From playing in hardcore punk bands to his current project as electronic music producer and DJ Ital, Daniel Martin-McCormick has always brought a raw authenticity to whatever musical style he takes on. Approaching production with a simple motto of "go with your gut," his actions translate into psychedelic, synth-laden tracks charged with a variety of emotions. His most recent release is a collaborative effort titled The Day After with multimedia artist Aurora Halal, and consists of shadowy techno beats fit for sweaty dancefloors. We caught up with Ital about being a multi-instrumentalist, channeling his emotions with music, and his newest release, The Day After. He performs this Saturday, May 17, at F8 with Aurora Halal, Cube, and the Haçeteria DJs.
You've had a number of monikers through the years. What's made you stick with Ital?
I stick with aliases until they stop working for me. Ital is very open-ended. The only constant is that it's dance music of one sort or another. At the moment that's exactly what I want as a springboard for what I'm feeling.
As a multi-instrumentalist, which instrument or piece of hardware has been hardest to master?
I would hesitate to say I've mastered any instrument. In general I find it pretty easy to pick up an instrument and get something going with it, but I'm always changing my setup. More than technique-building, I've found the most powerful and fascinating challenge in music is the act of exercising restraint. It doesn't matter what the setup is, really ... if I feel confident in the sounds and let the music flow on its own terms, then I'm happy with the results for years to come. But if I try really hard to push an agenda, then I'm happy only for a month or so.
The music you make has always been pretty raw. What's the best way you've found to properly translate emotions into making music?
I'm not interested in translating emotions into music; I'm interested in having an emotional experience of the music. Music is an abstract language, and I find the idea of translating a happy emotion into happy sounds, or anger into angry sounds, to be banal and more than a little fascist. Besides, our most powerful emotional states are vastly complex and interwoven. I want the music to feel alive on its own, so that I can react to it and dive into its world.
The best way to achieve this, I've found, is to keep things simple, go with your gut, and throw some fucked up part in to keep things dramatic and keep me on my toes.
What inspired you and Aurora to create The Day After together?
We started collaborating and the chemistry was on point. Also we are always talking music and ideas, so we had a lot of thoughts and energy percolating before we sat down to jam.
What was the process like when you bounced ideas off each other?
Intuitive. Sometimes a bit tense, until we found the groove and then it was effortless.
The track names read like an apocalyptic journey. What kind of journey were you guys hoping to take your listeners on?
The same journey we live everyday. The record is a document of our own interlaced experience of paranoid, anxiety, and sorrow mixed with joy, elation, etc. It's the world club music moves through: a raw purging of human agony through ecstatic artistic expression as well as destructive Dionysian consumption. Also our larger sense of dread in reaction to our highly Instagrammed, Twee-ified version of late capitalist world destruction, set against the intimate pleasures of our relatively normal lives.
The album is incredibly danceable with club anthems. What's the ideal setting for the album to be played in?
A raging club with tons of fog and strobes.