MUTEK.Mag
Opinion

DKMD's Disco Inferno

David Kristian and Marie Davidson write about how their new duo became a reality.

David Kristian and Marie Davidson - May 01, 2012
DKMD's Disco Inferno


In the beginning, there were conversations.

Friends would ask, how did the music session go?  And the answer would invariably be; Oh, it was great! -and even though we had a lot in common, and did record a large amount of material during the course of our first improvisations, it was through hours of discussion on all manner of creatively inspiring subjects including experimental and electronic music, cinema, soundtracks, art, literature, dreams, lucid dreams and psychedelia, that we would develop a sonic shorthand that would enable us to take things further than originally imagined.

Listening to our works in chronological order, we could feel our sound evolving and our apprehensions fading, but at one point in early 2011, something happened, and we knew it was time to explore the other side of the soundscape, time to step onto the dancefloor.  The time had come to give introspection a break and give in to more visceral thrills; after all, we were both fans of classic Disco, and had separate projects in which we explored tried and true structures and idioms, so it was only natural that the more we collaborated, we would start to incorporate other aspects of our music-making into the mix.  It was at that point that we initialized our DKMD alter-egos in order to bang the proverbial drum.

Switching styles isn't just a matter of playing the same set of instruments in a different manner, it often means putting aside those instruments and almost completely changing your way of working.  Before delving into Disco, we'd mostly been using processed synths, guitar, violin, and vocals, but after recording Taxi Cab, our first Dance music track, using hardware, we realized we'd gain a lot more flexibility in regards to remixes and our overall sound if we used software instruments, sample libraries and plugins. We were also careful not to blur the lines between homage and pastiche, as we were approaching this parallel endeavor from a passionate and creative part of ourselves, as opposed to tongue-in-cheek imitation.

Alternating between these two extremes gave us a chance to recharge, and avoid getting too comfortable within one genre or process. It would also be important to point out that there's a difference between trying out a variety of musical genres to try and find your sound and applying your sound aesthetic to different musical genres. As a result, both our experimental and Dance music projects are evolving, expanding, and cross-pollinating.  Hypnotic sequences have begun trickling into our soundscapes, and our ambient loops and drones have started taking on a lush "Sci-Fi" quality, while our dancefloor adventures made the transition from funk to flight.  Our first vocoder poem, Androide, is a good example of this mutating methodology, and each time we perform the piece in a live setting, we adapt it to whatever follows, either allowing it to disintegrate into clouds of cosmic dust, or crash into the mirror ball and serve as transition. The instrumentation may be different, but it is through these "polar composites" that we define the DKMD sound.

DKMD performs at the Nocturne 1 showcase on Wednesday, May 30th.

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