Dadras, “Hollywood”

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The evolution of the Queens electronic producer.

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Blake Gillespie | September 22, 2015

In March interpretation of the Queens-based electronic producer Dadras’ identity was confined to the production found on his debut Rubaiyat I. Here the record was described as a “dark voyage into the depths of hollow-point electronics.” The sinister element of the production magnified by the presence of track titles like “Mormon Disco” and “Yuppie Scum”. But this is not the extent of Dadras’ character and he proves as much on the comparatively effervescent follow-up Rubaiyat II.

The story goes that Dadras had amassed a hefty collection of songs, enough to fill two records. A binary was established between the two records, one of dark and light, yin and yang. Where there is disquiet in Rubaiyat I, exists vibrancy in Rubaiyat II. In many respects the evolution of Dadras’ music is aligned with his label’s adjustment from being called Connect, originally  the name of a dance night, to Human Pitch recently. Label founder and producer Rioux explains that transition as being a response to the “cold, bleak, and digital dance music [that] is very in vogue right now.”

“With Human Pitch I’d like put forth warm and personable art that reflects nature in harmony with technology. These are the sounds made by humans.”

The debut “Hollywood” strips the cold and bleak clean. On Rubaiyat I distorted, vaguely human voices existed within the fold, but “Hollywood” is left relatively pure since the sentiment of “you pain to know which way to go” is troubling enough. Written and recorded on the west side of Los Angeles, “Hollywood” captures the bustle and anxiety of its people out there with a dollar and a dream. The Bollywood element summons exotica that is akin to exotica futurists like Monster Rally, but Dadras’ in his techniques is defining his own retrovision.

Read on for a brief interview with Dadras after the stream of “Hollywood”.

Tell me about the process of making “Hollywood”. How did that track originate and how it did it develop over time?

I made the track while visiting a friend in Hollywood. We made “Polygraph”, he had to bounce, and I stayed an extra day and made this before heading back to NY. The track was then finished later that spring at Ishlab Studio in New York. The lyric is “You pain to know which way to go, you pay to know which way to go, I don’t know what I don’t know, in Hollywood.” It’s about people scurrying around the city, all on their little missions. some pay for information, others get paid for information. Where do your actions lead you? Why do you do what you do and how long are you going to do it? The sample I use is from an old Bollywood movie. So there is a juxtaposition of different Hollywoods going on. The track represents the “warm and vibrant” counterpart to “Polygraph”.

Was the plan from the beginning to have a companion piece to Rubaiyat I? Can you offer insight into the inspiration for this two record series?

I view Rubaiyat I and II as one cohesive whole. I made the decision about a year ago to split the material in half and release it in two parts digitally to give listeners a chance to experience each half individually before experiencing them together. When the vinyl comes out later this fall it will just be titled RUBAIYAT, and it will contain the best from each.

Rubaiyat I is a dark record, while II explores warmer and more vibrant, almost exotica textures. While the two records are night and day, to you, what is their bond?

I’m just trying to make a tasty sonic sandwich for you guys. As a producer my sound isn’t entirely “dark” and it’s not entirely “warm and vibrant”, it’s a combination of the two. They balance each other out to make a more complete and completely saturated whole.

With no samples on these records where does the creative process begin for you and when do you begin bringing in collaborators to help in that process?

Usually I have a gut feeling of some sounds that might go well together, or might see a picture or a movie that makes me really meditate on specific idea or sound. I also like experimenting with different tempos and time signatures (I’m a drummer and have spent most of my life obsessed with the drums). I look at these tracks as a sort of grid work—a puzzle that I have to figure out the right pieces to make complete. There is a simple “pass/fail” type of meter in my mind while I’m working. I’ll try something. If it sucks, I can it. If it’s good, I keep it and move on. I’m extremely hard on myself.

As far as the samples go, Rubaiyat I didn’t have any samples on it. But this one does have a few. I sampled a snippet of a friends track, I also did some crate digging for some older more obscure stuff. There are some Bollywood record/film samples in there, also a snippet from an American anti-marijuana documentary from the middle of the last century.

Both of these records were made at the same time, so what have you been working on since? What’s the next frontier for Dadras?

I’m working on the next one already, and it will definitely have some features on it. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of talented friends so I want to feature some of them. Touring is also on my mind, Id like to go overseas. If I can use my music to travel the world I will be a happy man. I also finished a rock record recently with my band which we are currently shopping around—we’re influenced by the likes of CAN, Stereolab, Women. We operate under the name Special Guest.

Has performing at Fashion Week or producing for A$AP Rocky influenced your current work? Will we see more rap collaborations from you in the future?

The guys who run Rochambeau were fans of my music and reached out about performing at their show back in 2013. We developed a working relationship that resulted in collaborating on their next three runway shows. They trust me with the music, and I understand what they are going for. The experience of playing to much bigger and high profile crowds than I am used to has helped me with my own live show.

Working with Rocky is a trip, and has landed me in some surreal situations. He flew me and two of my studio homies Lynas and Frans out to LA last winter to work on music, one night Puff Daddy comes walking through the door and sparks a blunt of the strongest keef coated super-weed I’ve ever smoked in my life. That same week we were at the studio and Flying Lotus comes in and played us some unreleased tracks, stuff that would later be on You’re Dead! Which was definitely a treat. Anyway, if there is anything I’ve taken away from the experiences it’s the melding of different tastes and styles. I also learned a lot about the industry and how crazy and disorganized everything is even at the top of the game. There will definitely be more collaborations in the future with different artists, not exclusively rappers.

Dadras Rubaiyat II is out October 9 on Human Pitch.

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