headphone Science), ci siamo fatti una chiacchierata con Dustin Craig, che di seguito pubblichiamo integralmente.

Hi Mr.Craig. How are you?
I’m pretty good. Thank you for asking.

I’ve heard your nice album We Remain Faded. How could we consider it? A concept album or an exercise on the artistic path already walked by artists such Michael Franti, Funkstorung…? Or a sort of document of people “living in debasement”?
Thanks for the compliments. I’m always amazed that people enjoy that cd because, to me, it sounds outdated. Those songs were all created, I think, back in 2002 and the cd wasn’t released until sometime 2003. So they were already a year old when people heard em. Compared to the stuff I was doing at the time when We Remain Faded was released, or even now for that case, the music on that cd just seems really old when I listen to it.

But how would I consider this release?
I just wanted to make a good debut cd that was good to put on and smoke to. This was going to be my first legit disc and I wanted it to be something that represented me well and since I’m a smoker hence the title. I don’t think many people got that though.

What about your audio equipment?
Just a laptop & pc with a bunch of software. I do have a Korg Trinity and a Yamaha SU700 sampler that I used to use a lot when I was first starting out… but now they’re just collecting dust, which is sad, but it just became too much to carry all this stuff out when I would play a show. So I eventually went the laptop route which is a lot easier and now I find myself using mainly that and a pc when creating; but soon I’m gonna pull all that stuff out again. I’ve got some ideas on how to incorporate all that stuff together and get some pretty interesting results.

You seem to refer to scientific matters. What do you think about science and technology?
In your viewpoint, what are the relation between art and science?
To be honest I never really think about any of this and I don’t really want to come up with some pretentious answer to try and sound intelligent. My main concern is just to make music that sounds good and original. Sure the instruments I use are all electrical, so technology is obviously a part of this music; but what is the relation between art and science?
That’s like a Richard Devine type question. My music’s not that complicated. Maybe I can answer this like this though, as technology evolves sounds evolve… but that also goes for everything in life. Man, that question makes me feel like I’m back in school.

Let’s folk! What’s your favourite formula? Did you still try to apply it on your workouts?
Hehehe, what’s let’s folk? I’ve never heard that before. I’m not really sure what you mean here. I think you’re asking how do I go about making this music? And that’s simple. I just start with a sound. Could be a drum sound. Could be a glitchy little pop. Could be a sample from a movie. Could be anything. And then I just build off that and let everything just shape itself. I try to not give anything too much thought really. I just focus on the sounds and then you can hear what’s needed or what direction the song should go.In my opinion, To Dine in Distance is the apex of The already mentioned We Remain Faded. A sort of balance between hiphop and abstract jazz, a bit like Dj Krush and Dj Spooky.

Are there any artists or projects comparable to your opus?
Thanks. People seem to really like this one. I think it’s because of that trumpet sample. It’s pretty perfect. What’s weird is that was the easiest song to make that’s on that disc. I believe it was all done in just one night. So it’s funny that that’s the most favorite. Strengthens my belief even more that you shouldn’t try to over think your music just create and let it develop naturally.

Are there any artists or projects comparable to that song?
There’s probably tons…but I can’t think of any off hand at the moment.

You’re very young. But your debut has been critically acclaimed. We hope the opinion skilled journalists will not go to your head… What about your future project?
Well, I always have projects that I’m working on but I don’t really like to talk about anything until it’s definitely going to be heard. I also don’t want to say I’m going to do something and then not do it and then have people wonder whatever happened to this thing that I said I was going to do. It’s just better not to reveal so much you know. I can talk about a couple things that are coming out soon though. The first would be the long awaited release of the “Consider the Problems” cd on Skylab Operations. Similar sound as We Remain Faded… maybe a bit more idm. Then there are some great comps that’ll have a Headphone Science track on em. The “MD8” comp on N5MD and the “Fuzzy Boombox v.2” comp on FuzzyBox. Both of these look like they’re going to be great. I’m a fan of a lot of the other artists that are on those comps so it’s great to have a song amongst theirs. I can’t wait till I get my copies of these to hear. And I think that’s basically it. Also, if anyone wants, I just released an ep over at our own illmatik vibes_delete:thought
titled “Sun Sets Digital” that people can download for free.

What are the differences between your projects Headphone Science and Elasticlego?
Elasticlego is all the microsound/ambient/electroacoustic/4/4/techno-ish stuff and Headphone Science is the hip-hop/idm stuff.

As you "promoted" your work through netlabels, it could be interesting to know from you your opinion on theire future. Finally we could say netlabels are demonstrating that artistic purposes are overwhelming commercial ones in music biz?
Well, I think that’s pretty apparent, netlabels aren’t in it for the money. I can’t speak for everyone but I can talk about ivdt and some of the other ones I’ve been a part of like No Type, Observatory & Subverseco. And the main focus for each of these is that it’s all about the music; not the money or fame. It’s about releasing quality music from talented artists that probably would never get heard due to the over saturation of mediocre artists out there that flood the other sites like mp3.com and such. It’s also about giving music away for free. There’s nothing better than getting some great music without having to pay for it. It can really turn a bad day into a good one. And for the future of netlabels… I think more and more will pop-up. It seems each year we gain 50 more; but that’s a good thing, means more music for free.

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