Since 2003, David Wang has released a body of work that pretty much runs the gamut of experimental electronic music. As “Mochipet“, Wang made his first waves with his mash-up masterpiece, “Combat“, on the Violent Turd label (an offshoot of Kid606’s seminal Tigerbeat6 techno label), in 2003. Breakcore-inspired exercises like “Yes vs. NoMeansNo” and “They Might Be Giants vs. Lyrical Giants” proved that the mash-up genre has more to offer than Girl Talk’s pop-friendly blend of modern hip-hop and radio hits. From there, Mochipet went on to release “Uzumaki” (2004, Component Records), a blend of cut-up beats, ethnic percussion, and tense ambience. 2007’s “Disko Donkey” (on his own Daly City Records label) saw Wang move toward the more dance floor friendly styles of disco, techno, and electro-pop with a little help from friends, like minimal queen and BpitchControl label-head Ellen Allien and SF rockers Scissors For Lefty.
But fans of Mochipet’s breakcore spasms didn’t have to hold their breath for too long. 2007 also saw the release of “Girls (Heart) Breakcore” (Daly City Records), an all-out attack of drill-n-bass chaos slipped over several seemingly unrelated genres, including Chinese Opera, Metal, Hip-Hop, and falsetto Pop a la JT. As the title suggest, Wang is all-to aware of the testosterone-heavy tendencies of the genre (seriously, how many female breakcore artists are out there?). The album also features several remixes by partners-in-crime Aaron Spectre (Drumcorps), Rotator, and Otto Von Schirach. Soon after came “Feel My China II“, the second installment of albums featuring remixes of Mochi’s work by his peers. Remixes by glitch-hop poster boy edIT, Venezuelan breakcore/dubstep innovator Cardopusher, and IDM noodler Machine Drum reinterpreted Mochipet’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style in their own language, often with exciting results.
Mochipet’s latest offering,”Microphonepet“, is a collection of collaborations with MCs and vocalists of the underground hip-hop variety. Spanning several years, Mochi offers up a blend of classic hip-hop ( “Do What You Feel” with Artlinkletters, “Ride On” with Mike Boo & Raashan (Crown City Rockers), club-friendly dance tracks (“Get Your Whistle Wet” with The Hustle Heads), and glitchy bass stutters (“Boys And Boys And Toys” with Jahcoozi, “Mr. Malase” with Humanbeings, Dopestyle, and Casual of Oakland’s Hieroglyphics crew). Albeit a little scatterbrained genre-wise (mostly due to the span of time in which the tracks were produced), Microphonepet offers a little something for everyone, from the Burning Man/Glitch Mob crowd to the Tribe Called Quest purists to the indie rap scenester.
Mochipet was kind enough to meet me after our first interview attempt was botched by technical difficulties. Upon arriving at his house, I was offered a glass of wine by his girlfriend, Fiona. “Or, we have beer.” Having just drank a tall boy of PBR on the drive over, I opted for the brewski. We chatted for a few minutes while I set up my recording equipment, and we were on our way…
I wanted to talk about Daly City Records first, and you’re role there. Does running your own record label ever get in the way of creating music?
Yeah, a lot. It’s really taxing, actually. When I started the label, I wasn’t really thinking about what it actually took to run a record label because I’d never done it. I was just thinking “Oh cool, well, why not? I’ve got a distributor, I’ve got people down to help, and I have all of these friends that want to release stuff.” And it’s like, “Yeah, that sounds cool.” Then I started doing it and it was like “Man, this is so much accounting and bothering people and all of the stuff you don’t really want to do, but you have to do to kinda keep shit going“. So yeah, definitely. We’re actually trying to figure out a new plan for the label so it’s more about the music, and less about all of that logistical stuff. All of the stuff we put out- it’s pretty eclectic, and it’s definitely more about the music than making money or anything.
Or else you’d probably hire someone else
So you’re doing all of that stuff, the accounting and everything.
Yeah, well I have a couple of interns that help me out. So that’s cool. But, you know, it’s not their job- they have jobs, so a lot of times, it just falls on me.
So it sounds like its hard to work around, but what’s your favorite part of it [having a label]?
The creative, artistic side, having fun, just working with other creative people, musicians and artists. That’s definitely the funnest part.
It seems like Daly City Records is pretty open to new artists- you guys sponsor laptop battles and remix contests. Is that you’re masked attempt at A&R, or do you just enjoy hearing new music?
