Monthly Archives: August 2012

DJ Hadiman Keeps it Real

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Hadiman

 Hadiman’s one of the coolest cats in town. So cool that I thought he was Brazilian. Forgive me Hadi, ha ha ha…. Actually, he’s from Dubai but currently based in Toronto.  He blew me away with his banging drum and bass set at OM Festival in June, not to mention a killer turn at Bassculture. After hearing his name whispered with admiration on the lips of psytrancers , I decided to sit down and have a chat with the affable DJ to see what makes him tick.

F: Hi Hadi, it’s a pleasure running into you like this and I’d just like to ask you about some of your influences. What inspired you to become a DJ in the first place? 

H: I think my inspiration came from what’s in me. It really was just the idea I can go home and mix music that was just really, really interesting and fun for me personally. It all started when I went to school for sound engineering and I remember one of the first classes I attended, one of the teachers asked who was a DJ and I remember everyone raised their hand except me; I was the only guy who wasn’t, and that really sparked interest in me; just DJ’ing and mixing music in general, so a friend of mine lent me some records and I would just go and borrow people’s turntables and I just really picked up from there. People started supporting me and I did it in my own bedroom for three years without even telling people that I’m DJ’ing and I started getting small gigs here and there, so yeah, now I’m here. I do play a few very different things. One of which is drum and bass and I was influenced by the South American tropical rhythms. 

F: Like cumbia for example?

H: Cumbia, actually I love cumbia, especially the old cumbia. Cumbia and chicha and Afrobeat or Afro-Latin and all the subgenres of Latin music. And I’m not South American but I have really good appreciation for that music from the past 40 or 50 years ago. I think they made incredible music that we still listen to today, so I would hope to see more Brazilian or Latin drum and bass influences in music, and I think that at some point in the mid 90’s, there was a lot of Brazilian drum and bass. It’s not around anymore and I wish someone would start mixing Brazilian drum and bass.

F: Can you name some of your favourite Brazilian artists from that era?

H: I don’t really remember the names, but where we had records, we would go buy records that didn’t even say any name on it or not even the track; you know it would just come blank, what we’d get in a sleeve and we would put it on and it would be Brazilian drum and bass. So it was poorly advertised let’s say, in North America or in Toronto, and I may just not have enough knowledge about it. I started DJ’ing at a time when this genre in particular was dying so I didn’t pick up on it.

F: What about guys like DJ Marky?

H: DJ Marky is one of my favourite DJ’s, and it’s like he’s really one of the pioneers of drum and bass, and I wasn’t aware that he’s Brazilian. Is he?

F: He is.

H: Ok, now I know! DJ Marky…yeah, I’m a fan of DJ Marky. So many good liquid drum and bass that you could use, old and new and I love him, I love DJ Marky for sure, and I’d love to see him in Toronto if he comes.

F: Speaking of Toronto, in terms of the scene that Toronto has at the moment, where do you see it going?

H: Well I think we have a very good music scene in Toronto, and it’s only germinating right now and the vision I have is that it will really flourish in 10 years. I think Toronto is going to be one of the coolest cities in the music industry. What we have here is very eclectic and the multiculturalism is creating something new that not many people have. For instance all the art collaborations that are happening in Kensington Market; we have people from all over the world collaborating so naturally, and that creates you know, the future for Toronto and a reputation. And you go all over the place now, even in New York and you say you’re from Toronto, and all of a sudden they speak very highly of the music scene that we have cuz now we have more top artists in the world; they all come to Toronto very often so that’s a good sign that our music scene is very healthy.

F: Tell me more about some of these collaborations.

H: Well we’ve been doing the Pedestrian Sunday Collective day and what we try to do is something very interesting; collaborations between DJ’s and bands. We have a gypsy band, we have Brazilian percussion bands, we have just indie music bands and then you mix all of those bands together in a one day event and have an incredible event that keeps people really happy and people are talking about the event for a long time. I think it would have been different if they came and saw only one band at a time; it wouldn’t be the same as coming to see a bunch of bands, say 10 bands performing in one day in a very eclectic way.

F: Can you tell me whether you’ve worked on producing tracks of your own that you’ve released independently or are you signed to a label ?

H: I have worked with a lot of different music but unfortunately I never took the step to get signed. We had a band called Masala Sound Kitchen; you can check them on Google. What we did was really interesting. We actually were, just in a way, jamming and recording at the same time, and we made lots of world fusion music mixed with some electronic and that was one of my biggest projects but then I think I got sidetracked  by DJ’ing for a bit and hopefully I’m coming back to producing and it’s gonna be mostly electronic music, ambient and chill out music; downtempo.

F: On a final note, do you see DJ’ing as a career that you would like to pursue on a full-time basis or is it just more of a hobby for you at this time?

H: Well, it all starts as a hobby it’s becoming very, very serious for me, but I do think I’d like to focus on producing now, I want to create my own sounds and my own music. It’s been a pleasure mixing people’s music, but I think a good balance between the two, mixing your own and people’s music would be very satisfying for me and more interesting.

