MUTEK.ES Previews: Interview with Deadbeat and Danuel Tate
Before their show at the Soiree MUTEK in Barcelona, to launch the new Micro MUTEK program, we caught up with two Canadian artists
Chris Mann - November 22, 2012
Since Deadmau5 confessed back in June that he, and some other electronic artists, just press play on stage, the debate over authenticity and what artists are really doing behind the laptop has become one of the defining themes of the year. Before their show at the Soiree MUTEK in Barcelona, to launch the new Micro MUTEK program, we caught up with two Canadian artists, Deadbeat and Danuel Tate, both of whom have spent the majority of their careers playing live, and who have developed some informed and experienced opinions on the current 'state of play'. Danuel Tate, a keyboardist and vocalist, has dazzled MUTEK audiences in several of their incarnations (Montreal, Mexico, Barcelona) many times, in the context of live performance, as a member of Cobblestone Jazz, but also with his recent solo sets. Scott Monteith, aka Deadbeat, has also continuously challenged the live format, through his own command of software and hardware, but also by working with visual collaborators such as Lillevan, and by constantly updating his set courtesy of the new material derived from his prolific studio output. Danuel and Scott mused on man versus machine, the stigma of devices, the nature of jamming, and being Canadian.
Q: Let’s talk about the show tonight. What are you going to be playing? DJing or playing live?
SM: We’re both going to be playing live, I think?
Q: Are you going to play together as you obviously just collaborated on the single “Lazy Jane”?
DT: Maybe at the end.
SM: Yeah, maybe at the end.
Q: How are you going to do it? Is Danuel going to sing and play keyboards?
SM: We’re just going to go for it. Just jam.
Q: How much of your recording is jamming and how much is pre-meditated?
SM: The recorded stuff is all jamming really. A case in point is when Dan was in Berlin last year. I sent him a rhythm, an idea for a tune that became “Lazy Jane.” Two weeks before that I was thinking “Hey, I´ve been hearing you on this. Here it is.” We were like four hours in the studio and it became three mixes.
Q: So what did you hear about Danuel in the track then? The voice particularly. But were you also playing keyboards?
DT: Yes. We had a piano there, and The Mole was there too.
SM: And the organ, what was that? The Farfisa! The Farfisa Compact was on that tune as well.
DT: Didn’t we layer some keyboards?
SM: Not so much of it ended up in the final mix. Those mixes are mostly my beats and Dan’s voice. That’s the bottom line. That’s one of the good things about jamming. You get a whole big mess and then you just start deleting.
DT: Pretty nice for me really! [Laughs] It’s pretty easy!
Q: Scott didn’t you used to play in a band before you started doing electronics?
SM: I used to play bass in a band called Lucidity when I was 16 years old.
Q: So how do you find the jamming on the electronic gear compared to the band?
SM: I’m a terrible musician. I don’t play bass, piano, guitar or drums or anything very well, so electronic gear is fucking great for me because I can actually contribute something of substance that doesn’t involve dexterity.
Q: What about you Danuel, you are obviously very good with the piano. How much jamming are you doing live now?
DT: I think it’s like sharing [the creative experience] with the gear. So it’s like a simulation or whatever, where the line between… you can feel really exposed if you are just playing a piano in a club, but if you are playing a piano that’s gated and this and that it’s… a lot of criticism is out there where people are saying music is going downhill because of these ways that you can use gear to enhance the way you sound and feel. It’s as if you were giving the robot, or whatever you want to call it, the technology, some of the artistry, so it’s more of a sharing between the human and the technology. I think, in my opinion, music is getting better.
SM: I can also say that I think Dan is a great example of a mind blowingly talented musician, like an example of when the human choice aspect of it [music making] is really prevalent. The first time Cobblestone Jazz played MUTEK at Metropolis, Mat [Mathew Jonson] and Tyger Dhula going for it for probably a good 40 minutes or so before Dan touched any keys, you know. And then they played “Dumptruck” and destroyed the place. It was that human notion of wait, wait, wait…waiting for that moment to actually come and be ready: “Ok, this is my time!” and bang! And then going for it. That’s something that not even the smartest robot in the world is going to be able to figure out.
DT: Intuition, right. So we get to think on a higher level a little bit, instead of being right down the bottom playing everything note for note, every chord that goes by in the track. You get to think about it on, not a higher level, but a different level.