I just like hearing music. I’m really into the laptop battles. And I think it has a great possibility. Were you in the laptop battles?
No. I’ve seen them in Seattle. Is that were it started?
Well, I talked to Zach from FourthCity (Records) and he was saying that they kinda started it, but there were other people that started it, too. There were other people doing it while they were doing it, so they didn’t want to take all of the credit for it. But they definitely were one of the first people who were starting to do that kind of stuff. And I guess it progressed a lot. At one point, they were going to get sponsored by Intel or something. They did a whole West Coast tour, and they got a little bit of funding for it, and it was cool. But the thing is, they did better in the pacific NW because that’s where all of their friends were, and then once they got to LA, they said it was just, like, not good at all. It was just all of these people that didn’t know them. It was just people from Cal Poly there doing the laptop battles, which made it very, like, a bunch of people and their friends, and it was not diverse, you know? It was just horrible- nobody came, so that kinda sucks. But I’m really into it- I want to try to build it up more. I was just talking to Zach about it and I think next year we’re going to try and organize it more, and maybe try to get sponsorship, because you can’t really do anything without some money behind it. So we’re going to try to get sponsorship to really push it forward, because…Well, even if you go on YouTube and you search for “laptop music” or, like, whatdoyoucallit, “controllerism” or something? Have you seen this?
I only know two guys that are doing it, but supposedly, there’s this new genre called “controllerism”, which is like turntablism, but it’s with computers and controllers. I think they just made it up to kinda coin a term and be like, “Oh, hey, we’re starting this new thing”. I don’t think anyone’s really bit onto it, but that’s just one aspect. And then there’s just people doing crazy shit with, like, circuit bent stuff, and doing stuff in (Ableton) Live and re-wiring it, the monomes– all that shit. That’s where music is going, you know what I mean? That’s where all of the producers and stuff are moving towards. I’m really excited about it. I just think it needs some kind of, you know- you need that special application, like Microsoft’s Excel, so that everyone can really get into it and get excited about it. Like, when people were scratching and stuff, it wasn’t until Q-Bert or the Skratch Piklz when it got really big and people started paying attention to it. And I think (laptop performance) is in its infantile state, but I think that there’s a lot of room for growth. And I think it’s really cool.
And once you start putting it out there, it seems like more people will realize that it’s actually there, and then they get into it…
Yeah, and there’s already a lot of limelight- well, a little bit, going to the whole Flying Lotus, that whole scene where it’s like beat-makers more than MCs. There are underground beat makers, and the press is really loving it right now, you know what I mean? So I think that will help in bringing this thing (into the public eye). I think its going to take a lot more. Its definitely going to take something that the mass audience- like someone that doesn’t even make music or use (Ableton) Live or any of these programs- so they can see it and go, “Wow, that’s really cool”, before its actually going to take off, but…it’s going to go there. Someday. Eventually.
I just saw Daedelus at the Apple Store, and I guess they’re doing a whole series like that, of different musicians coming in and…
Yeah, I thought they’ve been doing that for a while.
I had never been aware of it until this year.
Really? Yeah, they actually asked me to do something a long time ago, but I wasn’t in town or something, and then I just never followed up with them. I though they were doing it for a while. I used to teach at SF State in their New Music program, and my boss actually pointed me to the guy that was organizing all of it, I guess. He was organizing all of these shows at the Apple Store.
Yeah, I just heard of it this year, and it was just sort of a word-of-mouth thing. I had never seen any advertising before.
Yeah, I don’t know if they’re really advertising it or anything.
Well, they probably don’t have enough room in the store…
Yeah, it’s more, like, for people that are coming in and they’re like “Oh, cool, what’s going on?” probably more than trying to get people into the store…
They’re trying to keep ‘em there.
…which would kind of be, like, chaos. They probably don’t want to turn it into a venue. But just to have some sort of attraction while you’re there going “Whoa, this is cool. It’s modern! There’s some guy playing a box with a bunch of buttons on it. What does this mean?”
Still, it’d probably be a good thing to hit up for the Laptop Battles.
You mean the Apple Store?
No, I mean Apple in general, as a sponsor.
Yeah, I don’t know. They never…I think Zach hit them up, and they’ve never really…I should try to hit them up again, cuz I know some people there now. I should ask them if they would be involved in that, cuz it makes sense.