F: Great! Thank you Hadi.

H: Thank you.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

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Bristol U.K. Graffiti 2008

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monster mashcrouching womangolden lion1goldenlion2golden lion5golden lion4
golden lion3magic stork3magic stork2magic storkmushroom housemadcow
little devilslady libertyinstallation art1graff loversgraff guygraffiti wall1
graffwall2graffwall3graffwall4devil angeldancemusictoof fairy bristol

Bristol U.K. Graffiti 2008, a set on Flickr.

Colourful graffiti covers the infamous stretch of Stokes Croft, Bristol, U.K. beautifying an otherwise dull urban landscape. Bristol is a hotspot for innovation, as evidenced by the emergence of Roni Size, Portishead and Massive Attack on the music scene. Talented artists execute fine art in meticulous detail on a variety of edifices, thereby compelling the general public to recognize graffiti as a legitimate form of artistic expression rather than vandalism. Photography © 2008 Frankie Diamond and Emil Zalewski.

Renegade Producer Will Does Music His Way

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way. That maxim couldn’t be more accurate in describing renegade producer, Will. With a varied and interesting background, including a stint as a drummer for a heavy metal outfit, Will is a person who takes music production seriously. Currently based in Toronto, this multi-talented semi-reclusive artist took time out from his busy schedule to share his experiences, not to mention his impressive collection of hi-tech toys.  

F: Will, can you tell me what inspired you to become a producer?  

W: It was a new frontier in the 90’s, creating sounds that didn’t exist in the real world through analogue synthesizers and Flex processors, psychedelic drugs, you know, mostly fueling the desire to make sounds that hadn’t been heard before. A line for just different musical perspectives. I was a hip-hop producer before I was an electronic music producer, and I took some acid and it kinda opened my mind a little bit and I started making synthesizer music and it’s come full circle now. I don’t touch drugs anymore, but I still make a lot of the same music, including the hip-hop, reggae, psytrance, jungle, drum and bass, dubstep, the whole nine yards; whatever I feel like making. I don’t really set a boundary on what I feel like making. If I feel like making something, I make it the way I want it.  

F: Did you produce hip-hop tracks for local Toronto artists or international? 

W: That was more out in Vancouver and Calgary area at the time. More just local guys. I did a lot of engineering for underground MC’s around there. At the time, I started going to these psy-trance nights in Calgary thrown by a group called The Techno Collective; it was a long time ago now. I had a lot of the equipment needed. I was mostly strictly sampling when I was making hip-hop; I was sampling from vinyl and whatnot. I had very little interest in synthesizer music until I actually checked the culture out a little bit and felt some real resonance with it, and I started trading in the MPC’s for Mini Moogs and Arps and Prophets and the list goes on. 

F: Did you study music production formally or are you self taught mostly? 

W: I was just self taught, just born out of an interest from playing in bands and whatnot. I tended to have a gravitation towards engineering. I always wanted to record the bands’ albums; record everything, engineer all my own stuff. I had a real huge interest in production quality and all that, so I just gravitated towards singular music, not necessarily style but a singular approach to music, you know; composing, producing, engineering, etcetera etcetera.  

F: How important do you think it is for a producer to have basic knowledge of music in terms of musicianship; being able to play an instrument for example. 

W: It can help but then there’s a certain level of creative genius that comes from musical naiveness. Not necessarily knowing which chord structures go together, or even what a chord is. I mean some of the best electronic music ever recorded has been done by people who know absolutely nothing about music theory. So I resonate that way and I think it can help; it does help me with a music background, understanding music from multiple, different instrumentations, but a lot of what I found with techno was trying to unlearn classical tradition. Being raised a piano player you have this sense of ingrained music theory which can turn out to be wrong and detrimental to the creative process anyways, and you take a look at Cole Porter, who knew nothing about music theory but wrote some of the best songs ever recorded. 

F: Tell me about some of your influences.  

W: Definitely wide-ranging. I’ve always been heavy into funk music, soul, RnB, dub kind of stuff was my main focus. I really like old jazz. I really like everything as long as it’s tasteful. I don’t really have parameters which I draw influence from. I just always draw from what’s good and what resonates with me. I don’t really  identify with stylistic identity. I don’t believe that’s a really good thing because you just end up fucking pigeonholing yourself in some obscure sub-genre that only you will resonate with and that’s half of it, but at the same time you want to resonate with other people too. If you want people to listen to your music, if you want people to listen to your art, there are compromises you have to make and it’s not necessarily a compromise as it is just being open to different sources. You can expect genius from just as many radio friendly pop songs as you do the obscure, underground tracks that only five people know about. But the thing is, is that it’s getting those tracks those five people have written out there to a wider audience as opposed to creating something that is self-marginalized.  

F:  What sort of medium do you prefer to work with when it comes to recording? 

