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Monday, March 2, 2015

Worker/Parasite on OPD Helicopters, Role-Playing Games, and the Importance of Visual Art

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 8:05 AM

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What’s the trick to balancing crisp, crunchy, warm and warped?
I don't even know, man. I really love happy accidents and unreliable media forms like cassette tapes. I spend a lot of time cleaning my tracks up and trying to balance grit with a pleasant-sounding track.

What environmental factors, if any, play a part in your inspiration? Public transport? Street noise? Sea smoke?
The constant swarm of OPD helicopters over my apartment whenever a protest happens. I hear rhythms and musical noise a lot, one of the reasons I love living in the Bay Area.

What part, if any, do Bay Area labels and party promotion infrastructure play in your musical direction?
To be honest, I moved to the Bay Area completely ignorant of its contributions to dance music. I've since started collecting a lot of the earlier stuff on Om and have had some close friends school me on the history of dance music from these parts, but I can't honestly say that any of those labels have really had a play in my sound, which isn't to say they're unimportant, just never reached me for any number of reasons.

Currently, I'm working closely with Dr. Sleep and the Jacktone Records crew, which is very inspiring. Main Drain in Oakland has played the biggest part in my sound. Justin, who runs Main Drain, hosts a weekly live stream called ‘Wax n Cats" where he plays records and invites guest to do live PAs or play records. He's had me on a number of times and I'm pretty sure he hosted the first Worker/Parasite live PA sets.

As a fan of hardware, do you look to locally based instrument designers like Dave Smith for components or inspiration?
I'll own a lot of the DSI stuff eventually. The Bay Area's history in synthesis is a constant inspiration.

Does black humor and playful surrealism play a part in your compositions? Is there a visual art/era you consider akin to your sonic experiments?

I don't really know. I think I have a darker sense of humor. One thing I really dislike about house and techno is the seriousness, specifically on the underground level. I haven't found a great way to inject a sense of humor into my music aside from my producing pseudonym, which is a joke directly lifted from the Simpsons. A lot of my tracks are Dungeons & Dragons references, which may or may not be funny to you.

Visual art is important, but I like to focus on audio. If I could have one person design all of my artwork forever, it'd be Zeke Clough. I really like all of this bootleg, warped Simpsons fan art I see online and I hang a lot of those types of prints in my studio. Pen and paper RPGs, specifically D&D and Shadowrun, are huge inspirations to me as are comics that I've been into most of my life: ‘Spawn,’ ‘Sandman’ and more recent stuff like

Brian Woods' ‘Northlanders,’ ‘DMZ,’ as well as anything Warren Ellis does — ‘Transmetropolitan’ being my favorite.

Does a thematic thread tie together your recent EP? Does it set the stage for the future?
The thematic thread on this particular EP is ‘classics,’ or my attempt at the throwback Chicago sound. Chicago house always sounded a rougher around the edges and I've always loved that; one of the elements that hardcore punk and dance music can, and often do, share is the DIY mentality: no money, no real support structure for your music, so you do it your way and sometimes that way is a little less ‘professional’ or produced than other people's methods. I also think, ultimately, the idea of getting a special groove, moment, or pattern on tape or into your computer is more important than mixing the same track for weeks or months at a time to make it sound ‘perfect.’

I have a 12-inch coming out this Spring on Jacktone Records and other stuff that's in early planning stages.

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Tony Ware


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