It makes total sense
It does make total sense. I mean, sometimes it’s just weird. Sponsorship is really strange sometimes. My friends that are skateboarders, they get free fucking Mac Books. Where as electronic musicians- nobody gives Alfred (Daedelus) a Mac Book, y’know? Or me a Mac Book, or (any electronic musicians) a Mac Book. But because these guys are pro skaters, they give them MacBooks because they’ll use it and little kids will see them use it and they’ll go buy it or something. It’s really strange.
That is weird. I don’t see anyone doing ollies…
On a MacBook?
Alright, so I guess in that same vein- I guess this applies to you even more so than a lot of musicians I ask this (being a label owner), but the current music business model is definitely changing. There’s no denying that, with digital sharing, and CDs not being distributed, MP3s…
I’m so done with the CD. I’m ready for it to just go the way of the tape.
Yeah a lot of labels have abandoned them. And I think I’m at that cusp of the age where people still buy CDs. If it comes out on CD, I’d rather have a physical backup than, you know, something that can erase tomorrow when I’m not paying attention. So with all of that, how do you see that changing? What do you see in the future of the music business- its no longer going to be…
Yeah, I mean, do you see it changing other than that? Do you just see MP3s as the next evolutionary step from records to tapes to CDs…
I think everything is changing. CDs are definitely going away. I mean, basically, a lot of people are just going to Ameoba (Records) and buying a CD, taking it home, ripping it on their computer, and then going and returning it and buying another CD, taking it home, putting it on the computer, returning it. So for a label, you’re selling that CD once to Ameoba, but for Ameoba, they’re selling it, like, ten times. So you’re only getting that money once and you’re like, “Okay, this kinda sucks.” You know what I mean? So, for many labels, I think it’s a necessity right now, just because it’s like the framework of everything. People still buy CDs, but they definitely are making less and less money, if any money at all. And records, they don’t make any money because they cost so much to make, and you can’t sell them for that much, so that’s kind of out. MP3s are pretty cool because you can just download them and there’s no overhead; you don’t have to manufacture, you don’t have to store it- you don’t have to house it. But then, at the same time, it’s like someone’s probably going to download that MP3 and then just copy it for all of their friends, put it on the internet- it’s just going to get copied a zillion times. So, probably for everyone that’s interested in your album, you’re probably going to get maybe like 1/10th of it, if that- I don’t even know. So it’s more like a donation/charity thing, the MP3 thing. There’s still money in (MP3s), and I think people do buy (them). If they really like the song, they will go and buy it. But its definitely not as lucrative as selling CDs was before. And so, I think the whole idea of selling music is probably pretty bad. You know what I mean…
I feel like it’s on its way out…
You know, you’re going to make money from it, but its not going to be your major source of income. It’s gonna be something, basically, that is kinda helping you, but more on a donation kinda way. I think a lot of people are going to start giving stuff away for free- they’re already doing it. Its going to be more sponsorship based. A lot of advertisers are basically going to pay you for attention. Like, if you can generate so much attention with you’re MP3, they’ll give you so much money. Its going to be like, “Oh, I made this song, and I put it on this website” and then it has an ad for whatever. And people are going on and saying, “Oh, cool. I’m going to download this” and you get paid from the advertising, basically. Or, there’s a lot of bundling with products. Like shoes, t-shirts- things that people will actually buy, and they can’t really download. You can’t download a shoe, y’know.
Maybe one day you can, but now you can’t, so that kind of packaging is what a lot of people are looking in to. I know Ghostly (International) did those flash drives. I don’t know how well that really works, cuz those things aren’t that cheap to make, and it just doesn’t seem like you’re going to keep a bunch of flash drives [around]. It’s cool, but, it’s like, “Okay, I got this flash drive, I put it on my computer, but now what am I going to do with this flash drive? Am I going to frame it and put it on the wall?”
*Both laugh again*
Have a drawer full of flash drives?
Have a flash drive rack? I don’t know. So I think the music will essentially be for free. I mean, playing live, you still- you can’t download that, of course. People are going to have to pay for artists to play live. That, I think, will get better. Possibly.
Yeah, I’m sorta thinking maybe this digital age will bring back the idea of music as going to see someone live. Of course you can get it free here, but it’s more like a song downloaded from the internet would be a sort of advertisement for going to see the show.
Right, now that you’ve heard the music, you want to see it live.
So how long do you think Daly City Records will continue to make CDs?
I don’t know. We’re still making CDs, just because a lot of press want CDs. They don’t want downloads or anything. But I’m ready to stop making CDs.