W: I really like the flexibility you have with digital audio workstation. I tend to gravitate towards Logic everytime. I have Pro-Tools and Ableton and whatnot. I always end up back in Logic for the flexibility; it’s a world class program. But as far as results are concerned, I really like the old gear. Some of the best music I ever made was made without a linear based sequencer. It was all made using Adat multi-tracking systems and playing in specific layers at a time, and then recording and deleting them as I saw fit, but doing everything linear which kept everything non-linear. So there’s differences between takes and there’s differences between parts that were played at the beginning of a song, and parts that were played later on in the song because it was actually played. I used to use hardware drum machines; now I don’t really use hardware drum machines just because of the linear sequencing, but I still use all my old analogue equipment. I’ve got a collection of very sought after analogue synthesizers from the 70’s and early 80’s including an Arp Odyssey, Prophet 5, Mini Moog, Oberheim SEM, an Oberheim Expander, Arp Axxe and a bunch of other ones but I have my main sound generators and it’s pretty much an Arp Odyssey, Prophet 5 and Mini Moog and a Hohner clavinet which I use a lot too.  

F: Tell me more about the clavinet. What’s the story behind that babe? 

W: That’s a 1962 clav,  predates the Hohner D6 which was really made famous by Stevie Wonder and a bunch of other players up in the jazz scene like Herbie Hancock, who played clav on many, many tracks as well as the Arp Odyssey as well, which is why I gravitated towards it; Herbie Hancock being one of my favourite musicians. I wanted to get some of the sounds that he had gotten for my own interests, not necessarily for the synthesizer music part of it but more for just played music. I mean synthesizer music can obviously be played music but I think there’s a real line being drawn right now between, you know, what’s kind of self generated electronica and what’s played electronica. The two forms still exist and they’re both alive and well. 

F: How would you describe your music? 

W: I don’t really have a description for it. It kinda just needs to be heard to describe itself because everything varies from one track to the next. I’ve always had many different aliases for releasing music because I didn’t want to just make one style. I’ve never been a style person, it’s always been what I feel like, how I feel, what I feel like making, and whatnot and I would market, unquote, “market” it appropriately by assigning a new alias to a different sound, so I ended up having many, many different ones. Sometimes I just wanted to make heavy metal sometimes I wanted to make ambient jazz, chillout or whatever and you know, so just, had a lot of different lives. There’s been a lot of different lives to live through different music styles, I guess, or cross genre styles where it’s not really one thing, it’s kind of a little of everything but I mean,  if I was to pick a word to describe it, I would usually just use chill. Even the fast tempo stuff I’ve made has always been fairly chill, so chill is apropos.  

F: Can you tell me about the projects you’ve been working on lately?  

W: There’s been a few. Currently I’m working on a rock project, just rock in the sense that it’s an edgy project. It’s called The Don Squad and we’re kind of like a world beat approach to rock n roll, you know very different styles of music being put forth in every track that we kind of approached,  and we approached things from a different angle because we want to have a certain level of accessibility in a lot of ways that there’s a little something for everyone without making artistic compromises. So I guess it’s heavily drawing from hip-hop, reggae, jazz and rock n roll for the most part, and I’ve got various electronic projects that are on the go right now as well, not so much as my main focus. My main focus is The Don Squad right now, just because currently I’m very thrilled to be working with such a talented group of musicians right now that we’ve currently amassed and it’s a very eclectic influence, even on me and an eclectic influence on what the band draws from.  

F: Tell me more about your stint in isolation in that shack that you built out there in the woods. 

W: I built a shack on a squat out on Vancouver Island. It was out on the water; very beautiful place and just kinda sick of concrete jungle vibes and all these suit dummies and you know, everybody me me me me me; just wanted to be removed from that kind of life because it wasn’t and it isn’t a good way to be. So I built a shack up there and dragged some generators and some battery banks out and basically composed about three hours of really tripped out, psychedelic trance and tech-trance sounds about fifteen years ago, but I ended up playing quite a lot of shows with that material and it was very much a return to the source for me because again, it was a project that I was tracking all on Adat so it was a very polished trance sound I was able to get without using linear based digital sequencers, so that was very cool. I loved living out there; I lived there for three years. It was very very good, I look forward to doing that again, but maybe with a little more influences under my belt than just trance music.  

F: On a final note, where do you see yourself heading in terms of your musical direction? 

W: Definitely heading more in the world beat, funk, reggae, dub kind of vibes, more just because, you know, once you conquer a mountain, you don’t want to look at that mountain anymore, you know? You want to move on from it and it was kind of one of those things where I spent the last fifteen years amassing a huge collection of music equipment and synthesizers and keyboards and stuff for making one specific thing and now I just don’t want to look at them anymore (laughter) because I can identify the hardships I had to go through to make it happen. I mean, at this current point of time, I’d just be very happy to be locked up with my monitor, my soundcard, my Clavinet and my Mini Moog and I’m not even using the synthesizer and Mini Moog. I’m using it as a wah pedal for my Clavinet.  

F: Wonderful. Thanks Will!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.