Tagged as a newcomer the electronic dance community, Seattle’s proves to be everything but “green” to the dance scene. With his debut LP, The Tracks are Alive, dropping on Freerange Records in 2010, a serious arsenal of remixes and releases on Freerange, Om Records and Urbantorque (just to name a few) has certainly put Mr. Pezzner on the map as quite the tasteful artist. Pezzner has an amazing ability to organically and abstractly blend his House, Techno, and Disco influences into hypnotic, lush soundscapes for the mind, body and soul.
A very dear favorite artist of mine, I had the great pleasure of catching up with Dave to ask him what’s on the horizon. What a guy! In my discovery of Dave Pezzner as an artist, it’s not a wonder to me why I totally dig his music in the first place! Modest, down-to-earth, and super talented are just a few adjectives, barely scratching the surface, when it comes to summing up Dave Pezzner. And, here’s a few more… Super. Fucking. Cool.
Interview by Erica Baran.
I think the thing that keeps me coming back for more with your productions and remixes are the unique combinations of sounds and genres. You really seem to sandwich all that awesomeness into each individual track with surprise after surprise, establishing each track as it’s own individual work of art. Please indulge us on what inspires you to tailor these gorgeously unique and lush sonic landscapes!
I think you said it right there. I try to take a different approach to each piece and really treat each track as if it has it’s own personality. Its funny but I really do fall in love with and obsess over each track as I’m working on it.
Bravo on The Tracks are Alive LP! I really can’t stop listening to it since it came out! Seeing that this is your first album of work on Freerange, most people seem to think you are a newcomer to the game. I feel like you have popped open that fine bottle of wine that has been aging. I say “BLAH”! to the newcomer comments!! Any insights you’d like to share on your first album and it’s manifestation from beginning days to Freerange days?? How long did this body of work take you to complete?
I love the newcomer comments! They make me feel young! Lets just keep them saying that shall we? I’ve been working in the dance music community for years, however, my fascination with this moody Deep House sound is a relatively new one. The Tracks Are Alive embodies all the work I did late 2009 to early 2010. So the whole project took about 5 months to complete.
It was a fantastic experience writing this album because it wasn’t just a collection of tracks I had sitting around. Each song on the LP was made specifically for the LP with the intention of taking the listener from one place to another. I even had a visual in mind with many of the songs. “Chiuso Per Ferie” recounts my experience exploring Rome with my wife in the dead of August when everything is closed and no one is around. The city almost turns into a searing hot ghost town. And “Philip” probes the beginnings of a romantic relationship from infatuation and uncertainty to content and love. This is probably stuff that is impossible for a listener to pick up, especially in dance music. But my thoughts are that if I can take this sort of meaningful approach to the composition of my songs, then perhaps the underlying emotion that went into the track will come across as meaningful to the listener one way or another.
Another thing that I started doing in the production of this album is, started giving a bit of life to each individual audio track by doing something live to it. So for instance, if you listened closely to any of the songs on the album and focus in on any one element – the hihats for instance, you’ll notice that the hats are subtly “breathing” because the volume level is always fluctuating by a few decibels, while very subtly moving in and out of the reverb space, all while the decay on the hats are slowly opening and closing. You’ll notice the saturation on things like snares welling up and down to
match the intensity of the arrangement. My album is literally flooded with very subtle nuances like this with the intention of giving the tracks life… which is why I named the album The Tracks Are Alive.
I see that you dabble on the commercial side of the music business with television commercials for T-Mobile, scores for the Discovery Channel, and sound effects for American Idol. Super cool! How do you feel about this type of work compared to you original album work and remix projects? Do you prefer one more to the other or do you enjoy both?
It’s a very different type of work for sure, but I love the challenge that comes with doing commercial scores. I mean, House Music is easy – I can start up a song and make it sound however I want. It’s my project from beginning to end. However with commercials, it’s not my project at all, in fact commercial projects rarely even belong to the person who hired me to do them. Commercials are the vision of someone that I never get to meet but I am ultimately trying to please. It’s strange and stressful work that must be completed overnight with premium results. Oddly enough, that’s what I
love about it!
I haven’t had any commercial score work in a while though, because lately my focus has been on my art.
I do trust that you are quite busy but do tell us what’s on the horizon for you production wise? New album in the near future? Any remix projects we should be looking out for?
Yes, I’m happy to say that I’m officially working on my 2nd album for Freerange, we’re hoping for a release date early 2012. This summer we can look forward to an EP for Nick Curly and Gorge’s 8 Bit imprint, as well as remixes for artists like Underworld, Dirty Vegas, Floyd Lavine, Atnarko, Francesco Bonora and some others.
Where can we catch you next? When will we see you in Chicago next??
I hope so. The last time I was in Chicago was a great time, and I always have fun while I’m there. My diary is pretty wide open at the moment and I’ve been using this time to work in the studio.
I always like to ask my interviewees the burning question… US or overseas House Music?
I suppose it’s all about the artist isn’t it? I see all these kids moving to Berlin from the US to set up shop and produce House and Techno, but as far as I’m concerned, this doesn’t make them overseas producers. It makes them US artists making music overseas – and mind you, many of them are making some amazing music!
What are you currently listening to right now? Playing right now on dancefloors?
I’ve been getting into some of this crossover Deep House stuff that some of the dubstep labels have been putting out. Guys like 2562, Kosmin TRG, Nocturnal Sunshine, Seams, Joy O, Koreless… the music is deep with a bit of a Detroit flavor. Lots of sub bass and a little dirty, but still emotive and musical. Love it!
A friend of mine posted this archived article and it was quite an interesting read. It was written by Stefan Goldmann and he offers a very interesting insight into making it as an artist in the electronic music circuit. The article highlights his perspective on how things used to be as to how they are now in the industry. As a “newcomer” (just kidding), I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on this. What does “making it” mean to you? Do you feel like you have? What has been your experience creatively as an artist in the industry? Any tips you want to share to those trying to establish themselves as artists/producers/DJs in the electronic circuit?
You’ve asked the million dollar question. Because all of us are trying to “make it” some how. For some people, there is a bit of disillusionment that “making it” means that someone is paying top dollar for a release that is well-received, and that a three week long world tour means fortune and fame. I decided to pursue this venture as an electronic artist in 1993 and made a pact with myself that I will do everything humanly possible to make a modest living on my craft. Never asked for anything more than simply being able to pay the bills.
I suppose success is what you make of it right? For one electronic artist, success might mean making $5000 each show, and every release moving 10,000 copies, private jets, bottle service and villas in Ibiza… For another, success means simply getting the release out on Beatport. For me, success in this industry means making just enough money to get by, to feed my family and pay my rent and keep it going. Anything after that is a fucking godsend.
I guess my advice to any artist who really wants to make a living in the electronic music circuit would be – Compel your audience in everything you do. Stand out. Make a statement. Innovate. It’s the only way.