A lot of labels are doing [that].
It’s a lot of work, and you have to house them, and you have to ship them to distro, you have to pay for shipping.
There’s tons of middle people. You end up making so little on each sell. There’s just too much stuff going on in between that. It’s too complicated. It shouldn’t be that complicated. But, that’s just how things are, I guess.
So what’s coming up for Daly City Records?
We have The Bad Hand record coming out in late October. Its more like a rock, kinda psychedelic rock- kinda like if The Flaming Lips made an album with The Boredoms, or something. That kinda shit. And then I have a remix 12” coming out with the remixes from the Microphonepet record. Mophono and Darko from Spank Rock, DJ C, Jahcoozi, and then Boreta from Glitch Mob, and a couple of the remix winners. I did a little contest.
Yeah, I saw that.
So that’s coming out in December. There’s also a “Hope Again” remix album with Meanest Man Contest and a bunch of other people that are on the label. It’s just a little digital EP thing. There’s also a new Spaceheater record coming out. That’s more like instrumental and jazzy. There’s a Flying Skulls record coming out, which is more along the lines of Flying Lotus type hip-hop based 100 BPM type stuff with a lot of weird little samples. There’s a Cuti-Sadda record that I’m doing- it’s not coming out on Daly City, but it’s coming out on a Belgian label called “Blind”, and it’s like a death metal project that I did- I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that…
I think I heard a little- you have an album on the website?
Yeah. So that has Eustachian– you know Eustachian?
The metal guys. They did a remix for Cuti-Sadda. And then Cardopusher…
Yeah, yeah- big fan of him..
Yeah, his stuff is awesome. Him and Speedranch actually did one.
Never heard of him…
Speedranch was kind of- he was on Planet Mu a long time ago. I don’t think he’s on it anymore, but they did one that’s really fuckin’ awesome. Like dancehall grind- its kinda like Drumcorps. Kinda like that, but more dancehall-ish, but still like metal. It’s really awesome.
Nice. So you just back from an International tour of sorts…
Yeah, well I guess there was Europe and US.
It was just in Europe? I thought you were in a few other…
No, just Europe, and then US, and then I was supposed to go to Japan this month actually, but the promoter is in the hospital, I guess. But he’s out now, and he’s trying to book it for November, so hopefully that will work out.
That’s a good excuse, I guess. So, did you notice a difference between the European audiences vs. the US audiences?
Yeah, definitely. I think in Europe, electronic music is just more accepted. People are used to hearing it. It’s not like, “Oh, electronic music is what you listen to at a rave or dance club.” It’s just everywhere. That’s what everybody listens to. It’s like pop music. So they’re really used to it. So you can do anything electronic and have them accept it more. They’re not as skeptical of it, I guess. Which is cool.
So, did you have bigger crowds there, or were they just more into it?
Definitely, yeah. I mean, the festivals were- well, they’re festivals, so they’re bigger just because they’re festivals. In Europe, they have way more festivals in the summer. And in the winter, too. Here, you have, like, Bonaroo and Treasure Island Fest– things like that, but they would never book me to play Treasure Island Fest. You know what I mean? Its more for like, Justice or Thievery Corporation or Raconteurs. The festivals (in the US) are only for big bands here. In Europe, they’ll have just a breakcore festival- just breakcore. It’s not a big deal. People just like to go out and get crazy and dance and freak out.
Do people camp at these festivals?
There’s some camping ones. I don’t think I played at any camping ones this year, because I was there in winter. The camping ones are usually in the summer.
Yeah, I imagine a winter festival in, like, Ireland might get a little cold.
Yeah, it was really cold, actually. I was freezing my butt off in a lot of places. I’m not used to that. I’m used to more, like, warm- here even, this year has been really cold.
It’s really clear today. I was driving down Fulton (street), and it was the first time I noticed the East Bay. Usually, you’re lucky if you can see downtown.
Yeah, there’s some nice views, I think. Like if you go up into the hills.
I’m right by the Golden Gate Bridge…
Oh, you live by the bridge? Where?
Outer Richmond, by Land’s End.
So its barely ever nice out there, but when it is, you can see a lot…
There’s some good Chinese food out there, though.
Yeah, there is. My neighborhood is very Chinese and Russian.
I haven’t tried any of the Russian food restaurants- I want to try that.
I’m pretty scared. I’ve had Russian food before, but, like, going into a deli is sorta scary. I guess you can get hella cheap caviar…
Uh, I don’t want that…Yeah, you gotta find a good place for Russian food. Otherwise, you’ll get, like, food poisoning.
Yeah, and it’s mostly delis- it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of just Russian restaurants out there…
Yeah, I want like a mom & pop, good Russian restaurant…
Where they’re yelling at each other in the back.
That’s what I want.
So, would you care to describe your live performance set-up at all?
Uh, sure, I can. It’s different a lot of times, though. Like, when I go on tour, I usually just bring- I have this little MP3 DJ thing. Its basically like a little DJ thing with a plastic controller, and then I have my Trigger-Finger, and my soundcard, and my laptop, microphone- that’s pretty much it. But, sometimes if I play here (San Francisco), I’ll have a more elaborate set-up. Way more pads and effects pedals and stuff like that.
So when you play a live set, most of the time is it something that is sorta pre-planned- the set list, or is it something you sorta improvise?
When I play live, its usually improvised.
Even the set list, the songs you’re selecting.
Well, when I play live, it’s usually like, I’m just making everything up from scratch. I’ll pick the sounds for whatever it is I’m doing, but I won’t really sit down and figure out…That’s one thing I want to do, actually- is sit down and actually figure out what the hell I’m doing before I do it live. It’s such a weird thing, because with electronic music, it’s so not live. Most of it is not live. It’s programmed, and it’s sequenced- that’s the whole point of electronic music. So, to do it live is kinda like an oxymoron. It’s kinda like asking a drummer to play a sequence. So it’s really bizarre, but I want to do it. I want to figure out a way where you’re just doing everything on-the-fly. It’s planned if you have a song, you know, like if you’re a band and you play guitar, you have a song, but then you can also change it up if you want. I haven’t really seen anyone do it (play electronic music live) to the point where I’m like “Wow, that’s amazing.” And I really wanna see that, or do that, or something. It just makes sense- it’s just, like, the next level. I mean, everything right now is so sequenced, manipulating sequences- like Alfred’s thing. He has loops, and he uses the monone to chop off those loops and stutter them in a certain way…
And there’s improvised parts, but it’s planned improvisation.
Exactly. And then there’s a lot of the hip-hop guys- they’ll chop up the song into pads, so it would be like chopped up into quarter notes or something, then you can just play it “boom-chick-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu“, you know? And that’s kinda cool, too, but then you kinda get bored after ten minutes. It’s hard.
Yeah, you always feel like there’s a wall sorta in between the audience and the performer in some of those laptops situations because, for one, the audience doesn’t know what you’re doing back there. The screen’s facing you, and you know what you’re doing, but the audience doesn’t know what you’re doing. For all they know, you could just be surfing the internet.
Right, exactly, checking you’re email, looking at porn- “What are you doing?!”
So I see that as a hurdle as well…
That’s definitely a hurdle. Even with scratching, you can see them doing it. So you can actually see what’s going on- like, “Oh, wow, that looks complicated.” You know, “That looks really hard to do.” But with a laptop, you’re like, “I don’t know what the hell he’s doing.”
So what artists do you see taking music to the next level, sort of pushing things forward?
Man, I see some crazy people on YouTube. Like some of these crazy kids- some of these kids doing stuff really inspires me. I don’t even know who it is- people send me stuff and I look for stuff. But there’s these kids that hook up electronics to their drums and stuff, and they’re just bangin’ out this crazy shit. Like, they’re playing at their high school, you know, and you’re just like, “What the hell is that? That looks really cool.” That really inspires me to do some stuff. I really like the people that do stuff differently. They give you a new angle on it, like “Woow, okay.” I feel like electronic music- I don’t know if it’s just I haven’t heard enough of the new stuff or what’s going on. Back in the day, it was just Aphex Twin, Squarepusher– I was like, “Wow, that’s fuckin’ amazing.” And then, they just kept churning out the same shit, and I was like, “Wow, that’s really boring.” And then so, now, I don’t know. I mean, there’s people making really good beats and things like that, but virtuoso…
Well, even outside of electronic music, is there anyone that’s really catching you’re ear right now?
Um, let me think…*pause*… I was into Lightning Bolt for a while. They’re pretty cool. I was just thinking about this the other day, actually, because people always ask me that and I’m like, “I don’t know!” And then I was looking at my music collection and was like, “These people are really good. I should remember that.” But I can’t remember. *Laughs* There’s definitely artists that I like- all-time stuff, y’know? Like Flaming Lips stuff- I think we were talking about it- what’s that album with the four CDs? That can play at once?
Oh, yeah, I can’t remember what it was called, but we were talking about that.
I heard they just re-did the ”Yoshimi” and the “Soft Bulletin” in 5.1 (surround sound) or something? I’m curious to hear that. They’re movie looks really cool – “Christmas on Mars”? I have a list of favorite albums that I think I could listen to from now until I’m, like, 50, or (until I) die, and still be like, “It’s a good record.”
I think they’re called “desert island” records
Did you see them at the Outside Lands festival?
Yeah, neither did I.
That thing just looked way too big for me.
Yeah, it’s just too public or something, I don’t know…
It’s just too big. It’s going to be so many people there, you can’t see the band, it just feels really weird- like, I went to the Beastie Boys, the Tibetan concert there. They had the same thing, at the polo fields, and it was just so big and so unintimate. So commercial- it was weird. Like, MTV was there, and…
And from an audience standpoint, you’re mixed in with a bunch of people that really like whoever they’re seeing, then people who sorta like them, and then people that just wandered up.
Yeah, that’s the other thing, too. You’re around a lot of people that are just there because they need something to do. And they might not even necessarily like the music. So you’re like, “This is really bizarre, because I’m just around all of these people in this strange kinda”- cuz that changes the experience of the music. I think I was watching- I forget who I was watching- like Rage Against the Machine or something, and there’s some frat guy talking to his friend about this girl and how he wanted to do her. *laughs* And I was like, “This is so weird!” I dunno, it was a strange experience.
Let’s talk about Microphonepet- I read that that album was sorta “years in the making”
Yeah, it was kinda just all of the hip-hop stuff I made. I have so many friends that are MCs or whatever, so I was making these beats and getting them to rap over them. But I’m not really a hip-hop person per say, or a producer per-say; I just make music- that’s just one aspect of it that I like to make. I guess after time, there was a collection of this stuff, and I said, “I should just put this out,” you know? I didn’t know what else to do with it.
So that’s what I was going to ask- it seems like you’re albums often times have a theme or genre that they are tackling. Is that ever a conscious process, or is it more like, “Oh, well I have this group of songs…”
That’s definitely a conscious process. Yeah, I used to just throw everything in together, but people hate that. I just got so much flak for doing that. People would just be like, “What is this?” or “I like that one song- and I don’t like any of this other stuff.” Because they’re so different! Like, a metal song into a polka song… I guess, in a way, it makes sense, because there’s no continuity in a record made that way, other than it’s all made by me. It’s me, but it’s definitely not a concept record. So after doing that and having people be really confused, I decided, “Okay, I guess I should save all of the stuff that’s similar and put them together so that people can digest it easier.” So it’s not just some crazy thing that is overwhelming to them.
But, do you sit down and say, “Oh, okay, I’ve got a couple of these mash-ups or something – I should make a bunch more and just turn it into an album?”, or is it something that sorta piles up over time?
Um, usually it’s just something that piles up over time. And then I go, “Okay, I should make this into an album.” I’ve tried many times to be like, “Okay, this month, I’m going to make a hip-hop record.” And that always fails because I have such ADD, it’s like “Fuck, this is boring! I don’t want to make any more hip-hop!” *Laughs* “I want to do space-country or something. I’m just bored- this is so monotonous.” So, yeah- and that’s why it ends up being a thing that happens over time. I save it- and that’s tough too, because then a lot of stuff’s old and a lot of stuff’s new. Like with the Microphonepet record, you can tell it’s some older stuff and a lot of it’s newer stuff that has that sorta glitchy sound, and some of the stuff sounds like it was made on a MPC, which it was. I guess it’s a problem of mine that I’m dealing with. But I don’t know what to do.
Along those same lines, do you ever impose limits on yourself when you’re composing? Like, “I’m not going to do this certain thing” or “I’m only going to use this type of sound”? Do you know what I mean?
You know what, I don’t impose limits on myself. But I think that it’s a good idea, actually. *Laughs* I think I should impose limits on myself, because I end up going off on really crazy tangents. I had an MPC for a while when I was in LA, and I was making a lot of music on that- like, just that alone. And I wrote so much music, just because I knew it, I knew what I could do with it- I knew how to use it. So all there was to do was make the music, because I didn’t really have to fix it, I don’t have to download this plug-in and install it on it. So it’s just like, “I’m making music.” And that was really cool- it makes it more about making music. Whereas a lot of stuff on the laptop, it’s more, “I want to do this- let me make a Reaktor patch. Let me take two days to make this Reaktor patch that I think will be really cool.” Then you’re like, “Oh, what am I doing again? I’m writing this song? What the hell?” So, yeah- the boundaries are good, because it keeps you focused…
It keeps you in line…
Yeah, it keeps you in line. I need more boundaries. I need someone to tell me what to do.
So I’ve read a few things- some interviews and such where you’ve talked about a sorta “David Wang” album- a more personalized album…
Yeah, I have a couple of records that are already finished, and I’ve contemplated releasing them, but I think I’m gonna hold off and actually finish the one you’re talking about, a record that’s more about me and less about a collection of stuff that I’ve done over time that’s in the same genre. It’s going to be more personal, it’s going to be kind of weird, pretty different- I’m not sure how people are going to react to it, really. But I think I need to do something like that right now, just for me. To put something out there that’s really about me- you know, being really selfish- “This is what I want” – and see how people respond to it. I have a couple of records that are already done that I think are less like that.
Well, it’s nice to have a little reserve…
I will probably put those ones out after, just in case people are like, “What the fuck are you doing?!”- to say, “Oh, no- here you go. Look, something more palatable.”
So, you went to Burning Man this year.
Was it you’re first time?
No, it was my second time.
Any thoughts, observations…
I had a great time this time. I don’t know if it was because it was so awful it was great, or what it was. cuz last time, I stayed in an RV- my friend had an RV, so I stayed in there. I didn’t really go out much, I didn’t bear the elements as much, so I didn’t really have that great of a time. And then this time, my friend let me borrow a tent, the tent fell apart- it was broken to begin with and I had to fix it, and then it started to fall apart, then we had to tie it to our shade structure, we had to take the top off so we had no top, then there was a 60 mile-an-hour dust storm, and it came and got dust all over everything, and then my girlfriend puked on me and puked all over all of our stuff, so we had to throw everything out. So we basically had no place to live. I only brought one change of clothes, and that was for the after-party that was playing in Reno, cuz I was doing an after-party, so I didn’t want to change into that, so I was basically in the same clothes for four or five days
With puke on ‘em?
Yeah, with puke on ‘em, no shower, dirty, no sleep, because I never sleep; just basically out of my mind. And that was really fun. It was great- I had a lot of fun.
So thumbs up on the sand storms?
Thumbs up on the sand storms. There was actually supposed to be a sand storm when I played the first night, and I was really kinda excited about that. I was like, “Yeah, I get to play in this crazy sand storm.” I just really wanted to experience that, to see how people react to it while their standing there or trying to dance in the sand storm.
Yeah, performing through a natural disaster of sorts…
Yeah! So I was excited, but it never happened. It was all nice and hot, and I really didn’t have that much fun on the first gig, actually. I wanted a sand storm. But the rest was really fun. The music there is- I don’t know, not that great, which I’m kinda bummed about. But I guess that’s just the nature of it. People have their own agendas and know what they want to push out there…
Lots of dubstep?
Well, I like dubstep. There wasn’t actually that much dubstep. There was some…I wanted to hear some breakcore or something, y’know? You figure you’re in the freakin’ desert, there’s sand everywhere, everyone’s dirty, it’s so Mad Max– it’s like, “Why are you listening to house?” It’s just so weird. It doesn’t seem like it fits.
From what I’ve heard from people that have been there a bunch is it’s a bunch of, like, Google-Silicone Valley sorta contingent there.
There is. But I think that’s kinda dying off, even. I think it’s gotten so big that there’s a lot of foreigners coming now, filling up the spaces. A lot of people are like, “Oh, how Burning Man used to be,” and then there are the people before that who are all about how it used to “used to be“. It’s always changing, because people come in and change it, and then they get old and have families- they don’t go to Burning Man anymore, and new kids come in and they change it. It’s definitely a lot of tech-y people, and, um, naked people- lots of nakedness.
*we laugh again*
At this point, I’m out of questions, except for one stupid one that I won’t torture you with after this novel of an interview (at least it felt that way while I was transcribing it). The beer from the car ride and the one I drank during the interview are very insistent on their need to escape. I use the bathroom, pack up my shit, and thank Mochi again for his time. Life continues.